How Media Influences The Minds Of All Who Consume It

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Identifying whether an audience is Passive or Active is not always as black and white as it seems. Scholars agree that an Active audience is defined as an audience member that is not simply receiving information and believing it (such as a sponge), they are active in their interpretation of the text, meaning they are able to dissect the text and come to their own conclusions. On the contrary, a Passive audience member simply soaks up all information shown to them in a media text without any user interaction, just as the creator of the media form intended. Different scholars have differing theories on how the media influences the minds of all who consume it, and it is impossible to tell which theory is correct. However most theorists agree that one theory may fit one audience member, but not the other. For example, one viewer watching a program such as 60 Minutes or A Current Affair may believe everything being said wholeheartedly and without interpretation, however another might be skeptical or decide to research the story for themselves. The three theories that are prominent when debating Passive vs Active are the Hypodermic Needle/Magic Bullet theory, Agenda Setting theory and the Uses and Gratifications theory.

The Hypodermic/Bullet theory states that all media has a direct and un-interpretable impact upon whoever consumes it. “According to this simplistic paradigm, like a bullet or a needle, if the message reached its target its ‘‘effects,’’ typically persuasive
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