Week 2: The scientific approach to today’s media…

Your second week’s mission is now available:

  1. Having watched the in-class videos and read Chapter 1 of our Media Effects textbook (as you were supposed to), explain why the scientific approach presented in the text is especially vital in today’s media landscape. Post this as a comment in a 200 words or more, referencing the textbook, readings and personal experience with the media (e.g. advertising, TV talk shows, blogging, etc).

Deadline: 23rd Jan, Tuesday, 11pm

Besides the textbook, here are related materials for this week’s class:



Filed under Assignment

64 responses to “Week 2: The scientific approach to today’s media…

  1. Goh Li Rong

    The scientific approach is vital because it strives not to make passing statements or unsupported theories to explain events such as the Columbine High School massacre. Therefore, this approach avoids faulty reasoning at best. Today’s media landscape not only affects a greater pool of people because of increased access to media broadcasts all over the world, it also has a greater effect on people due to our exposure to more advanced technology that can present all sorts of “realities” to us. As such, approaching the Columbine incident in the scientific aspect would attempt to explain the situation, and allow us to understand it as well, in a more objective manner. Due to the fact that the scientific approach also strives to be able to predict incidents in a more precise manner, it would enable us to prevent such happenings if we are able to find out more so on why it happened.

    The RPG created on the Columbine incident seems to me like a mockery of the whole issue of violent media and video games being the cause of the outburst of harm by the two students. I feel that today’s media allows so many explanations, answers, comments on why the whole shooting rampage took place, even through the ex-president Clinton’s point on media violence, that we need the scientific approach to have a more objective perspective on this issue.

  2. Reflecting on the Columbine killing, it was macabre and horrible. They were insane! I play R rated games too, but don’t have the wish to kill anyone. Playing violent games does not induce aggression. It may be, but it is not the only factor. What about drugs, states of emotion and the proliferation of guns? President Clinton holds authority. The people hoped that his words would carry weight, as professionals in their field of expertise would have firm hypotheses. Ryan Moore commented that the video game would make gaming acceptable. I do not think that will happen. It is cruel and irrespectful to play out the deaths of the victims of Columbia. Media effects are vital because the opinions of scientists and experts will always be valued. Does it mean that only their comments and studies are relevant? I think we can all have our own hypotheses about issues, but whether it is okay to speak publicly about them is another thing. There is always more than one factor to affect something, or do cause and effect. People are heavily influenced by the media because we fall into the negative influences. For instance the ratings R would be more welcome to youths because it is forbidden fruit. Horror movies also get good ratings. Many people are scared, but they still want to watch them anyway. For The Ring, many of my friends wanted to watch it despite knowing they would not dare face the tv or go to the toilet late at night.

  3. Maria Paul

    In tooday’s society, media is no doubt considered to be one of the most powerful tools of communication and source of information. There are instances where people gulp down information from the media as the ‘Holy word’. However, one must acknowledge the possiblity of the media fabricating information.

    For instance, some advertisements can be proven false through the scientific approach. For example, the slimming ads that are so commonly seen everywhere today.

    Another reason why scientific approach is needed as it would prevent the media from being the ‘guinea pig’ for the events that may be happening in the world today. A good example as we have spoken in class would be the Columbine High School Massacre. Though there were many who immediately point to the media as a reason, none of the claims were actually proven.

    All these make me wonder why we like to find an easy way to escape? Is it just human nature or our upbringing?

    The scientific approach allows us to explore further directions and reasons behind events and claims. In some instances, it even allows us to uncover the truth in situations by providing a broader perspective of the situation, as the media may only provide a narrow path of information.

  4. jiayi

    Media has indeed become part and parcel of our lives. It is everywhere. Since all of us cannot avoid media, we should increase our media literacy and not listen and follow blindly. The scientific approaches that are mentioned in class help us to make more accurate and contructuve deductions about any media information that is available.

    As science is more of a systematic observation and make up of concrete evidence, there is a higher possibility that using scientific apporaches help media to have more accurate news and also on the other hand, letting the media audience to know when the media is fabricating information.

    Just like the columbine incident, Bill Clintion make it a clear point that the killings are mainly due to media violence. he may be of a high authority but one should not just agree blindly to what he said and neglect other reasons behind the columbine killings.

    I was quite shocked when i saw games that were produced online ‘in honour’ of the columbine killers. I think this is ridiculous and who knows, it may encourage more students to conduct a mass killing in their schools. I seriously feel that the game should be banned and not even be created in the first place.

    The scientific approach indeed will help us look at things in a more objective and systematic way. With that, media may produce less sweeping statements and we audience will be able to differentiate what to believe and what not to believe about the media.

  5. Yang Ziying, Pamela

    All of us understand that the media plays such a vital role in our lives and that we have become increasingly absorbed by what the media shows and tells us. We are also aware that the media is such an important tool when it comes to delivering information, be it accurate or fasle. Hence, it has become very easy for us to point our fingers and blame the media when something goes terribly wrong. (eg: Columbine High Sch Massacre) Therefore, if we take a scientific approach to today’s media, we will be able to look at things more objectively and judge what is the real cause of the events that are happening around us.

    Looking back and analyzing the Columbine High School massacre that we discussed in class today, I personally feel that the media has been used as a scapegoat in this unfortunate incident. It is also a classic example on why we should adpot the scientific approach when studying the media today.

    We also discussed whether President Clinton’s comment on media violence was accurate and if his opinion actually held scientific merit. Personally, I only agree with President Clinton to a small extent. I feel that the comment was given because in that very short frame of time, it was the most diplomatic answer that he could give the citizens. As stated above, media plays such an indispensible role in our lives so that was probably the best answer for everyone. I cannot possibly deny that goth culture, heavy metal music and violent video games did not play a part in the school shootings, but it played only a minor role. Why did the public pay less attention to the other factors? It was known that the shooters were on an anti-depressant drug that was easily available over the counter and they also had an easy access to firearms. Why did the people not blame these factors then?

    Taking this incident to the Singapore context, teens in Singapore can also gain easy access to violent movies and video games over the internet. However, we do not see such violent and gruesome shootings in the schools here. Hence, I feel that this has little to do with media, instead it has more relation to the relaxed laws of gun ownership and perhaps the easy access to drugs over the counter.

    Therefore, we must realise the importance in taking a scientific approach when looking at today’s media. We should not allow the media to undertake such a heavy responsibility and learn to look at things from different perspective before jumping into conclusions.

    With regards to the video game, I am disgusted by how people can design a game based on such a tragic event. It only goes to show how insensitive poeple have become! People can now leave out other’s feelings and emotions to come up with something that they perhaps can derive joy and saddistic fun from. 😦

  6. The most important thing before anyone can talk about the vitality of the scientific approach to today’s media landscape would be to define both media landscape and scientific approach.

    Firstly, according to the Glenn G. Sparks, science is “a particular way of knowing” and it “combines empiricism [or experience] with logical thought and is always pressing onward toward greater precision of observation” (Sparks, p.4, para. 2). Media landscape on the other hand is what the media is comprised of now. As we all know, the media landscape is now made up of television, radio, movies, news reports and especially the Internet.

    Scientific approach is especially important to the current media landscape because it predicts, explains and allows scientists to understand a situation, and therefore gives them a greater control over the entire situation.

    The scientific approach also allows people to look at situations with a more objective perspective. This is because people can understand the possible explanations behind the happenings. An example would be in weather situations. Scientists can predict what might happen, explain the facts, understand the situation and gain control over the situation.

    In the example of the Columbine High School shooting, there probably was no scientific approach when President Clinton said that media violence was the cause of what happened. However, it is not fair to say that the media is to blame for what happened. This is because even now, in the case of the Columbine shooting, people still cannot explain why the boys acted in the way that they did.

    In the end, I feel that even though the scientific approach is vital to the current media landscape, there are still questions in the current media landscape that cannot be explained yet.

  7. I believe that media DOES affect the way we behave to a certain extent, however, i do not think that they are to be blamed entirely. I have played violent, aggressive games before, and they have not affected me in ways such that i feel like i need to vent my frustration, or feel the need to hit anyone. Like what Hans said in class, “these people are just “short-circuited” in the brain.” Being exposed to violent games or music such as metal does not necessarily mean one is prone to turn violent. I believe anyone is capable of violence.I believe the media is simply pinpointed as the cause because there isn’t any strong, stable proof that anything else could possibly be the cause.

    I do not believe there was no scientific approach taken in President Bill Clinton’s speech. As mentioned in class, he was jsut being politically correct. If he were to suddenly push the blame to something else that the general crowd is not aware of, i doubt anyone would believe him. having scientific proof is always important. We should learn to be open to other possible causes rather than simply pointing the finger.

    The video game was outrageous. In my honest opinion, i think the person who came up with the RPG game is what we call, “sick in the mind.” More consideration should have been put into how those who had experienced the shootings would have felt.

  8. There seems to be not one but many reasons behind this killings according to scientists. The scientific approach allows us to better understand the truth about the Columbine shootings through research rather than relying on figures of authority.

