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There was a problem with saving your item s for later. You can go to cart and save for later there. The Future of Teledemocracy:. Average rating: 0 out of 5 stars, based on 0 reviews Write a review. Praeger Publishers. Polling, whatever its many defects, has taught one clear lesson: the answer depends on the question.
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Even subtle differences in question-wording can have profound consequences for the answers people give. In short, those who determine the agenda set up the outcome. Electronic town meetings would not "tell us what the people want. This is tell-a-democracy, or perhaps sell-a-democracy, not teledemocracy.
For Perot, as for too many others, public opinion consists of individual preferences and values; the task is simply to find a technique good enough to ascertain them. For most democratic theorists, on the other hand, public opinion consists of opinions formed in public, as people collectively face public issues; it is not a set of inclinations, grunts, and nods of approval and disapproval privately evolved and privately expressed to a pollster or voting machine.
Democratic theory typically and rightly envisions a system of government organized as much to foster deliberation as to guarantee participation.
International Teledemocracy Centre
Perot's proposal for instantaneous mass decision making actually seems to have fewer safeguards than are available for important consumer decisions. People may have waiting periods to buy a gun or to get a marriage license or have to sign contracts in the presence of witnesses or may even have three days after pledging their fortunes to a door-to-door salesman to change their minds.
All this helps ensure a level of serious consideration in private transactions. It would seem strange indeed to call for less rigorous protection for public deliberation. There is a delusion that sometimes accompanies talk of electronic democracy that somehow citizens' direct communications with candidates will bypass the professional and obstructive news media. But even the best proposals, like James Fishkin's deliberative poll see accompanying article depend mightily on the effective functioning of the professional news media.
What Fishkin's deliberative opinion poll and Perot's electronic town meeting and talk radio and other proposals all lack is follow-up. When the town meeting is over, the stage returns to the candidates trailed by the press plane or press bus. Recall Gerald Ford's presidential debate with Jimmy Carter and Ford's gaffe about the Soviet Union not dominating Poland he was more right than he knew!
This remark was almost completely ignored by the general viewing audience. Two hours after the debate, viewers gave Ford a victory by 44 to 35 percent; but by noon the next day Carter was the winner 44 to 31, and by that evening Carter was judged the winner 61 to What happened in the interim? The news professionals got into the act. Now, perhaps the news media blew Ford's remark out of proportion.
I am not arguing that what professional journalists provide is the best approximation to the truth. But they do offer constant scrutiny in a presidential campaign this is much less true, regrettably, in state and local elections. With daily publication, they have the opportunity to monitor candidates over the long haul and to monitor officials in office.
Only a small percentage of the electorate actually saw Ross Perot on Larry King, or Bush or Clinton on the morning news shows. Most of us know about them thanks to the mainstream news media.
Regularly interacting with colleagues and politicians, the political reporters educate one another about politics in a way that sharpens their focus. This is not to say there are no dangers of media feeding frenzies and parochialism those dangers are serious. It is not to say that news professionals do not have their own biases they do. It is to claim that they represent a vital community of discourse the best we have. Proposals for more debates or better debate formats or "nine Sundays" of extended programs on presidential issues or longer soundbites on the evening news or wider use of talk radio and talk television or experiments with new formats and forums for presidential campaigning all stand some chance of keeping the news professionals more honest, forcing them to listen to voices and styles of discourse they do not control.
Becker and Slaton explore the current state and future of televoting, electronic town meetings, and other initiatives designed to put the public back into public affairs.