Agenda Setting Theory and Mass Media
In today’s society mass media has an immense effect on the thoughts and behaviors of the general public. Using television, radio, and newspapers as its medium, mass media presents issues it deems creditable to the general public. Mass media does not necessarily reflect reality because it shapes and filters as it wishes. It discusses few issues of its choice in an effort to lead the public to perceive certain issues in accordance with its views. Having such vast influence, the mass media can have an overwhelming effect on presidential elections. The agenda setting theory came into play as the media’s agenda significantly had an effect on the public’s agenda in the 2008 presidential election.
The agenda setting theory asserts that mass media presents prominent issues that the audience considers important. The mass media tends to highlight certain topics, thus, the audience assumes the topics are worthy. Neither side of the topic is supported, but particular details of the topic are addressed. “For three decades, the notion of agenda setting has provided one of the most influential and fertile paradigms in media and communications research” (Jennings & Miron, 2004). Concentrating on these particular details can influence public perception. The media is essentially effective in manipulating the audience on not how to think, but what to think about. The agenda setting theory is best characterized through mass media inspiring the change of public agenda due to what topics or issues the media publicizes. Broadly, this theory has a propensity to be accurate on how the media’s audience is affected.
Since the founding of the United States, presidential elections have occurred every four years. Each and every presidential election is an important time in history. A presidential election is how the citizens of the United States primarily make their voice heard as a nation in who they choose to lead the United States for...