Research shows uncertainty in news affecting public opinion

News is everywhere. It is unavoidable and people form their opinions based on what they see or hear. Several studies show a lot of research has gone into public opinions and news. The question, we wonder, is whether the news is affecting public opinion.

One study, in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, by Diana C. Mutz and Joe Soss, of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, says that the media cannot bring about individual opinion change, but may alter the political environment. In other words, news may not change one person’s views on a topic, but may change a politician’s agenda. This may lead us to think that the media is not changing our public opinions, but changing the politics. Another study by Natalie Jomini Stroud, Annette Strauss, Institute for Civic Participation and Bartholomew H. Sparrow, University of Texas at Austin, suggests that after September 11 public opinion was influenced by “presidential speeches as well as priorities of the media.”

So what came first the chicken or the egg? The news is supposed to be full of facts not opinions. How can it change your opinion about issues? Public opinion polls help leaders and decision makers see how the public thinks and behaves, according to Gallup, a national public opinion research organization. Reporters use these polls to write articles based on the public’s opinion.

In a recent study by the Pew Research Center studies show that the press is more trusted than the government or businesses. People trust the information they get from local news sources more than national news sources and over 10 percent more than their state government.

Public opinion polls are there to share what the public is thinking about certain topics and share that with politicians and the rest of the world. Politicians can in turn take that information and make their agendas to meet the needs of the people. People give their opinions first, but research shows a lot of confusion in whether or not the news is affecting public opinion or whether public opinion is affecting the news.

Danielle Green

This entry was posted in Media Credibility, News coverage, Reporting and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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