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The Space of OpinionMedia Intellectuals and the Public Sphere$
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Ronald N. Jacobs and Eleanor Townsley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199797929

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199797929.001.0001

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Who Speaks in the Space of Opinion?

Who Speaks in the Space of Opinion?

(p.76) 4 Who Speaks in the Space of Opinion?
The Space of Opinion

Ronald N. Jacobs

Oxford University Press

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

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