Media: Not Totally To Blame For The Violence In Society Essay, Research Paper
People are quick to blame violence in our society on television, movies or video games because they are simple believable targets. We have to look beyond this disinformation and attack the real causes for the violence in our society. Violence in television programs, movies, or video games will not make a person kill someone else. People watch violent images all the time, and only a very small percent of them actually commit violent crimes. Research on the subject does not necessarily support the argument, but they do not counteract it either. The research is too often inconclusive and to base our opinions on this matter without concrete evidence is foolish. Violence on television, movies and video games is not the problem. The problem is that we wrongfully blame these media sources for violent crimes, rather than put the blame where it rightfully belongs. And if we can do away with all the disinformation on this topic, if we can stop fooling ourselves into thinking that, by cleansing the media we can also cleanse the society, we can then start to solve the real issues in our society.
But the hordes of concerned citizens that cry out for government regulation will not admit that the source for society’s ills may be their own. What they want is a scapegoat. A simple, plausible scapegoat. Something that will appease their conscience. And the media has provided just that. But, if you dig deeper you might just find the answer buried deep within this maze of half-truths.
Crime and violence might be the result of a mental condition. But more often than not, it is the result of a child growing up in a violent family, a troubled childhood, or simply bad parenting. After all, where does a child first learn to be a part of society? Although the violence present in these media sources may help instigate a violent act, it is never the only cause. A person does not go from being a perfectly adapted member of society, watch a person get shot in a movie, and then go out and shoot somebody themselves. As a U.S. Senator said; “Violence… is a blaze fed by many fires”. The answer is not in the censoring of the media, the answer lies in the most basic block of a society. The family.
“If children live with hostility, they learn to fight… If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive… If children live with acceptance, they learn to love… If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.” This is an excerpt from a poem by Dorothy Law Nolte. It is as poignant today as it was when it was written. Children do learn what they live. Whatever a child sees his parents do, he will imitate. Whatever they believe, he will accept as right. Before certain concerned citizens start pointing fingers, they should know who exactly they are pointing at.
Yet it is true that the media are partly to blame for the violence in society. Television, movies and video games have a great influence on the minds of the masses. But what the media’s critics don’t understand is that the media is not the living entity everyone thinks, but a tool shaped by the masses themselves. So what can you expect from the media? “If you let them roll in filth, you may call them pigs”. What people need to realize is that media are like a suit: it is tailored to fit the needs of the ones who wears it. In this case, the clothes make the man. And what kind of “man” is wearing the suit? It is said; “It is possible to judge a society on two things: how they are entertained; and how they treat their criminals”. Often they go hand in hand.
Before humans could see or engage in virtual violence, we watched and/or committed some real brutal acts. Take for example the Romans. They would watch gladiators fight to the death in the circus long before the advent of television. They used the circus for two purposes: first it took care of the criminals; and it kept the masses entertained and their attentions diverted elsewhere. They also used “sport” as a means of gaining support, as a political machine. Of gaining the masses’ favor. The effects of this empire’s decisions would be felt for thousands of years. Now, in the present, with the media so readily available and the masses so easily distracted, broadcasters had to find a way to hold the attention of fickle audiences. So what did they come up with? The circus. A media circus. Modernized and tailored to fit this new era. But sadly, the same thing happened today as it had since the time of the Romans. It was still a political machine working for those with the deepest pockets. Televisions were to be a great tool for enriching lives and bringing people together. It was to be a voice of the people, for the people. This is still true in a way; it has become a voice for the richest men with the loudest voices. Ironically today, it is some of these same voices that are causing the loudest uproar over the use of the media.
Television, movies and video games hold great power. But I believe that people single out television, movies and video games as an explanation for violent crimes simply because it is the simplest easiest explanation. But the media are not at fault for the violence present in modern society. The blame rests primarily with society itself. If we want to be a better community, perhaps even world, we must address the real problems, rather than the trappings of media. Not only would we have less violence and crime, as a result, but children may learn that the world is a nice place in which to live.