We all know that the media plays a major role in influencing our everyday lives, from the clothes we wear, to the places we go, even down to the people we vote for. (I mean if this was not the case than advertising wouldn’t even exist), But to what extent does Media play a role in shaping who we are as individuals? and at what point do we seriously stop blaming people for their own actions and start passing blame onto the media for its influence and or ‘control’ over those individuals?
In today’s world there are some who perceive the media to be a medium of unethical mass control and domination, this grim perception of the media is created by the concepts of The Media Effects model and The Cultivation Theory. These concepts suggest that mass media has a powerful and direct effect on audience behaviour and that prolonged exposure to negative media results in high levels of desensitisation.
What’s wrong with this idea is that it is often miss interpreted, misguided or one sided and almost always forgets to take context into account. Take The Columbine Massacre for example; It was almost too easy for News outlets everywhere to focus the blame for the entire event on violent music and video games for the sake of a good story. As David Gauntlett states in his article ‘Ten Things Wrong With The Effects Model’ “The Effects Model tackles social problems backwards”, This was case with Columbine, as while the media was blaming violent games and heavy music for the massacre, they weren’t asking questions they should have been from the start such as; what sort of social environment were the killers brought up in? and what mental state were they in at the time of the killings?
The idea that violent video games lead to real life acts of violence is a very one sided opinion that disregards the idea of context. While it’s true these games do desensitise people from violence, the violence is set within a fictional context and does necessarily mean the people who play them are desensitised in real life. Yes, the columbine killers played Doom, and yes they committed terrible acts of violence, but what the News does not take into account is that thousands of people play Doom every day and have never even committed a single crime. That is the problem with the Media effects Model, it only takes into account part of the story and not the full picture, therefore resulting in a misguided or one sided point of view.