How does the media affect perception?

How does the media affect perception? - student project

How does the media affect perception?



The media is essential in forming public opinion, influencing attitudes, and influencing behaviors. People look to the media for data and knowledge about the world around them. However, the way these problems are shown in the media can have a significant impact on how people perceive them. This paper examines several methods of how the media shapes public opinion, including timetable-setting, framing, and media bias. The report also suggests strategies for developing critical media literacy and examines how social media shapes views.

Media Bias

Media bias arises when news outlets present facts in a way that supports a specific political, social, or economic attitude. This might cause a mistaken perception of the truth since particular problems might be exaggerated or minimized in the media. For instance, coverage of Hillary Clinton transformed into worse coverage of Donald Trump at some time during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election (Jurkowitz, 2016). Such prejudice can shape public opinion and affect how people view political candidates and problems.

Paperwork containing partisan bias, corporate bias, and sensationalism are just a few examples of how bias in the media can appear. When news organizations favor one political birthday celebration over all others, this is known as partisan bias. When media organizations give priority to the business interests of their owners over the interests of the general public, this is known as corporate bias. Sensationalism occurs when information sellers favor exciting or dramatic stories over important but dull news.


The term "framing" refers to how issues are presented in the media. The way a story is told can affect how readers interpret a challenge and how they react to certain movements. For instance, Iyengar and Kinder (1987) found that people were far more willing to support social programs to address the issue when the crime was portrayed as a social problem. However, when crime started to be perceived as an individual problem, people were more likely to support harsher punishment and quicker law enforcement.

Framing can take place in a variety of ways, including the use of metaphors, images, and language. For instance, using the metaphor of a struggle on capsules can present drug usage as a battle that must be fought rather than a problem with the public's health that requires a more nuanced approach.


The establishment of agendas is the process of using the power of the media to convince the public that certain problems are important and should be covered. The media can determine the agenda by choosing which topics to cover and how much emphasis to give them. For instance, McCombs and Shaw (1972) showed that coverage of issues like crime and civil rights in the media during the 1968 U.S. Presidential election caused voters to prioritize those issues.

The use of headlines, news reports, and editorial content can lead to agenda-setting. The public's perception and coverage preferences may be affected, for instance, when a news organization gives a significant amount of coverage to a particular problem, such as climate change.

Social Media

The importance of social networking sites as an accessible source of news and information for many people has been increasing significantly. Social media platforms, however, are also subject to bias, framing, and timetable setting. For instance, a study by Allcott and Gentzkow (2017) discovered that in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, false news reports on social media were more likely to favor Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton. This kind of bias has the power to shape public perception and shape how people view political candidates and topics.

Social media can be used to spread propaganda and false information. For instance, during the COVID-19 epidemic, false information about the virus and its treatments was circulated over social media, which sowed misinformation and distrust.

Strategies for Promoting Critical Media Literacy

Supporting people in developing their abilities to research and assess media messages requires a commitment to promoting critical media literacy. Here are some methods for promoting critical media literacy:

  1. Teach media literacy in schools: To help college students develop the capacity to analyze and evaluate media messages, media literacy needs to be taught in schools. Teaching college students how to recognize bias, framing, and agenda-setting in the media serves as an approach to this.
  2. Promote media literacy in the home: Parents can play a role in promoting media literacy by talking with their kids about media messages and helping them develop critical thinking skills.
  3. Promote media diversity: Promoting a variety of media may help decrease bias and encourage a more evenly balanced view of the industry. Finding information resources from distinctive viewpoints and supporting varied voices in the media are two examples of how to do this.
  4. Fact-checking: A crucial skill for evaluating media messages is fact-checking. It is possible to slow the spread of false information by encouraging people to verify their memories of information and other media messages.


Human perceptions of the world around them are significantly influenced by the media. Public opinion, attitudes, and behaviors can be influenced by media bias, framing, and schedule setting. Additionally, social media has evolved into a crucial source of knowledge, although it is subject to bias and inaccurate information. Promoting essential media literacy is critical for assisting individuals in developing their research and media analysis skills. This can include fostering media diversity, teaching media literacy in colleges, and encouraging fact-checking. By promoting essential media literacy, we may help people develop a more realistic and fair perspective of the world.


Allcott, H., & Gentzkow, M. (2017). Social media and pretend news in the 2016 election. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(2), 211-236.

Iyengar, S., & Kinder, D. R. (1987). News that subjects: Television and American opinion. University of Chicago Press.

Jurkowitz, M. (2016). Negative perspectives of each Clinton and Trump abound in the media's campaign insurance. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.Pewresearch.Org/fact-tank/2016/08/24/bad-views-of-both-clinton-and-trump-abound-in-medias-marketing campaign-insurance/

McCombs, M. E., & Shaw, D. L. (1972). The schedule-setting function of mass media. Public Opinion Quarterly, 36(2), 176-187.