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The Media Effects Debate Moral Panics A moral panic is a term used to describe a sudden flurry of conservative attitudes towards the media usually film or music when something which is perceived as too shocking or graphic is released to the public For example when the film Reservoir Dogs was released in the UK there was a Moral Panic because many thought that the wanton violence and in particular the way the violence was treated by director Quentin Tarantino was offensive and repulsive This moral panic spread like a forest fire and within a couple of weeks of its release the film was successfully banned It stayed banned for several years until a slightly edited version came out on video such was the strength of the furore surrounding its original release This is a textbook example of a moral panic In more recent days there has been an ongoing moral panic against violence in the media as a whole instead of against any particular film The main champions of this recent panic notably watchdogs and voluntary parents associations say that there is good reason for this sudden morality crusade Robert Peters president of Morality in Media inc says that violence in movies today is wrong for four main reasons The first problem is that there is too much of it violence the glut of media violence desensitises viewers and contributes to Mean World Syndrome a wholly negative view of the worldsecondly much of it media violence can be easily imitated especially by young children a third problem is the manner in which violence is depicted It is one thing to show a shooting or a stabbing it is another to show it in sadistic slow motion with the bullets actually penetrating the bodyThe fourth problem is Hollywoods infatuation with guns instead of portraying guns as at best a necessary evil handguns especially are portrayed as a means of empowerment
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