A Guess at What Might Be Wrong with The Media Effects Model

The Media Effects Model is a theory that was first hypothesised by the “Frankfurt School of Social Sciences” in the 1990’s. It is used a multitude of times in news coverage and as an easy argument for many wrong doings in society. It can be hypothesised that the human population adheres to the model because it is incapable of moving away from the mindset that we are all inherently “pure”. From The Devil to unethical rationalisation, Man will never, as an organism, admit that they do evil things for no reason other than their own design. This argument is what I will base my theories about the “Media Effects Model” on.

The model itself claims that the media has an ability to change the behaviour of the audiences. In Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd: a Study of the Popular Mind, 1896, Le Bon makes mention on the media effects model by stating that “The unreal has about as much influence on them (us) as the real”. It is this concept, paired with a person’s repulsion of an impure species that gives the model so much strength. This however is also it’s greatest flaw.

In David Gauntlett’s article “10 Things Wrong with the Effects Model”, he mentions that “The effects model tackles social problems ‘backwards'”. This, to my belief is the most obvious hole in the model. Mankind has become so absorbed with the idea that blaming other sources for our atrocities is the only feasible excuse for committing them that the media effects model was created to explain violence and unethical behaviour before another source was delved in to. This is seen in countless news articles including Charlotte Daweson’s death earlier this year to the Murder of James Bulger in 1993. Though there were many factors associated with these crimes, medial influence is the most prominent cause of blame.

The media effects model is, at it’s core, an idea conceived as an excuse for man’s foul nature. It holds no intrinsic proof towards extreme acts such as those stated and though the media has an ability to change minds and emotions. It has no control over acts of violence and pain.

Reference List

Ethics Fallacies, Myths, Distortions and Rationalizations. 2014. Ethics Fallacies, Myths, Distortions and Rationalizations. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ethicsscoreboard.com/rb_fallacies.html. [Accessed 14 March 2014].

The Frankfurt School. 2014. The Frankfurt School. [ONLINE] Available at: http://pages.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/papers/fs.htm. [Accessed 14 March 2014].

Khun, T. S., 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 3rd ed. Chicago U.S.A: United Chicago Press.

Charlotte Dawson s death puts cyberbullying back in spotlight – Yahoo!7. 2014. Charlotte Dawson s death puts cyberbullying back in spotlight – Yahoo!7. [ONLINE] Available at: http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/21648966/charlotte-dawsons-death-puts-cyberbullying-back-in-spotlight/. [Accessed 14 March 2014].

2014. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&sqi=2&ved=0CDYQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.createsolutions.org%2Funicef%2FDocuments%2Fresources%2Ftheme%2Fmediapublicopinion%2Froleofstatspublicopinion3uk.doc&ei=BckiU_S8NYfJkQXwp4BQ&usg=AFQjCNH-CsEL0Agpnve_c3hk26kHGaLrSQ&sig2=qOv0nukLzPs7rVzL2eiA1Q. [Accessed 14 March 2014].

David Gauntlett – Ten things wrong with the media ‘effects’ model. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.theory.org.uk/david/effects.htm. [Accessed 14 March 2014].


2 thoughts on “A Guess at What Might Be Wrong with The Media Effects Model

  1. Hi Daniel,

    Your post is highly informative and you have expressed your point of view strongly.

    I have also followed the story of Charlotte Dawson’s death and find it incredulous that social media is to blame when there are a number of other factors to account for.

    Like you, I believe that there will always be violent and malicious people in the world, even without social media. It is just unfortunate that the prevalence of this communication medium enables such people to target their victims more easily.

    Well done

    Regards Giverny

  2. I agree, humans often use the media to excuse or explain what is just flawed human nature & behaviour. We often seem to forget that there’s actually people behind the media (be it Twitter or a newspaper), and instead blame the medium – which when you think about it, is a bit of an odd thing to do.
    Good article – looking forward to reading more of your BCM110 blogs!

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