If you think agenda-setting works as its chief academic proponents say it does and media do set a kind of social or political agenda by focusing on some issues and not others, then consider this from last night's Daily Show [October 31, 2005].
Bob Corddry: [Discussing the apparent sudden loss of interest in the Scooter Libby indictment due to Bush’s nomination of a new Supreme Court justice, Sam Alito, on Oct. 31, 2005.] There’s been a change of topic.
Jon Stewart: But don’t the media have some power over what the story is?
Bob Corddry: No, Jon. No. We have no ability to decide what’s important. Look, I’m a reporter. I’d love to stay with the Libby case. We’re talking about corruption in the vice president’s office. Huge story! But something new happened. If the Alito nomination weren’t more important, it wouldn’t have happened more recently. Its newness trumps the less recent-tude of the … of the .. thing with Liddy.
Jon Stewart: Libby. Libby. G. Gordon Liddy. Liddy was the Watergate burglar.
Bob Corddry: Right. Right. Watergate? Is that where the guy broke in on the dinosaur, old man? Get with it Jon! We thrive on news! That’s how reporters work.