Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Debate Question: Opposition to Media Corrupting our Society

Media is not corrupting our society

The main reason why people feel that the media corrupts our society is due to our disgust and anger in its displays of violence and pornography, which are often accused of corrupting the minds of children and the young.

However, they fail to even clearly state the form in which the media corrupts the public. Some people feel that media’s corruption is more in the form of violence, killing and massacre. Others may see pornography as a greater form of corruption. Political party members may even claim corruption as the dissemination of information that do not adhere to their political aims, such as introducing communism in a democratic state or vice versa. With such a poor definition of the way in which media corrupts society, we can never be certain about what in the media is corrupting. What appears to be corrupting to one person may be seen as by another as a way to a way in educating the people of the harsh realities of life.

Furthermore, the media is not necessarily the one responsible for the corruption of society. Ironically, it is actually the changing of opinions and the creation of a more "open" society that has caused this "corruption". As more people in the world become more open to new trends and practices, the control over the media has also loosened. There is an increasing airing of shows and movies on violence, bloodshed and gore such as SAW and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which actually enjoyed large viewership. The very fact that there is an increasing demand for such shows means that society is actually encouraging the airing of such shows. This brings about the controversial question: is it the society or the media that is corrupting?

The actual fact is that the decline of morality in the society has caused the decline of media morality and it is not the other way round. Furthermore, the statistics obtained from a survey entitled "Shooting the Messenger: Why Censorship Won't Stop Violence" have demonstrated that while research indicates numerous causes for violence, none of them link directly to media violence.

"When violent crimes hit the headlines, people want to lash out at something, anything, and assign blame," said David Horowitz, Executive Director of the Media Coalition. "The media is too often that something, even though, as our report found, there is no causal link between the violent content in the media and real violence."

While the accessibility to violence depicted in various forms of the media, such as books, magazines, movies, music, TV and video games have risen during the 1990s, violent crime has, instead, fallen to its lowest level in nearly 30 years.

The survey also notes that even research linking media with violent content to an increase in aggressive play, such as children's wrestling, as opposed to actual violence, is contradictory.

It should also be considered that television viewers are watching out of their own accord. They have a choice of whether or not to watch. If someone feels that a program has inappropriate content, he can simply change the channel or shut off the television. It is ridiculous to accuse the media of corrupting society when people can fix the problem by this simple act of discretion, assuming they themselves are not corrupt. If we were to ignore the fact that the media is not an entity independent of human control and treat it as another being with the ability to corrupt, then the situation can be seen as a willing speaker conveying ideas to a willing listener, the keyword in this case being "willing". Is the speaker at fault for speaking, even though the listener has a choice that can be easily exercised to not listen to the speaker? Or should be listener be blamed instead, for actively listening so that he may be corrupted by the ideals put forward by the speaker?

Furthermore, most people blame the mass media for the increasingly violent nature of the society, which contributes to the corruption of our children. We believe that the media are not the sole or even the primary cause of those problems. Blaming media for changes in childhood and social problems has shifted our public conversation away from addressing the real problems that impact child’s lives.

The main reason is that politicians are using the media rather than budgeting the money to address these problems. Lower-income people ‘have more experiences with the reality of problems like violence’; they know the media are not a big part of the equation in their struggles to keep their children safe in troubled communities

Media does not reach children in a vacuum. Children process the messages they receive in the context of their value systems. By giving children the tools they need to understand what they are seeing and hearing, parents can help their children absorb a wide range of media and messages consistent with the positive values taught by parents, teachers and peers.

In conclusion, we have to note that the very idea of "media” is formed by the society. Thus, how is it that the knife is blamed for the murderer’s deed?

No comments: