OK this is from 2001 and its focus is on the period before the 2000 election, but it was new to me and I find it's even more true today. Cliff, of Cliff's Corner, who does a choice summary every Friday at Americablog, linked to this great video
that shows how neither political party actually represents the true public opinion on important issues that effect us all. They instead are able to goad the masses into staying polorized on issues that effect only a few. It shows how the media is able to herd public opinion any way they want.
Despite public opinion favoring govt spending on all of the issues shown below on the right, those issues are ignored by the media and these issues are ignored by both parties. The media instead instead forces voters to become focused on issues like abortion and gay rights. The measure of public opinion on what is percieved as the most important issue is shown to directly tracks the amount of media attention the issues get.
To summarize it: We the people really are sheeple...
Exploding the myth that most Americans are moderate or conservative, Constructing Public Opinion demonstrates the way in which political elites help to promote the military industrial complex and how the media sustains belief in an electoral system with a built-in bias against the interests of ordinary people.