Thursday, October 1, 2009


I remember Dr. Dana Rosengard saying "why don't you want to be a producer, that's where all the power is?" And I never realized the truth in that until reading McCombs's article. In television news the role of the producer is to select a few topics for attention each day. (McCombs, p 156)
The topic on hand recently is the United States healthcare system it's been at the top of the agenda in the press, public, and politics. It is true, what is prominent in the press is prominent among the public and government officials. (McCombs, p156)
I think that it is good that the press is saying "What is the most important problem facing the country today?" and is choosing the healthcare system.
But which came first the chicken or the egg? Was it the press or President Obama or even the public to put the United States healthcare system on the top it their agenda; which entity ranked the issue.
The article also states the agenda-setting influence of the press results in large measure from the repetition of major issues in the news day after day. (McCombs, p159) Even though that day to day repetition of the issues does happen, I think journalists get lost in the issue and not the facts of the issue.
I remember Jackie Clews stating in class she knew that a congressman yelled "liar" at President Obama, but she had no clue what the remainder of the context of the story was.
McCombs states, the press is not only frequently successful in telling us what to think about, the press also is frequently successful in telling us how to think about it, p 160. The congressman calling the President a liar coincides with this statement amazingly. The public knew that a congressman had called President Obama a liar, even if they didn't know anything else about the story (the what to think about). Then everyone knew that it was being blamed as a racist act (the how to think about).
One of Kovach and Rosentiel's elements of journalism is to provide a forum for public criticism and compromise. Since the press has stirred up all this lair and racism talk there has been public criticism. And then President Obama came out to deny it as a racist act creating a compromise.
Agenda-setting definitely is real and the research proves that. But I think the question of who was first the chicken or the egg still applies. Was it the politics, public or press who rose the issue first. I don't think there is one right answer, I think that all parties can raise an issue to be considered "What is the most important problem facing the country today?"

1 comment:

  1. It is so true that the topic of the press is the topic of the public. The liar example is a good one, it makes it clear what the reading really mean. The chicken and egg way definitely still applies.