Agenda-Setting in Media

  The agenda-setting concept started by Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw during the 1968 presidential election in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where they examined Lippmann’s idea of structure of the pictures in our heads by comparing the rank-order issues on the media agenda with the key issues of the day on the undecided voters’ agenda. They found the evidence of agenda setting that salience of the news agenda is highly connected to the voter’s agenda. I have personally seen this “theory” actually play out in real life from two large Middle East news station. I noticed; the stories that provide from those two stations are different. I was spending an hour switching back and forth from Alarabiya News to Aljazeera. For example, Alarabiya will usually have a top story dealing with a political or social event in Egypt that tends to lean-to a more conservative angle in a positive way. Flip over to Aljazeera though and it tends to be the exact opposite that Aljazeera usually holding the stories that show a more Liberal point of view. As the “Agenda-Setting Theory” would suggest, it’s not so much that these networks are telling us what is right from wrong or what us should think or believe, it’s more of the stories that they choose to air and the way they are portrayed that tend to create the appearance of being bias. I think, it is time for media to take action on their agenda setting because today or maybe next year it will become a public agenda.


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