Can Media Inspire Violent Crimes?One problem that many corporations ignore is the possibility thataggressive type people seek reinforcement for their own destructive acts, eitheragainst themselves or other people.
Television violence, for instance, and thewidespread public concern accompanying it have led to calls for strict controlson the depiction of violent programs. In their decision making, some producers do not take responsibility for theequally important minority. Instead, they may gear their content toward themasses, who crave sexually explicit and violent action. Fortunately, this grouphas the ability to disseminate violent action rationally, realizing that inreality, people who commit acts of violence have to compensate for their actionsby taking full responsibility for the harm they cause others. Not everyone can distinguish fact from fantasy. Not only is it theirrational people who commit the crimes in our country, but our own children whomay errantly be learning from day one that nothing bad will happen to them ifthey shoot their brother in the head with Daddy’s pistol.
Studies show that in one week of content analysis of prime-time output onseven New York City channels, there were 3,421 acts and threats of violenceobserved. Children’s fictional entertainment programs had three times thefrequency of violent acts or threats recorded in adult programs. (Gunter,p. 13). many of these acts were committed without any compensation for theaction without responsibility, then it must be acceptable behavior.
Similarly,aggressive adults are seeking reinforcement for their own anti-social behaviorfrom seeing attractive television characters behave in the same way. Behavioral evidence has indicated that the anti-social effects of violenttelevision portrayals are strongest and are most likely to occur amongindividuals who are already aggressive. (Palmer, p. 10). The ethical question is, should television submit to mass appeal or takeinto consideration the affects on certain members of society, includingchildren? The consequences of televising violence are not only harmful to someviewers but concurrently affect the television stations in the form of loss ofviewers and possibly gaining a bad reputation. There are many sources,including viewers’ associations and popular journalism, which have beencondemning the depiction of violence in television programs as a potentiallydangerous and anti-social act on the part of those who make and transmitprograms.
(Gunter p. 2). Still, even though these associations have beencondemning television violence, their efforts have had little effect on thelarge money-making corporations. Therefore, the decision, on the part of thosein charge of the programs, should be one of social responsibility.
In his article, “Sex and Violence”, Joe Saltzman states, “If, as producersargue, violence is a part of the human condition, then so is responsibility. Inreal life, you just do not commit mayhem and then go on to the next scene. “It is also necessary to realize that violence is part of our nature and ofour life. Almost everyday we are participants and observers of violence,whether it is natural violence, theatrical or fictional violence, sporting eventviolence, or political violence. To exclude all scenes of violence formtelevision would be to falsify the picture of life. Television media can “encourage or aid” destructive behavior, not “cause”it.
There are usually many more casual factors involved. To tell people whatthey can and can not say, write, and televise is unconstitutional; however, itcan be controlled and we can hope that the decision makers will promote strongmoral, ethical values in their decision making or at least consider them, inorder to help prevent violent or self-destructive behavior. BibliographyGunter, Barrie; Dimensions of Television Violence, p. 2, 13. Palmer, Edward; Children in the Cradle of Television, p.