Cultivation Theory

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Television today is one of the most common items in every household. Almost everybody watches television every day. We learn from, it enjoy it, and even change our schedules to watch it. Television is used to try and change our views or feelings on particular subjects, and even can change the way we look at the world. The media has an impact on us all whether we realize it or not, and cultivation theory attempts to explain this impact. In my paper I am going to explain what cultivation theory is and applies it to two television shows which are Family Guy and South Park. Family guy consist of a mom name Louis Griffin and a dad name Peter Griffin, two teenagers who are Chris and Megan, cynical dog who is smarter than everyone else name Brian, and a mutant baby who makes numerous attempts to eradicate his parents and siblings name Stewie. This television episode is trying to show you how a family lives in everyday life and they relate most of the events in this how to real life issues that is going on in society today. South Park on the other hand, South Park is an animated series featuring four foul-mouthed 3rd graders, Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman. The show is set in the Colorado town of South Park where weird things keep happening. Every time one turns the television on there is some form of violence on any program one watches. This is where cultivation theory comes into play. Cultivation theory was developed by George Gerbner. This theory focuses on how people’s attitudes are impacted by the media and on how what one thinks more than what one does (Theories of Violence in the Media 2008). Cultivation theory focuses solely on the amount of television viewed and does not allow for differences in the ways in which viewers interpret television realities. (Cultivation Theory 2008,). Cultivation Theory also, states that the more a person is exposed to a message provided by the media, the more likely that person is to believe the message is real. Cultivation Theory is often applied to people’s perceptions of reality. Gerbner argues, “Television is the source of the most broadly-shared images and messages in history.” “It is the mainstream of the common symbolic environment which cultivates the preferences of the general public” (Points of Convergence 2008). I think that Gerbner is trying to say television is our main source for what we see in the outside world. Whatever happens in the real world is seen on television. For example, everyone saw the events of September 11 2001, on television as they unfolded. I believe that what we see on television is how we form the messages of history. Also, what happens in reality is portrayed on television and that is why many people are confused as to what is real and what is not. In society today, if there is a crime happening in a neighborhood or at school it is automatically broadcast on television. Cultivation theory is also concerned with people’s television-viewing patterns. Cultivation theory predicts a difference in the social reality of heavy television viewers versus light viewers. Many of the cultivation theorists state that watching a lot of media is positively correlated with people’s feelings of fear (Reber, Bryan 2001). In 1950s Gerbner observed that more than 75 percent of television films contained acts of violence and were portrayed in 56 percent of the programs. In 1967 and 1968, he recorded that 80 percent of television programming contained violent portrayals (Bryan H. Reber 2001). Also Gerbner reported that local television news crime reports doubled in the past two years 1995-1996. In my opinion, I think that is why many young children are in gang fights or they do not respect their parents, because they act out what they see on television. One of the main reasons why Gerbner developed cultivation theory due to the great deal of violence people see on television, so he can figure out why people behave the way they do and see if he can help them in any way. This...
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