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Mass Media Influence on Society

Essay by   •  May 28, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,245 Words (5 Pages)  •  4,190 Views

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As we already know it; the mass media has a wide range of information. We wake up to the mass media every day, when we turn on the TV, when we pick up a newspaper, when we listen to a radio station and the largest form of mass media today that everyone uses the "internet". We use these sources as a guide to get information we are looking for or to obtain new information. But we have to ask what impact does the mass media have on society? Does the mass media impact sociologically? And does the mass media impact people differently depending on their social class? Is it a social trap or social influence on our society?

Evaluating the impact the mass media has on our three infamous sociological theories, we can only come up with a hypothesis on what we think is correct and how society as we know it sees the mass media from a sociological perspective. The functionalism theory focuses on society "as a system" of interrelated institutions and structures to address human needs (Vissing 3.3). Mass media in a functionalist perspective could be a blessing in disguise; the media is the largest form of communication, reaching out to every social class through the media is the best way to address a social dysfunction that needs society's attention. Addressing an issue where you want to be heard can be extremely difficult, people might not pay the acquired attention or the form of outreach is just not interesting enough to capture the audience (people). The media can be a solution to being heard but yet is not the solution to resolve the problem. An example of a social problem that has evolved to be a concern is tobacco smoking and the cancer risk involved. A functionalist would address the issue as unsafe and use the media to show the results of smoking tobacco being dangerous for your health, using commercials to show heartbreaking results of those survivors and point out places where you might go to help you stop smoking or people you can call for assistance, we still ask is society impacted by this?

Now let us look at the obvious, we know that society is divided into different social classes, and this is where we look into the "conflict perspective". The conflict perspective is "focused on social inequality and group conflict" (vissing, 3.3). Karl Marx (1818-1883) alleged that society was divided into two classes of people: the bourgeoisie, or rich, elite capitalist class; and the proletariats, or the underpaid working class (Bottomore, 1964). How does the mass media impact on the conflict perspective? The mass media in this sociological theory can be thought of as a means of keeping the rich, filthy rich and the poor just where they are. The wealthy will market out their products and ideas using the media and brainwashing with fancy commercials, fashion trendy looks and beautiful models to subdue society into thinking it is "cool", the in thing, and that is how it suppose to be and that is what you suppose to buy. Again we focus on tobacco distribution; conflict theorist would argue that their commercials on how you look on smoking have no direct influence on why people ignore the risk. They will set up on the mass media new tobacco products, make million dollar commercials to capture societies attention, but of course in that small fine print is the risk that smoking tobacco has on people. Do they care? No, they use the mass media as a



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