Media Coverage Regarding The Shooting Of Michael Brown Essay

Media Coverage Regarding The Shooting Of Michael Brown Essay

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A large amount of media coverage and controversy had struck Ferguson, Missouri after black eighteen year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by police officer Darren Wilson on August 9th, 2014. Brown and a friend had been walking home from recently robbing a convenience store when Officer Wilson stopped the two gentlemen for walking in the middle of the street. This is where the controversy begins. The only thing that is known for certain about the rest of the situation is that Michael Brown was shot and killed by Darren Wilson. Reading that last sentence, you might think that Darren Wilson should be convicted for murder, but that is only because I’m with presenting you with certain information. This presentation of specific information is what the news media does in order to shape the the opinions of their audiences. This essay will detail exactly how the news media uses techniques such as gatekeeping to frame the subjects of particular stories and agenda setting/extension to prime audiences’ opinions. I am able to this by examining how the news media coverage regarding the shooting of Michael Brown framed him in a negative way and primed crime with being black.

Literature review:
According to Pamela J. Shoemaker and colleagues, gatekeeping is the “process by which the vast array of potential news messages are winnowed,shaped, and prodded into those few that are actually transmitted by the news media” (2001. p.233). In simpler terms, gatekeeping is the process in which the news media determines what should be considered news. Gatekeeping is especially important in understanding how political events reach the public (Denton and Kuypers, 2008. p.101). Media gatekeeping influences how audience view a particular subject, this is kn...


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...at people think. This power of the media to determine how people view the world was present in the news coverage following the shooting/killing of Michael Brown. Using particular communication techniques, the media was able to turn a white officer shooting an unarmed black man into a black man violently attacking a white officer to the point where he felt his life was in danger.The media uses the process of gatekeeping in the coverage to construct a frame that Michael Brown was not a victim in his killing, but actually a villain. The news media is able to frame Brown as “gangbanger” who assaulted a police officer by using out of context images of him in television broadcast and bias reports that diminish the validity of the eyewitnesses accounts. The news media is also able to utilize agenda setting and extension to prime audiences to associate blackness with crime.

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