Media Effects Theory

Table of Content

When you click on your t.v. you don’t see real life news like you are used to anymore, nowadays if you were to click on the news there would channels that consider “Kim Kardashian shares ‘almost impossible’ first photo with all four kids”(Garvey, 2019) news worthy. How has social media platforms impacted the public opinions about news in the United States and online within the last few decades? The world has now become immersed in social media it has control over the news, what the media finds entertaining at the moment is what you will see trending on the news. A viral video a dog barking at stuffed animal squirrel should not take precedence over actual news coverage. Though media provides us with news everyday, it censors us from genuine news coverage with media fluff; social media platforms should not force their ideals/beliefs by only allowing certain stories through to the public.

The purpose of this research paper is to develop a deeper understanding of media effects in today’s society and how it affects the viewers in the United States. At this stage in the research, media effects will be generally defined as how the mass media influences the attitudes and perceptions of audience members.

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There were many theories to choose from when I was going through the Encyclopedia of Communication Theory (Littlejohn & Foss, 2009), the one mass communication theory that best matches my paper’s research question was the Theory of Media Effect. Media effect include hypotheses about how the press affect audience members ‘ behaviors and expectations. The erosion of traditional institutions of family, church and state power in a society that focused heavily on identity contributed to a lack of openness to mass-media influences.The anonymous crowd replacing the society the medium had and still has enormous power that would inevitably fall to the alienated, unknown members of the mass audience. The media have an enormous power, with the invisible population becoming the society, to yield to this mass audience of disconnected and unknown people.

Given that most people rely on media for information concerning local and international affairs, it is important to clarify its impact. The media have become the main source of contact between the public and the political arena, with their increasing political importance. This is because the raw data is processed by editors, authors, publishers and owners of mass media before hitting the user (Petkevič, V, 2018). The primary effect, like the agenda setting, is a mechanism by which the media draws the public’s attention to certain issues, silencing people and shifting the standards by which the public assesses the situation (2018). Political priming theory is based on the premise that people do not have enough understanding of the political processes in society and do not take all of the details they have available into account when taking political decisions. Alternatively, only information on the information surface appears to be taken into account (2018).

The topic of media bias, whether real or perceived only, has long been interesting to people. The ‘hostile media effect’ is one of the most influential and best reported findings in the area of alleged partiality (Lee, T. K., Kim, Y., & Coe, K, 2018). Now more commonly known as the Hostile Media Effect (HME), as a reaction to the results of media content, this phenomenon indicates that neutral media is vulnerable to their perception of neutral material, ‘hostile,’. To date, HME has almost fully been studied in the sense of conventional media (for example, TV, hard copy journals). An extensive recent review of HME shows that there is hardly anything investigating how hostile media effects are produced by the Internet or by the resources of Social Media (Lee, T. K., Kim, Y., & Coe, K, 2018) Several recent studies in specific online environments have begun to consider HME. Presents in social media outlets, for example Reddit, Facebook and Twitter are around 62 percent of U.S. adults (Lee, T. K., Kim, Y., & Coe, K, 2018). But most of this content is not created from a traditional news outlet, but rather from an intermediary (often a single user) who shares the story with their friends / followers on social media.

The tendency to portray politics as a strategic maneuver is one of the most important elements of contemporary political news coverage, especially during electoral campaigns. Because this paradigm implies that politicians do not act on behalf of the common good but on the basis of themselves, and because they have secret reasons for their actions and their policies, this framework may lead to political cynicism and mistrust (Hopmann, D. N., Shehata, A., & Strömbäck, J, 2015). The issue of how policy-making as a strategic game can affect trust in the media itself is less studied. A primary exception is the theory of the infectious cynicism, which Cappella and Jamieson originally proposed (Hopmann, D. N., Shehata, A., & Strömbäck, J, 2015). It indicates that not only does the media system policy have a direct effect on the cynicism of the public on politics, government, politics, debates and campaigns’ but that it also has an indirect effect on the press itself (Hopmann, D. N., Shehata, A., & Strömbäck, J, 2015). Against this context, this work seeks to explore how trust in the press is affected by the use of personal media and by the exposure to policy-making as a strategic game. Most media studies and media coverage of politics have explored the effect on political trust of the media coverage, but very little work is being done on how public confidence is influenced by how media cover politics (Hopmann, D. N., Shehata, A., & Strömbäck, J, 2015).


  1. Littlejohn, S. W., Foss, K. A., & Werder, O. H. (n.d.). Media Effects Theories. Retrieved January 31, 2020, from
  2. Petkevič, V. (2018). Media Sentiment Analysis for Measuring Perceived Trust in Government. Social Education / Socialinis Ugdymas, 50(3), 23–45.
  3. Lee, T. K., Kim, Y., & Coe, K. (2018). When Social Media Become Hostile Media: An Experimental Examination of News Sharing, Partisanship, and Follower Count. Mass Communication & Society, 21(4), 450–472.
  4. Hopmann, D. N., Shehata, A., & Strömbäck, J. (2015). Contagious Media Effects: How Media Use and Exposure to Game-Framed News Influence Media Trust. Mass Communication & Society, 18(6), 776–798.
  5. Garvey, M. (2019, August 22). Kim Kardashian shares ‘almost impossible’ first photo with all four kids. Retrieved January 31, 2020, from
  6. Littlejohn, S. W., & Foss, K. A. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory. Retrieved January 30, 2020, from

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