Trandall6’s Blog

Shaughnessy & Stadler, What do the Media Do to Us?

Posted on: March 12, 2009

O’ Shaughnessy, M & Stadler, J 2005, “What do the Media do to us? Media and Society” Media and Society: An Introduction, Third Edition, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne Victoria, pp. 31-58.


By Tim Randall 3265318


The text “What do the Media do to us? Media and Society” appears to have the main aim of informing people of the world the media exists in and it’s role in it and arguing that the media has some influence on society. After reading the text I was overall surprised at the impact the media had on society. The text begins by giving an overview of today’s world which is described as existing in a state of rapid change, and inequality between social groups and inequality between the wealth of nations. The author argues that the populations of Western nations is kept content with these inequalities by implying that people have some control over their lives via the right to vote etc, and the media perpetuates this myth. I had never considered this and was shocked that the media has such level of control.


Furthermore the author argues that the media is controlled by those who mainly belong to the white middle class and male demographics and the media teaches us gender roles and cultures of various ethnic groups, our position in society. I consider this damaging as a child may witness a demographic they belong to being portrayed in a negative fashion therefore giving the child negative self view as well as creating or maintaining an unequal society.


The author also explains that the control of the media rests in the hand of a select few which is something I consider to be increasing false. For instance blogs and Youtube are increasing popular do it yourself media. I must acknowledge however that perhaps their existence is indicative of dissatisfaction with traditional media and a desire for more control.


It is also explored whether or not the media have an influence/affect society or if it simply is a reflection of it. The author argues that the media can have some influence such as turning a simple event, the Melbourne cup into one of national significance. However argues in more extreme cases such as violence the media probably does not play a role. A number of reasons are given including other influences in society however I consider the morality these other influences promote is given a higher priority in society than that in the media and this prevents any negative influence.


The author also introduces the issue of censorship in the media in order to prevent these negative consequences linking it to politics with conservatives wanting censorship to prevent negative effects and liberals believing that censorship deprives people of their rights. I personally agree with the liberals both for the author’s reason and because I feel that perhaps conservatives may censor images that they find contradict their sense of morality however those of another group in a pluralist society may not. This perpetuates a position of hegemony in society.


In summary I hope I raised some points that furthered our understanding in this area.

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