Title

News coverage of biotechnology debates

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Any possibility of a broad democratic debate in modem society concerning technology or science, other than those confined to elite circles, is dependent on the mass media. While science and technology policy is imagined to have broad influence over the course of people's lives, these influences are rarely obvious in the short term. The general public has many other, often more immediate, daily concerns, and people do not necessarily have many other sources of expert information or interpretation for these issues. For these reasons it is very likely that the power of media to influence public opinion is stronger for science and technology issues than for other questions. Media messages do not dictate public opinion; readers and viewers exercise considerable power in their selection and interpretation of messages. But messages influence the opinion climate in which individuals see themselves as being situated. This, in turn, has consequences for shaping the course of public debate.

Disciplines

Communication | Mass Communication | Science and Technology Studies