RUNNING HEAD: PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNICATION Agenda-Setting Theory: Mass Media and the Decline of Native American Culture Vince A. Feeling Principles of Communication 1113 The University of Oklahoma at Norman October 24, 2003 Introduction This paper will focus on the Agenda-Setting Theory (McCombs & Shaw, 1972) and how this theory can relate to the decline of Native American culture through the many outlets of the mass media today. To many Americans culture is a very important aspect of their lives.
Due to recent innovations and the growing knowledge of technology, knowledge of certain cultures can be ascertained and documented by the mass media more easily. Every day new fashions are created and as time goes on certain characteristics of these may be later used to identify a past culture. For many years the mass media has been very effective in the popularization and incursion of America’s culture on many different countries around the globe. However, some ways and methods of many cultures in North America cannot be preserved using this fashion. The cultures of the Native America are some of these.
Everyday we come in contact with the mass media in one form or another. Whether it is print or broadcast, for many of us the media is a staple in our fast-paced lifestyles. No matter where we turn we are bombarded with many different forms of culture. Many of these are rather new and have been documented in some form or another. Native American culture has no documentation for it has been passed down orally from generation to generation. Some aspects of these are sacred and shouldn’t be shared with just anyone, but a great deal of these hold very complex philosophical ideas which have never been conceived in contemporary society.
The rest of this paper will take a look that the Agenda setting theory and the way it can be seen to contribute to the decline and fall of the culture of the Native American. Agenda-Setting Theory To begin with, this theory can be looked at from many different perspectives. According to Rogers, Dearing and Bergman (cited in Miller, 2002) at the time they counted to do their research on this theory, there were over 200 hundred studies on this particular topic.
Studies in this theory have been around for many years, even before the studies of Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw on Agenda-Setting. In fact most studies on the Agenda Setting theory can be attributed to the book of Walter Lippman in 1922 entitled Public Opinion. Although the book in mostly based around journalism, it does give the argument that the mass media can and usually does create images in the minds of people that have to deal with views in which the policy makers seem to believe are important (1922).