The Public Interest

Where Bias and Influence Meet

Aaron Wildavsky

Spring 1988

OF THE THREE GREAT QUESTIONS about the influence of the major media upon political opinion—Is there a systematic media bias? If so, in what direction does it flow? Is public opinion strongly influenced by the media?--the last is arguably the most important.  For if opinion is not much influenced by the way the media report the news (or determine what is news), the prior questions about the extent and direction of bias are, in political life at least, irrelevant. 

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