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blog #4

October 18, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Media plays an important role in the world. It influences people and shapes their thoughts about the world. The approach of the Media effects is the most compelling to me. This approach really illustrates how the media is related to our life and how it affects people’s understanding. In another words, it reflects how the media controls people’s minds sometimes in some ways. Meanwhile, it shows the strength and weakness of the media in certain ways.

In the Chapter 7, there are some models or theories under the media effects describing the connection between the media and people based on the findings of the projects or research. The hypodermic model (or silver bullet model) vividly describes the role in people’s life—the media injects a massage directly into the “bloodstream” of the public (231; ch. 7). Thus, the power of the effects of he media is huge and direct. The author uses Spanish-American War in 1898 and Orson Welles’s panic in 1939 as the evidence to prove this model that the powerful media can directly controls the public. The minimal effects model illustrates the weakness of the media—“the media massages acted to reinforce existing belief rather than to change the opinion” (232; ch. 7). It shows that the media sometimes cannot strongly influence on some individuals. The author points out that some people who already have the strong political faiths are hardly influenced. At the last explanation of the minimal effects model, it states that this model considers the group of people who have the existing foundational beliefs that is more thorough than the early hypodermic model. The agenda setting reflects the relationship between the media’s agenda and the public’s agenda. It also presents the importance of the journalists “playing in selecting ad shaping the news” (232; ch. 7). Based on the finding of Funkhouser (1973) and the example of the Vietnam War, it shows that the media’s coverage of the issue is more prominent than the real issue itself—it also reflects that the media’s strength on controlling the news in order to control the public. Later, based on other findings of the research, it shows that the media can set the agenda and help the public to decide the focus aspects of the issues. The political socialization theory shows the influence of the media is strong and builds the political foundation in children. The Cultivation theory is explained based on the example of television viewers according to a project of George Gerbner and his associates. The people growing up with television are hard to change their opinion based on their belief according to the information from the television, although the television does not represent things from the real world.

Based on the findings from the research and projects, the author describes the power of the media and its weakness as well. Depends on the explanations of the models or theories, the understanding of the media effects is becoming more impeccable in order to analyze the strength and the weakness of the media effects in people’s life instead of just focusing on the strength. According to the analysis of the media effects, the media portrays an important role on people’s opinion and guiding the young people’s understanding of the issues in the world. However, it does not work for some people who already have foundational beliefs.

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  1. Kathleen
    October 22, 2011 at 5:22 am

    Great post, Di! You clearly articulated media effects theory and gave a well thought-out analysis of its application.

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