For me, the theory that was most compelling in this chapter was media effects. I feel like the media truly has influence over its’ audiences, so it was interesting to read and analyze from an academic standpoint.
Chapter 7 outlines different theories that helped with my understanding of media effects. I had never considered theories to be apart of media influence before reading this chapter. The first theory that interested me, the Hypodermic Model, suggested a direct and powerful influence on the public (231). Therefore, this model states that media influence is supreme, and that the actions of the public directly correlate with the media pressure. An example of this could be that the media portrays Middle-Eastern men as cruel terrorists. A result of this portrayal is that my Grandma is afraid to fly on airplanes with Muslims because she thinks there will be an attack. The behavior of my Grandma is connected with how Muslims are depicted on the news.
Also, the Minimal Effects Model interested me. This model states that the media doesn’t directly influence individuals, the media messages just reinforce existing beliefs rather than changing opinions (232). When I think of the Minimal Effects Model, I think of my own personal experiences, prejudices and how they have been influenced by the media. An example of this is when I went to Hungary a few summers ago and a young gypsy tried to steal my shoes on the train while I was sleeping. Since this experience, I have had a negative connotation about gypsies. Whenever I see something on TV or in the news about gypsies, it adds to and confirms my unenthusiastic feeling I have about them.
I feel that this theory compensates for the weaknesses in the other approaches because it is very personal, and for me, I could relate to having media influence in my life. The different theories helped me better understand what I was influenced by, what reinforced my beliefs, and what had no impact on my life whatsoever. Media effects on individuals educates the public about how media messages, images, videos, etc can influence your own beliefs and opinions. I think media influence is very important to be aware of, especially in a time when technology is so important to our society.