By: Lauren Ratliff and Emily Sydnor
Americans get information about what is going on in the nation and the world through the news media. While the media cannot tell us what to believe, they control what news we see and how that news is presented. In other words, the media don’t tell you what to think, they tell you what to think about. Media sets the agenda; they select which stories to report on and which stories to avoid. They influence what we think is important and what criteria we use when evaluating politicians, policies and the government generally. Media can also influence individuals’ interpretation of the news by framing it in a certain way. Support for welfare policies increases, for example, when it is discussed in terms of providing aid to children and decreases when it is discussed in terms of giving handouts to individuals who do not have jobs. Media can even persuade individuals to form or change an opinion on an issue.
Because of all this, the media is a powerful moderator of political information in America. It is important that we are aware of the power and biases that media possesses in conveying this information; therefore, we must read and consume knowledge with a critical eye and an open mind. Here are some things to keep in mind before, during, and after you read a news article. Continue reading