Introduction: mass media effects and the political agenda: assessing its scope and conditions
The Agenda Setting Journal: Theory, Practice, Critique
Do the mass media influence the issue priorities of politicians? This question has been present in the literature on the media and political agenda-setting since the mid-1970s when scholars first addressed it within the broader agenda-setting research. While only eighteen empirical pieces examined this topic until the mid-2000s (Walgrave & Van Aelst, 2006), in the last decade the number of studies on the media and the political agenda has expanded considerably (Van Aelst & Walgrave, 2016). In fact, in the last ten years (2005–2015), more than thirty studies focused on the media’s political agenda-setting power. The research now features a wider geographical scope, richer datasets, and more contingent factors have been investigated in detail. Studying the relationship between the media agenda and the political agenda has therefore become a flourishing subfield in political communication. In addition, it connects a community of political scientists interested in factors that influence public policy with communication scholars who work on the political influence of the mass media.