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Is the ideology of media blame really justified in present day society?

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Introduction

Is the ideology of media blame really justified in present day society? For generations the media has been unfairly seen as the catalyst of violence and crime with in society. The Media, particularly television and film have been blamed for many atrocities over the years; some of these can be indirectly related to the media's involvement on people's lives. But some cannot. As a Media and Psychology student I have different views on the debate of media blame. As a psychologist I can understand the connection with the media and violence, i.e. violence is a behaviour, which in theory, is learnt and repeated on another. Therefore this behaviour must derive from a source. Which it can be argued, could be a media text. But as a media student I can deconstruct a text and assign different theories to it. Such as the encoding/decoding model. Stuart Hall and David Morley centred on the idea that audiences vary in their response to media messages. This is because they are influenced by their social position, gender, age, ethnicity, and occupation and also life experience. Therefore an individual will decode a media text in a different way to another. Creating various interpretations of the same text (i.e. preferred reading). The American senate office has concluded that the media, in particular television "...influences children perception of the values and behaviour that are common and acceptable in society". A study carried out by the U.S. ...read more.

Middle

A majority of Americans have an innate desire to own a gun. Guns surround everyone, it is seen as common and accepted to own or carry a firearm. Surly this can been seen as the malfunction in the system? The N.R.A (national rifle association) not surprisingly are for the 'V' Chip because it takes the blame away from the ownership of their prised possessions, guns. Of all the lobbies in America, none is better known outside the nations capital than the N.R.A. and few are more influential. The possession of firearms enjoys Constitutional protection under the Second Amendment. " A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed". Although when the Second Amendment was passed in 1791, most who supported the Amendment were concerned with invasion from other countries, therefore is the second Amendment really justified in present day society? There are an estimated 200 million legal Firearms within America, Gary Kleck, a Criminologist discovered that one in every four households has one or more handguns ('Targeting guns', 1997). He also discovered that "people who use guns to defend themselves are more likely to be attacked or injured than people who use other methods of protection or do not defend themselves at all". This fact begs the question "why do people still want to own guns?" ...read more.

Conclusion

This is exactly what happened after the Columbine massacre. For days and weeks after the event the news media responded with a bombardment of anti 'shock rock' items. Encouraging parents to look out for music, which may 'influence' their child to commit evil deeds. The notion that music had any part to play in the killings I feel is very na�ve and unjustified. At the beginning of 'Bowling for Columbine' Moore comically argues " Why isn't anyone blaming bowling for those evil deeds?" this question is asked because it was discovered that both the killers went bowling at six am on the morning of the massacre. This humorous argument I feel conveys the stupidity of blaming Marilyn Manson. The debate of media blame is long, controversial and equivocal. Not only is the ideology behind the effects theory ever changing in a media saturated society. Our beliefs and values are also undergoing a major shift in opinion. Many people such as Michael Moore have jumped on the anti effects theory bandwagon. This may be because of the government initiated campaign to link media formats to the problems within society. Rather then to admit that many problems cannot be simplified to suit the nations citizens. The events of present day life leads us to question our society, and the implications of doing so can create theories, which to some may seem hard to comprehend. But in doing so we come one-step closer to understanding contemporary sociological living. ...read more.

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