The Limitations of Television's Influence on Viewers

Topics: Mass media, Media influence, Marshall McLuhan Pages: 4 (1267 words) Published: May 5, 2013
Media Television and its Influential Aspects

As many can clearly see, our relationship with the media today plays an important role in shaping the wellbeing and character of who we become. This ‘love affair’ (Dill, 2009) that has blossomed in our relationship with television has provided a field for many debates and approaches as to which is correct and applicable in the rapidly growing popularity in the media; whether it is a reflection of today’s reality and expectations, or whether it is actually more prominent in molding our behaviour. Theories such as the effects model (Lazarsfeld, 1948) and the hypodermic needle theory has emerged to support the suggestion that media ‘injects’ the information into an individual, and that one behaves as ‘sitting ducks’ (Croteau, 1997) and thus is inevitable to be influenced by the media. While it is true that we are constantly forming opinions and views from media intake, there are flaws to these theories. This essay shall discuss to what extent the theories mentioned above are applicable and to what limits individuals can be influenced.

Among the many forms that media takes, television is known to be the most ‘massified’ of mass media and has the largest and most heterogeneous audience (Wilensky, 1964). This supports how we can easily conclude that television would be a large factor as to how we gain new information and knowledge. Glasser (1988) conducted a study that was to analyse people’s understanding of how systems function in today’s society from watching television, and it was found that what they understand was really what they have seen on television. It occurred that an average person who watches a lot of television series about cops and detectives does not actually have direct experience with either the police of the justice system, especially when it involves a serious crime. Also, most of the crime showcased on television would tend to be street crime and nonstop action instead of drab corporate crime....

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