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The Hypodermic Syringe Model Essay

824 words - 3 pages

The Hypodermic-Syringe Model

The hypodermic syringe model suggest that the media is alike a magic bullet and when an audience is targeted it will immediately be knocked down when they are hit. The hypodermic-syringe model also suggests that society is passive and the media “inject” their media influence into society and manipulates it. The Frankfurt school envisioned the media as a hypodermic syringe, and the contents of the media were injected into the thoughts of the audience, who accepted the attitudes, opinions and beliefs expressed by the media without question. This model was a response to the German fascist’s use of film and radio for propaganda, and later applied to American capitalist society. The followers of the hypodermic model of Effects adopted a variant of Marxism, emphasizing the dangers of the power of capitalism, which owned and controlled new forms of media.
Researchers in the fifties also supported the Effects model when exploring the potential of the new medium of television. Researchers were particularly concerned over increases in the representation of violent acts on television, which related with increases in violent acts in society. In the nineties, there was considerable concern over what were called "video nasties". The tabloid papers created a moral panic over whether particular violet films could influence child behavior – and whether Childs Play 3 influenced the child killers of Jamie Bulger, but there was no proof that they had watched it. To combat things like this happening, censorship was brought in on things like films, games and music.

Theorists since have thought that media could not have such direct effects on the audiences they serve, and consider the media as a comparatively weak influence in molding individual beliefs, opinions and attitudes. Other factors present in society, such as personal contact and religion, are more likely to influence people. The Effects model is considered to be an inadequate representation of the communication between media and the public, as it does not take into account the audience as individuals with their own beliefs, opinions, ideals and attitudes:
Audiences are not blank sheets of paper on which media messages can be written; members of an audience will have prior attitudes and beliefs which will determine how effective media messages are. (Abercrombie 1996, 140)

Supporters of the Effects model assume the audience is passive in the receiving and interpretation of media texts. Great emphasis is placed on the text itself and its power to directly influence the audience. Meanings in the text are readily available and...

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