Violence is a common theme seen amongst popular media today. For years people would see or hear about assailants shooting their victims, read about domestic violence, and pretend to be killing army men while playing a video game, but could those violent instances happen in the real world? Violence that transpires on these various media outlets also can occur in real life too and unfortunately people have turned these fictional violent acts into a sad reality. Society sees this travesty play out but one particular type of media outlet serves as a predominant factor in the amount of violence our world sees today. Almost all non-fiction media outlets are an important contributor to the amount of violence on this society. This type of media makes our society aware that violence is not just a concept portrayed in fictional stories but a real threat if it is not taken care of properly. Non-fictional media outlets portray real-life violence by showing violence as a normality.
Violence is often portrayed on reality television as a way to entice the viewers to tune in. Even though the genre is reality television, these violent instances are usually scripted by the producers to fabricate each conflict in hopes that the show will become popular. The violence in these shows portray violence the wrong way because the public is lead to believe that violence is the answer when all it does is harm the people around them. Television executive Jennifer L. Pozner, argues that reality television is made up of “straight, single gals who are pathetic losers and we’re led to believe that it’s hilarious when they get mocked, dumped, or punched in the face.” (Haggerty 693). It is sad that this quote is an accurate depiction of this generation’s reality television. The fact that television networks like to exploit and make a mockery of people’s personal lives is extremely disturbing and sets a bad example to its viewers. Another concern is the fear that reality television’s young, naïve viewers would want to model the inappropriate behavior presented on these shows because they see that no one is stopping the cast members to exchange in such conduct. From Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi getting punched in the face by an abrasive club-goer on Jersey Shore to Kelly Hyland slapping Abby Lee Miller on Dance Moms, violence on reality television is only getting worse which increases the likeliness of its viewers to use violence as a solution to their problems. Reality television increases the chances of every-day violence by affecting how society perceives the violent actions reality television has to offer.
The news has a major impact on the way Americans view violence because it brings attention to its frequency. Each news station reports the local and national news surrounding them and the top story usually involves violence. Whether it is a shooting near an apartment complex or a mother killing three of her children, violence always consumes every news outlet. At first, the news was bringing awareness to violence, but now our society is suppressed with so much violence that the original message hardly exists anymore. Now, our society sees violence as a common theme and does not see or care about the consequences that violent actions can have. The amount of times violence has appeared on the news is so frequent that the media does not realize “that exposure to media violence causes leads to aggression, desensitization toward violence and lack of sympathy for victims of violence, particularly in children” (Pozoios 2). The news is an anchor in this movement because they are normalizing the concept of violence in our society causing people to be desensitized from the effects that violence is supposed to create. This is especially a concern for the next generation because technology allows access to news anytime and anywhere so no one can escape the amount of violence that is shown on a daily basis. This constant exposure to violence gives them a greater chance of committing violent acts when they get older. The news desensitizes our society to the effects of violence by over-using violence as a way to hooked on the news.
As much as the media subjects society to violence, the media also has the ability to hide violence as well. For years the public has had suspicions that the government was hiding or lying about violent incidents that they have started or have happened to other people. There was one story that was particularly interesting and relatable to this topic. A couple of years ago, CBS correspondent, Lara Logan was sexually assaulted by Muslims while on the job. The mainstream media chose to hide this incident because they were ashamed that someone who worked for a big corporation could have such a vile act done to them. This incident caused CBS to have a four-day “delay” of the information which.. indicates that CBS intended to hide the story… to protect Logan’s identity so this story would never see the light of day” (Replogle 798). CBS’s actions regarding the story showed the world how the media can control what violent material is shown to the public and what is kept a secret. However the media prefers to show more violence then not because “the media.. shapes markets, and they therefore they have created and continue to reinforce the demand for violence” (Potter 23). All media outlets want to create and produce projects that the general public would find eye-catching and human nature determined that violence catches the public’s interest. The demand for violence has had negative effects on our society and if we do not change this now, we will create an oblivious, insensitive society.
Plenty of people have experienced negative effects on media violence but the violence shown on documentaries gives society an insight on how the violence is started. War documentaries give people an inside look on the negative long-term effects that violence creates. The war documentary Atomic Wounds shows the initial effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and how this incident still affects them to this day. The documentary gets up close and personal with the victims of the atomic bombing and shows the cost that this viscous act had on its long-suffering casualties. As a society, “we often forget that the victims of Nagasaki and Hiroshima we’re living and breathing humans….We see a statistic. This film ensures that we remember that there is only misery under those numbers” (Faun, par 6). There are also documentaries that contain violence for the purpose of addressing major issues. Child of Rage is a documentary about a women named Beth who suffered from intense sexual abuse when she was a little girl. Beth describes all of the violent things she has done or wants to do which includes killing her brother and abusing her pets. By emphasizing violence in the documentary, the viewers get a detailed look on the consequences of sexual abuse and how the heinous act affect its victims for the rest of their lives. Such high levels of violence can cause someone who thought about sexually abusing a minor or sexually abusing a minor to reconsider his or her actions. Even though documentaries cover a widespread amount of issues, they all have one thing in common: they shine a light on the negative effects of violence and encourage society to stop violence once and for all.
There is no escape from the wrath of violence. It is shown on the television, displayed on social media, and often experienced in real-life situations. The media plays a huge part in the increase of violence because of how it is portrayed on all forms of non-fiction media. Violence being on this type of media is causing people to be immune to its effects because instead of a story, it is portrayed as a reality. The media uses violence to gain popularity and bring awareness to the issue but if it constantly brought up then people will be desensitized to the violence and ignore the situation at hand. Instead of constantly showing violence, all non-fiction media outlets should inform people on the dangers of violence and what mental, physical, and legal consequences violence can bring. It is time that all non-fiction media outlets take a stand against violence.