The Influence of Media ViolenceThe entertainment quality found in media violence eventually leads tothe degradation of human beings in society. Reality is distorted when people accept violence in media withoutquestion. Violence in media distorts reality by making people believeour world is unsafe. Although this may partially be true, media makessociety believe one must have weapons to protect oneself. Actually thisbelief may propel the problem further. That is, the more weapons in oursociety the greater the chance of someone using them for the wrongthings.
Most researchers blame movies, like Terminator 2 and Rambo, forcausing people to have this distorted reality. Although these moviesshow a horrendous amount of blood and gore, I believe that most adultsare able to separate these movies from reality. I feel that the “News’has a far worse impact on peoples perception of reality. To society the”News” is reality. These things really happen and we accept the “News”as truth (Davis, 1992, p. 5). We become so accustomed to violent crimesand horror stories that we become less compassionate to others.
Anotherset of TV programs that have a powerful influence on the way we perceivesociety is the now hotter than ever “TV TALK SHOW”. These TV Talk Showshave grown so popular over the last decade that every hour of the day atleast two ?or three seem to be on television. These talk shows showpeople with problems ranging from a husband who is having a sexualrelationship with his wife s sister to people who are physicallyattracted to their pets. The host or hostess of the show tries to solvethe problem (or so he/she wants us to think).
When we see people withproblems such as these everyday on TV, we become so conditioned to themthat we begin to see these problems as being normal and okay morally.In F-451 the government distorts reality by controlling the mediaentirely, telling the people that there is nothing wrong with theircurrent lifestyle. The dynamics of media violence work in a similar way as the addiction todrugs. Psychologically, people realize that their life is ordinary andmundane when compared to the violent scenes where their heroes andheroines act out exciting dramas. People are vulnerable to usingviolence itself to change their everyday life into the thrilling anddangerous life of their hero or heroine (Johnston, 1993, p. 6). InF-451 society has become so addicted to the media and would ratherinteract with a TV then with people themselves. This is because the
media presents a comfortable and entertaining environment for them,free of the hassles of the real world of which they know nothing. Ever since TV became mass media, researchers have studied how violenceon TV affects the behavior of people watching. A decade after a 1972 Surgeon General s report that explored the effects of televised violenceupon adolescents, a report was issued by the National Institute of Mental Health concluding “that the research question was no longerwhether, but how, violence on TV leads to aggressive behavior” (Davies, 1994, p. 10). The constant bombardment of images, sounds, and emotionsof shootings, bombings and rapes will no doubt desensitized society andmight even lead to their validation of it as a response to a stressfullifestyle (Johnston, 1993, p.6). A study was conducted on a town in Canada where, because of its location, TV reception was unavailableuntil 1974. This centre was referred to as Notel. Notel was compared totwo other similar demographic Canadian towns. One town, called Unital,received only CBC, while the other named Multitel, received CBC, CBS,NBC and ABC. The first phase involved collecting data and concluded in1973 just before CBC reception became available in Notel. In all threetowns, the researchers observed both physical and verbal aggression ofchildren during play periods, asked for teachers ratings of students aggressiveness, and also had students rate the aggressiveness of theirpeers both before and two years after Notel received television. Children in Notel showed a significant increase in both physical andverbal aggression after receiving television, but no such change wasobserved of children in either Unitel or Multitel (Mietkiewicz, 1993,p.G1). In F-451, society had became so violent that people who wouldwalk on the street were in danger of being run over and left to die, asthe offender drives away cheering. The constant echo of fighter planesrumbling in the sky, people being burnt to death for reading and owningbooks are other examples of the violent society in which Montag lived. Violence in media affects everyone in a negative way. Everywhere we gothe media follows. We cannot hide from it. I believe that media is whatshapes most of our values and beliefs as in Montag s world. Therefore ifgarbage goes in garbage comes out. With the constant bombardment ofviolent media we become desensitized and the value of life is minimized. Censorship is virtually impossible but we do have a choice. We can limitexposure to the quality and quantity of media and learn to be criticalmedia consumers. This is the only solution.