The Media as a Social Problem Essay

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Dan Thomas 11-21-01 The Media as a Social Problem The mass media plays a large role in modern society. Indeed, many have argued that people spend more time in "mass-mediated" interaction than in actual human interaction. The mass media, then, would seemingly be an excellent position to initiate social change, positively affect social problems, and help combat social ills that are considered normal patterns of behavior. Yet, the mass media has largely failed in addressing and helping to solve social problems. As seen through its presentation of the three major variables of race, class, and gender, the mass media has actually served to contribute to the social problems it covers, reinforcing them, and creating an inter-related…show more content…
This helps to promote the interactionist hope that gender symbols can be positively changed. The television news media, like the print media, have even made an effort to change language that can validate subordinate of marginal status based on gender. Print media is another important vehicle in which social problems are developed. As in television media there can be a large discrepancy in the types of coverage paid to issues of race, class, and gender. Newspapers, when formulating their reports and coverage, have focused heavily on the problems of gangs in inner-city minority neighborhoods. Reporters have been found to have devoted tremendous time both gang activity as well as community response to such activity. As a result, the print media has created an environment of great concern about gangs and gang crime in the inner-city. The gang problem becomes a constructed image with great power in public discourse. The fight against gangs can be used to initiate social control- even in areas where gangs are not a significant issue: Ironically, conformist juveniles are those most often affected by such control strategies, which take the form of curfews, dress codes, and rules of participation. Thus, the symbolic power of the gang metaphor lies in its successful application in settings where the gangs are relatively unimportant or inconsequential. Whether it is used to justify or forbid a particular style of dress, defend skateboarding, or enhance

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