Media Problem Analysis

2365 Words 10 Pages
According to Anderson (2006), the persistence of the media in highlighting an issue can help define it as a problem, forcing the government to act on a condition that has been in existence for years, or even decades. The media does this by using focusing events. For instance, life threatening hazards faced by coal miners were ignored in the US since the 1930s. Despite annual deaths as a result of collapsing mines, averaging at 1000, the government did little to address the problem. In 1968, there was an explosion at one of the mines owned by the Consolidation Coal Company in West Virginia, killing 79 people. The incident was reported widely by the media, which focused on the conditions affecting miners, including explosions, accidents …show more content…
To make the issues popular, the media uses symbols, which the use to construct messages. Problem definition is not only about defining goals but also articulating how this can be attained. To define problems groups, individuals and government institutions strategically present them through conscious portrayals to favour their preferred course of action. Representation of these problems therefore meant to win majority of people to one side thereby disadvantaging opponents. After citing issues that require action, media uses various symbols to create messages whose goal is to attract the attention of both the public and policy …show more content…
By reading and listening to the narrative stories, the public gets to know who is to blame for the success or failure of a certain policy decision. The media achieves this by telling stories of helplessness and control, which show that a certain problem was as a result of human action. Such stories serve to demonstrate that individuals or groups have been benefiting by exploiting ignorance of citizenry on a certain issue. Another way in which media achieves attribution is by telling the blame-the-victim story which shows that the capacity to solve a provide solutions is in the hands of the victims. For instance, a story in the media can claim that the Third World countries are unable to develop because they waste foreign aid on extravagant lives. What Stone (2002) fails to appreciate is that since the main reason for framing a story is to inspire change of attitudes and subsequent policy change; Blame attribution may stagnate policy change if it blames the victim that is set to benefit from policy change. This is because policy makers may develop apathy towards the issue after the media

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