Portrayal of Violence in the Media

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Is the amount of violence in the media a problem? To begin to answer this, you must first know what media violence is. Examples of violence in media are kids playing first person shooter games such as Counter-Strike, a television report relaying the details of a gruesome rape/murder case complete with photos, the latest action movie with the hero slaughtering his enemies with an ice pick. Media violence’s effects are impossible to escape because media violence is not limited to one form of media, it is present in every form of media, books, television shows, movies, websites, music, theatre productions, and video games. Is it the frequency of violence in media which is problematic? The answer is simply, no, the problem with media violence lies not within its frequency or even with the intensity of the violence portrayed, but within the way the audience perceives it, the glamorization, sanitization, and trivialization of violence warps the audience’s perception and allows for harmful effects to the viewer. In his book The 11 Myths of Media Violence, Potter states that the context is more important than frequency because the context gives the audience the information about how the violence should be interpreted (141). Imagine a person walking across the street is unexpectedly hit by a car, if the driver gets out and tries to render aid to the victim, the audience perceives this violence as accidental and takes in the message to look both ways before crossing the street. However, if the driver had gotten out of his vehicle and explained how he intentionally ran over the victim because the victim had murdered his family, that violence, while still being horrific, would have some justification to it, sending the message that violence is a means of retribution. The two previous scenarios show the same violence, but the context changes from accidental violence to
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