ABSTRACT

Mass opinion consists of a set of private responses to the exigencies of social life unmediated by group discourse or by common interests. Rather than being mediated by group interests qua group, mass opinion is mediated by personal interests and, as advertising expands the universe of private wants in proportion to human needs, mass opinion comes to reproduce the needs of advanced corporate capitalism to dispose of high technology, high energy, high profit goods produced by capital intensive modes . . . Mass opinion is not public opinion in that it bears no special, necessary relation to the constitution of public policy. A public sphere is constituted by the process of publics taking active, effective, unreserved participation in creating public policy. A set of words which may or may not find its way into the public policy process is not public opinion, that is, it does not necessarily result in overt behaviour compatible to the message embodied by those words. More likely, mass opinion is collected and used aganst the interests of the public in that it is used to manage and mold opinion of the masses after, long after, policy has been produced.