The War on Terror

Ronald N. Jacobs

in The Space of Opinion

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199797929
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199944170 | DOI:
The War on Terror

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Chapter 8 is an in-depth case-study of the opinion narratives in the War on Terror. It analyzes the complex, contradictory ways in which specific speakers, opinion styles and claims to authority combined in particular formats to shape the narratives that developed. Older formats in print and television were more likely to display traditional forms of journalistic autonomy, but this did not always produce the most complex, nuanced or critical opinion. Similarly, while the newer opinion formats of cable television were deeply contentious, often reductive and politically polarizing, they were nonetheless capable of accomplishing complex forms of argument. Social characteristics of guests and rhetorical styles associated with different formats also independently shaped the deliberative quality of opinion, with politicians tending to reduce autonomy and complexity of deliberation, and academics tending to encourage historical complexity and cultural sensitivity.

Keywords: democratic deliberation; critical rationality; opinion format; war on Terror; opinion narrative; autonomy; influence; complexity; New York Times; USA Today

Chapter.  19673 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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