    These authorities are unqualified regarding such incidents, as their forte may be politics or the society. These authorities chose to oversee the fact that the teenagers were able to obtain anti-depressant drugs and guns easily when there was clear evidence of it. Instead, they chose to harp on the fact that violence portrayed in the media was responsible for the shootings. President Clinton was a proponent of this opinion. However, he did not have any solid evidence to back his claim.

    This incident may be a freak accident in which mentally screwed up individuals chose to blame others for their own shortcomings in the form of violence. There is a difference between fantasy and reality. Most people know the difference while others choose not to notice. Though the influence of the media cannot be denied, it must be understood that the media cannot be blamed for everything that happens out of the ordinary. Critics of the media cannot prove their hypothesis to be falsifiable nor can they prove that there is a pattern of violent murders arising from violent media.

    Super Columbine Massacre RPG serves no justice to the death of 13 innocent people. As someone mentioned in class, the videogame seems to make a ‘mockery’ out of the gruesome killings. Profits over a horrible incident? That is truly appalling!

  9. William Siew Jing Wen

    In the Columbine shooting incident, media have urged us to realize the different viewpoints that lead us to understand the importance of scientific approach. Through President Clinton’s appeal to authority that called upon producers to reduce media violence. He was rebuked that his opinion lacked scientific merit. “Science is different from casual opinion,” (2) but we cannot deny that his opinions were completely unreasonable and shallow. Instead, if his justification of probabilities were clearly identified and other possible reasons and background that causes their disruptive habits was addressed ahead of time, he would have make his claims more effective.

    In today’s media, where information is easily available, people tend to get muffled by the many influence of media propaganda. For example, I believed many of us have watched the advertisement on drug abuse, which identify the lost of dignity, family, future, or even life if one abuses the drugs. The appeal to fear may have warned many not to touch the drug as it leads to undesirable consequence, but it lacks a scientific explanation (5) that drug abuse is mainly caused by an individual’s dejection. We may have forgotten the importance to explain “ahead of time” (10) that family and peers acceptance and support is important to overcome the victim’s disruptive behaviors. In this case, to only predict that one may not know the consequence of drug abuse is not good enough. Even in talk shows, the media presents professionals from various fields to uncover the different aspects of a discussion in order to tackle the lack of falsifiability.

    All of these conclude that scientific approach is essentially crucial in today’s media landscape, as consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and extremely critical to the effects of media influence.

  10. Media has played an important part in our daily life. We might or might not feel conscious of the effect. But before we blame media for every tragedy that happen, just take a look and see. Does media really has significant effect that can cause people to kill? Does our approach correct? Or Does our judgment not base on anger?

    Take for example, the Columbine High Massacre. People do not to be blame for something. Rather than blaming themselves for the massacre, public tend to blame the closest thing they could think of, the media.

    Using the scientific approach to seek the cause of the Columbine Massacre can help a great deal. I have a nephew who likes to play a RPG game like DOOM or something like that. I admitted that he likes to imitate what the hero done in the game. He likes to punch or hit or kick. BUT, his parent just doesn’t let him go like that. They will just punish him and won’t let him play anymore. In this scenario, parent does play a significant role in child development and behavior.

    We cannot just blame media only for the Massacre that happened. Without any scientific approach can we really blame media for the only reason for that behavior?
    Beside that, if we have done the scientific approach to find the answer and understand it. By understanding it, we can predict the future and prevent something bad to happen.

  11. The thing about scientific approach is it provides concrete evidence. Validity is the key. According to our Media Effects textbook, there are three ways of knowing. It takes experience, authority and science. However, human beings tend to believe what they want to believe. Most of the time, disregarding the three aspects mentioned. Which is why scientific approach is vital in today’s media landscape.

    Based on the Columbine shooting, it is easy to pinpoint video games as a cause of the tragedy. Why? The two boys were known to play violent games. Funny, considering that most boys their age play similar games. President Clinton at that time, felt that something should be held responsible for what happened. I don’t blame him. The people need to hear what went wrong. There is no time to look into the facts and gather evidence to support the reasons why the shooting took place. Everyone needed to know the reason. They needed answers to justify the boys actions. In times like this, it’s hard to think straight. Just like everyone else, I was looking for answers.

    It’s easy to blame the media. The media influence our lives in so many ways. Some, we are not aware of. During your lesson, some of my classmates mentioned that they play violent games but they don’t develop destructive tendencies. The thing is, it’s not the media but the effects of media on different individuals that leads to violence. In this technological age, I feel wary about what will happen in the future. It’s not the advancement of technology but the maltreatment of media.

  12. Sangheetha

    For every action there is a consequence. Similarly, there is also a reason (or more than one) for every action. Life is not simple. If it were, there would not be varied opinions or interpretations for any single incident. There is always going to be more than one explanation. It is up to us to determine which explanation is true (or as close to the truth as possible).

    Media violence may not be the sole reason for any violence that occurs. But who’s to say that it does not contribute to the act itself? How do we prove that an explanation is true or not? This is where the scientific approach comes in.

    In an era where world wide information is available at the click of a button, the database of possible explanations is huge. To filter the truth (or to help us in the process), the scientific approach is not only useful but also crucial. It is always easy to blame. However, the scientific approach helps us to validate the explanations. The scientific approach gives us evidence to help our understanding. Opinions don’t.

    When dealing with sensitive issues, there is a need to be impartial. When the media is a heightened platform in our lives, we tend to get carried away with the masses, and their emotions. The scientific approach is more objective and can be more thorough. Although the mass media is related to the public, the information can be filtered. There is no guarantee that the mass media reveals the truth. The scientific approach is more systematic. It is difficult to alter the truth (although it might not be entirely impossible). Hence, the scientific approach seems more reliable.

    The people of this generation seek truth, no matter how ugly it may be. They are not interested in sugar-coating details. Although they night not be ready to accept the truth, they are interested in searching for. The scientific approach allows them to be certain about the truths that they hear, and it assures them that there is evidence to support their claim.

  13. Bill Clinton’s stand on the media portrayal of violence in regards to the Columbine massacre is shaky when seen in a purely scientific perspective. This perspective not only calls for great observation but also logic. An open mind is essential in seeing things ‘out of the box’. The most possible sometimes may not be the best possible. There is a tendency for people to express casual views as something they ‘see’ it. What might have prompted Clinton to point the finger at the media was the convenience of embracing the opinions he already had in mind. Perhaps he did not approach the matter objectively but rather confirmed what he already believed. And because of his authoritarian position in society many agreed with him readily. “I follow what he says because he knows best.”

    People today enjoy watching or playing violence. Some seek escapism from reality; others simply like the adrenaline rush. But at the end of the day, it boils down to each individual being able to differentiate between ‘real’ and ‘reel’ life. The media merely acts as a medium to entertain and communicate. It’s not like they wish to see kids mutating from angels into devils. It could be a contributing factor to the incident, but definitely not the deciding. In Columbine’s case, it was probably because the 2 were already mentally unsound.

    As for the video game created in ‘memory’, it’s sad but exploits like these are unavoidable I guess. After all, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there today. Some people are just morons.

  14. I am pretty sure that majority of the people have either watched violent movies or played aggressive games before. And I believe most of them would also agree that doing such things would not turn them into violent people. I myself belong to that majority as well. However, that does not mean that such violent content does not play a role in influencing people. It does has an impact on people, but not entirely. There are other factors which leads to a person turning violent. Pressure and drugs are factors that causes one to succumb to violence. And when incidents such as the Columbine high school massacre happens, media becomes an easy target for people to point fingers at. As such, the scientific approach becomes vital in today’s media landscape. It helps us to look at the world’s happenings with much logic and understanding. President Clinton’s rhetoric might not possess any scientific merit, but he needed to account and present the “cause” of what happened towards the pubic. And media became the victim in this case. Humans are equipped with the ability to know what are the things that are considered as right or wrong, but eventually it is the individual that chooses which path he or she wants to take. Media isn’t at fault entirely.

  15. The scientific approach is imperative when analyzing today’s media landscape for it is the only systematic way in which we can disseminate the information that we receive.

    After all, COM231: Principles of Persuasion showed that there are omni-present profiteers armed with their compliance-gaining tactics, seeking to benefit from our unthinking acceptance of their media messages. To avoid being tricked, conned, or misled, we have to properly understand their motives, as well as the validity and accuracy of their messages.

    The act of understanding itself is a goal of science, and only through understanding are we then able to exert a certain amount of control over the effects of the mass media on us.

    To use the example of the Super Columbine Massacre RPG brought up in class today; only by first understanding the psyche of the average gamer is it even vaguely possible to hypothesize the effects of violent video games on youths.

    While I am not a gamer myself, and do not understand how anyone could get addicted to virtual reality, I understand that all mass media has an effect on us. Be it a good or bad effect, it influences our sense of fashion, our tastes, our way of thinking, and our behaviors. However, to say that violent video games increases violent behavior to the extreme of what happened at Columbine, is a generalization. Thus, such effects if they exist at all, should be closely studied with scientific methods.

  16. Today, the media presents a widespread variety of content, which range from political to entertainment. Media messages are complex and sometimes illogical. Besides providing information, the media also highlights the dominant and perhaps hidden objectives of multi-national corporations and public organizations. Inevitably, the battle for power between groups remains.

