Agenda Setting

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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The way I relate agenda setting to my life concerns the recent presidential elections. I was one of the many people watching the state-by-state coverage of the counting of the ballots. Of course, they (the media) gave the state of Florida to Gore. Here we are looking directly at the numbers wondering how they could go ahead and give the state of Florida to Gore; the numbers were so close! That right there set the agenda for what we would see, hear, talk about, and dream about for the next few months.

I am a true believer that this specific situation is the cause for all the counting and recounting of the ballots and the scrutinization of all the ballots.

This specific situation then caused all the media to set the agenda to cover all of the recounting efforts. America (I was included in this) actually watched on TV people in a room counting ballots, how much more exciting can we get? There definitely had to be other issues going on at the time, but I couldn't tell you one of them! The gatekeepers led the way for what we would think about for the next weeks.

Since most people only concentrate on 3-5 issues at a time, I think that all of those issues had to do with the election at that time. We were concerned with the count itself, what each individual candidate was doing, the laws, and of course the ballots themselves. All these issues permeated our lives due to the media and agenda setting.

I think that the way this happened wasn't necessarily planned by the media, but after it did, they took that advantage. That event then caused the media to set the agenda for what we would then go through.