Media and Cultivation Theory Essay

Media and Cultivation Theory Essay

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In an ever-increasingly mediated society, mass media has become inseparable with the production of everyday life. Media is now a platform for members of society to connect with global events and other people beyond their own personal experience. For many, the media is a major source of information and “accounts of violence, as presented by the mass media, are the primary medium by which the average person comes to know crime and justice” (Barak, 1994). The following essay will explore the theories of both cultivation analysis, as established by George Gerbner, as well as agenda setting, reputable to Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw. These concepts will demonstrate how the recent Santa Barbara Shooting is a major media event that reflects a familiar narrative through which social reality is shaped and social issues addressed.
Firstly, Cultivation theory suggests that heavy television exposure encourages a world of ideas that is consistent and biased toward reality, or what culture perceives as reality, as depicted in the media. While at first being used and depended on to draw a crowd, violence has since been practiced as an ongoing theme in many different forms of communication. Today, in a world where media content is saturated with violence, Gerbner’s theory explains why this has become such a recognised event. News on crime and violence is being used as a powerful tool for political discourse, strengthening existing sociocultural norms and fuelling the economic power of media conglomerates. Furthermore, media industries also use violence as a reoccurring theme to induce fear amongst society as well as to instil suspicion and distrust within the community. Consequently, school shootings as media events can be seen as familiar nar...

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...lity. In the case of the Columbine Shooting of 1999, the media were able to distance themselves as a contributing factor by directing the blame toward famous gothic musician Marilyn Mason, movies like The Matrix and violent video games such a Doom (Ruddock, 2013). Rodger created his own theme of misogyny and gender inequity as the motive for his actions. In doing so he has limited the media’s ability to deflect their involvement in this event as media usage is part of the crime itself. Despite Rodger’s actions however, it is evident that the media are still able to control some of the themes that are attached to these events. For instance current headlines suggest that mental illness as the primary cause that lead to Rodger’s actions. Mental illness once again blamed for the crime, nice way of saying violent misogyny is an individual problem, not a cultural one.

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