    Although the media creates reality for people, it also misleads the public. Without doubt, “profit-driven” advertisements, political campaigns and international conflicts are some examples that show one-sided stories. Specifically, in the case of the columbine incident, Ex-US President Bill Clinton’s reply on this tragic incident reinforces this premise. Where was the formal investigation? What were the logical facts behind the story? Was it due to a ferocious impulse of the younger generation, the influence of a media or simply an outburst of social frustration? Science could have provided the answers but of course, social constraints and dominant powers of leadership disallowed it. While George Arbell asserts that, “The purpose of science is to find order in the chaos of natural phenomena.” In the case of the columbine incident, this was not carried out.

    It is also from a vantage point that science and the media play a major role in shaping reality and society. Although science adopts a mainly pragmatic approach in solving problems, this world does not follow systems. This is reality and we all have no choice but to accept such a “rule”. The last millennium has not been a great success. Indeed, we made huge advances in science and technology, but have still been let down by excellent ways of thinking.

    The thinking of the last millennium has been concerned with “what is” – thinking of analysis, criticism and argument. We need to start thinking about logic, reason, facts and demand the honest use of scientific method and truthful reports. The emphasis is on thought and fact, not judgment. As Whitehead put it, “The aim of science is to seek the simplest explanation of complex facts..Seek simplicity and distrust it.” This is especially true. Paradoxically, Harvard Professor and leading authority Edward De Bono argues that, “the weakness of the judgment system is that it was never meant to change.” Based on these arguments, what is right or wrong? Science has brought us to where we are now; I believe it’s time to use what we have now to make decisions – ethical ones with the media as a global medium of communication.

  17. The human being is known to be one of the few living beings that kill its own kind. And we even do this for pleasure! We live in a world where crime is at its highest and where humans are beginning to be more and more inhumane. Media today show us what we have become in its different forms like the internet, print media and most recently even video games.
    If we scientifically approach media, understanding, predicting, explaining and most importantly controlling human behavior and situations would seem much easier. If we were to analyze the Columbian School Massacre, it is evident that scientists or analysts blamed it on many factors. If media were the main cause of this, wouldn’t we see a lot more school murderers running the streets? In this case it is incorrect to make conclusions based on one “un-researched” factor or just because we need to blame something that we can’t comprehend.
    People and everything people create are more complex now. Science is the safest and best way to understand our world and prevent the sadism that we seem to have grown accustomed and immune to. Video games, no matter its significance to events, would still be played. If it doesn’t affect the individual, I doubt they would have their reservations on playing it. Presidents and other such people of authorities may say many things. However, we have to be in such a level of intellect to realize that scientific observations and proof win over any other forms of baseless arguments and authoritative statements.

  18. The Columbine High School massacre is a perfect example for the effects of media violence. Or is it? President Clinton’s claim that it was the result of violent images portrayed by the media was clearly not well-supported by the people. Here, we can see how easy it is to blame the media.

    In today’s society, we are surrounded by the media. The media provides us with entertainment, information and a medium to communicate. On the other hand, we easily blame the media for promoting plastic surgery, instilling violent thoughts, inducing consumerism, filtering vital information and creating stereotypes etc. I have written a research paper and a speech over my past semesters on the effects of advertising and I, too, blamed the media to an extent. Why blame the media?

    Taking a neutral perspective, blaming the media is as good as blaming a mute. The media cannot speak up to fight for itself because it is not one person, neither is it only one organization of people. We are living in a global village. With new technology, the media has become a large network of organizations that possess the means of communication to reach the masses globally. Thus, the best way to understand media effects would be through systematic observation–Science.

    Science will enable us to draw conclusions, about media effects, with sufficient evidence and not simply pointing a finger at anyone based on personal opinions. With science, we are able to think more logically and the media is given more leeway. Indeed, not everyone who plays violent video games have violent tendencies and plots to murder. Violent games cause me to feel agitated while I’m playing it, but I don’t have violent thoughts after. It is because of several incidents that resulted in a stereotype.

    The Scientific approach is therefore vital in today’s media landscape because it plays the part of a buoy that’s keeping the media afloat in the midst of the blames it has to bear. Scientific approach can also present us with statistics to convince us that the two boys who carried out the Columbine High School massacre were only a tiny percentage of the millions who play violent video games.

  19. today’s class was a like a real wake up call to what the media can do. from the media, we learn how to kill others as well as ourselves. this is in relation to a class we had with Dr. Sachs where we see that with a highly publicised suicide, the number of new suicide cases would go up.

    this spike in suicide cases is an example why we need the scientific approach; for us to better understand the effects the media has on us.

    again, through the though process, the relationship between the clip shown and the class we had is becoming clear. the importance of looking to the scientific side of it allows us to PREDICT and PREVENT smiliar occurances.

    on a personal note, we also see how the scientific approach can sometimes fail in such isolated instances. by isolated, i mean that people who play video games may not ALL turn into cold blooded killers. however, we take comfort in knowing that ratings have been put up to buffer that fall.

    in the case of video games, i’m not saying that it is not responsible for any of such crimes, however, i’m advocating the fact that video games are but a factor contributing to such crimes. infact, in my opinion, i feel that video games do just the opposite, inthat, video games allow people to let out all their aggression. BUT there are that few who might take it one step too far… hence, ISOLATED.

    which leads me to my next topic, the video game that was a re-creation of the Columbine Massacre . there are people out there who are greatly disgusted by the fact that some one would do something like this. but that’s why how the world works… people cash in on fads… it is a very vicious cycle…

  20. Today’s media landscape is saturated with all sorts of messages, opinions and information. We are constantly bombarded by messages from the media, and hence there is a need to be wary as what the media says can be, and very often is, very far from the real truth.

    After the Columbine High School Massacre, people and the media were quick to offer their opinions as to what could have caused it. Even Bill Clinton, then President of the United States, contributed to this huge nationwide discussion by offering his own opinion. He offered that violent media content is the primary cause of this tragic incident and many people agreed with him. However, there were people on the other side of the fence who opposed his views and said they were using media as a convenient scapegoat.

    In today’s media landscape, it is not uncommon to see an issue being argued from both sides. The War in Iraq for example has its supporters and detractors. Some see the United States as liberators of Iraq, while others see them as exploiters and warmongers.

    We need the scientific approach because it can help us discern the real truth from what we see and hear from the media. With the scientific approach, we can seek new evidences, analyze them, compare them and eventually come to more precise and accurate conclusions. It might not be the real truth, but at least we are working closer towards it.

    To really appreciate the scientific approach, I offer this analogy: Think of the media landscape as being a huge gold mine, the real truth as gold and the scientific approach as the machine that sifts gold from the other unwanted materials. You might not strike pure gold, but hey, at least you a hell lot closer to it.

  21. The world we live in today is made up of the media. Movies, television and games are all part of the media and if you were to ask someone about his or her hobbies, there is a high chance you will get movies, television watching or gaming as an answer. Since our generation is highly exposed to the media, and media has adopted much violent content, it is undeniable that we will conveniently direct the cause to media violence when problems arise.

    In the case of the Columbine High School Massacre, people were quick to pin-point media violence (games and films) as the culprit. Some people agree that the media violence is the one responsible for the boys’ acts but some people disagree. Those who disagree held the parents for negligence in guiding their kids.

    No matter which side of the story one supports, the scientific approach will have to come into the picture to set our ideas into concrete theory. The scientific approach is especially vital in our era because we have turned the world into one which requires evidence, explanation, authority and falsifiability. Without the scientific approach, how can we be sure of what is presented by the media is really true.

    I believe media has a part, a rather important part to play in our everyday lives. My cousin who hogs the Xbox all day long, playing war and fighting games is starting to show signs of violence. He punched his baby sister and told me that if his game character is bound to lose, he will COMMIT SUICIDE his game character! My goodness, I wonder what our future generation will turn out to be like.

  22. Personally, I feel media is like water or fire. When tamed & under control, we derive inmeasurable benefits from it. Yet when girls starve themselves to ridiculous BMI index figures in a bid to mimic the look of Hollywood IT party girls or guys adopting personas in violents video games & bringing it on to reality, then it becomes a problem. But who can control the media? Im certain a powerful few can to an extent put out there the contents but nobody can really predict the consequences of media. Bill Clinton’s rhetoric was probably just a diplomatic statement churned out by his advisors. A tragedy has unfolded & fingers need to pointed. Similar to Rudolf Giuliani case in the “911 attacks”. But that’s opening another can of worms for another day.
    Scientific approach is important for the media landscape of today. I learnt in lecture that there are three ways of knowing & they are experience, authority & science. However, all that goes out the window when a crisis happens & people are hungry for prompt answers.
    At the end of the day, I firmly believe its all about control of your own self. Or parents keeping a sharp eye on their kid’s behaviour. Humans are nothing without control. Quit it with the media already. Its getting old. 🙂

  23. Recently, I watched the movie Pans Labyrinth. The genre which it was classified under was fantansy. Personally, I was quite affected by some of the scenes. One scene that disturbed me was that the actor had his mouth slit by a woman. Though he was having a role of the evil and deserved to be treated that way, I feel that this type of media violence will have negative impact on young children. It is these kind of actions and exposures that causes children, at a age who are unable to decide for themselves what is right and wrong, to be violent in some way or other.

