July 26, 2014
POSC146: Mass Media and Public Opinion
Downfall of News Coverage In Depicting War
The ideal news coverage is a mirror image of reality, thousands of Americans tune in to their local or national news channel for quality coverage and accuracy. In the 1960’s Vietnam became the first war to be televised, resulting in a large disapproval rating on the war. However, the American people saw the truth and gave their opinion. Today the media is nowhere near the ideal news coverage, being characterized as corporate, concentrated and conglomerate. News Media is a profit making enterprise owned by a few companies. So what ...view middle of the document...
In examining the three models Scheufele1 and Tewksbury, briefly touch on how priming may just be an extension of agenda setting since both are memory based. They write that, “by making some issues more salient in people’s mind (agenda setting), mass media can also shape the considerations that people take into account when making judgments about political candidates or issues (priming)” (Scheufele1 and Tewksbury 2007, 11). Framing on the other hand is about how people view a certain debate based on the information and the way it is presented. All three are important factors in news broadcasting today since the media, is plagued by companies purely interested in money. They change they way American citizens form opinions and attitudes from what is broadcasted on the news daily and the authors make a point in saying that the press should be careful about applying priming, agenda setting, and framing to media content. News should be factual and unbiased, anything beyond that is merely a fraction of reality with others opinions and attitudes imposed.
In research done by (Iyengar and Kinder 1987), the theory that news media affects and shapes public opinion in two powerful ways was tested. First they argued how agenda setting shapes what the public may regard as the most important news and secondly they stated that by controlling what news is televised, people could be primed by what is shown on television and change “the standards that people use to make political evaluations” (16). They conducted various experiments in which volunteers would watch news broadcasts of several agendas for four nights and then afterwards completed a survey on their political beliefs. Results came out promising with noticeable changes in what news coverage the participant thought was more important. For example, the more the participants watched on national defense the more important they thought it was, even after just four nights of watching the agenda set newscast. Their results from the priming experiments, when the participants saw, lets say, a story about unemployment, they were more likely to evaluate the president based on the status of that specific topic.
In this same way that Iyengar and Kinder found that public opinion can be controlled by the media, (Mcomb's and Shaw 1972) similarly argued and add that “not only do people acquire factual information about public affairs from the news media, readers and viewers also learn how much importance to attach to a topic on the basis of the emphasis placed on it in the news.” (177). After all, news media plays an important factor in political socialization after family, school, and peers. Iyengar, Kinder, Mcomb’s and Shaw have shed light on foundational research which can be applied to news media today which is heavily filtered and caters to corporate needs by giving people soft news. In Iyengars Media Politics, he carefully examines how the news will cover what they believe to bring the most audiences, since...