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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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The War on Terror

The War on Terror

(p.195) 8 The War on Terror
The Space of Opinion

Ronald N. Jacobs

Oxford University Press

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

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