chapter  One
8 Pages

Communication and Public Opinion

ByMaxwell McCombs, Edna Einsiedel, David Weaver

Things are not what they once were. But then they never were! In the realm of public affairs, classical democratic theory assumes universal knowledge. To the extent that the public affairs to be guided by informed public opinion are local affairs, the assumption has some plausibility. Popular wisdom has it that in the small villages and towns of colonial America—and even the small communities that were the stereotypical portrait of the United States well into the current century—everyone knew the public business of the community, and even a great deal of the private affairs.