Does the Press represent Public Opinion?
Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Today I am going to consider whether the British press represents the British public.
My belief is that to a certain extent the popular press cannot go against the beliefs of their readers. This would be commercial suicide, as who would buy a paper that ignores their ideas/thoughts and opinions? However, this does not necessarily mean that everything read in the press is a true reflection of the society in which we live. The press misrepresents stories and furthermore, continually project various celebrities onto the public stage through gossip columns and sensationalised exclusives.
The British press has long had the reputation of arguing for and defending our beliefs and prejudices, as well as bringing to light injustices and political scandals – all of course in the public’s best interests. Also they have heralded various campaigns, in the name of social justice. One such campaign was fuelled by the death of Sarah Payne in 2000. The News of the World started pushing the ‘Sarah Law’, a campaign that wanted parent’s to be able to know the identity of known sex offenders in their local areas. Clearly this is a sensitive topic and would appear to represent what the public want. However, it goes directly against our justice system of rehabilitation. We are still seeing the effects of this campaign today as only recently a newspaper published the name of a known sex offender who was subsequently hounded from his home. Many would argue that in this case the press are battling our cause, but is it toying irresponsibly with public feeling?
One subject that the press never tire of is the world of the celebrity. The British press have largely been responsible for ensuing that the likes of Jade Goody, not known for any particular skill or talent, still takes up pages and pages of publications - Most recently for fighting in her local cinema. Do the press put her there because the public...