Mass Media and Violence

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Mass media in the U.S. is a very significant element of the U.S. culture. To argue that media does not influence people in the U.S. is to argue that they are not influenced by the American culture. So it is obvious that at different levels the U.S. population is influenced by mass media. The focus of this paper is not on the influence of the media; it is on the influence of violent content presented by the U.S. media. When it comes to violence, there are two groups that defend two different point of views; the media censors and the free-speech groups. The free-speakers supported by our first constitutional amendment believe there are no actual connections between what you see onscreen and the real world violence. The censors want to limit a significant amount of media content that they consider violent and inappropriate. Both groups have very valid reasons to think the way they are.

Starting with a good representative of the frees-speakers, Mr. Todd Gitlin(1), a high-profile veteran of the 1960s peace movement, has become a leading U.S. commentator and author on media and culture issues. He describes the crusade against media violence "hollow" and "cheap." He says: “media violence isn't dangerous, it's just stupid”. In a direct quote from Mr. Gitlin he says: “Television violence is mainly redundant, stupid, and ugly. The deepest problem with TV violence is not that it causes violence - the evidence for this is very thin. The problem is that the profiteers of television in the United States - the networks, the program suppliers, and the advertisers - are essentially subsidized (e.g., via tax write-offs) to program this formulaic stuff.” Mr. Gitlin tends to believe that the moneymaking media machines that control a significant portion of our culture will make a significant number of fake moral reforms as they think they need to keep the U.S. Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) off their backs. This belief seems to be shared by many...
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