The Spheres of Influence

Essay by lukecasley November 2004

download word file, 3 pages 1.5

Habermas defines the public sphere as an invisible intangible space that is used an area where discussion helps to mould views and opinions. Habermas believes that this public sphere is a place where general public discussion can occur. Public opinion can be formed by listening and contributing to the ideas placed in the public sphere. Although the actual sphere is conceptual, the discussion can occur in many places and via many outlets. These places not only include our own lounge rooms and work places but also the greater public sphere of the media. The media can provide a forum for discussion in many outlets such as editorials and letters to the editor, to the relatively new concept of Internet chat rooms, and web logs. Another popular and easily accessible outlet is talkback radio.

Habermas believes that the public sphere is being infiltrated by Public Relations and the spin that is prepared by practitioners that place agendas on many issues in the media.

This by consequence skews the public opinion and the integrity of the public sphere by making it unnatural and biased.

The issue of 'Cash for Comment' highlights Habermas's ideas. Talk back media is traditionally used as a forum for discussion and people listen to the forum to help form their ideas and opinions on issues. When presenters place their own personal agendas within the public sphere the integrity is lost and it is no longer a forum that is balanced and unbiased. Opinions cannot be formed correctly because there is an underlying commercial theme. Although the public sphere is changing, the general idea and reliability needs to be maintained for the public to be involved, if the sphere is flooded with commercialism then it is flawed "...Laws comments form the basis of a specialised discource which is...