Mind Control or Agenda Setting

Do you always think for yourself?  Most would answer yes to this question.  While most the time we do sometimes messages in our environment effect our thoughts.  This is particularly seen in the news media especially now more than ever.  People rely on the news to know what is going on in their community but how does that affect them.  The answer is that the particular news media you watch can have a significant impact on what you think.  A good example of this is CNN and Fox News.  People know that these medias are political and lean either to the liberal side or conservative side.  So, when an individual is watching one of these media outlets the media is not pointing out what they should think about but also how to view it.  In today’s news everyone is being informed about the COVID-19 pandemic.  This is telling society that this is important and what they should be thinking about.  Within this the media also points out specific parts that the people should think about including how to protect oneself from the virus, the economy, and politics.  When watching fox news, it puts a positive spin on most things that the federal government is doing.  When watching CNN, they put some positive things but also negative things about the federal government mostly president Donald Trump.

Sling TV Adds Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network – Variety.Tornos News | CNN: New Zealand reports drop in new Covid-19 cases ...


The first paragraph described agenda setting theory which is “the powerful ability of the media to shape our perception of reality.” (368.)  The first thing the media does to accomplish agenda setting is to tell you what you should think about.  This is done by covering a topic in the news and discussing the important topics that the people should know.  Now the individuals that watched the news know what they should worry or think about.  This was proven in an experiment where they say, “viewers who saw the media agendas that focused on pollution and defense elevated those issues on their own lists of concerns.” (370.).  That is the first step in agenda setting once they have told you what to think about, they then tell people what parts of the message are important and how they are correlated.  Also, the tone and the way the news presents the message can affect the way the information is viewed.  An example from McCombs and Shaw saw that the coverage of the Blue Bell incident in “national outlets framed the crises in terms of warnings from the federal government’s Center of Disease Control and Prevention.” (371.). This is a negative frame but then looking at local news broadcast in Texas it was a positive frame.  This shows that people who focused on national news were scared and upset that Blue Bell got people sick.  Others who watched the local news were more apt to think in terms of missing their favorite ice cream and wanting it to come back.


Now, do you think for yourself or not?  While we all think for ourselves, we do need to be aware how media can affect what and how we think about something.  It is important to be able differentiate our personal agenda from public and media agenda.  While the media can be bad in terms of it is forcing us to think about certain topics for the most part those topics are important.  The different media outlets will persuade individuals way of thinking.  This can create a community who think the same creating a public agenda or view of the topic.  It is easy to see how agenda setting is important to be knowledgeable about because if you do not then you are at risk of letting the media think for you and will not have your own thoughts and agenda of what you personally think is important.

Leave a Reply