Muffled Echoes: Oliver North and the Politics of Public Opinion

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Columbia University Press, 1997 - Political Science - 308 pages

Ten years ago the Iran-Contra affair swept the headlines as the nation watched an indignant Lt. Col. Oliver North testify before a congressional committee. Although polls showed that most Americans were critical of North's actions and ambivalent toward the man himself, media coverage left the opposite impression, with its broadcasts of "Ollie-for-president" rallies and stories of congressional aides overwhelmed by a torrent of pro-North mail.

In this book, public opinion is more than the sum of a pollster's tally; instead, Amy Fried defines it as a political tool, integral to the political process, where vested interests compete to legitimize their interpretation of the public voice. Fried explores the construction, interpretation, and uses of public opinion, raising important questions about the media and the role of special interest groups in determining policy.

 

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Contents

The Politics of Public Opinion
9
Mapping the Echo Chamber
34
Oliver North and the Politics of Hero Creation
62
Telling the Public What It Thinb
98
Taking an Interest in the Public
127
Trying to Hear the Echoes
151
Public Opinion in Political Context
194
NOTES
229
BIBLIOGRAPHY
275
INDEX
295
Copyright

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