    I have a few cousins who are very much younger than me. They are barely 7 years old. However, the computer games that they play are in fact more “exciting” and “challenging” than what I play. They kill monsters, human and all sorts of creatures. I can really see them enjoying themselves and feeling high level of satisfaction and fulfilment after they achieve victory. I feel that this is a bad influence for their youthful and naive minds. In my opinion, they will be more cold-blooded and impulsive as they grow up in such “environment”.

    Also, I still remember my JC days where I got hooked for watching happytreefriend.com. It was a website accessed easily when you log in into the internet. It was a series of cartoon clips but it has alot of violence in it. It definitely affects everyone psychologically. Eventually, the website was closed down as I think it is really too violent and is unhealthy for young children.

    The scientific approach presented in the text is especially vital in today’s media landscape. It is known that media is a power form of influence but I am also not placing the blame entirely on media for violence that happen in reality. Lets take the Columbine High School Massacre as an example. I feel that the cause maybe be resulted by many factors. Undoubtedly, media does play a part. However, I agree with the book that the root cause may be due to the unrestricted proliferation of guns. Last but not least, culture is one factor that determines how one behaves. In a low-context culture, people are more concerned with self-face. When they feel threatened, they will act upon the situation by protecting themselves first. For their own interest and at the expense of others, they place ONESELF as the priority. Hence, this maybe one cause for which the tragic of Columbine occurs.

  24. When the Columbine shooting incidents occured years ago, it caused a huge uproar all over the world. They needed a convenient scapegoat, and the media bore the brunt of the blame. Was the media really the root of the problem? The media messages that were carried across the media were the ones that shaped the boys’ thinking somewhat.

    However, that was not the only factor. If the media was really the cause of all the problems, why were other people who were into the goth culture, metal music etc. not killing everyone they hated? Not everyone with such interests went trigger happy with their guns. The fact that they were literally outcasts in their school have to be taken into consideration. Were their actions a way of channeling their pent up frustration? However, not all social misfits with inclinations towards metal music and goth culture end up shooting their classmates.

    The media is the medium that transmits all these messages. Things like goth culture, and metal music did not come about because of the media. The media is the medium; it just sped up the exchange and transmission of such ideas.

    We can come up with many hypotheses, all of which are fallsifiable. That is why we must view such phenomenon with a skeptical attitude, and study and analyze them using scientific approaches.

  25. With respect to chapter 1 of the book, there are 3 ways of knowing. They are experience, authority and science. In the aftermath of the Columbine Massacre, Bill Clinton claimed that media violence was what sparked the event. This claim by the then-U.S president then triggered an outcry by the U.S. population against media violence.

    I believe the reason why the general U.S. population was so convinced of the media’s role was due to Clinton’s claim. They had followed the “Authority” way of knowing blindly and was hence led to a wrong, hasty conclusion. To them, Clinton was the president then and his words probably had more authority than anyone else, eventhough he was not an expert in any related field. Hence, though the “Authority” way of knowing might be useful at times, it will lead us to false conclusions if followed blindy.

    That is the reason why the scientific way of knowing, or the scientific approach, is important in today’s world. For example, contrary to claims that media violence was the main catalyst in the Columbine Massacre, statistics have shown that over the decades, shootings in schools have been decreasing. Hence, media violence might have played an influential role in the event, but definitely not a dominant role.

    Having studied sociology last semester, we cannot rule out other factors influencing the event. For example, those 2 students responsible for the massacre were basically treated as rejects in school. In addition, one of was on anti-depressants, which also made him aggressive.
    There could have been other social reasons contributing to their sudden insanity which we may not know of. Hence, through studies, or research, the scientific approach uncovers facts that we can use to make a sound judgement.

    Simply relying on the “Authority” way of knowing is not enough, as we might be misguided. I believe that the scientific approach should always be used fundamentally to make sound judgements or arguments. Perhaps experience and authority should be relegated to a secondary status, making them compliments to the scientific approach, rather than basic approaches themselves.

  26. Science – It’s goals are to predict, explain, understand and control. If only the Columbine High Massacre was that easy to predict, explain, understand and to even control. Why did such an event happen?

    Many point fingers to the violent video games that the killers played. Yet, does violent video games = killers?

    This is a difficult statement to prove and based on the readings under “Television and Violence: Facts and Figures”, it states that ” Media violence is especially damaging to young children (under 8) because they cannot easily tell the difference between real life and fantasy”. Yet, the shootings were done by teenagers and thus, they should be able to see the difference between real life and fantasy – in this case, playing DOOM was a mere fantasy.

    On the other hand, as they were mentally unstable and not very sociable, they believed that their real world was DOOM. They had power in their fantasy world and took it out on the students. It comes as no surprise that they killed the jocks first – the popular kids. But this does not justify the causal explanation that Video game = killers. It may have contributed to the problem but does not necessarily cause it.

    Lastly, I do not agree to playing the video games of Columbine High Massacre. Making them is the same as making 9/11 video games of airplanes crashing into the Twin Towers. Game makers should have more tact and respect over such matters.

  27. the (8) is supposed to be ( under 8 )

  28. Today, with the media being one of the most powerful mediums to influence behaviors and mentalities, we have to pay extra attention to what we see, hear and read. Because the media is so easily accessible, compliance gainers widely use it to exploit the masses to their advantage.

    With that in mind, we should learn to be aware of the different ways of knowing so as to protect and prevent ourselves from hopping onto the bandwagon like many ignorant people out there only to find that that wagon goes nowhere but downhill. Taking the Scientific approach, I feel, is a more logical way of knowing and understanding, and not simply believing what others tell you.

    The Columbine High School massacre was one of the most talked about topic some years ago. People were discussing the incident from all angles but the question most brought up was, “Is media violence the main cause of the shootings?”. What made the two boys carry out such a horrible act of murder in cold blood?

    As ironic as this may sound, the media became the convenient scapegoat for the massacre simply because it was so powerful and influential. With a figure of authority, Bill Clinton, pointing the finger at the media, it was only natural that the rest of the world followed suit.

    In the midst of confusion and chaos, as such, people need answers and need something to put the blame on. One word from a trusted figure like President Clinton and the verdict is passed. According to Sparks, “Despite the fact that President Clinton was in a position of national leadership, his opinion about the role of the mass media…was still only an opinion”. Thus, we cannot believe everything a figure of authority tells us without first analyzing the situation for ourselves. Once again, the scientific approach could very well be the key to the answers we seek. Even if something seems to be the way it is, we should seek to probe further and seek to understand the problem. “Knowing why something occurs the way it does” is certainly more important.

    As important as the scientific approach is in seeking the truth, science cannot always answer all our questions. Sometimes, we have to turn to ethics and our more humane feelings for certain answers. Perhaps logical thought combined with some instinct could produce some good answers in times of uncertainty.

  29. Right since the time of our forefathers, human beings have constantly been trying to increase their knowledge, and improve their quality of life, through the use of science. Today, science plays an even more important role, as it also helps to mould the way we think, and in turn, shapes the quality of our character.

    We are all jolly well aware that the media has become an inseparable part of our lives. Thus, it is important for us to know how to select and process [prudently] the information that’s being fed to us by the media. Taking the scientific approach is definitely a good way to do so.

    Based on the lecture today, as well as the textbook, we learn that science allows us to understand, predict, and explain a given phenomena, and this in turn allows us to gain better control over our behavior and the situation itself.

    In the case of the Columbine High School Massacre, Bill Clinton had conveniently shoved the blame to media violence to “explain” the entire incident, hence appeasing the public. Being a person of authority then, most people (in particularly those who are not gaming enthusiasts) would naturally buy his story. However, scientific experiments have yet to show any significant correlation between violent media and violent human behavior. This means that there wasn’t any concrete evidence nor systematic observation to support his claims. Further investigations have also shown that the two shooters were actually underdogs and had been on anti-depressants, so I guess that was a more substantial reason as to why they turned violent on their own schoolmates.

    Being a non-gamer myself, I used to have this stereotyped thinking that violent video games are the major cause for violence too. But upon further thinking, I realized that all human beings, whether you are a gamer or not, do enjoy violence to a certain degree! It is obvious through the movies/dramas or even the songs we hear. Violence can be a sort of a “cheap thrill” to all who are experiencing it. For those who are more engrossed, we may even imagine ourselves to be the ones creating the violence, the ones who are in control. I suppose this is the draw to violence for alot of people.

    I would say that violent media can serve as a trigger to violent human behavior, but it may not necessarily be the cause of it, not until concrete evidence has been shown via scientific approach.

  30. Media does play a vital role in our lives. Any information conveyed through the media, regardless if its true or false, will be accepted by the audience. We take what comes by easily without asking ourself if what we are learning, receiving is believable or not. The scientific approach serves the purpose in explaining the situation through proper examinations.

    In the Columbine Massacre, Bill Clinton, a person of “authority” made a remark that media violence caused the event to happen. Given that he’s an “authority”, do you not think the audience will tend to agree with him regardless of a sensible answer? Here’s how i feel about the situation. It is incorrect to blame the media entirely for we humans are the ones who have created the world we live in today. The two killers may have retrieved information on the internet as to how to build explosive, but is that not a place where anyone would go to look for information other than the library?

