Posted: September 18th, 2017


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3. Consider discussions in class regarding agenda-setting and the two models that explain how an issue gets on the agenda– Hall Model and Kingdon Model. Select a healthcare issue of interest to you (for example – emergency room waits, shortage of healthcare providers, aging population, inadequate home care services, pandemic concerns, to name a few) and apply either or both of these models to understand the factors that influence why the issue is/is not on the government’s agenda. How well do you think the model captures the reality of agenda setting? What other factors beyond these models do you think influence if an issue will be addressed or ignored?

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I think that traditional media without question plays a role with respect to influencing my perspectives on government issues. The way the media frames and reports certain issues definitely influences the way I feel about certain government issues. Media outlets can have subtle political influences and bearings, which are sometimes sub textually represented in their news outlets. As a reader, being exposed to news that has been tailored to highlight certain points or to address certain policy issues, impacts my understanding of an issue because it may exclude relevant information pertaining to the topic. At times, I feel that media outlets tend to exclude certain aspects of stories, issues, and briefs to try and mislead and confuse its readers. Consequently, the readers who are exposed to such media develop and propagate the ideologies of such media outlets. Referring to the framing issue once again, I believe that how media organizations choose to frame issues they report not only determines what the reader absorbs, but also has implications towards dictating how the issue being reported will be treated by those with authority to act on the issue. How the media describes an issue, in my opinion, not only will affect if the issue makes it onto the agenda of those who have power to act on it, but also impacts the types of solutions and policies that the government will have for them.

Despite the aforementioned critiques, the traditional media does in fact play an important role in my understanding of political and policy issues. When a news organization reports something, odds are that the issue has some merit to it and is worth exploring. After reading or watching an issue being reported through the lens of one media outlet, I also look for reports on the same issue from different media organizations, especially those with varying political affiliations. This allows me to view issues from different angles, see where outlets differed in their emphasis on certain points, and gives me direction for where I should position myself with respect to a particular issue. Another method of media delivery that news organizations take advantage of includes social media. As a student, social media applications are accessible on your phone, leading to easily accessible, up-to-date information.

I think a good example where the media has had a significant influence on public opinion regarding an issue would be the way FOX News (US-based) reported and propagated ideals in regards to global warming. Among scientists, there is roughly a 97 percent consensus that the effects of global warming are anthropogenic. However, reports indicate that 93% of FOX News’s climate change coverage in 2012 was misleading, and undermined the issue’s grave importance and human involvement. The way the issue of anthropogenic climate change is framed and propagated by media giants like FOX may be one of the reasons why climate change is often discussed, but is never really a top priority on the agenda of appropriate decision makers.

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