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Media Agenda/ McCombs interview

Media Agenda
Chapter 28 Page 360

I went to a fascinating lecture last night, in MLK library, by Professor Cordero about global warming and food. This relates to agenda-setting theory because, as McCombs says, "journalists are message producers" (as cited in Griffin, 2008). Griffin and McCombs make it very clear that what the media emphasize as important, and what they focus our attention on, are the very things that we as a society think about and look at. Thankfully the issue of global climate change is becoming more and more mainstream, and getting more news coverage in the media. But there still needs to be more attention focused on the issue as a global community. Professor Cordero talked about agriculture and food regarding how much energy is used and carbon is emitted in the process. I did not realize that we can actually reduce our emissions by changing our diets, as we can by buying a brand new prius, or riding a bike. The carbon footprint on a jar of skippy peanut butter is 4. That is not too bad compared to a cheeseburger which was something like 15. Don't quote me on this, but I doubt the media has ever covered a story about the link between consumption (namely food) and global warming. I have never even heard of mitigations or adaptations we can each make in order to reduce greenhouse gases, regarding food. Frankly it scares me that the media has not deemed it necessary to focus the publics' attention on these issues. What will it take for journalists to take these things into consideration? Grocery stores like whole foods and trader joes are atleast trying to, on a small scale, keep consumers aware of these things by packaging food with labels such as "air-freighted" on them. Air freighting food is a way to avoid seasonality of foods, by shipping them internationally to stores here. It is great that we can have fresh cherries almost year round at Safeway, but we never really think about how many tons of carbon are emitted in the process of air-freighting that fruit to us. Anyways, I will get off my soap box now, but it is just something to think about. Some food for thought (pun intended). Are there other issues that worry you, that the media makes seemingly invisible? I am curious to know...


  1. I really enjoyed your post, I think it is great that you can relate the agenda setting theory to global warming. It is interesting that finally global warming is getting some media coverage. Although that coverage is very limited and most people have no idea what they can do besides drive their car less that could help them emit less carbon. I am taking a global climate change class and I am learning a lot more about the causes of global warming. Before I thought it was just transportation and electricity, now I know their are many causes. It is very interesting how the media has framed this issue, and how little focus there is on the issue to begin with.

  2. I found your post very interesting and compelling. I would have to agree with you in the sense that I don't think the media has ever covered a story that promoted things that we can do to reduce greenhouse gases when it comes to food. I think that this has a lot to do with corporations paying the media lots of money to be able to advertise their product, and in turn, they get the security of knowing that that media outlet/company won't put in a bad word on their product (ex. McDonald's mainly makes money off cows, so if CNN is supported by McDonald's, they wouldn't say anything bad about them).

  3. I truly think that the reason global warming has taken so long to gain steam in the media is because it blew up a few years ago with Al Gore's movie. Trust me I hear about global warming everyday and am reminded of it everytime I pass a Prius going 55mph on the freeway.
    I think there is resistance around the issue because half of the country voted against the guy that became the poster boy of global warming (Gore). I have to admit that I was against the media and how much emphasis was around global warming, because I didnt think people would get behind it.
    I am truly changed for the better as I see myself not driving if I dont have to, or picking up litter, or water conservation, or turning the heat down in the house. This is partially around the bills and conserving money, but honestly it is around the environment too. I think it is rediculous if you want to beat up on the environment. It just doesnt make sense. I had a son 8 months ago and I dont want him wearing a gas mask to school. I am willing to get behind this movement, but I dont want to media making my choice for me. Maybe that was the root of my resistance from the begining.
    Regarding your questions about other issues I dont feel that the media expresses concern for:
    >Homeless in our cities and local communities. People are starving in your neighborhood, how have we helped them today?
    >Income tax on children under 18. Why tax them if they cant vote?
    >Violence in schools. Why doesnt assault lead to prison on a school campus like it would off-campus grounds?