    Also, to behave in such a manner like the two killers is just not normal. Only two out of the entire school turned out that way. Did u think the media only got to those two? It is not solely the media’s fault.

    I too play violent games and watch violent shows yet i do not behave in such a manner. It all depends on an individual. Whether your mind is weak to fall prey to the power of the surroundings. Be in control of who you are. Therefore, it is good to use the scientific approach to help guide us.

  31. The scientific approach is vital, not just in explaining media effects but also everything else, because it attempts to explain reality with facts and statistics, not fluffy philosophical points of view.

    Words are powerful tools that can sway opinions and change attitudes. Masters of language can string them up to form flourish descriptions and beautiful phrases so persuasive that even the most nonsensical ideas can be welcomed by the masses. Take Singapore’s own celebrity blogger, xiaxue, for example. In her January 9th 2007 post, she gushed over a gorgeous accused rapist and insisted that he has to be innocent of the crime, simply because he is too good-looking to be that desperate for sex. Silly as it sounds, there were readers who commented and agreed with her on this. Talk about fallacy in reasoning. False reasonings as such appear a lot (Recall: Monty Python!), espcially in advertisements. (Buy this toothpaste, have white teeth, be the center of attraction!)

    So, if media effects were to be explained non-scientifically, chances are that all the so-called theories on media effects would reflect subjective, biased opinions and we’ll never find out accurately how the media is affecting the world.

    Whether or not the Columbine High School Massacre happened because of Marilyn Manson, or media violence, it’s not up Clinton to decide. The real answer can only be uncovered through thorough research.

    Yet, be it or not research supports the mass media as an advocate of violence, I believe such verbal assaults on the media are here to stay. Like we discussed in lecture, people need to blame something for the mess. In the case of the Columbine High School Massacre, it is definitely easier for parents, friends, and educators to blame movies and video games, for encouraging violence, than themselves, for not showing enough love and concern for Harris and Klebold.

    All in all, I believe media effects need to be systematically studied before any conclusion can be made on this topic. Yet, regardless of how science explains the effects of mass media, the media will face attacks on its violent content for as long as crime exists.

  32. The media plays an important role in today’s society. Where else can one be kept updated to everyday news? However, just like everything else there are the pros and cons of media effects on society.

    As discussed in class, the media was blamed extensively after the Columbine High school massacre. Games such as Doom(which was a favorite for both shooters), and heavy metal music, displayed excessive violent themes and thus were viewed as foundational instruments of the killers’ sadistic minds.But is it right to blame such media in an event that takes away lives?

    In my blog, i mentioned that i personally enjoy games such as counterstike. In comparison to doom, it’s violence level is much lower however, it’s concept is still the same. Kill. Does that make me a person capable of murder? Frankly i don’t think so. To further prove my point, i have friends who like me, enjoy the wonders of the game. They pick the “biggest” weapons, shoots everything in their path like maniacs but in reality, would run from insects or lizards. Definetly not the profile of killers.

    Instead of using the media as a scapegoat for unfortunate events, i feel that a scientific approach should be used to ensure that such a disaster be prevented. In today’s class, we learnt that the goals of science are to predict, explain, understand and control. Would it not be better to get rid of a cancer cell immediately rather than having it spread by which it would be too late?

    Similarly, if we could predict what contributes to aggressive behaviour;ie bullying, schools could help prevent events such as Columbine by offering counselling.This goal is just an example of what could be done via the scientific approach .

    I personally feel that blaming the media for occurences such as the Columbine massacre is indeed hypocritical and unjustifiable. Instead of finding a scrapegoat to take the blame, I feel that the authorities should instead use science to prevent things from happening. Why wait till is too late.

  33. The main goals of scientific approach in media, as mentioned in the text, are to predict, explain, understand, and if possible, to control. These are considered as vital aspects because it serves as a guide or direction as to what to do when similar cases happen, to understand the root and therefore try to prevent if it is something negative.

    The Columbine shooting incident, if not addressed scientifically, would definitely become something that is highly misleading. You have authority figures like Bill Clinton who spout things out without solid evidence or proof, and people just buy his words and take it as the truth. This way, the truth can be easily distorted and the mass, with their herd mentality as usual, would just assume that things that have been said are the truth. The abuse of authority can prove to be highly dangerous. Look at what happened in World War II, look at what happened to Iraq. There are many more examples of false use of authority that can result in big problems.

    In addition to that, without scientific approach, people will just take things at face value and point fingers. They need something to blame all the time and they take on the most convenient victim, in this case, the media. Facts and evidences will be able to prove people wrong and guide their mindset to the right direction.

    When it comes to studying and analyzing cases like one such as the Columbine incident, scientific approach may not be the best to some people, but it is definitely the appropriate approach as to how we should assess things with regard to the incident. Experiments are needed to prove your hypotheses before developing it to a theory. As we can see up to now, science does have its limitations, but things could have been much worse if it wasn’t for the application of science in this analysis. People can anyhow assume what is true and the innocent will be wronged.

    The media today is one as such that message availability is abundant and there is easy access everywhere. One needs to be aware of whether or not the sources are reliable. Scientific methods will also help us sieve these out. Of course we could also question that who controls the access to these datas. Perhaps what we are seeing out there is what the authority wants us to see and not the truth. With regards to that, I would say to others not to believe everything that you have read, and read widely. Be resourceful. If it is not the truth, there would be loopholes somehow and dwelve deeper into that and find out the real truth. Otherwise, assuming that there is no foul play nor manipulations of results involved, scientific approach is indeed crucial in our media landscape.

    p.s. for a more detailed opinion with regards to the shooting incident, you can refer to my blog: http://intheirdarkenedshrine.blogspot.com

  34. media imitates people, people imitate media.
    But which came first?
    did the media create violence or is it merely mirroring man’s behavior?

    Violence is probably something innate in man’s nature and media is a channel that propagates this facet of mankind. It has become a catalyst for the growth in violence. It demonstrates the ways violence can be executed, it constantly creating new methods to go about practicing violence in our daily lives, basically putting ideas in our heads.
    Some might say, people have to learn to differentiate reality and the media. But that’s really quite ironic since these days reality shows are all the hype. Video games are constantly being upgraded to look and feel more “real”. They are trying to merge reality and media so you can’t really blame people, it is misleading. With a line so fine and so vague, it is inevitable for people to start believing that what they watch on television and what they do in video games are being practiced elsewhere by other people. Thus, they start thinking that they can replicate it too.
    Each time I watch CSI, I can’t help but wonder is the show is actually offering tips on how to commit a crime and how to avoid leaving trails when committing a crime.

    These are some statistics from http://www.safeyouth.org;

    – 61 percent of television programs contain some violence, and only 4 percent of television programs with violent content feature an “anti-violence” theme.
    – 44 percent of the violent interactions on television involve perpetrators who have some attractive qualities worthy of emulation.
    – Nearly 75 percent of violent scenes on television feature no immediate punishment for or condemnation of violence.
    – 40 percent of programs feature “bad” characters who are never or rarely punished for their aggressive actions.

    These numbers draws a pretty clear picture of how violence is being depicted by the media.
    Apparently, there is now solid evidence that researchers have found that children behave more aggressively immediately after watching violent programs. Also, it was found that adolescents who favor violent programs tend to be more aggressive than those who don’t.
    See how media is gradually cultivating an aggressive and potentially violent generation?

    In the case of the Columbine Massacre, media bore the brunt of it. Bill Clinton, a man of authority had his finger pointed at the media, while some people think that the media is innocent. On one hand, one could say if media is the cause of it then why is it that only 2 of them participated in a killing spree. But the question here is, be it 2 or 200, what is it that has been putting ideas into the heads of these 2 people, providing them with such violent ideas. I’d say the media since anti-depressants might mess with your head but they just don’t give you violent ideas that suggest what violent actions you can take.

    Games that are based on real life tragedies like the Columbine Massacre, are just making a mockery of those who perished. They are turning violence into a joke. Turning tragedies into games is an exploit and at the same time, they cause people to forget the seriousness of such atrocious behavior.

    Science, is something we cannot do without in present day, we rely on it to give us answers for almost everything though there are times even science fail to work its magic. But we live in a world whereby science is the best evidence, we’d believe almost anything science tell us. Science can be a form of guiding light for the media, it can help to decide what’s best for audiences.

    Statistics from http://www.safeyouth.org

  35. There is a footage of a different shooting incident available on my blog, those who’re interested can always take a look.

  36. I personally believe that media should not be blamed for the Columbine massacre. Even if it did contribute to the devastating shooting, it played a very small part.

    I feel that Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold were totally messed up, to begin with. It seems to me that they had issues with everyone – the rich whites, the poor whites, blacks, sports enthusiasts, Star Wars fans, martial art experts, everyone….and with the unrestricted proliferation of guns (sigh), everything was laid out in front of them….easy.
    On April 20,1999, they shot their schoolmates..and it was so random..they didnt choose who they wanted to kill, they just pointed their guns and pulled the triggers..They shot students hiding under tables (and mind you, they didnt even look who was under the tables! They just shot them.. at close range.)

