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The Trial Of Simpson : An Agenda Setting Analysis

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The Trial of O.J. Simpson: An Agenda-Setting Analysis

Mariah Short

University of Kentucky
The Trial of O.J. Simpson: An Agenda-Setting Analysis
During the infamous O.J. Simpson trial the television news media was ever present. Placing the trial as a top news story set in motion the idea that this trial was an important issue. However, the television news media was not successful at determining whether O.J. was guilty or not. For this reason, the O.J. Simpson trial is an excellent example of the Agenda Setting Theory. This paper will analyze the role the theory has in the murder trial. Television news outlets support this theory by showing people the Simpson case was important through constant coverage, but was not successful at telling the audience what to think on the issue.
Theoretical Background
Understanding the background and history of the Agenda Setting Theory is imperative to this analysis. Dr. Max McComb and Dr. Donald Shaw developed the Agenda Setting Theory in a study conducted during the 1968 presidential election (McCombs & Shaw, 1972, p. 178). This study describes how if an audience is exposed to the same media, they will place importance on the same issues. This theory strictly presents information and sets the terms of public discourse. At the time, this was a trailblazing new idea.
The central claim of the Agenda Setting Theory explains why people with similar media exposure place importance on the same issues. Although different people may feel
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