3) Applying what you have learned about Agenda-Setting Theory and after reading the prompts below, discuss either Oprah or Jon Stewart as agenda-setters…
The Oprah Effect
Until recently, Oprah Winfrey has been setting the agenda through her popular daytime television show. Without a doubt, she is one of the most influential people in the world and some would argue, globally. The “Oprah effect’ highlights her sphere of influence; her endorsement can affect people’s book reading, beef buying, and election voting among other things. She has launched the careers of Dr. Phil, Rachel Ray, and Dr. Oz. In recent years, she has moved her programming away from exclusively entertainment arenas to now feature content intended to “improve your life’ and to inform her audiences on important issues. Oprah is an unabashed agenda-setter; she has clearly articulated views and values and uses her platform towards those ends. How do you respond to the talk show queen’s influence?
Setting other agendas
As a theory, agenda-setting has concentrated on the news side of the media and newsmakers’ ability to transfer their agenda to the viewing public. College students increasingly report getting their “news’ from sources like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or The Colbert Report (both on Comedy Central), podcasts, or satellite radio programming. If those are the “new’ news reporters, what agenda have they set? Through his show’s popularity, Jon Stewart has been able to get us thinking about issues he (and his writers) find salient by what they choose to satire and whom they feature as guests. In October 2010, Stewart and Colbert organized the “Rally to restore sanity and/or fear.’ It drew over 200,000 people. In a December 2010 New York Times article, he was called a “modern-day Edward R. Murrow.’ It would be hard to not to be an agenda-setter with that kind of critical success and popular following.
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