How Media Influences Public Opinion

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Abstract In our democratic society, mass media is the driving force of public opinion. Media sources such as Internet, newspaper, news-broadcasts, etc, play significant roles in shaping a person’s understanding and perception about the events occurred in our daily lives. As long as the newspapers, internet, network television, etc, continued to be easily accessible to the public, the media will continue to have an influence in shaping its opinions. Factors such as agenda-setting, framing and priming help shape the public opinions. Agenda-setting is when the media focuses their attention on selected issues on which the public will form opinion on, whereas framing allows the media to select certain aspects about the problem and then make them appear more salient. Similarly, priming works by repeatedly exposing certain issues to public. As the issues get more exposure, the individual will be more likely to recall or retain the information in their minds. This paper will discuss these three factors played out systemically by media and how our opinions are constantly being influence and shape by them. How Media Influences Public Opinion In our democratic society, mass media is the driving force of public opinion. Media sources such as Internet, newspaper, news-broadcasts, etc, play significant roles in shaping a person’s understanding and perception about the events occurred in our daily lives. But how much influence does the mass media poses on our opinion? Guaranteed by the First Amendment in American Constitution, the media will always be there to inform us about the different events or issues they feel are important for the public. The media constantly bombards us with news, advertisements, etc, wher... ... middle of paper ... ...r attention on selected issues on which the public will form opinions on (McCombs). Framing is an important factor by allowing the media to select certain aspects about the problem and then make them appear more important in the text, which results in enhancing the meaning or interpretation of the situation (Scheufele). Last, but not least, priming also played an important role in shaping public opinion. Priming works as the media repeatedly exposed certain issues in the public viewers. The more exposure an issue gets, the more likely an individual will recall or retain the information in their minds. With these three factors played out systemically the media, our opinions are constantly being influence and shape by them. As quoted by Walter Lippman, “what we know about the world is largely based on what the media decide to tell us” (McCombs).

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