What Kind of A Dog Is That? Examining The Relationship Between Public Assessments Of media And Of Other Institutions


Lee B. Becker, Cynthia English, Tudor Vlad and Jeong Yeob Han


This paper draws on two historical survey sets from Gallup to examine the relationship between public assessments of the media and assessments of government. Overall, the data provide little support for the idea that the media are evaluated as oppositional institutions in society, as the watchdog or even attack dog metaphors would suggest should be the case. Rather, the data suggest that, at least in the eyes of the public, the media are part of the overall governmental and institutional fabric of society. The public seems to evaluate the media as part of that overall structure, much as they would if they were evaluating the lapdog pets of the powerful forces in society.

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