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Social and Political Issues Chapter 13. Jodi Hallsten I’m Your Teacher . 2 Types of Media Research. Media Effects Research Analyzes people’s use of media Content Analysis Examines media content. Early Media Effects Studies. “Magic Bullet Theory” “Hypodermic needle” theory

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Social and Political IssuesChapter 13

Jodi Hallsten

I’m Your Teacher


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2 Types of Media Research

  • Media Effects Research

    • Analyzes people’s use of media

  • Content Analysis

    • Examines media content


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Early Media Effects Studies

  • “Magic Bullet Theory”

    • “Hypodermic needle” theory

    • Media ideas directly affect people’s behavior

    • Proven untrue

    • “Direct Effects” Media Model

  • The Cantril Study

    • 1939, Studied “War of the Worlds”

    • Contradicted Payne findings

  • The Laswell Model

    • Who-says what-on which channel-to whom-with what effect?

Bartolomiej Stroinski/stock.xchnge


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Media Effects Studies

  • The Cantril Study

    • 1939, Studied “War of the Worlds”

    • Contradicted Payne findings

    • “People w/certain personality characteristics interpreted the broadcast differently”

    • “Limited Effects” Model: Media + Something Else

  • The Laswell Model

    • Who-says what-on which channel-to whom-with what effect?

Matias Puga/stock.xchnge


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Television and Children’s Behavior

  • TV in the Lives of Children

    • Children’s watch a lot of TV

    • Found different effects for different people

      • Fantasy / Diversion / Instruction

  • TV and Social Behavior

    • Violence and TV: Gerbner

    • Could not prove connection between violence on TV and violent behavior in children

  • The Early Window

    • 1988: No one, single cause of any social behavior

Bill Aron/Photo Edit


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Children and TV Advertising

  • Television Advertising to Children

    • Average child sees 20,000 ads a year

    • Average child sees 3 hours a week of TV ads

    • Many children do not distinguish between ads and programming

    • Called for ban on ads for young children

Bill Arun/Photo Edit


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Television & Violence

  • Television and Behavior

    • Direct correlation between TV violence and aggression

    • Cannot be predicted

    • Heavy TV viewers are more fearful

    • “Pro social” programming can lead to responsible behavior

Erik Dungan/stock.xchnge


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The Media & National Politics

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt

    • Fireside Chats, 1933

  • The People’s Choice

    • Media activate people to vote and reinforce already held opinions

    • “Opinion leaders” help shape other’s opinions

      • Obtain information from media and share it with friends and family

      • “2-step flow” model of communication

      • Media  Opinion Leaders  Everyone

      • Political advertising sways swing voters

Library of Congress

Franklin D. Roosevelt


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Mass Media and Cultural Values

  • “Spiral of Silence”

    • Elisabeth Noelle Newman

    • Media forms a consensus

    • Opposing viewpoints become fewer

    • “Vocal Minority – Silent Majority”

  • No Sense of Place

    • 1985, Joshua Meyerwitz

    • Television breaks down distinctions

      • Between men and women

      • Between child and adult

      • Loss of childhood

Tim Spence/stock.xchnge


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Mass Media and Cultural Values

  • Television and school performance

    • Students who watched more TV scored lower

Carlos Alvarez/Getty images

Halle Berry


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Multiculturalism & the Mass Media

  • Media slow to reflect evolving multiculturalism

  • NY Times content analysis, 1934-1994

    • Nonwhites visible “in glimpses”

    • Minorities “outside” American Society

  • Content analysis of network TV, 1994-1995

    • Only 2% of prime time characters Latino

Vince Bucci/Getty Images

Brad Pitt


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Diverse lifestyles and American media

1993 For Better or For Worse comic strip introduced gay character

1996 New Yorker

Men kissing on the cover

L.A. Law 1991; Ellen 1997

Lesbian kisses on TV

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy 2003

Possible indications of wider tolerance

Gender Issues & the Mass Media

Hector Mata/AFP/Getty Images


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Review Questions

  • The “Magic Bullet Theory” of media effects has received much support from recent research (True or false?)

  • Research on the effects of television on children tends to view the effect as negative, but is not conclusive (True or false?)

  • American media continue to struggle with issues of multiculturalism (True or false?)

(See “Notes Page” under the View Menu for the answers)


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