Notes on a Theory…

Thoughts on politics, law, & social science

Posts Tagged ‘national security state

The Patriot Act, ‘support’ for public policies and the construction of democratic control

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Not long ago, I argued that how poll questions are often framed, and more important, how they are interpreted in the media, worked to reinforce the status quo, specifically on the issue of mass surveillance.

I’ve since ran across an article (h/t Chris Bowers) that addresses this issue and sheds some important light on my point: Samuel J. Best and Monika L. McDermott, Measuring Opinions vs. Non-Opinions – The Case of the USA Patriot Act (pdf). They investigate whether pollsters are manufacturing opinions on subjects where they don’t exist, in response to the pressure to add public opinion to political debates. In essence, they argue that respondents do not know what the Patriot Act (a complex piece of legislation) does, but use clues from the wording of questions to make up for that ignorance.  So what appears to be actual opinions about the law (which for the record, shows very different levels of support depending on the question wording) is simply an artifact.

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Written by David Kaib

July 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Fear: A Brief 9-11 Reflection

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Yesterday, I saw police in armor with automatic weapons on both legs of my commute. They were not near any military installation, government building, or anything like that. They were pacing aggressively, as if a serious threat could pop up at any moment (presumably not the bombers we’re warned about on the Metro every day with a recording by Janet Napolitano).

I’m OK with never forgetting.

But how about ending being so fearful.

Written by David Kaib

September 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm

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