Media And Cultivation Theory Essay

1194 words - 5 pages

In an ever-increasingly mediated society, mass media has become inseparable with the production of everyday life. Media is now a platform for members of society to connect with global events and other people beyond their own personal experience. For many, the media is a major source of information and “accounts of violence, as presented by the mass media, are the primary medium by which the average person comes to know crime and justice” (Barak, 1994). The following essay will explore the theories of both cultivation analysis, as established by George Gerbner, as well as agenda setting, reputable to Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw. These concepts will demonstrate how the recent Santa Barbara ...view middle of the document...

Furthermore agenda setting describes the creation of public awareness and concern of salient issues by the news media. Underlying most research on agenda setting lies two assumptions. The first being that the media do not reflect reality but instead filter and shape it, and the second; the medias’ concentration on different issues lead the public to perceive those issues as being more important than others (McCombs and Shaw, 1972). As Griffin (2009, p. 364) so concisely stated, “the media aren’t very successful in telling us what to think, but they are stunningly successful in telling us what to think about”. In more recent times, the direction of this theory has changed. Scholars have begun to focus on how the media “frame” social issues through the inclusion and omission of certain attributes of particular events (Ruddock, 2013). “Framing” refers to the forming of narratives and concepts that deliver meaning as an event unfolds (McCombs and Shaw, 1972). Themes such as media violence, particularly in the event of a school shooting, are often used to repeatedly reinforce social norms that are deemed important by the media. As a result, generic stereotypes are inevitably cast and the potential copycat behavior advertised.
Only days ago, Elliot Rodger, a twenty-two year old student at the University of California in Santa Barbara, embarked on a killing spree within the student community of Isla Vista. On the night of May 23, Rodger left six victims dead and thirteen others injured before turning his gun on himself. In the new digital era, society actively participates in both receiving and creating media messages to shape social reality (Ruddock, 2013). In the case of Elliot Rodger, his Internet footprint is as alarming as it is telling. On the day before the massacre Rodger uploaded a YouTube entitled ‘Elliot Rodger’s Retribution’. In this manifestation, Rodger describes his own plans to kill women in vengeance for his loneliness and frustration at never having had girlfriend. He also expressed his hatred for the good looking and sexually active men at his university as well as his sadness about still being a virgin at twenty-two years old. Minutes before the killing, Rodger emailed a 137-page manifesto to some 30 people. The recipients included his parents, therapist and former teachers and detailed the source of all his problems: women. Leading up to the event, Rodger has also been found to have had visited internet chat rooms and websites run by Men’s Rights Activist groups on numerous occasions. Also, he had uploaded more than a dozen YouTube videos where he expressed violent...

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