Decision 2012: Media Literacy
Few people would argue with the idea that the news media influence how we perceive the world, including how we vote on Election Day. But exactly how does the media wield that influence? Does watching one campaign ad change anyone's mind? What about 10 campaign ads? Does the media coverage of a candidate's gaffe turn people against that candidate, or is any negative fallout the effect of the gaffe itself? How can we analyze the effects of the media in a post-mass media age in which everyone gathers information from an array of sources ranging from cable news to Twitter?
One theory for how the news media exert influence on politics is called agenda setting. Watch this video for a brief overview of the agenda-setting theory, then debate whether or not you think the theory explains the role of the news media in shaping our political culture and outcomes.
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