"The press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about."
Agenda setting theory talks about how the media influences the topics that we talk about on a given day. The information provided in the news has a tremendous impact in what people think about.
We saw this in the 2016 election with the emphasis on the Clinton email server over many other issues. While it may have not been a truly important issue for many people the fact that it was always in the news kept the attention on it.
We are seeing the same thing with the issues with Hunter Biden as the media keeps the story alive. The problem is we now have alternative sources that are creating fake controversies that then get mixed in with the mainstream media.
This works as long as people aren't impacted by the item discussed in the news. When it hits you personally such as losing your job or your health insurance then the issue is no longer controlled by the media.
We see this with politics that someone will support a candidate until their factory shuts down and then they shift sides.
To counter this, when you hear something in the news it is important to take a moment and decide if it should be a focus. We need to make a conscious effort not to let the media control the conversation.