Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Bob Carey

Abstract

This piece will examine the ideas of agenda setting and gatekeeping theories, as well as how they affect modern media coverage. Agenda setting theory is the idea that the media sets the agenda by selecting the topics that it covers. Gatekeeping refers to the idea that too many events occur for the media to cover all of them, so it must therefore choose which ones to specifically cover. It will review multiple studies and events in which the theories have played a part in the outcome. Particularly, it will analyze how campaign coverage has been found to influence voters in the past.

Meanwhile, it will analyze the concept of ‘fake news,’ particularly in regard to the Russian ads purchased leading up to the 2016 United States presidential election, as well as the effect that this occurrence may have had on the results of the election.

Another issue discussed is the concept of pre-trial prejudice, in which the news media may influence possible jurors when it covers a court case before the legal proceedings. This phenomenon is an example of agenda setting.

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