Muffled Echoes: Oliver North and the Politics of Public Opinion

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Overview

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.

-A masterful combination of theorizing and rich data analysis that provides a deeper and richer account of public opinion than has hitherto been published. This lucid account is an invaluable addition to the literature on public opinion. I also found it to be a major contribution to empirical democratic theory. -George E. Marcus -Williams College

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Editorial Reviews

George E. Marcus
A masterful combination of theorizing and rich data analysis that provides a deeper and richer account of public opinion than has hitherto been published. This lucid account is an invaluable addition to the literature on public opinion. I also found it to be a major contribution to empirical democratic theory.
Booknews
Examines the ways in which the media, interest groups, polarization in government, and increasing political alienation interact to create politically consequential impressions of public opinion, analyzing these interactions in five cases, with emphasis on Oliver North and the Iran-contra affair. Discusses North's testimony to the congressional Iran-contra committee, as well as theoretical issues such as how public opinion is incorporated into the political system and its implication for democracy. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
1 The Politics of Public Opinion 9
2 Mapping the Echo Chamber 34
3 Oliver North and the Politics of Hero Creation 62
4 Telling the Public What It Thinks 98
5 Taking an Interest in the Public 127
6 Trying to Hear the Echoes 151
7 Public Opinion in Political Context 194
Notes 229
Bibliography 275
Index 295
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