Who Speaks in the Space of Opinion?

Ronald N. Jacobs

in The Space of Opinion

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199797929
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199944170 | DOI:
Who Speaks in the Space of Opinion?

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Chapter 4 provides a detailed analytical map of the contemporary U.S. space of opinion and the cultural beltway of elite institutional spaces which surrounds it. Drawing on large samples of opinion texts from The New York Times, USA Today, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Face the Nation, Crossfire, and Hannity & Colmes, it examines variations in autonomy between different kinds of speakers, texts and opinion formats. It finds deepening internal distinctions within an overall expansion and opening of the opinion space in the last 20 years. One part of the opinion space remains anchored in the traditions of journalistic autonomy and independent opinion most closely identified with the elite professional newspaper columnist, while another part – the political talk show – has moved closer to the political field. In every format, new voices from outside the journalism including academics, lawyers, novelists, and think tank intellectuals have also become more prominent.

Keywords: cultural beltway; public sphere; autonomy; influence; partisanship; newspapers; journalists; columnists; civil society organizations; critical rationality

Chapter.  13124 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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