Research trends illustrate that media institutions have a role in influencing the citizenry through their political communication objectives. This research paper grapples with the idea of the press as a political actor in South Africa. This has been done through the analysis of online comments responding to the Mail & Guardian’s editorial message/communiqué on its political position during the country’s 2014 provincial and national elections. The research article aims to draw conclusions on how the newspaper’s political message was received by the reading public. The article relied on the agenda-setting theory in making sense of the role of the media as well as to understand how the agenda setting role is received media message recipients. The article relied on qualitative research methods and used a thematic analysis approach with the intention of making sense of the research data. It concludes that with reference to political role of the media, media recipients of the Mail & Guardian’s editorial message have conflicting and prior ideas of the role that should be played by this media institution in political related commentary.
Key words: Politics, electioneering, reactions, editorial, media.