This paper examines the interrelationships between real-world cues, television news coverage, and public concern for the issues of energy, inflation, and unemployment. On the basis of longitudinal data, the authors show that media agenda setting is indeed unidirectional—television news influences public concern and not vice versa. Lead stories are significantly more powerful than ordinary stories in shaping the public's agenda. Prevailing conditions and events affect public opinion both directly and indirectly, by determining the degree of news coverage accorded issues.

You do not currently have access to this article.