Media and Politics: Agenda Setting and Framing

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How has media influenced public perception of political figures, issues, and institutions? Through agenda setting and framing, media has the power to set the agenda for political discussion by providing public attention to political figures, issues, and institutions. In addition, the media can frame political agendas by influencing public perception and interpretation. (Ginsberg, Lowi & Weir, 1999) Agenda Setting and Framing

Political Figures and Candidates
In campaigning, media coverage plays a large role for candidates. They use the media to make their name heard and image seen. "Nearly everything a candidate does is geared toward the media, especially television" (Stuckey, 1999, p. 99) Candidates make appearances on talk shows, televise town hall meetings, and press conferences. Their agenda is not the issues they present or their positions on them, but to gain media attention. If the candidates do not present interesting visuals or dramatic news, than the media can pull the plug from underneath them. "The media has a good deal of discretion over how individuals are allowed to portray themselves" (Ginsberg, Lowi & Weir, 1999, p. 298). In addition, the media has control over how they portray an individual. Thus, political figures are framed by the media. The media can set the image for a political figure or candidate, sealing their approval or disapproval for them and cementing that image toward the audience. The media can make certain political figures or candidates and their traits more salient or prominent than others. Therefore, the media has great influence on how people perceive political figures. Political issues

The media provides the public political issues, which sets the agenda for political discussion. In theory the media tries to attune themselves to the interest of the public, but "in most instances the media severs as conduits for agenda-setting efforts by competing groups and forces" (Ginsberg, Lowi & Weir, 1999, p. 298). To...
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