Despite any reluctance to repeat what’s heard on the news or read online, we may be more affected by the media than we think. I frequently find myself reading news articles with which I completely disagree. My response? Talk it out. Tell people around just how wrong I might believe the piece to be- whether through blog, tweet or good ole’ verbal communication. The interpersonal channel doesn’t matter. In the end, I’m still talking about the article because the media chose to write about it.
So what am I getting at?
There is a communication theory that postulates the media doesn’t dictate what people think, but what people think about. It’s called the Agenda Setting theory, and I firmly believe it is alive, well and extremely powerful.
I suppose my inspiration for this post was sparked from a recent CNN.com article I was discussing with Adam, titled Liberals want Obama to be a king, not a president. As one would probably assume, it was an opinion piece. Essentially, the article criticizes the criticizers: why do we focus merely on the doings of the president, often failing to mention completely any participation of Congress? I mean, we’re still doing that whole democracy thing, correct?
In fact, the author suggests we as a people are discussing the wrong political topics all together. As Adam put it:
“Instead, we’re debating whether or not Obama’s a foreigner and legalizing pot.”
While journalists may not be telling us for whom to vote, they sure seem to have a good deal of power for dictating on what basis we make our decisions. Just something to think about before… oh let’s say… November 2012.