If you’ve read previous articles on this site, you probably noticed that the word “agenda” is used often. Very often. That is because this site analyzes mass media. And pushing agendas is (and always has been) the primary function of mass media (read the article How Mass Media Shapes and Molds Society for more information).
Merriam-Webster defines “agenda” as: an underlying often ideological plan or program.
The word “underlying” is crucial as it refers to the fact that agendas often lay “below the surface” of popular culture. Agendas hide behind news headlines, all forms of entertainment and the words of powerful and influential people. And, since its inception, The Vigilant Citizen website has been about rooting out the underlying agenda in popular culture. It is about highlighting the artificial emphasis placed on specific issues to make them seem more important and relevant than they truly are. In Communication sciences, this concept is called “agenda-setting”.
Agenda-setting is the creation of public awareness and concern of salient issues by the news media. As well, agenda-setting describes the way that media attempts to influence viewers, and establish a hierarchy of news prevalence. Two basic assumptions underlie most researches on agenda-setting:
the press and the media do not reflect reality; they filter and shape it; media concentration on a few issues and subjects leads the public to perceive those issues as more important than other issues.