The Agenda Setting Function of the Mass Media

1992 Words 8 Pages
In 1922, Walter Lippmann suggested the very first idea of agenda-setting in his book “Public Opinion”, and Bernard Cohen (1963) said “The media may not tell us what to think, but they are stunning successful in telling us what to think about”. Those concepts assumed that with the limited ability and innate curiosity of human beings, most people rely on media institutions to gain information outside family, neighborhood and workplace. Thus the media organizations have the priority to choose which information is quality enough to be the most important, which is not, and the information emphasized by the media could salience transfer to the public.
To verify this concept, McCombs and Shaw conducted the first empirical research,
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Each part mentioned above interweaving with each other comes into being the net of agenda-setting theory.
This literature review will use three levels of agenda setting effects as entry point to discussion the core concept of agenda setting theory—the prominent transference from media agenda and public agenda. Five original published researches will be described and analyzed. Although many parts aforementioned can not be included in those five studies, with the long history and complicated net of agenda-setting theory, three levels of agenda setting could be an appropriate point cut, just as Guo, Vu and McCombs (2012) suggest:” agenda-setting has evolved from a focus on media effects on the public’s perception of the most important issues of the day to a theory elaborating a hierarchy of communication effects, its core is three levels of agenda-setting”. Considering of that, the following contents will include (1) the explanation of each level agenda-setting. (2) The effects and limitations of agenda-setting theory. (3) The important meaning of five selected researches. The valuation of agenda-setting theory will also be discussed by analyzing those parts mentioned above.
The first level of agenda-setting
The first level of agenda-setting focus on the media agenda effects on the opinion of public agenda, which