Media Cultivation Theory

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Introduction Since Israel became a state in 1948, protecting it has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. As with any political issue, the media plays a key role in shaping public opinion, which in turn can affect how policymakers make decisions. With this in mind, it is important to understand how these issues are covered and what effect decisions of the media have on public opinion. H1:People who consume the majority of their news via U.S. television will have a more favorable view of Israel than those who consume the majority of their news via social media. Previous research has demonstrated that mass media plays a critical role in shaping public opinion about foreign policy. Soroka (2003) tells us that mass media the main source…show more content…
As defined in “Cultivation Revisited: Some genres have some effect on some viewers,” (Cohen & Weimann, 2000) cultivation is “the independent contributions television viewing makes to viewer conceptions of social reality.” Generally, these conceptions of social reality are adverse effects, causing the viewer to perceive the world as a scarier place as a result of the television programs viewed (Cohen & Weimann, 2000). Cultivation is “ not concerned about variations in interpretations; instead, cultivation focuse(s) on the dominant meanings that the media present(s) to the public” (Potter…show more content…
television news affects the way that the viewer understands the issue. The more U.S. television news consumed will result in more exposure to messages about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict; which in turn, makes them believe that the issue is highly important. If the issue is perceived as highly important, people are more like to push for action to create a solution. In the Israeli/Palestinian conflict’s case, research suggests that viewers would support the U.S. government taking a more active role in the conflict. Conclusion Through theoretical backing from the CNN effect, cultivation theory, and agenda setting theory, insight is provided into exactly how the media influences public opinion on foreign policy. Specifically, the media works to serve the political elite and paints a picture of the world that is perceived as more threatening than reality. When this is applied to the case of the United States and Israel, these issues become particularly important, given that the conflict has persisted for many decades. This means the media has had an extended period to influence public

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