The Media and Public Policy

Question 1:

There are more media choices available today to ordinary citizens than ever before. In fact, in the United States and in many other nations, citizens are dramatically decreasing the amount of time spent consuming news through traditional media, such as nightly news broadcasts and daily newspapers. Instead, citizens are dramatically increasing the amount of time spent on a vast array of alternative news resources. Therefore, media outlets—whether on television, in print, or on the Internet—need to digest often-complex policy issues into small snippets that can be understood and communicated in a short amount of time.

But just how do the media focus upon a relatively limited number of policy issues for their daily reporting? How do the media prioritize what stories and issues are printed and broadcast? After reading the assigned chapters in McCombs’s book, you will recognize just how the reporting cycle occurs at major news outlets across the country. Although the diversity of media outlets is stunning, it is remarkable that there are also important similarities in how news outlets choose what to report. They often choose sensational items that people can easily understand, such as issues of crime and violence, a deteriorating economy, or threats to the natural environment. Issues such as taxation also get substantial and consistent coverage because they affect the pocketbooks of individual Americans.

As you review this week’s Learning Resources, pay close attention to the role of the media in public policymaking. Consider how the media acts as an outlet for the promulgation or blocking of public policy agenda items.

With these thoughts in mind:

Select a public policy you are most interested in. Then, select one media outlet that has promulgated or attempted to block the debate on the public policy issue you chose. International students should consider how the news media in their home country has promulgated or attempted to block debate on a selected national public policy issue.


  • McCombs, M. (2014). Setting the agenda: The mass media and public opinion (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Polity Press.
    • Chapter 1, “Influencing Public Opinion” (pp. 1–23)
    • Chapter 2, “Reality and the News” (pp. 24–38)
    • Chapter 3, “The Pictures in Our Heads” (pp. 39–62)
    • Chapter 4, “Why Agenda-Setting Occurs” (pp.63–78)
    • Chapter 5, “How Agenda-Setting Works” (pp. 79–95)
    • Chapter 6, “Consequences of Agenda-Setting” (pp. 96–110)
    • Chapter 7, “Shaping the Media Agenda” (pp. 111–133)
  • Barnes, M. D., Hanson, C. L., Novilla, L. M. B., Meacham A. T., McIntyre E., & Erickson, B. C. (2008). Analysis of media agenda setting during and after Hurricane Katrina: Implications for emergency preparedness, disaster response, and disaster policy. American Journal of Public Health, 98(4), 604–610. 
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Chakravartty, P. (2011). Making our media: Global initiatives toward a democratic public sphere. Vol. Two: National and global movements for democratic communication. Canadian Journal of Communication, 36(1), 189–192. 
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Kelly, D. M. (2011). The public policy pedagogy of corporate and alternative news media. Studies in Philosophy and Education30(2), 185–198. 
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Coulson, D. (2013). Dynamics of social media, politics and public policy in the Arab WorldGlobal Media Journal, American Edition, 12(22), 1–20. 
    Dynamics of Social Media, Politics and Public Policy in the Arab World  by Coulson, D., in Global Media Journal, Vol. 12/Issue 22. Copyright 2013 by Yahya R. Kamalipour. Reprinted by permission of Yahya R. Kamalipour via the Copyright Clearance Center.
  • Accuracy in Media. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2014, from
  • The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2014, from
  • U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. (n.d.). Constitution of the United States. Retrieved from

    Note: Navigate the website and find the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

  • Media Matters for America. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2014, from
  • TED. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2014, from
APA Format 300-400 words

Question 2:

Where you reside, do you pay taxes on goods and services? If so, do you believe these taxes affect low-income people more than high-income people? How high is your property tax, and how does it affect the quality of your public services—such as schools and fire services—as compared to other locations? These questions all relate to tax equity. The taxes governments require for revenue include property, income, sales (on goods and services), and others. Some of these taxes are perceived as unfair or unjust, depending on such things as what is being taxed and who has the heaviest tax burden. For this Discussion, review the assigned readings in the Mikesell text. Think about tax structures and whether they seem to fit with your understanding of concepts of equity and fairness.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 4 an evaluation of two types of taxes (e.g., property, income, sales, etc.) using the criteria in the Mikesell text. Then, explain whether you consider the taxes fair and equitable, and why. Describe how tax equity coexists with a government’s need to collect taxes for revenue.


  • Mikesell, J. L. (2014). Fiscal administration: Analysis and applications for the public sector (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth.
    • Chapter 8, “Taxation: Criteria for Evaluating Revenue Options” (pp. 343–384)
    • Chapter 9, “Major Tax Structures: Income Taxes” (pp. 389–433)
    • Chapter 10, “Major Tax Structures: Taxes on Goods and Services” (pp. 441–482)
    • Chapter 11, “Major Tax Structures: Property Taxes” (pp. 488–528)

APA Format 300-400 words