The agenda-setting theory says the media tells us not what to think, but what to think about. In addition, the media can frame a subject to make you think about it in a certain way.
On the home page of CNN’s website, the first story is “Trump’s Culture Wars” (Collinson, 2017). I felt like the article was important because it was the first one, written in large text and includes a large photo. The story is about a football team following the footsteps of Colin Kaepernick and kneeling during the national anthem. The article goes on to refer to Trump as a bully, a former reality show star, politically incorrect and flippant.
As I read this article, it seemed like more of an opinion article, yet it was on the front page. This is an example of the media telling us what to think about and framing it so we think about it in a certain way. The reporter interjected his opinion and framed the story with Trump as the ignorant racist and the kneeling football players as heroes. It could have been framed the opposite, with Trump as the hero and the players as ignorant.
Regardless of opinions on the dispute, it should have been reported with objectivity so the public could decide for themselves who is the hero. There are statements and facts a journalist can choose to make both arguments, even though there should only be objective fact.
On one hand, the media is always telling us what to think about because they choose what stories to publish. However, some stories are given less attention, perhaps because of how the organization perceives what the public considers newsworthy.
Perhaps some agenda setting is inevitable. It’s a product of human bias. The best journalists can do to serve their audience is be aware of their biases and have a third party check system.
Collinson, S. (2017, September 25). Trump’s culture wars take over American sports. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/25/politics/donald-trump-nfl-anthem football/index.html