    Harris wrote these in his journal: “I hate the fucking world.” “If you recall your history,the Nazis came up with a ‘final solution’ to the Jewish problem: kill them all. Well in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I say ‘Kill mankind.’ No one should survive.”
    “After I mow down a whole area full of you snotty ass rich mother-fucker high strung God-like-attitude-having worthless pieces of shit whores, I don’t care if I live or die.”

    This hatred towards mankind, i feel, accumulated in them, maybe because someone somewhere pissed them off.. you know what they say about bottling up your feelings…that one day it would explode, or you’d hit rock bottom (or something like that). I guess it was like that for them.

    Are games to be blamed? Not entirely. As i read the entries above, the point’s crystal clear: that we play violent video games or watch violent movies, yet we dont go around shooting or stabbing people, right?

    Regarding the scientific approach, i believe that only through it, can we get the truth – not through opinions, thoughts, views, or feelings. I dont care what President Clinton said or feel. If he thought mass media was to be blamed, so be it. But can we prove it?
    I just feel that no matter what the story, news, prediction,or hypothesis is, we should be able to prove them in order to seek the truth.

    Taking the ‘roles of science’ from our textbook as a base,i believe, if we predict that media violence would trigger the violence mode in children, we should be able to explain why it would. when we’re able to explain, then we’d understand the correlation between media violence and actual violence amongst children (what triggers it, etc). And only when we understand, can we control media violence.

    To the victims: Rest In Peace.

  37. Many have presented the exposed-to-violent-media-but-not-psycho argument with themselves as examples. While I of course have no problem with that, and would in fact add myself as another testament to support this argument, it really has grown a little old, and to me, more arguments need to be formed and presented to fight this issue.

    But what made everyone say so in the first place? It was the news reports, the editor reviews, the experts words, who absurdly claimed that the media was ultimately responsible for the massacre. In this age where we so highly value scientific reason for credibility and proof, I’m appalled and disappointed that so many would falsely induce the result of media violence from two very isolated incidents.

    I plan to elaborate further on this on my blog (as a personal post). Watch out for it…

  38. Why do most of people blame media on the Columbine High School Massacre? It is true that scientific proves need to be done before get the media as an escapegoat for this matter. Even before the media exists, there were plenty of psycho people out there who kill others on the street! But as what Clinton has claimed, I would also blame media for this incident.

    In our modern world, I can say that people really depend on media, or so-called media-addict. If we take a look closer, millions of people start their day with reading newspapers or watching news, just to get clues about what happening in the whole world that day. Kids and teenagers become the main consumer of whatever-games, as they spend hours sitting in front of TVs and computers to complete the levels challenged in the game. Knowing about this truth, what does media do about it? They post things that hook people’s attention and imagination. Have you ever wondered if the media, games, newspapers and news report, just presenting an ordinary news everyday?! It would be so boring and they would lose their consumer. Therefore, they present things that we are consuming these days, something extraordinary like going into people’s privacy through gossips, critics about the government, war, and not forgetting the violence which probably we don’t really see it in our everyday lives.

    This is the reason why I blame it on media! There might be psychos before the media (in this contect, the viloence-contained media) spreads out to mass of people, but the number keeps increasing ever since people get the easier access to it. There won’t be smoke if fire is not set up. When the media sets up the fire by sending the message of violence, the smoke spreads out through the consumers by letting them think of “establishing” it in the real world.

    As we all know, Eric Harris created few levels in the popular violence game called DOOM. In my opinion, it is (again) the media’s mistake to let people think of how to create a violence. And probably (and i’m actually quite sure about it) the reason why Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold established their “crazy idea” in the real world, was also supported by an abnormal psychology behavior inside their brain!

    In conclusion, I really think that media, especially games, should filter the message that they are going to send to people (the reason why I mentioned “especially games” is because their main consumer is an exact target of unstable emotions that easily affected by things like violence).

    There are personal stories about this matter that i’m going to post on my blog. Anyone interested, just visit http://cheillalala.blogspot.com

  39. The scientific approach is systematic observation, which combines empiricism with logical though and is always pressing onward toward greater precision of observation (Sparks, 4).

    The scientific approach is especially vital in today’s media landscape because it is in search of the objective truth about issues in the media. For example, take the case of the Columbine High School massacre. When the incident occurred, U.S. President Bill Clinton did not hesitate in blaming the media for instigating such acts of violence. However, if we take a scientific approach to this incident, we will find that attributing the massacre solely to media violence is indeed not sound. One cannot simply state that there is a causal relationship between media violence and the massacre, because of the many other reasons that could have attributed to it. For example, the unrestricted proliferation of arms or even poor parental upbringing. Therefore, the media is not entirely to blame. The scientific approach thus reveals the objective truth on this matter.

    Another example would be in the instance of blogging. Especially in the case of filter-style weblogs, where their editors participate in the dissemination and interpretation of the news that is fed to us everyday (http://rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html), without a scientific approach to the information that is shared, we can undoubtedly be led into thinking that their opinions or interpretation of the news is the truth. With a scientific approach however, we will be better equipped to analyze the information and to make a better judgment as to which information is reliable and trustworthy, based on the facts.

  40. Counter strike, Grand Theft Auto, Hitman, Burn Out, Resident Evil, Splinter Cell, do all these sound familiar to you? For all you gamers out there, I am sure you know what I am talking about. These games are some of the more popular violent video games in the gaming industry. Seriously, how many games these days do not contain the slightest bit of sexual and violent content? They are the gist that made the games exciting and highly demanded. However, it does not mean that by playing violent video games or watching violent films will turn you into one of those sick bastards in the Columbine High Massacre.

    I was quite shocked and speechless when I saw the clip which introduced the Super Columine Massacre Role Playing Game. I was totally oblivious that a game like this was created based on such a sad tragedy. However, we cannot blame it on the media entirely. Sure, I agree that gamers can become so addicted to games that they got really hot-tempered or pick up some vulgarities from games like Grand Theft Auto, but to change your personality entirely and turn to crime, I don’t think so.

    The media has become a scapegoat for people’s irresponsible acts. There is no way we can judge people based on the games they played or the movies they watched. It is just human nature to blame the mistakes we made on someone else. Sure, the media is responsible for those violent and sexual games/films they produced, but we are the ones who watched and played them. We have a choice, to choose whether if we want to become psycho killers or not. No matter how much you change, there will still be some principles in you that remained.

    There is this lesbian series in youtube known as “The L Word”. It encourages love between gays and lesbians, and it involves alot of sexual content. I watched some of the episodes, it was entertaining in a way such that humor was used, but that does not mean it changed my principles and lead me down the path to become a lesbian myself.

    Therefore, we can’t blame it on the media entirely for our wrong-doings. There is no scientific evidence that prove that media is the cause of every evil acts we commit. This way, we should find out the basic roots of the problems in our society instead of pointing faults at the media.

  41. the scientific approach to today’s media landscape is extremely important. it allows us to have an objective perspective on the plethora of information the media constantly throws at us.

    we tend to be less critical when it comes to the media cos it is seen as a form of… entertainment? well i do anyway… and after a long day in school or work, i would really like to just sit back and relax in front of the television and not have to think about it. i would tend to take what is given to me and not think twice about the information i have just received. for all i know, subconciously i am being brainwashed. my mom used to say to me watching too much tv will rot my brains. and i will soon become brainless.

    this is why i realise having a scientific approach is so vital in disseminating the information the media provides us with.

    and it is not surprising that the media gets blamed for just about any social problem we face today! child porn, violence, sexual promiscuity etc etc etc.
    the columbine high massacre in my opinion was a result of multiple factors. i personally do not even think the media plays a major role in the way the gunmen turned out. hundreds and thousands of people around the world listen to heavy metal and play violent rpg games. i do not see them hatching plots to kill innocent lives.

    if you ask me, i would think it is due to the boys being socially unaccepted. they were loners in school and craved to become part of the popular crowd like the jocks and cheerleaders. in fact, they were on anti-depressants! the scariest things were the ease in which they could obtain these dangerous drugs, as well as the proliferation of guns.

    on the other hand however, the media is not absolved of blame. they do play a part in influencing the young minds, and i strongly believe the media has a certain responsibility when it comes to educating the masses.

  42. Ruzaidah Binte Md Rasid

    Why employ a systematic, rigid, scientific approach to studying something so complex and diverse, that is the media? How about considering Marshall McLuhan’s metaphorical, visionary, and empiricist approach toward studying those effects since we are now living in the era realised by his infamous testimony that “the medium is the message”?

    In an Australian newspaper article, Graeme Samuel, chairperson of ACCC commented on the future media landscape as:
    “It is pretty clear that the internet will be a key driver of the next wave of competition to the current media players, and the markets we have traditionally defined as ‘media’ will change. And the possibility is there for not one but hundreds of new competitors to today’s broadcasters.”
    29 April 2005 (http://www.towersystems.com.au/fhn_blog/archives/2005/04/)

    In foresight, we may also be moving from the world of free content today, to that of paid content, like Napster – partly due to the idea of fixing the problems imposed by free-content media as well as retaining traditional media’s (i.e. print publications) role that we, the Gen-C (content generation) seemed to have lost. Today’s media lanscape is also changing into that of a world where ‘the story is what sells’, not the package.

