[Published today 8th Nov at Pearls and Irritations.]
The other day political commentator Mungo McCallum remarked in passing that ‘the influence of the media on public opinion has always been greatly overrated’. I beg to differ, along with quite a few other commenters on his article. Here is a longer case for profound media influence.
It seems journalists in the mainstream political bubble tend to share the disconnection of the politicians from the rest of us, which is understandable if their perception of the world is mostly the bubble. And if your measure of the problem is the distance between the mainstream media and ‘public opinion’ you might miss something important. After all, the perceptions of most punters include the highly selected pap the media choose to serve up to them, so there’s not usually going to be a big difference.
But what would a well-informed polity, or just a polity sketchily informed with a rough balance, think? What would ‘public opinion’ be then?