Setting the Agenda: The Mass Media and Public Opinion

By Hester, Joe Bob | Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Winter 2005 | Go to article overview

Setting the Agenda: The Mass Media and Public Opinion


Hester, Joe Bob, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly


* Setting the Agenda: The Mass Media and Public Opinion. Maxwell McCombs. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2004. 184 pp. $26.95 pbk.

Since the publication of the original Chapel Hill study in 1972, there have been more than 400 published empirical investigations into the theory of agenda setting. In Setting the Agenda, Maxwell McCombs, J. H. Jones Centennial Chair at the University of Texas at Austin and one of the founders of agenda-setting research, synthesizes this rich history of research. The result is a well-organized and systematic presentation that not only integrates what we currently know about agenda setting but also identifies new areas of research for studying the role of the mass media in public opinion formation.

McCombs divides the evolution of agenda-setting theory into three stages. The first stage, the explication of five phases of the mass communication and public opinion formation process, dominates the book, just as this stage dominates much of the history of agenda-setting research. As the author notes, these five phases are not successive eras but are continuing lines of inquiry. The first phase, investigating the basic relationship between the media agenda and the public agenda, is the primary focus of the first three chapters. The first chapter outlines the basic concepts of agenda setting and summarizes a wide range of studies supporting the theory. In the next two chapters, McCombs continues to discuss studies that provide evidence that the media agenda sets the public agenda while also beginning to address some of the criticisms of agenda setting.

The second phase, the exploration of contingent conditions that enhance or constrain agenda-setting effects, is the topic of the fourth chapter. Need for orientation is the primary contingent condition discussed. The third phase, attribute agenda setting, is presented in chapters 5 and 6. In his explication of this second level of agenda setting, McCombs presents a wealth of attribute agenda-setting evidence for attributes of political leaders as well as for attributes of public issues. He also devotes considerable discussion to the link between attribute agenda setting and framing.

The fourth phase, the exploration of the origins of the media agenda, is introduced in chapter 7. The chapter discusses both first- and second-level agenda-setting effects as well as intermedia agenda setting. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Setting the Agenda: The Mass Media and Public Opinion
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.