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The Theory of Mass Society

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The theory of Mass Society crept from the minds of the elites who feared what they did not know. They stated that the media is evil and will corrupt the masses because they are susceptible to the messages the media delivers which are easy to understand, designed for a large scale audience, and do not provoke deep thought (Mass Communication Theory, 5th Edition, pages 27-29). In Julie Anne Taddeo and Ken Dvorak's book; "In these vainglorious worlds of fabricated reality, only the cliché counts and the unsettling facts give way to the LCD [Lowest common denominator] needs of entertainment" ( The Tube has Spoken: Reality TV and History, page 98), they describe how reality TV has created a genre of television that requires little to no attention or thought. For example, the third person effect theorizes that "individuals tend to expect mass media to have a greater effect on others than on themselves" (American Journal of Business). Basically, we all think that the media does not affect us in anyway because we believe ourselves to be strong willed, but other people may become susceptible. This is a direct effect that Mass society warned about; that the media has a powerful effect on us even though most arguments state that the media's power "ultimately resides in the freely chosen uses that audiences make of it" (Mass Comm. Theory, page 28). Take Jersey shore for instance, when it first debuted it drew an audience of 1.3 million viewers and then when the second season debuted it had an audience of nearly 5.5 million viewers. Quite a leap if you ask me. In fact, the second season single handily rescued MTV from long slump in ratings (Jersey shore saves MTV from a "ratings slump", Even though most individuals say jersey shore is the "annoyingly and painfully stupid", they still "cannot keep their eyes from watching it" (Jersey Shore Ratings Slump). This is simply an effect that the reality television of our day has on us, the "cannot look away" effect which has control over us to watch and watch and watch. It is programs like these that reinforce the Mass Society theory in today's day and age. They fortify the theory that media is corrupt and has control over the masses (us) even if we choose to believe otherwise.

Although it was a 19th century theory created by Elites, it has a lot of bearing in today's modern society. Their ideas about "Yellow Journalism" and the "Penny Press" translate into today's reality television, more specifically the "social experimental" shows such as Jackass, Fear Factor, and Survivor. These programs test the limits of human beings in physical, mental, and psychological ways. Compared to Mass Society Theory, which describes the effects of media without television and internet, these present day programs



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