Module 3 Module 3 Module 3 Module 3
Module 3 Presentation Readings Assignments

Go on to Part 2, Media and Socialization, cont.
Go to Part 3, Mass Mediation of Leisure

Mass Media As Myth Maker

1) Media and Socialization

This refers to the ways media influences the development of an individual's culture and the culture of groups.
When Mass Media create a system of beliefs for an individual or group, Mass Media influences Mass Culture.
All five of the Roles of Mass Media, (Module 3, Part 4), can go into the making of a Media Mythos.
The article below touches on themes from both Module 3 and Module 4.

It talks about new sources of news information. This would normally be considered good, since different sources counter some of the bad effects of concentration of ownership.

It talks about globalization, since these new sources are not American.

It talks about how these new sources are forcing traditional news media to deal with issues of gate keeping.

And it talks about the front line of the war on terrorism - not the hillsides of Afghanistan or the cities in Iraq, but the hearts and minds of the billions of media consumers across the world.
Click here to read "A Public Flooded With Images From Friend and Foe Alike."

2) Mass Mediation of Leisure

The Industrial Revolution gave the working class more leisure time. As leisure became more important to society, becoming part of that leisure became more important to mass media.

3) Commercialization of Culture

The Industrial Revolution also brought the concept of rapid consumption of goods and services. And Mass Media played a key role in promoting consumption.

1) Media and Socialization

This refers to the ways media influences the development of an individual's culture and the culture of groups.

Two of the most powerful ways media achieves this socialization are:

1) Media as an information source
2) Media as an influence on what we believe
The Wild One
Click for larger image

1) Media As A Source of Information

Surveillance and Interpretation

People get information from many sources, but their primary source of information is the media.

20% of high school students listed rock music as an important source of information about moral values.

25% said it was an important source of information about interpersonal relationships.

Rap music has long been criticized for its anti-social and anti-feminist portrayals. But women in rap are emerging as equal opportunity oppressors. Below is a "PG" rated video from Lil' Kim.

The lyrics to "How Many Licks" are more representative of her work.

Click here to open new window with complete lyrics.
Note: Lyrics contain strong language.

But some scholars defend rap as social expression:

"Much rap music provides a spectacle of self-assertion with images of black rap singers threatening white power structures, denouncing racial oppression and police violence, and celebrating a diverse realm of black cultural forms extending from Afrocentric nationalism to the gangster lifestyle. With its staccato beat, multilayered sound, aggressive lyrics, in-your-face messages, and defiant style, rap provides a spectacle of revolt and insurrection in its live performances, music videos, and recorded forms. Blasting out of boom boxes in the ghettos, roaring from car stereos, and blaring from home sound systems, rap provides a cascade of sounds threatening middle class order and decorum and the powers that be."

Click here to read "Rap, Black Rage, and Racial Difference."

Some critics also condemn popular music for its sexual attitudes:

"Overall, 22 percent of radio segments contained sexual content, and 20 percent of these were "pretty explicit" or "very explicit." When there is sexual content on the radio, it tends to be during music segments (44% include sexual content) or during talk segments (30%). Almost half (44%) of sexual messages during talk segments referred to sex outside of pre-existing relationships, whereas fewer than one in ten (6%) messages referred to sex within a pre-existing relationship. ...

For both the CDs and the radio programming, very few songs or segments included messages about sexual planning/responsibility, the consequences or risks of sexual behavior, the benefits of sexual patience, or fidelity."

Click here to read "Teen-Oriented Radio and CD Sexual Content Analysis."

So what's wrong with Media as a Source of Information? It depends on how accurate the media is. What happens if we make decisions based in inaccurate information?

It depends on how many gatekeepers are involved, and whether the gatekeepers are biased. If our sources of information are unbalanced because of gatekeepers with an agenda to promote, we can make bad decisions.

Most importantly, it depends on whether the media is our only source of information about a culture. How much of our attitude towards Islam is based on news reports of violent attacks?

Donesbury cartoon
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©1992, G.B. Trudeau

The two articles below point out some major trends in the news industry and discuss some of the dangers to the public caused by those trends.

The authors of "Warp Speed" examine what they call the new Mixed Media Culture, in which the classic function of journalism to sort out a true and reliable account of the day's events is being undermined and displaced by the continuous news cycle, the growing power of sources over reporters, varying and inconsistent standards of journalism, and a fascination with inexpensive, polarizing argument. The authors explore the implications of these changes for the role of journalism as a cohesive element in our culture and as a forum for public debate and catalyst for problem solving.

Click here to read "Warp Speed: America in the Age of Mixed Media."

The most recent analysis of the state of the news media shows those trends have accelerated.

Project for Excellence in Journalism, "The State of the News Media 2010"

"In the meantime, perhaps one concept identifies most clearly what is going on in journalism: Most news organizations - new or old - are becoming niche operations, more specific in focus, brand and appeal and narrower, necessarily, in ambition.

Old media are trying to imagine the new smaller newsroom of the future in the relic of their old ones. New media are imagining the new newsroom from a blank slate.

Among the critical questions all this will pose: Is there some collaborative model that would allow citizens and journalists to have the best of both worlds and add more capacity here? What ethical values about news will settle in at these sites? Will legacy and new media continue to cooperate more, sharing stories and pooling resources, and if they do, how can one operation vouch for the fairness and accuracy of something they did not produce?"

After you've completed this part of Module 4, go to the Assignments page and complete the first Angel Discussion Board Assignment.
Go on to Part 2, Media and Socialization, cont.
Go to Part 3, Mass Mediation of Leisure
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©2011, Terry Dugas

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