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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 cycle in which these problems continue TV has become perhaps the primary vehicle that society receives its information and presents its values and expectations One of the most important roles television plays is its presentation of news and information What a station chooses to present as newsworthy can play a strong role in how people view their society and the world around them Often television news sources have followed a philosophy of if it bleeds it leads focusing on violence in urban environments This violence occurs more frequently in black neighborhoods resulting in what amounts to essentially as a steady nightly stream of reports on violence in the inner-city by and among African-Americans In this way the television media plays a strong role in formulating racial problems as seen by the interactionist approach With the constant display of these images two problems quickly emerge First the minority groups become subject to stereotypes as the images presented become fixed mental images and are exaggerated and applied to the group as a whole Whites according to this model learn that minority groups are less intelligent more violent or generally less human Additionally the minority groups themselves can develop reactions that are turned inward and create a sense of hopelessness despair and self-doubt
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