Fabrication and Sensationalism The American Way - Tondreau...

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Tondreau Tondreau, Ellen Visser English 101 Title: Fabrication and Sensationalism: The American Way “It’s 11 o’clock and time for the News, what do you have for us today Angie?” “Well Bill, I have a tragic story about how a young fourth grader was sexually harassed by her gym teacher during school today. The 48 year- old Hope Mills Elementary teacher was questioned by the police after the little girl was found crying in the bathroom. [pause/sigh] There was also a drug bust in downtown Pleasantville this afternoon. Police were conducted in a 20 mile chase before the convicted persons ran a red light and smashed into the side of a local school bus. Sadly there were 3 fatalities, and 5 injured. [shakes head] Also, stay tuned for information on your children’s diet. What they’re eating for lunch in school could cause cancer.” Even though this is a hypothetical situation, this is what the common televised news report consists of. Crime after crime and tragedy after tragedy- - all of which are related to violence. In the documentary Bowling for Columbine , Michael Moore asks the basic question: Why is gun violence prevalent in America? With many potential answers, he investigates various possibilities. One of Moore’s conceivable answers is the impact the News Media has on America. Michael Moore’s documentary produces questions the viewer would like to be answered. Media coverage of school violence should be 1
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Tondreau contained or subdued because it may perpetuate future acts of violence in schools. Do Americans get bored with simple stories in newspapers and on television? Do they prefer to watch a news show on how there was a shooting in the little town of Boysville, rather than a story of how there was a new litter of puppies born earlier that day? Kimberly Maxwell, the lead author on a violence argues this to be true, “the reporters know they have a large national audience making them more likely to write more on the subject of violence” (qtd. in Johnson 41). It’s more shocking, and disgustingly more interesting to Americans. The usual story of shootings, car- jackings, vandalizations, break- ins, robberies, etc…, is beginning to seem regular and normal. These stories are not positive viewing for the children of America. According to the statistics in a recent study by the University of Oregon, “While the level of violence in prime time television is about five violent acts per hour, the level of violence in children’s Saturday morning programming is about twenty to twenty- five violent acts per hour”(1). This means that, “The average American child will see 8,000 murders before he finishes elementary school”(1). Even though it is not proven that media violence perpetuates violence in schools, or any violence at all, there are some theories that have been investigated which makes it easy to believe that media does, in fact promote violence. Loren Coleman, author of The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow’s Headlines, discusses how it is routine when “a child shoots up his classroom and suddenly a wave of mass murder is sweeping through our nation’s schools”(3).
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