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Agenda-Setting in Mass Media: The Case of Fox News Name COMM 100 SCHOOL PROFESSOR DATE Table of Contents I.Introduction 1 II.Literature Review 1 III.Discussion and Analysis 3 IV.Conclusion 4 I. Introduction The combination of an aging TV audience and the consistency of Fox News Network in its conservative and anti-administration agenda-setting has ensured leadership of this broadcast segment all summer long and into the first three weeks of November this year…
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Download file to see previous pages As the fall season came and went, however, the Affordable Care Act and the budget debacle in Congress fuelled interest afresh in the agenda-setting and editorial slant of Fox News and strengthened its place at the top of the cable news ratings (Bibel, 2013; Mirkinson, 2013). The operative question then remains: why is Fox News successful despite resisting an allegedly popular presidency and the liberal ethos of the bicoastal giants in media? Within the constraints of this very short paper, we discuss the theory of agenda-setting and how Fox News maintains its solitary stance but leads its segment of cable news. II. Literature Review We discuss here the theories behind framing, agenda-setting and priming as they impinge on political communication generally and, in particular, the ideology that stoutly characterizes coverage in the cable news channels Fox News and MSNBC. This means we are in the realm of cognitive communication and campaign effects, i.e. framing, agenda setting and priming. We also touch on the audience appeal of this ideology. Political and communications research has undergone at least three major paradigm shifts since the post-newspaper era early in the last century. The “magic bullet” or hypodermic theory was much in vogue from the 1920s to the 1940s. Agenda-setting came into the limelight around 1972. Starting around 1989, the propaganda model offshoots of framing and agenda setting became even more specifically applicable to a polarized US media scene. The propaganda model revolves around the multiple facets of control by conglomerates that generally serve their own commercial interests. The news agenda is shaped by five filters that include: multiple ownership, advertising, liberal bias versus conservative ideology, anti-Communism, and catering to audience apprehensions. Early in the century, to return to the seminal background of media effects, the Frankfurt School of largely Jewish theorists proposed the “Bullet” or “Hypodermic Needle Theory” as a reaction to their observations of how Hitler and Goebbels in Nazi Germany had apparently mesmerized the entire German people. In this model, the audience had no ideas of their own and passively absorbed whatever communications were launched at them. In essence, the theory was over-impressed by the power and pervasiveness of radio, cinema, television and advertising; mass media was regarded as having a direct, immediate and powerful effect on mass audiences. Since audiences supposedly did not know any better, they absorbed and agreed with any messages they heard. Empirical experience soon showed that audience and market segmentation were entirely possible because listeners and viewers did have thoughts of their own. During the 1940 Presidential election, the Two-Step Flow Theory was conceptualized to admit the possibility that interpersonal relationships were just as powerful or persuasive as anything carried by the mass media. As to the two other communication paradigms, Scheufele and Tewksbury (2007) maintain that priming is an offshoot of agenda setting. Theoretical work in the 1970s and 1980s suggested that one reason agenda-setting worked to make certain issues and personalities more prominent was that mass media had primed the audience to “prioritize specific issues as benchmarks for evaluating the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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