Mass Media and Its Negative Influence on American Society

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Mass Media and Its Influence Negative Influence on American Society

“It is the power that shapes and molds the mind of virtually every citizen, young or old, rich or poor, simple or sophisticated” (Sweet Liberty, 2000, 1). The media is a part of everyday life in America. News and events outside of one’s home or neighborhood are brought to their area via the newspaper, magazines, radio, television, and the internet. As the quote above mentions mass media, and its components, are very powerful and are capable of influencing one’s mind, as well as their behavior. The images and stories introduced to children and young adults make it difficult for these viewers to distinguish between fact and fiction (Cable News Network, 1998, 3), thus stimulating confusion and blind emulation.
In Torr’s Violence in Film and Television, film and television editor, Harvey Roy Greenberg, says that different forms of aggression, either spoken, sung, danced, or written have appeared in practically every “clime and time”. In other words, the media and violent entertainment have been around since ancient times. In the Stone Age, violent images were painted and carved into their stone canvases, the Romans enjoyed gladiatorial combat, and the Victorian English enjoyed plays and puppet shows often featuring murder and swordplay as ways of exciting the audience (Torr, 2002, 15). Violence on television, or portrayed in literary form, may have been more mild and censored in the past, but all the same, the public was still vulnerable and easily influenced by what they witnessed and experienced.
Hollywood, currently, is very candid and graphic in its productions, especially depending on the director and editor. However, in contrast with today’s wild interpretations and brutal killings, in the 1930s, Hollywood abided by production codes. These codes “regulated all aspects of screen content, with an elaborate list of rules outlining what was permissible to show and what was not” (Torr, 2002, 22). As times changed and American society became more informed about reality and the violence which took place, the codes were modified, eventually leading to film ratings. Although Americans were more aware and the ratings provided some restrictions, this did not mean that emulation and confusion were eliminated co...

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... actions. From birth to death, people in America will live in a society in which their education and their futures revolve around the mass media and its messages, whether they are positive or negative; it is the American way of life.


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