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The Court Of Public Opinion – Analysis of Key Factors (Part 2 of 2)

Public perceptions yields the greatest influence on how human behaviour and conduct is shaped.  As much as there are formal systems, hu...

Public perceptions yields the greatest influence on how human behaviour and conduct is shaped. 

As much as there are formal systems, human rights and school of thought; ultimately it is the people’s personal views that normally prevail. No matter how the government officials preach about something; if people express reservations about it surely it will not work! For instance, Zimbabwe introduced the bond notes at an exchange rate of 1:1 with the United Stated Dollar (US Dollar) and called them export incentives. But, eventually, after more than two years of protracted struggle; the government yielded to the informal sector public opinion which stated that the two ‘currencies’ were never, are never and will never be equal in value. The bond notes have now been devalued at around 1:9 with the US Dollar. The court of public opinion has so much influence! 

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We continued again in analysing the Key Factors that inform public opinion.

See Part 1 of the article here:

But what really influences public opinion? Do government leaders have to worry about it? The answer is a BIG YES. This is because public masses, if they continually raise concerns that are not being addresses; may end up causing huge problems for sitting governments. In fact, some countries have gone on to have regime changes effected because of things that started small as a public opinion of a few street buddies! 

We have already covered Key Factors 1 to 3; not we continue with the rest of the article in Part 2. 

4. Media:
The news that come through media houses and publications influence public opinion. For example; reports and publications in newspapers, radio, television, and social media usually carry so much weight in shaping public perception. 

In recent years we have seen some massive uprisings and overthrowing of governments; all being driven mainly by media coverage. There are incidences that caused serious panic and loss of revenues, only because some mischievous person posted something unverified on social media platforms. 

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We have also seen instances where the reporting has been exaggerated, especially in national catastrophes. People have been made to panic and pour in resources, only to realise that it was just a local small incident. Media is a serious shaper of public opinion! 

5. Complex Influences:
Because psychological makeup, personal circumstances, and external influences all play a role in the formation of each person’s opinions, it is difficult to predict how public opinion on an issue will take shape. The same is true with regard to changes in public opinion. Some public opinions can be explained by specific events and circumstances, but in other cases the causes are more elusive. 

People presumably change their own attitudes when they no longer seem to correspond with prevailing circumstances and, hence, fail to serve as guides to action. Similarly, a specific event, such as a natural disaster or a human tragedy, can heighten awareness of underlying problems or concerns and trigger changes in public opinion. For instance; the September 11 Bombings at World Trade Center changed a lot of things about aviation in general. The Tenerife Airport Disaster; which saw two Boeing 747s passenger plane colliding on the runway, killing 583 out of 644 people on-board; changed a lot of things as well about the world of flying. 

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In our everyday lives; be at public or private gatherings; we should be fully aware of how public opinion affects our everyday lives. Whether formally or informally, the court of public opinion carries the day almost at all times:

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