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Crime and Violence on Television and Its Impact on Wider Audiences - Essay Example

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An analysis of the media portrayals of crime and violence reveals that the phenomenon has been a critical component of television broadcasting, resulting in a widespread psychological impact on the minds of audiences that also extends to the incidence or occurrence of violent behavior…
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Crime and Violence on Television and Its Impact on Wider Audiences
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Crime and Violence on Television and Its Impact on Wider Audiences

An analysis of the media portrayals of crime and violence reveals that the phenomenon has been a critical component of television broadcasting, resulting in a widespread psychological impact on the minds of audiences that also extends to the incidence or occurrence of violent behavior. This paper will focus on comprehensively discussing the impact that depictions of crime and violence have had on the behavior of audiences. Specifically, the hypothesis presented in the paper asserts that viewing of violence and crime on television is positively correlated with an increase in violent behavior on the part of the audience. Additionally, the resources that are to be reviewed for the purposes of this paper will include, but are not limited to Centerwall (1992): Television and Violence, Philips (1983): The Impact of Mass Media on U.S Homicides and Kahlor and Eastin (2011): Television’s role in the culture violence towards women, David Bauder (Dec 21, 2012): Violence Baked into Popular Culture and Savage, J. (2004): Does viewing violent media really cause criminal violence?. In conclusion, the paper presents an evaluation of the preceding discussion. Gross and Gerbner (1981) assert that in the light of empirical evidence and researches, it is a plausible assertion to make, that violence on television shares a strong relationship with the occurrence of aggressive behavior in both adults and children, however, the scale of this impact appears to narrow. This research essentially defines the age group of the audience who is at a greater risk of being targeted by violent depictions in the media in comparison with other age groups. According to Huesmann et al. (2003) the results of a longitudinal study lasting from the period of 1977-1992 indicated that while, male children are more likely to show aggressive and violent behavior due to extensive viewing of violence-laden television, the chances of this behavior transitioning into adulthood are foreseeable for both the sexes. The primary reasons governing the positive correlation between the viewing of violence on television and an increase in violent behavior on the part of the audience include; the audiences’ ability to relate to the characters portraying violence and the extent to which they are able to develop an association between the virtual world of television and reality (Huesmann et al. 2003). Savage (2004) notes that researchers need to recognize the distinction between aggressive behavior and violent crime when assessing the two consequences with regards to the viewership of violence-laden television, as an evaluation of extensive empirical evidence does not prove the hypothesis that television violence is responsible for causing an increase in criminal acts. On the contrary, Centerwell’s (1992) assessment of three geographical samples of U.S, Canada and South Africa concluded that for two participant nations out of the three, the introduction of television resulted in a drastic increase in the homicide rate, with a 93% rise reported in U.S and 92% increase observed in the number of homicides in Canada. With regards to the current scenario of the television industry, concerns have risen regarding the essentially positive portrayals of criminals in mainstream television. Showtime’s TV series Dexter has garnered a massive fan following and critical appraise but several factions of society have criticized the show’s main premise which encourages viewers to empathize with its protagonist Dexter Morgan who is employed as a bloodstain pattern analyst by Miami Metro but also masquerades as a serial killer. Bauder (2012) observes that the popularity of shows such as Dexter and Homeland is reflective of what the audience wants. A report by the Nielsen Company concluded that of the ten most watched prime-time shows of this season seven are based on themes of either crime or violence (Bauder 2012). Cummings (2011) reports at least three instances where alleged fans of the ... Read More
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