The third of the four stages of ‘our conception of public, “Public opinion” is something I find very interesting these days. Especially since it “first appeared as a political force”. I’m one of the people who is beginning to become tired of hearing about this 2016 presidential election, however I am also one of the people who cannot seem to stop listening to people talk about it. Seriously, I actually go out of my way just to watch videos and keep updated with what our presidents’ current events are like, as well as the things our president-elect is saying on camera. I cannot look away. I also cannot believe that the public was responsible for electing him (or really the electoral college). Something Jarvis points out however is the power of public opinion, and I suppose public opinion made their decision (not taking into account all of the recent riots that have been taking place in cities across the nation). Another thing he points out, or really Jürgen Habermas does, is the belief that “a brief, golden age of rational, critical debate in society- was soon corrupted by mass media”, which is supremely evident through the media coverage of this debate and thus this election. The media covered what was “a hot-topic”, which was mostly comprised of foolish things Donald Trump said or Hilary Clinton’s email account. Not enough media coverage was spent on the topics or the candidates’ plans they would cultivate once in office.

After reading this, I realize how much I refer to the public, while meaning people. It’s surprisingly unfair to do so, considering the fact that “public opinion” does most certainly not include every last person in the country. So how did it get to this? Jarvis suggests that “the real corruption of the ideal of the public was to throw us all into a single public sphere, a mass”. While it’s a little ‘conspiracy theory’ it could very well be the ultimate truth. Even though each individual is supposedly unique, our ideals and everyday habits are most definitely something we choose from an assortment of choices given to us by society (and by society what I mean is through our family, peers, and media intake- whatever that may be). Some examples of this could include: Since birth we are immediately determined one or the other gender, or how Television commercials promote multiple types of dish soaps each one claiming that theirs is better than the other one. Thus we determine, according to public opinion, that the blue dish soap with the creative colorful box is the one for you. “To this day, the assumption that we are one public – which is the basis of mass production, mass distribution, mass marketing, and mass media – has enabled government, companies, and media to avoid dealing with us as distinct individuals and groups and instead to see us as faceless poll numbers and anonymous demographics.” Not to mention, incoming money.

“The Progression of the Public”, by Jeff Jarvis


One comment

  1. bboessen · November 24, 2016

    A solid response – clear, coherent, and well-supported. Count it.


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