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Agenda-setting in Australian newspapers - Book Report/Review Example

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Social scientists, especially those whose interest lies on media influence on general elections define agenda-setting as "the ability of the mass media to transfer the salience of items on their agendas to the public agenda'…
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Agenda-setting in Australian newspapers
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Download file to see previous pages Social scientists, especially those whose interest lies on media influence on general elections define agenda-setting as "the ability of the mass media to transfer the salience of items on their agendas to the public agenda' By setting the agenda of a particular event, a person exercises power because he/she limits the capability of other parties to negotiate with their own agenda. In the definition, it implicitly affirmed the fact that media is both a power holder and a channel for advancing its interests to the general public. Social scientists, especially those whose interest lies on media influence on general elections define agenda-setting as "the ability of the mass media to transfer the salience of items on their agendas to the public agenda" (Agenda-Setting Theory, http://www.afirstlook.com/manual5/ed5man28.pdf) Agenda-setting for many social scientists is a form or function of power.Two assumptions are clear: 1) media has its own agenda, and 2) media has the capability to incorporate its agenda into the public agenda (since it has the means) (Althaus and Tewskbury, pp.180-183). This reaffirms the power of the press while maintaining individual freedom, as guaranteed by many constitutions.Hegemony is generally defined as the ability of a state, ethnic group, religion, and other socio-politico-economic entities to control the belief, actions, and values of others. Politically, hegemony is defined as the ability of a group to impose a predominant world-view or ideology to another group (exercised by the use of persuasion, not by force) (Raphael, http://www.dangerouscitizen.com/Articles/244.aspx). How then hegemony is related to agenda-setting Basically, agenda-setting is a form of power exercised through a channel. It is both a means and an end. Hegemony is the ultimate end of all forms of power. Once an entity, in this case, the media, was able to control a significant portion of a population (imposition of a predominant world-view), then it has achieved its purpose. Hence, the ultimate end of a power-seeking entity had been manifested in peoples' behavior, values, customs, etc, in short hegemony (Fallows, p. 281).
Agenda-Setting in Australian Newspapers
"The Australian". Let us look to one Australian newspaper that tackled Australian federal election campaigns. The newspaper "The Australian" is an example of an Australian newspaper that is moderately involved in agenda-setting. One of its articles, entitled "Howard vows to stay despite bad polls" is generally a serving bias to the Howard government (John Howard is the prime minister of Australia). The article was structured in this way. The first part is about the general reaction of the Prime Minister over the faltering standing of his party in the last polls. The second part is about the reactions of Howard's critics over his performance in office. The third part is about the plausibility that Howard's party will win the next election. The first part of the article presents the general mood of the story. The second part presents the opinions of opposing political actors although in very short and insignificant statements. The latter part affirms the statements positively of the "critical person." The article in general is structured in favor of the government, citing the opposition opinions as a way of strengthening the government stands on many of its policies. Let us examine it piece by piece. Here are some statements made by PM Howard in the first part of the article:
"The party addressed this (leadership) issue last year and a decision was taken. The overwhelming view of the party then was that I should remain as leader and Peter Costello should remain as deputy leader and treasurer";
"That's been the position and that will remain the position";
"What we must now do is focus on what the public is telling us through the opinion polls and I think they are telling us a number of things, and focus on getting ready for the election battle ahead, which I do not in any way regard as unwinnable for the coalition" ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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