American Government Chapter 10

Differentiate between public policy and public opinion.

Public policy: the sum of the governments goals and actions made in response to public issues.
Public opinion: opinions held by the public that the government responds to through the development of public policy..

Explain the modern implications of the terms liberal and conservative.

Liberal- usually seeks more government action in society to change political, economic, and social status quo.
Conservative-usually seeks non-bureaucratic solutions to societal, political, and economic issues; reluctant to expand government authority.

Identify and differentiate the 2 broad categories of public policy.

1. Domestic policy: policy regarding economy, law, education, health, energy, environment, and civil liberties.
2. Foreign policy: policy regarding diplomacy, trade relations, and war.

Identify the 4 stages by which public policy develops.

1. identify the issue
2. set the agenda
3. formulate a policy
4. implement and evaluate

Define opinion polls. What conditions could compromise the reliability of opinion polls?

1. Opinion polls- surveys of public thought on particular subjects,
2. Failure to gain a representative example; failure to take current polls; unprofessional polling conditions; poor wording of the questions.

Why must politicians be wary of public opinion?

Because public opinions may change quickly and may be based on incorrect information.

Define interest group and identify it by another name.

Interest group-- a group of people who share a similar opinion about a political issue or group of issues and who unite in an organization to further their views.
Also called pressure groups.

Distinguish the 5 different types of interest groups and give examples of each.

1. Economic- Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses, ABA.
2. Social- AARP, Greenpeace, Sierra Club
3. Single interest- National right to life, NRA
4. Religious/ideological- Moral Majority, Christian Coalition, FACT
5. Civic- Le

What types of activities may interest groups use to influence public policy?

Lobbying, public persuasion using media or direct mailing; campaign involvement (especially through PACs and court action); phone calls.

Define lobbying and explain how interest groups use this activity.

Lobbying- an attempt to influence public officials.
Interest groups use professional lobbyists who gather information to present to lawmakers and also provide meals, trips, honorariums, and other incentives to influence lawmakers' votes.

What effect do PACs have on congressional elections?

They give money and campaign support to congressional candidates; their large contributions to the campaigns of incumbents discourage challengers.

Identify Amicus Curiae

Friend of the Court"; an individual or group that testifies or files legal briefs (amicus curiae brief) as a friend of the court to influence the court's decision.

Identify the different forms of media that shape public opinion. What is the term used to describe them all?

Television, social media, newspapers, magazines, bill boards, radio, bumper stickers, phone calls, or direct mailings.
Mass media

Identify the FOIA. What rights does it give the media?

a. Freedom of Information Act
b. It gives media broad powers to investigate files of the federal bureaucracy.

How can the media manipulate the information they relay to the public?

1. Giving certain more extensive or prominent coverage.
2. Choosing connotative words and pictures in their coverage, indicating bias.
3. Omitting stories or information.
4. Timing of their news coverage of issues.
5. Setting arbitrary expectations.

How can the media affect the course of a political campaign?

1. Giving a candidate more/less attention in the media.
2. Using favorable/unfavorable images of candidates.
3. Labeling candidates with favorable/unfavorable terms.
4. Establishing expectations for candidates and judging them accordingly.

How do political candidates use the media?

They; try to project a good image before the media; try to gain as much exposure as possible; try to use media appearances to diminish perceived negative opinions of voters.

Identify Propaganda. How can it be dangerous?

a. Propaganda- The use of techniques to manipulate information in order to persuade/influence people.
b. Dangerous-- propaganda techniques appeal to the emotions rather than to the intellect. So, it can persuade people to take irrational actions that may

Prior Restraint

the principle that the government may not suppress a story prior to its publication.

Shield laws

laws protecting the journalists' right to refuse to divulge the identity of a secret source.

Exit polls

Public opinion taken by various polling agencies as voters leave their polling place; used to predict election results.


Published false statements that damage one's reputation or character.


Verbally communicated false statements that damage one's reputation or character.


socially offensive communications not protected by the First Amendment.


Federal Communications Commission; it licenses and regulates radio and tv stations, and it can impose fines for broadcasting obscene language or images or false advertising.