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Do the media, the people,or the politicians, set the political agenda today?

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Do the media, the people, or the politicians, set the political agenda today? In the setting of political agenda, it is often argued as to who actually sets it. The argument centres around the media, the people and the politicians themselves. Whoever sets the political agenda has huge power and influence and this is why it is often said that the media is the main factor in the setting of political agenda, as this statement would be true of the media. Then again, political commentators argue that political agenda is set by the politicians, which is justified in the light that the decision making process and policy making takes place in government, which ultimately points to the politicians. Finally, the argument can be taken one step further by the introduction of the people to the mix. Ultimately, it is the need of the people that is on the political agenda, which could indicate that it is the people who set the political agenda. This essay shall evaluate these three factors and conclude as to who actually does set the political agenda. "the media cannot determine what we think, but can strongly influence what we think about." ...read more.


If they devise a poor policy, it may be leaked to the press and subsequently they may loose their place in office. It can be said that ministers at times fear the press and this often influences their political agenda setting. There are those however, who claim that the press is in fact under the influence of a number of politicians. This would lead to the claim that it is in fact the politicians that set the political agenda. Bob Franklin claims that "Skilled and highly paid marketing and communications professionals create favourable media images for politicians and their policies." (Bob Franklin, Packaging Politics, pg-13) This would result in these images and documents being presented to the public through the media. This again shows that the media would be involved in influencing the public over a political agenda, but in this case, the media is the one that has been influenced in its printing from an indirect political source. This argument is further reinforced in the writings of John Eldridge, Jenny Kitzinger and Kevin Williams who argue that the media no longer simply offer public information about political affairs, but are increasingly being managed by politicians. ...read more.


On the whole, it can be clearly seen that the power of politics lies in the hands of the politicians and the media. It can be stated that the people have little say in the setting of political agenda. This is with regards to the fact that for most people, their vote in an election which, only takes place every 4 or 5 years, is likely to be their most significant involvement in the politics of their country. However, it is much tougher to determine whether it is the media or the politicians that set the political agenda. Both can be argued, need each other in politics, as politicians can use the press to voice their policies on a larger scale. More importantly, politicians can base their policies or set political agenda on reports from the media and often do. The media can act has a means of gaining the information needed for a government to implement new agenda. However, the media often sets political agenda based on the activities of politicians themselves. Overall, it can be concluded that it is the politicians who set political agenda, as technically they do, however, it cannot be stressed how important a role the media plays in the formulation of political agenda. ...read more.

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