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This article addresses “Anderson Cooper 360”, a news program that airs on Cable News Network (CNN). The news program first aired on November 11 but I watched it a few days later on CNN’s YouTube channel. The news segment is hosted by Anderson Cooper and it addresses the aftermath of the just concluded United States election where Republican candidate Donald Trump emerged as the winner. The news program consists of the host and six other panelists, who represent different points of views. In the segment, the panelists are discussing what is likely to happen after the election especially in regards to the rising incidences of anti-Trump protests that were going on across America.
The clip first addresses the President-elect’s statement on his earlier promise to reverse ObamaCare. The conversation then moves on to the element of anti-Trump protests and their validity. One panelist observes that the protests are uncalled for because the President-elect was chosen through democratic means. Another panelist answers this by claiming that the protests are not against democracy, but they are protesting against the character of Donald Trump. The host then poses the question whether, if the Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton could have won the election, her supporters would tolerate protests. Finally, the clip concludes with another panelist noting that non-violent protests are accommodated by the laws.
The news segment on the aftermath of the US election coincides with various concepts in the textbook. First, the protests that are portrayed in the news segment juxtapose the concept of democracy and public opinion (Greenberg and Page 117). The public opinion that was expressed through voting where President-elect Donald Trump won the election in a transparent manner stands in stark contrast with the anti-Trump opinion that is being expressed in the protests. All the panelists of this show agree that the most important opinion is the one that is expressed through the ballot and not through street protests.
The same clip also indicates how political socialization can degenerate into fully formed beliefs (Greenberg and Page 121). The panelists note that Donald Trump’s socialization has created deeply held beliefs within the American public. For example, one panelist gives the example of a small boy who cried because he believed that the President-elect would act on his opinion that all illegal immigrants should be deported without consideration. In the segment, it is also clear that the media has been an important tool when it comes to instilling political beliefs among the general public (Greenberg and Page 122).
The book also points out that “political knowledge among the public is low, but cue givers allow people to make fairly rational decisions about their policy preferences” (Greenberg and Page 134). This would be a difficult concept to actualize through this news clip where the public is mostly agitated with results that they thought would favor their point of view. Further research indicates that the country might have erred in its measurements of public opinions. The book might refer to this scenario as indicative of the fact that there was no ‘rational public’ during the 2016 elections (Greenberg and Page 134).
The news segment illustrates a dilemma that has resulted from the outcomes of the last general election. From the results of the election, most people (including some of panelists in this news program) allude to the fact that democracy worked against the interest of the public. Although this matter has presented a quagmire even to seasoned political scientists, my view is that observers in the last election concentrated on the candidates rather than the public. Consequently, what was earlier assumed to be a ‘rational public’, turned out to be just as irrational as the election candidates were.
Greenberg, Edward, and Benjamin Page. Struggle for Democracy, 11th ed., New York, NY: Pearson, 2015. Print.