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Manipulating the Public Agenda: Why ACORN Was in the News, and What the News Got Wrong

September 23rd, 2009 · 1 Comment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A study by Christopher R. Martin, Ph.D. and Peter Dreier, Ph.D.

Using the controversy over ACORN as a case study, this report illustrates the way the media help set the agenda for public debate, and frame the way that debate is shaped. It describes how “opinion entrepreneurs” (primarily business and conservative groups and individuals) set the story in motion as early as 2006, how the “conservative echo chamber” orchestrated its anti-ACORN campaign in 2008, how the McCain-Palin campaign picked it up, and how the mainstream media reported these allegations without investigating their truth or falsity. As a result, the relatively little-known community organization became the subject of a major news story in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, to the point where 82 percent of the respondents in an October 2008 national survey reported they had heard about ACORN.

See the Executive Summary at http://www.uni.edu/martinc/acornstudy.html

Download the 61-page report at http://www.uni.edu/martin/acornstudy.pdf

Tags: ACORN · Cable Television · Elections · Internet · Journalism · Journalism Ethics · Labor News · Media Economics · Public Relations · Television News

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