The Flaws Of Cultivation Theory Essays

1141 Words Jun 8th, 2015 null Page
The flaws of cultivation theory have given rise to other media effects theories, such as agenda setting, which is the most popular contemporary approach to studying the media, political reporting and the media’s role in shaping public opinion (Laughey 2007). Gerbner’s cultivation theory is flawed in that its research and findings have failed to be replicated, a major issue in social science research (De Fleur & Ball-Rokeach 1989). Gerbner also failed to separate the entertainment and information aspects of television, which negatively impacts its usefulness in studying the political effects of the media on the audience. Agenda setting is recognised as ‘not dissimilar’ to cultivation theory in that it seeks to uncover long-term media effects (Laughey 2007). Agenda setting asserts that news media are “necessarily selective” in reporting politics and public issues (Ward 1995, pp. 49). This theory does not suggest that the media tells the audience what to think, but is ‘stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about’ (Cohen 1987, p. 2). This theory is highlighted as the most prominent in media analysis within contemporary society (Trent & Friedenberg 1983). It suggests that the choice of news communicated by the media can be demonstrative of partiality, certainly influencing the public’s understanding of politics and policy.

Theories of agenda are useful in explaining the role the media play—especially the Murdoch-owned press—in attempting to shape public…

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