Master of Arts (MA)
Cliff W Kelly
Primary Subject Area
agenda-setting theory, credibility, hostile media effect, partisan segmentation
Originally developed by McCombs and Shaw (1972), agenda-setting theory has provided a theoretical framework for numerous media bias studies. This pilot study attempted to add to that body of literature by addressing a relatively new evolution of agenda-setting theory known as second-level agenda-setting by measuring whether biased media can significantly change attitudes about a given issue. To accomplish this, participants were surveyed regarding their perceptions regarding credibility on the part of MSNBC, presented with a news package from MSNBC, and then surveyed to examine if any attitude change occurred. Significance was found to support the presence of the hostile media effect and the partisan segmentation of cable news. Prior applications of agenda-setting theory and subsequent contributions to the communication discipline will be examined and critiqued and ideas for future research will also be offered.