Agenda Setting Theory

Topics: News media, Agenda-setting theory, Media studies Pages: 3 (954 words) Published: December 13, 2010
GlFinal Exam Essay 2
1) Define and illustrate (i.e., give examples of) agenda-setting theory. How might a president try to use the media’s presumed agenda-setting powers near election time? In other words, might it behoove a president to take (or threaten to take) certain highly dramatic actions-especially concerning foreign affairs- just before an election that will impact strongly on the power of his/her political party? If so, what actions might a president be likely to take and under what circumstances? (For example, would the likelihood of taking such actions depend on how the economy is doing? Explain. Would it matter whether business scandals, the budget deficit, crime patterns or a previously initiated war were detracting from the president’s popularity? When would a president tend to refrain from taking such actions at election time?) Support each claim you make with evidence and/or reasoning.

Agenda Setting Theory is creating public awareness by using the news media. It is a powerful influence the media holds, and it’s used to persuade people into thinking that a story is important, when in reality it may not be. The functions of agenda-setting are: media agenda, public agenda, policy agenda, and corporate agenda. The media agenda can be discussed through newspapers, television and radios. Public agendas cover issues regarding members of the public. Policy agenda cover issues which policy makers consider to be important, and corporate agenda are issues which big business and corporations consider important. According to Bernard C. Cohen, “the media doesn’t tell us what to think; it tells us what to think about”. This takes us to the two levels of agenda setting; the first level explains that the media influences people by suggesting what people should think about. The second level is focused on how people should think about the issue. This theory is very powerful, because if people are exposed to the same media, they will be persuaded...
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