Agenda-Setting Function Mass Media Work Current Presidential Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

agenda-setting function mass media work current presidential election. Consider essay: a) What issue(s) highlighted media ( candidates ) effect voters year? b) There emphasis independent voters swing states Ohio.

The role of the media in today's society is considered of utmost importance. It shapes opinions, if creates opinions, but most importantly it influences the way in which perceptions are created and decisions taken. This is why the media is viewed in a democratic society to be the fourth power in the state, after the executive, legislative, and judicial ones. This role is most obvious perhaps during election years and periods, regardless of the type of voting action. This is largely due to the fact that the media usually influences the agenda of the elections to take place.

The importance of the presidential elections is without any doubt. These are the times when the media exercises its biggest influence. The Watergate scandal in the 70s only proved a well-known fact, that the media has the power to discover and bring to the public eye almost any aspect of the public or private life. This essential asset of the media transformed it to an agenda setting factor. Studies conducted in the 70s and 80s pointed out precisely this aspect. More precisely, "studies have examined much longer periods of time -- for example, a yearlong, nine-wave panel study during the 1976 U.S. presidential election -- and found similar evidence of strong agenda-setting effects among the public. A look at the entire decade of the 1960s found a substantial correlation (+.78) between the patterns of coverage in news magazines and the trends in public opinion reflected by responses to the Gallup Poll's question about the most important problem facing the country" (McCombs, n.d.). Therefore, there is a clear connection between the subjects the media is covering and the way in which politicians set their own public agenda for the debates in the campaigns.

Another important aspect in terms of the way in which media affects the political agenda setting is related to the amount of information the public receives. More precisely, the communication process and the communication means are at this moment in the history of mankind some of the most diverse yet to be seen. The newspapers, the television, the internet, they all provide sources for information. At the same time though, they are strongly connected through their own resources that are in fact the social walks of life. Thus, regardless of the means of communication, the information is mostly linear and focuses on particular issues such as social, politics, sports, and others. Yet the way in which the media tends to describe and analyses it provides the weakness or strength of a story or a subject. Thus, "when it comes to information which cannot be obtained autonomously, we can certainly argue that our knowledge of things with which we have no direct experience is entirely limited to the information garnered through various media" (The Conservative Brawler, 2009).

The 2008 presidential elections were a clear proof of the role media had in agenda setting. The general perception of the media coverage of the two candidates is proportional to the final results of the elections. In this sense, according to subsequent research, then candidate Obama received considerably more media coverage that his opponent, McCain (The Conservative Brawler, 2009). However, an important aspect where media played a role was that of race. More precisely, Barack Obama did not consider the 2008 elections as being about race;…

Sources Used in Document:

References Third Parties in U.S. Elections. 2008

Driehaus, B. "Court Orders Ohio to Include Libertarian Party on Ballot." The New York Times. 2008.

McCombs, M. The Agenda-Setting Role of the Mass Media in the Shaping of Public Opinion. N.d.

The Conservative Brawler. Agenda-Setting What is it, what role did it play in the 2008 presidential election and where is it going? Agenda-Setting in the Media. 2009.

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