Muffled Echoes: Oliver North and the Politics of Public Opinion

Paperback
Ten years ago the Iran-Contra affair swept the headlines as the nation watched an indignant Lt. Col. Oliver North testify before a congressional committee. Although polls showed that most Americans were critical of North's actions and ambivalent toward the man himself, media coverage left the opposite impression, with its broadcasts of Ollie-for-president rallies and stories of congressional aides overwhelmed by a torrent of pro-North mail. In this book, public opinion is more than the sum of a pollster's tally; instead, Amy Fried defines it as a political tool, integral to the political process, where vested interests compete to legitimize their interpretation of the public voice. Fried explores the construction, interpretation, and uses of public opinion, raising important questions about the media and the role of special interest groups in determining policy.