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TV’s True Violence

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1091
  • Category: Violence

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In her Newsweek article “TV’s True Violence” Meg Greenfield argues that excessive fictional violence desensitizes viewers to the image of violence they see on television. Her discussion about this subject “generates hypocrisy and confusion”: the coarsening impact of violence on viewers, the effect on children, the volume of the violence, and the harm of dulling our response to the real thing. Everyone knows that there is too much violence on Television and that the networks must take action. Sex and violence are mixing on the screen and are becoming a “single phenomenon” and everyone knows that this phenomenon can have negative effects on the viewers’ behavior. Greenfield reveals that this “coarsening” makes “the unthinkable just a little less unthinkable, a little more OK.”

Two objections Meg Greenfield has, the first is not to the violence itself, but to the volume and the way it is presented on Television. In the history of art violence has frequently played a role in , literature, art, and for example in Shakespeare’s plays, but violence back then had actually meant something. The second objection to TV’s fictional violence is that it will affect the viewer’s reaction to the real thing, for instance, the images of the wounded kids in “Sarajevo” and in other massacres and wars. Greenfield believes that We need to be able to respond appropriately to the images of violence. While every thinking person would agree there is too much violence on TV, the solution Greenfield offers is flawed.

Watching more real violence on TV would complicate the issue, because real violence can be biased, desensitizing and manipulated. In her article “Did the Media Buy a Military Spin on the Gulf War?” Terry Pristin argues that the news the media was reporting to the American people about the Gulf War was biased and one sided. And it was considered “not good business” for the reporters in Iraq to ask questions about the conflict. Pristin also mentions in the article that there was a “sensitivity” regarding what the correspondents can put on air from Baghdad and she calls it “oversensitivity”.

The news media “allowed themselves to be manipulated” by the U.S military asserts Terry Pristin. Therefore they (the media) presented a biased version of what was going on in the war. The U.S military succeeded in the war and they “did their job” but in fact the media did not do theirs. And if the Pentagon controls news for couple of days the American people will support the government’s position. There were many reporters who sought to inform the public of what really was going on in Iraq but “the American public seems to be quite satisfied…as to what they saw” Claims Michael Sherman, director of the Navy’s office of information. Thus, according to Terry Pristin’s article the information and the violence we see on television can be biased. And it can also desensitizing.

In his article “Tragedy Becomes Us” William Powers declares that desensitization does occur. He mentions that 9/11, and the space shuttle story Columbia are just the beginning of the disasters in this century. Fatale events and disasters are shocking us every now and then; therefore tragedy has become our “normal routine” (powers). The media does not report ordinary heroism anymore because unfortunately the only heroism that matters is “tragic heroism, acts of derring-do that end not in happiness and victory,” declares Powers, “but in sadness and violent death”. And also the media covers information about any tragedy that is overwhelming but obsessive by the public demand.

Terrorism is one of the factors why violent tragedy is the centerpiece the media reports to the public. As result violence “is now all around us” Another factor is entertainment. We have been desensitized to fake violence we watch on TV and in movies, so when it really happens “it feels familiar” asserts William Powers.

Finally, the last paragraph of the article reveals that in the wake of the Columbia, Paramount Pictures decided to delete and adjust the trailer of a new action movie that has scenes of collapses and destructions but William Powers the author of the article, responds: “why? By then we will be ready for more.” In other words, the violence we are exposed to desensitizes us and makes us respond inappropriately when the real thing happens. And we must question it, because violence can be manipulated by the media.

In his article “Can You Believe Your Eyes” Henry Fairlie warns the reader that the media is not broadcasting the whole event or incident, in fact violence in incidents is being manipulated. The concentration is on the most brutal and violent part of the incident. He also explains that the presence of newspaper reporters and television helps to “create incidents” (805). Television reporter’s dishonesty is much more dangerous than newspaper reporter’s. Because the newspaper reporter only creates, imagines, or maybe exaggerates in his mind, but the television reporter “must make it a happening” Fairlie asserts (805).

Television can distort the events, because it can make a small group of people look like a crowd. Moreover television has the ability to create events and movements out of incidents; according to Henry Fairlie, the “presence of television in people’s living rooms is the background of the whole problem” (806). Making a film for a news program or a show on Television is a time consuming and a rushed job, as a result the reporters and cameramen make a quick automatic selection to any phrase they hear, and at this point is where the manipulation happens.

In conclusion every thoughtful person agrees to Meg Greenfield’s point that there is too much violence on television. And that TV’s fictional violence desensitizes viewers to the image of violence which makes them respond inappropriately to real thing. But the solution Greenfield offers is fault, because watching more real violence on Television would complicate the issue and worsen it.

First of all because according to the author of “Did the Media Buy a Military Spin on the Gulf War” Terry Pristin explains that the violence we see on TV can be biased. In addition William Powers the author of “Tragedy Becomes Us” article declares that being exposed to too much of real violence on Television desensitizes the viewers and has negative effects on their behavior. Finally, the third reason why Greenfield’s solution is flawed is because television violence can be edited, and manipulated, according to the author of “Can You Believe Your Eyes” article, Henry Failie.

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