chapter 15

chapter 15 - In 1999, two heavily armed students wearing...

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1 ± In 1999, two heavily armed students wearing trench coats attacked Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. They planted as many as fifty bombs and murdered twelve fellow students and a teacher before killing themselves. ± In the wake of this tragedy, many people blamed the mass media, speculating that the killers had immersed themselves in the dark lyrics of shock rocker Marilyn Manson and were desensitized to violence by “first-person shooter” video games such as Doom. ± Still others looked to the influence of films like The Basketball Diaries , in which a drug-using, trench-coated teenager (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) imagines shooting a teacher and his classmates. Early Developments in Media Research ± During the mid to late nineteenth century, the major models of media analysis were based on moral and political arguments, as suggested in de Alexis de Tocqueville ’s writings. ± More scientific approaches to mass media research did not begin to develop until the late 1920s and 1930s. ± It was in 1920 that Walter Lippmann, in his book Liberty and the News , called on journalists to operate more like scientific researchers in gathering and analyzing factual material. ² Lippmann’s next book, Public Opinion , published in 1922, applied principles of psychology to journalism. It is considered by many academics to be “the founding book in American media studies.” ± “The pictures inside the heads of these human beings, the pictures of themselves, of others, of their needs, purposes, and relationships, are their public opinions.” ² –Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion , 1922
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2 Propaganda Analysis ± After World War I, some media researchers became interested in the ways in which propaganda had been used to advance the American war effort. They found that during the war, governments routinely relied on propaganda divisions as part of their “information” apparatus. ± Though propaganda was considered a positive force for mobilizing public opinion during the war, researchers after the war labeled propaganda as “partisan appeal based on half-truths and devious manipulation of communication channels.” Public Opinion Research ± Researchers soon extended the study of war propaganda to include general concerns about how the mass media filtered information and shaped public attitudes. ± On the upside, research on diverse populations has provided insights into citizen behavior and social differences, especialy during election periods or folowing major national events. ± On the downside, the journalism profession has become increasingly dependent on political polls. Some critics ask whether this heavy reliance on measured public opinion has begun to adversely affect active political involvement. ± Furthermore, because people do not
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chapter 15 - In 1999, two heavily armed students wearing...

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