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Social Sci LibreTexts

4.5F: Mass Media and Technology

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    7992
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    Since mass media has enormous effects on our attitudes and behavior, it contributes to the socialization process.

     

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES

     

    Analyze the connection between media, technology and society

     

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    Key Points

     

    • Mass media is the means for delivering impersonal communications directed to a vast audience.
    • The term media comes from Latin meaning, “middle,” suggesting that the media’s function is to connect people.
    • Media bias refers to the bias of journalists and news producers within mass media. Bias exists in the selection of events and stories that are reported and how they are covered.
    • A technique used to avoid bias is the “round table,” an adversarial format in which representatives of opposing views comment on an issue.
    • A technique used to avoid bias is the “round table”, an adversarial format in which representatives of opposing views comment on an issue.

     

    Key Terms

     

    • media bias: A political bias in journalistic reporting, in programming selection, or otherwise in mass communications media.
    • round table: A conference at which participants of similar status discuss and exchange views
    • mass media: Collectively, the communications media, especially television, radio, and newspapers, that reach the mass of the people.

    Mass media is the means for delivering impersonal communications directed to a vast audience. The term media comes from Latin meaning, “middle,” suggesting that the media’s function is to connect people. Since mass media has enormous effects on our attitudes and behavior, notably in regards to aggression, it contributes to the socialization process.

     

    Media Bias

     

    Media bias refers the bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media. Bias exists in the selection of events and stories that are reported and how they are covered. The term “media bias” implies a pervasive or widespread bias contravening the standards of journalism, rather than the perspective of an individual journalist or article. The direction and degree of media bias in various countries is widely disputed.

    image

     

    Media Bias: A panel in the Newseum in Washington, DC shows the September 12 headlines in America and around the world. Note the different treatment of 9/11 by different sources.

    A technique employed to avoid bias is the “round table,” an adversarial format in which representatives from opposing views comment on an issue. This approach theoretically allows diverse views to appear in the media. However, the person organizing the report still has the responsibility to choose people who really represent the breadth of opinion, to ask them non-prejudicial questions, and to edit their comments fairly. When done carelessly, a point/counterpoint can be as unfair as a simple biased report, by suggesting that the “losing” side lost on its merits.

    The apparent bias of media is not always specifically political in nature. The news media tend to appeal to a specific audience. This means stories that affect a large number of people on a global scale often receive less coverage in some markets than local stories, such as a public school shooting, a celebrity wedding, a plane crash, or similarly glamorous or shocking stories. Millions of deaths in an ethnic conflict in Africa might be afforded scant mention in American media, while the shooting of five people in a high school is analyzed in-depth. The reason for these types of bias is a function of what the public wants to watch and/or what producers and publishers believe the public wants to watch.

     

    Video Game Violence

     

    Debates have been going on for years about the problem and effect of violent video games. Many people believe that violent video games, when played regularly, lead to real-life violence. In fact, video game violence can lead to an increase in a person’s thoughts and behaviors. There have been incidents of children acting out the violence they see in a game, often with dire consequences. The key is being involved in other activities; when teenagers who played violent video games also participated in sports or clubs, there was less indication they would become violent in any potential situation.