With the expansion of mass media, every day we are more influenced and inspired by what we watch. Majority of individuals believe mass media will commonly have a direct effect upon our behaviour. The ‘media effects’ model takes on the approach that human behaviour, in particular ‘violence’ is entirely influenced on what type of mass media the individual engages with. Reality hit MTV show The Jersey Shore is well known for promoting erratic drunken behaviour and violence. But is it ok to blame the media for our violent behavior because we viewed a fight scene on the Jersey Shore?
Not entirely what is depicted on Television programs will motivate us to commit those types of behavior. Therefore, we may presume there is something wrong with the ‘media effects’ model. In ‘Ten things wrong with the effects model’ by David Gauntlett, he states that “The effects model tackles social problems backwards.” Instead of connecting all acts of violence to mass media, we should question what is wrong with the individual for carrying out his or her actions. It is important to look at the individual’s identity and background factors before we blame the mass media.
The ‘media effects’ model is wrong in various ways, it is highly based on unreliable findings, artificial studies and misapplied methodologies. Clearly, Alfred Bandura’s famous Bobo doll experiment is invalid. However, it was taken as proof that watching violence promotes violence. As seen in the below video, children witnessing an adult role model behaving in an overly aggressive manner were highly likely to replicate similar behaviour themselves, even if the adult was not present. Causality played an important role in the experiment, because monkey see monkey do. Evidently, it reveals the ‘Media effects’ model will accept dishonest ‘findings’.
The ‘media effects’ model is incorrect again! The model views only acts of violence shown on TV shows and films as having an effect on the behaviour of the viewer. Acts of violence which appears on news reports and factual programs are seen as exempt (David Gauntlett, 1998). It strongly indicates the ‘media effects’ model fails to accept all mass media.
George Gerbner undertook a content analysis to emphasise violent television programs ‘cultivate’ violence in society. I believe his cultivation theory appeared more to be aimed at incriminating the media for promoting violence.
Ultimately, will the ‘media effects’ model give a honest reflection on the relationship between the mass media and the audience or will it continue to give false assumptions?