Effects of mass media Essay - 808 Words | Major Tests

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Since the inception of mass mediatized words and images, concerns have been selectively raised over real and imagined effects of deviant or taboo behaviors, especially as these have been associated with graphic or explicit depictions of sex, interpersonal violence, and other “morally” transgressive behaviors involved in both crime and crime control. The restricted question has always been: Do the various mass media and mediatized representations of these behaviors elicit fear or imitation from their audiences? Is there a direct effect, an indirect effect, no effect, or perhaps all three? Despite an abundance of research studies in the laboratory and in the field examining the effects of televised violence, sexual and nonsexual, on aggressive and non-aggressive behavior, which tend to support the third possibility of both mixed and contradictory effects at the same time, most, if not all, of these studies are subject to a number of criticisms regarding the validity and appropriateness of the theories and methods, and in many instances, the moral politics that have traditionally underpinned the direct effects model of mediated research.

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Effects of Mass Media Essay - 877 Words

Thus, quantitative surveys and content analyses while necessary only go so far, falling way short of explaining how these messages are used, negotiated, and played out in the everyday practices of criminal justice and crime control as well as in the everyday behavior of ordinary citizens. In addition, the all important qualitative and ethnographic studies are called for of folks working in news rooms and film studios and in online chat rooms and reading groups of the latest genres of crime novels as well as in other virtual communities, including that in which William Gibson has referred to more broadly as the “mass consensual hallucination” of cyberspace. For example, if media criminologists want to get to the different meanings of media and to the indirect effects or influences, then do as Gauntlett (1997) did when he asked children to make their own videos as a way of capturing what they had acquired from the mass media. Or provide readers with crime news stories and ask them to write the headline titles or captions, or show viewers a series of crime films and ask them to map out a short crime story of their own.

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Can mass communication—text and visual—be used to stop war, abolish the death penalty, cultivate genocide, reduce ethno-political conflict, or mediatize peace and nonviolence? Not the typical set of questions pondered by most folks trying to grasp an understanding of the impact of mass media on nonconforming (or conforming) behavior. Yet, in 1997 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, recognizing the power of the Internet to mobilize and enlist worldwide support. It had all begun a few years earlier when Jody Williams, from Putney, Vermont, used her email account to coordinate the activities of more than 700 organizations from over 60 countries. Direct effect? Indirect Effect? What about the ultimate cases of ethnic cleansing and the extraordinary crime of genocide or the denial of it by millions of people? Direct effect? Indirect Effect? No effect? Contradictory effect?

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As the indirect-effects model of mediatized sexual violence underscores, the direct-effects model of crime and crime control is simply too simplistic for serious consideration. On the other hand, the indirect-effects model of mass media effects leaves the door wide open for exploring the reciprocal relations between media and crime.