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Mass Society Theory

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Mass Society Theory

History of Mass Society Theory

Comprised a vast workforce of people who lived isolated and unfulfilled lives.

They were slaves to jobs, bosses and living in crowded urban settings .

Their lives were consistent with Marx’s “alienated masses”

Scholars blamed the media for the rise of fascism

History of Mass Society Theory

During the 1920’s, Hearst and Pulitzer changed their ways and became serious about reporting the news

The American Society of Newspaper Editors formed and pledged to tell the truth about the news

The ethical standards of the industry soared

In the 1950’s, the introduction of television brought with it a whole new set of issues

Television led to cable television, satellite TV, and TiVo

Personal computers led to the World Wide Web and led to an entirely new brand of mass media

Assumptions of Mass Media

The media are a malignant, cancerous force within society and must be purged or totally restructured. (Marcuse, 1969, 1978)

Critics proposed turning over control of the media to elites

1920’s media power went to government in Europe with disastrous results in Germany with Nazi power

In the US, a free enterprise broadcasting system was put into place – The Federal Radio Commission – later called the FCC

Assumptions of Mass Media

Media have the power to reach out and directly influence the minds of average people. (Davis, 1976)

Also known as the direct-effects assumption – the media, in and of themselves, can produce direct effects.

Stresses the negative influence the media has and how vulnerable the average citizen is to the manipulative power of the media

Assumptions of Mass Media

Once people’s minds are corrupted by media, all sorts of bad long-term consequences result – not only bringing ruin to individual lives, but also creating social problems on a vast scale (Marcuse, 1941)

Major social problems linked to media – prostitution, gambling, deliquesce, urban violence

Housewives watch too many soaps and read trashy romance novels

Teenage girls hate their bodies because of fashion magazines

Assumptions of Mass Media

Average people are vulnerable to media because they have been cut off and isolated from traditional social institutions that previously protected them from manipulation (Kreiling, 1984)

In the past, villages protected each other and shielded them from ugliness

Traditional values of pre-TV America

Media charged with stripping and replacing the social institutions in a folk community

Assumptions of Mass Media

The

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