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Primary Definition
Primary definition

The process by which powerful sources succeed in influencing the news agenda setting in accordance with their own version of events. Coined by Hall et al. (1978), primary definition predicts that ‘those in powerful or in high status positions who offer opinions about controversial topics will have their definitions accepted, because such spokesmen are understood to have access to more accurate or specialized information on particular topics than the majority of the population’. The inclusion of sources is based on a ‘hierarchy of credibility’ in which the opinions of establishment institutions – the government, leaders and key members of mainstream political parties, the judiciary, the police and other agencies of law and security – are given primacy, while the opinions of the ...

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