posted by Kristen Finelli:
At the mall yesterday, my brother picked up an Alex Rodriguez t-shirt, turned it around and said, "Pretty soon, these are going to say A-ROID." I laughed, but it turns out that he wasn't the only one thinking it.
The section in the textbook discusses agenda-setting and politics, but I'm going to talk a little bit about agenda-setting and sports. The text defines agenda-setting as "the idea that media don't tell people what to think, but what to think about" [B&N 279]. And this week, New York media wants people to think about A-Rod. Everyone in New York has some opinion on this story. Whether they're Yankee fans who are angry about it, Yankee fans who insist he did nothing wrong, or, like me, Mets fans who are just amused by the whole thing, you cannot go anywhere without hearing about it.
The top story for the Daily News this morning reads "Sources: A-Rod Used Steroids". The less important stories are listed below: "West-Side murder suicide", "Obama urges Senate to move on stimulus", "Driver quizzed as tossed man dies". Is a story about a baseball player really more important than heinous crimes, or the country's failing economy? The Daily News seems to think so. So does the New York Post. Their front page story reads "A-R*D: Only the Truth Can Save Rodriguez Now". Even the New York Times has a story about Rodriguez on the front page. Flipping through the television stations last night, every news program was talking about it. It was as if it was the only news to break in New York City this weekend, despite the fact that hundreds died in fires in Australia and there was an accident on Lake Eerie.
The same thing happened last week when Michael Phelps was busted for smoking pot. I went into New York City on Monday for my internship, and as I walked from Grand Central Station to Madison Square Garden, I passed dozens of men selling newspapers, all with Michael Phelps' face plastered on the front page. A week later, people are still talking about it. A Google news search resulted in over 17,000 stories, with more being written every hour.
The text also says that "...Readers learn not only about a given issue, but how much importance to attach to that issue from the amount of information in a news story and its position...[B&N 279]. If a person from outside the country saw the newspapers or watched the evening news this weekend, they would assume that Alex Rodriguez, who supposedly took steroids over six years ago, while he was still on the Texas Rangers, was the absolute most important thing to happen in 72 hours. Or, that, shockingly, a 24-year-old male was caught smoking marijuana with his friends.
So what is your opinion on agenda-setting, especially in relation to these sports stories? Do you think that these stories warrant as much attention as they getting? Should the "real" news be pushed to the back burner while the country discusses the poor judgement of two "famous" men?