    Going back to my questions initially explored:
    In the future landscape of disaggregation, (in that media content providers are filtered either through quality and trustworthiness or, on the other extreme, loosely based on the chase for ‘juicy’, scandalous details) I figured that the scientific approach is rightfully valuable in discerning the consequences of content put forth in the media. Where once I only read about the Columbine massacre in print publications, should such a tragedy replicate itself today, I strongly feel that the effects of receiving such content from various sources would be different altogether. Having such approach allowed for systematic analysis that is crucial in consequently predicting, understanding, controlling and explaining (by no particular order) media content and the impact on human lives, so as to refrain from making biased and opinionated conclusions.

  43. The infamous Columbine High School Massacre has caused an uproar on how media violence is corrupting and desensitizing the minds of the youth. This is still a debatable topic as no scientific theory has fully supported the direct correlation between media violence and violent behavior in people. There just tonnes of hypotheses but no concrete conclusion, so far. Many of us are curious what could have attributed to these heartless killings and what was going through the minds of Harris and Kelbold. The mass media definitely has a part to play in the killings, it was through the Internet that the shooters learn to make their own bombs, but it was also the local county polices’ negligence that allowed this to happen.Investigators found out that both of them had their own web blog , long before the shooting incidents. These blogs contained negative sentiments and strong hatred towards their school, friends and society. However,when the killers shared information about owning firearms and issuing death threats through their blogs, these early signs were ignored by the police and a intended search warrant was not filed. If these tell tale signs were taken seriously,action could have been taken promptly to arrest the shooters and seize their weapons.
    Media plays an integral role in our life and one affects another.Viewership of the sci-fi movie, The Matrix, increased dramatically after the Columbine High School Massacre.This was because the lead character Neo ,played by Keanu Reeves in The Matrix ,was rumored to inspire Eric Harris, one of the shooters in the Columbine High School Massacre, to similarly don himself in a black trench coat during the shoot-outs. This is dangerous example where fantasy crosses its boundary and becomes reality. Who is really in control?
    The Columbine Massacre RPG reflects this morally decaying society where profiteers jump on the bandwagon and turn a horrific event into a mere game. The Columbine Massacre is a tragedy that has been etched in the books of American history, and it should be remain that way.
    For those who are interested, I looked up about the girl who was asked if she believed in God before she was shot in the head. Her name was Cassie Bernall and her last words was, “Yes, I believe.”Cassie was fond of writing poetry her last poem was made into a song and performed by a band called Kry. The lyrics of Cassie’s song can be found her: http://www.tsrocks.com/k/kry_texts/cassies_song.html

  44. First of all, with regards to the Columbine Massacre, I was rather grossed out and appalled at the behaviour of the killers. But what was the main reason that triggered them to display such behaviour? Was it purely because of the media? I doubt so. The media single-handedly would not have been able to do it. People who think logically in line with the scientific approach would realise this.

    “Both girls and boys who watch a lot of violence on television are more likely to behave violently as young adults, according to a 15-year study by social psychologist L. Rowell Huesmann and colleagues at the Institute for Social Research (ISR).” (http://www.umich.edu/~urecord/0203/Mar10_03/02.shtml). However, “The bottom line is that there are many factors – at home, at school, and in the community, which can increase or decrease the likelihood that a youth will become violent. Media violence is one of them.”, reports The National Research Centre For Women And Families (http://www.center4research.org/violencej.html).

    It certainly does not mean that when a person plays violent games such as Doom and Counterstrike, or watch gory animation clips such as Happy Tree Friends (http://happytreefriends.atomfilms.com/), they become violent. Basically. I believe that a weak family support and undesirable friends are what cause children to become violent. A simple example would be, when parents do not give their children enough pocket money, they ask for more and if still not given, they rebel. This is the first step to children becoming violent.

    As for former President Clinton’s remarks that the media is solely to be blamed for the Columbine Massacre is rather unacceptable. People simply believe what he said because he was Mr. President (with a considerable amount of power).

    Curtailing the amount of violence from children should start from home, and every individual should play their part. But, this is not happening. If it is, why is the video clip of the Massacre even found on YouTube? Parents should instill a certain amount of control over what their young children are exposed to, and also teach them to differentiate reality from fantasy.

  45. Siti Hamimah Aminuddin

    First of all, the scientific approach deals with the systematic. In the face of moral panic that came after the Columbine High School shootings, the media was made the convenient scapegoat. In adopting a scientific approach, one can know for sure whether the media was in fact the prime cause behind such violence because it provides empirical evidence and logic.

    As I have mentioned before, phenomenon in the media may appear senseless upon first inspection. First inspections are normally casual opinions made by the public. To fully grasp reasons behind phenomenon, one has to adopt a scientific approach while traversing the media landscape. It provides explanations and allows predictions to be made. But most importantly, a scientific approach provides understanding. In short, the atrocity of the Columbine shootings may make more sense if viewed from a scientific perspective.

    I find that when we need a solution to a problem, an objective take on things works best and a scientific approach serves that purpose. The media has been said to create all sorts of social problems many times before. How can we be certain if we do not have hard evidence to back the notion up?

    The media landscape is forever changing. It is not fixed and it is not tangible. To make sense of something intangible and ever changing, one would be wise to adopt a scientific approach. A scientific theory can be worked on time and time again because of its falsifiable nature. Permit me to simplify the matter -technology is improving every day because of research and development isn’t it?

  46. Today’s media landscape carries extensive amounts of information and viewpoints. However, we need to bear in mind that not all information that is being presented by the media uncovers the whole truth about the particular event or issue. That is the reason why it is important for us to apply scientific approach to any information we have gotten from the media so as not to be fooled by untruth information.

    The tragic shooting event at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, is an example of an event which shows the crucial need for scientific approach to explain the theories behind the incident. Following this tragic event, President Clinton made a remark saying that exposure to violent images from the media contributed to the violent behavior in the students. As President Clinton holds an authority status, many failed to realize that his remark on the incident is merely his own opinion and that it may lack scientific merit.

    Instead, we should ask ourselves whether President Clinton’s opinion is true and valid to us. We do watch violent images on television, seen images of suicide,but have we ever thought of shooting our classmates based on the violent images we have seen? Anybody in the right mind would know that it is totally absurd to commit such a thing. Thus, we should always set our own views based on our own systematic observation and logic to achieved the closest truth to the information and not be swayed by others views which may proved to be unreliable.

  47. We all know that the media is a very powerful tool of influence. No matter how hard we try to think that our thoughts and decisions stem from ourselves, we can’t deny the fact that in some way, we are influence by the media.

    It’s always easy to push the blame on something else. People blaming the media for the behavior of the Columbine kids, the kids probably blamed someone or something else for their actions too. There is of course, no absolute proof that the media did not play a part in influencing their behavior, but there also isn’t proof that the media was a major influence. However, the fact that Bill Clinton in a way shifted the blame on the media, made it more justifiable for the public to direct their discontent toward the media. His words are nonetheless just an opinion and there is no data or information to prove that his claims were scientific.

    There are so many other factors that could contribute to the so called “mindless killing” in Columbine. The way the kids were brought up might be a reason. Or maybe the kids were insecure. They probably felt like rejects in the school, and because of their inferiority complex, they felt so out of place and jealous of the others that the jocks and the religious people were some of their targets.

    Let’s say hypothetically that these kids have very strong inferiority complex. Was it the media that made them think they were social misfits? Was it the school and its social environment that made them feel left out? Since when was high school an accurate gauge of what you would be in the future?

    What then, constitutes the proper criteria to base our decisions upon? The scientific approach could be a rather useful method to make our assessments. Interpreting scientific data and making meaning of it would be more credible than just employing simple observations skills and producing an opinion

    It is not to say that science is flawless. Though science may be used to make predictions and explanations, it is often difficult in reality to measure every cause and effect simply because there are way too many variables involved, especially so when it comes to human behavior. Amidst the difficulties in life, we have to try to find a balance in understanding that what the media portray may not be the gospel truth and it is really up to us to make our own decisions.

  48. Dalina Daud

    Science has brought about many changes to the way we think. In this age, there is a heavy reliance on evidence, proof, statistics, experiments and so on. The scientific approach is therefore vital in today’s media landscape.

    As we have become smart consumers, a lot more information is needed to satisfy our curiosity. We do not just accept the information readily but instead question their credibility and authority. In order to convince the audience, the media must present a more detailed picture.

    With reference to the Columbine High School Massacre, the people not only want to know what happened, but they also needed to know why it happened. The cause, and the reason behind the cause. When President Clinton suggested that violent contents in the media were to blame, it seems like the perfect explanation. Furthermore, he was the authority back then. Shortcut thinking comes into play when authority is involved. However, people came to realize that not all who play violent video games resort to aggression. It is simply not proven. And we cannot just generalize through a single event.

    Once we are able to gather all the facts and evidence, only then can we understand, predict, explain and control the situation. I think that science provides us with a much clearer view. In today’s world, evidence and supporting facts are important in the field of media.

