Monday, February 14, 2011

I noticed a substantial shift in the scholarly tone of the writings in part III from 1949-1968. Previous scholarship, including Dewey, Locke, DuBois, and Lippmann seemed to focus on the impact of mass media on the general health of the human soul. However, in the works by Harold Innis, Newton Minow, and Herbert Marcuse, the violence of WWII and the Vietnam War seemed to direct the attention of the authors to role of mass media in the survival of civilization. Innis's cynicism is apparent in his belief "[e]ach civilization has its own methods of suicide" (Peters & Simonson 280). Former FCC CommissionerNewton Minow echoed this sentiment by arguing the unnecessary violence and death on television was strongly against the public interest and sent a poor message of US culture abroad (Peters & Simonson 470). Marcuse is perhaps most pointed with his description of "technological aggression and satisfaction" in the media's misuse of language which embodies "a suicidal tendency on a truly social scale" (Peters & Simonson 493). In your estimation what relationship does mass media have in the "normalization" of violence and destruction? Do you believe that television can act as a form of violence itself through its desensitization of the viewer?

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