News sources and the same sex marriage issue
Through the lens of the agenda-setting theory
Using agenda-setting theory, this study explores the effects of news sources on public opinion on the issue of the same-sex marriage over 10 years. It examines immediate substantive salience, immediate affective salience, cumulative substantive salience and cumulative affective salience of the news sources cited in news articles from The New York Times from 2003 to 2013 and compares the coverage to public opinion polls. Four findings merit notice. First, news sources with a clear standpoint had counter effects on public opinion. Second, the salience of news sources is as influential as the affective attribute salience of news sources on public opinion. Official sources had the power to influence public opinion the most. Thirdly, the influence of the media is stronger than the influence of news sources on influencing public opinion. Fourth, LGBTQ sources were the least used sources in the same-sex marriage coverage.
Keywords: same-sex marriage, news sources, public opinion, affective attribute salience, agenda-setting theory
Published online: 04 September 2017
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