Role of Nonfiction books in Shaping Public Opinion

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In a democratic state, public opinion matters. Democracy in true sense suggests rule of people. Public opinion lies in the center. Public is a sum of states’ all individuals. It includes all; poor, middle, or elite class. Their perception towards an event or person differs from each other, however, we all know that an opinion can be shaped or molded through different ways. In journalism, how public opinion is shaped is properly taught. 

Different propagandas are used to either make public opinion in favor or against something. Besides, present political scenarios are all about such things. Honestly speaking, in today’s political world, there is no public opinion. First, to the powerful,  the public doesn’t matter. Second, for whom it somehow matters, know how to manipulate people. 

Media plays an important role in shaping public opinion. However, books, particularly nonfiction books, play an important role in forming public opinion. Nonfiction books can influence both positively and negatively the public, depending on both the writer and theme of the book. Nonfiction can provide unbiased  authentic facts  about the event, leaving the rest to readers’ own judgment. 

In such a case, nonfiction books will contribute towards shaping  informed and educated opinion. In contrast, certain nonfiction writers can be biased while addressing an event. In simpler words, people can use a nonfiction book to direct the opinion of the masses. An authentic fact can be exploited for the wrong cause.

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Knowledge or I would say nonfiction books have both advantages and disadvantages. It depends on the writers’ motive and readers’ interpretation. Nonfiction books can serve a role of educator, nevertheless, they can also be the destroyers. Thus, from the  above given brief argument, it can be established that nonfiction books play a significant role in shaping public opinion. Let’s discuss in detail how nonfiction books can help in shaping informed and educated opinion as well as biased and uneducated public opinion. 

1) Shaping an Informed Opinion 

Role of Nonfiction books in Shaping Public OpinionLet’s take the example of the Russia and Ukraine political conflict. There are numerous books available on the given topic. Different writers have discussed it in different perspectives. In some books you will also see the impact of the current situation on the future. Such kind of nonfiction provokes your thinking process. Analysis of the facts develops your thinking skills, leading you towards an informed and rational argument. Consequently, you will not just blindly support Russia or Ukraine, but rather come up with a solid argument. With the advancement of technology, books are easily available to everyone, everywhere. Books generally have an effect on our thinking, so  it’s obvious that such books will shape public judgment.

These kinds of books need to be produced more and more. It’s the way to enlighten people about the true situation. As we already know, presentation in the media and even through books is greatly influenced by power. However, nonfiction books can somehow be used to spread awareness regarding an event or conflict.  It’s like educating the masses.

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2) Shaping a Biased, Uninformed Opinion

Knowledge is power. And we all know that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Writers exactly know what to write and how to write. They know where readers will react, which argument will stimulate which thought.  Sometimes, writers become biased either intentionally or intentionally. They tend to shape facts and information. This art of manipulation has been used and is still widely used to shape public opinion.  Especially  if the mass is ignorant, it becomes much easier to divert their opinion. Besides, the power holders can easily use the means to shape a specific narrative. Influential people can use nonfiction books to control the information. The knowledge provided will be limited and biased. In most cases, the public remains ignorant of the actual situation. And through bits and pieces of information, ordered in a certain pattern, favoring one part over other reaches people through these nonfiction books.  What will be the consequences, it is really obvious, the one intended by power holders.

In the case of Israel and Palestine, Israel is powerful and we have seen the influence on the media. Though Israel even with all power is unable to prove itself clean, still they have the power and can manipulate the information, turning the public opinion into their favor. 

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