  49. The scientific approach presented in the text is especially vital in today’s media landscape because whatever the media shows or portrays will have effects on the audience of the media, a cause and effect relationship. For example, the Columbine High School massacre. According to Wikipedia, the shooting has resulted in violent films and violent video games. Violent video games such as the Super Columbine Massacre RPG. But what causes the Columbine High School massacre?

    In my opinion, it’s the environment that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold lives in. Wikipedia states that Eric Harris early warning signs surfaced in 1996 when he hosted hidden levels of Doom. Believe it or not, i used to play Doom, in fact, in my younger days, i loved RPG games. I kinda understand why the kids started a rampage. When i get bored playing Doom, i want to experience something new. I went on a shooting rampage, shooting at everything i see. I even shot my teammates. It’s the satisfaction i get that i’m the last “man” standing. And i could also see the reason why Doom got banned. There are also other RPG that i enjoyed alot, especially Quake III. It has the best effects at my time so, i was hooked by it.

    In one end, software companies like Rockstar are trying there best to maximise their profits with games like Grand Theft Auto series, another of my favorite PS2 games, and on the other end, the gamers are gaining undesirable effects because of playing with these games.

    But hey, Grand Theft Auto is fun, let me brag about it and perhaps you will feel that Grand Theft Auto should be banned somedays. In GTA, if you can get the cheats online, you will be able to get the hookers to have a “hump-ity” time in your car. You get to shoot policeman and innocent passer-bys, and guess what, the most realistic part of the game, with one shot, u see blood flowing out of the victims and the victim will try to escape. But with multiple shots, you will see a pool of blood with in which the victim will lie in. And the main aim of the game, to be the biggest mafia of the city. Cool eh! This explains why game reviewers have such good ratings about GTA. There are also similar titles like Hitmen 1 & 2, and Mafia, but there are boring! I’ve tried them! GTA is so much more interesting!

    I game alot! But luckily, it doesn’t have much undesirable effects on me. Perhaps because i’m female. Maybe that’s why.

    I feel that by playing these RPG games, it gives me an avenue of releasing anger and stress and also allows me to do some stuff that i’m unable to do in real-life, something like shooting the useless policeman?

  50. The nature of today’s media allows for the distribution of information which 20 years ago the average individual would have never been able imagine. However, this has also created many concerns; primarily as to the effects unto people that the media (in whatever form) has.

    Based on my reading of Wikipedia’s write-up on the Columbine incident, I can immediately identify the concern of the effects of violent media material on people. As time and technology progresses, theses concerns will continue to grow, and diversify in their nature. When blogs first became the ‘hot’ topic of the day, those in news agencies began debating if this was a long-term trend, and if it could ever hold the sort of influence that traditional mediums did (e.g. newspapers, TV news, etc).

    Another example I would like to cite is when I participated in Wired Asia 2006 (a travel conference http://www.wiredasia.biz), the buzz word was Travel 2.0, and there was tremendous discussion about online communities and how businesses could incorporate them into their strategies. The excitement surrounding online communities was matched only be the bewilderment of the attendees who were still confused as to who these things worked, and how best to use them when communicating with consumers.

    Despite the 2 examples highlighted above, I would caution others about agreeing with the statement that the “scientific approach… is especially in today’s media landscape”. The scientific approach, regardless of the times, has always been vital. It has allowed us to better understand the intricate nature of how things within our world are inter-related, and the resulting effects of these relationships on us. Without a means to test and measure our suspicions of how the world impacts our lives (i.e. the scientific approach), little or none of the developments and progress we have achieved would have ever been possible.

    Ultimately the main point I wish to get across is that the scientific approach is, and will always be, vital because we are in constant state of change. What we knew yesterday may not make sense given current circumstances; therefore we must have the means to test the validity of old ideas, and prove new ones. This is especially true given how the media landscape of today is evolving at such at frightening pace; where once the journalist was the reporter of the news, today it could be the person you sit next to on the bus. So the question still remains: how does that affect us?

  51. President Clinton, a national leader at the time of Columbine High School Massacre, claimed that the media was to be blamed for the violence of the two teens. It is indeed very convenient to simply push all the blame to the media. They blamed the videos games, specifically Doom. They blamed Marilyn Manson, but eventually several sources revealed that they didn’t like Marilyn Manson because he was popular. Are they just trying to find scapegoats to blame this tragedy on?

    With respect to the scientific approach in the text, it is crucial in today’s world of media because of media’s increasing influence and accessibility, and time people devote to the media. The Columbine High School Massacre is a good example that the scientific approach is important. People developed conspiracy theories, but how could we be sure whether they are accurate? The scientific approach may not be entirely foolproof, but at least general statements made from scientists have a standard testing procedure. It is not just mere opinions and speculations.

    As for Columbine High School Massacre RPG, the real intentions of the creator may be unclear, but in my opinion, it is clear the creator is exploiting the massacre. Making a video game out of a massacre that was said to be caused by the violence in video games, simply linked video games to the massacre again. Personally, people who mimic the violence in video games already have issues on their own. I don’t mean to say that the media doesn’t promote violence. It does. But we also have the responsibility to be able to differentiate between what’s virtual and what’s real.

  52. As mentioned in chapter one of our textbook, scientific approach differs from casual opinion. Science is a particular way of knowing; it is a form of ‘systematic observation’ (Sparks pg 4). On the other hand, media landscape comprises of the present day media, which includes television, radio, blogs and the Internet as means of communication and distribution of information. Science is what defines things and gives media and everyone else a perspective in today’s day and age. It helps us to reason and think about why some things occur and what is the logic behind it. But I disagree with the fact that the Columbine High School Massacre was because of the effects of mass media.
    After seeing the videos, as discussed in class, it was seen that mass media was a convenient scapegoat to dodge the questions asked by millions on the cause of the boys killing so many innocent lives. What people forget, is that the two, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, were on antidepressants and had their own mental issues like being outcasts in high school cliques and being victims of bullying. It had nothing to do with watching violent movies and played violent video games. Ok, one can say that they were influenced, a bit by video game like ‘Doom’, but that does not give people a right to blame the mass media for killing of innocent lives. I feel that even though science can provide us with statistics and other research showing that the boys were influenced by the mass media, it is clear that not make everyone who plays video games and watches violent movies, becomes a murderer. Even president Clinton’s opinion on the mass media violence was an attempt to shift the blame onto effects of media on the minds of the youth. There was little connection and no research behind his opinion. There was no scientific back up or statistics presented to support his statement and being an authoritative figure, he should have been more careful with his choice of words to put the blame on the media, specially since the masses will be influenced by his thinking.
    In conclusion, it is seen that science is different from casual opinion as it is more concise, and organized. It is true that media has become a means of communication to reach and connect people, forming a global village and therefore, science can be used to understand this medium through its systematic observation.

  53. The vital role that the media is playing is an important one even though it teaches us negative stuff in certain TV programmes. On the other hand, there are positive ones among all as well. Due to this sort of influence, media serve as a very powerful source of influence for the public. As to why the influence is so great, it seems to be a vicious cycle that is snowballing itself as the time passes by. Most of the results we see in the news nowadays seem to be coming from what initially was just a small problem or topic. As people tend to follow the decisions of the people around them in order for them not to feel like they are the odd one out, they follow blindly. With today’s media pouring in tons of information that are both misleading and factual, therefore it depends on individuals to filter what they think is considered to be right. We mustn’t forget that in order for the media to survive, they would add in things that are exaggerating to increase its popularity.

    In conclusion, I think media is trying to connect itself with the vast population around the world. To do that, they have to strive to be different from one another and yet bring the necessary information to the public.

  54. If I was Bill Clinton and was asked to comment on the Columbine Shooting, I would have blamed the media as well. I would compare the behaviors of youths today with the youths of my time. I would be appalled by the actions of Harris and Kelbold. As a president, I would try and get into the psychic of teenagers today (I believe my secretary of state would do that too). What could have caused the change in teenagers? Ah yes, media! I would narrow it down to the contents, must be the metal music, the violent tv, the games. Yes! Media’s to be blamed.

    With the scientific approach, President Clinton’s views can be improved on. He could have requested for a experiment-if media should be blamed for the increased in violence. His opinion would be a theory that generates experiments, testings, data analysis. Experimenters could then yield a hypothesis-comparing the television content in the past and present and the difference on its effects on teenagers.

    Besides conducting research on media violence. We should look at other factors that fueled the fire (no pun intended) of the columbine shooting. In the text, Sparks mentioned about the forbidden fruit effect, a theory that stemmed from the psychological reactance theory. He explained that when a person’s behavioral freedom is threatened, he will rebel as an effort to regain his freedom. Harris and kelbold could have faced discrimmination in school, from the jocks, students that were not like them. The struggles of fitting in. Fueled by anti-depressant drugs, video games that provided a source of escapism and a way to channel their anger. These could be the other factors of the columbine shootings.

    The forbidden fruit effect is such a powerful tool in the media. The porno flick of 1972 “Deep throat” is a good example. This show was banned in 23 states but grossed over 600 million dollars. It remained one of the highly downloaded video and even sparked off a documentary ” Inside deep throat” tracing the phenomenon of the show. In advertising, this effect was used to advertise the Manhatten Card by Standard Chartered. They mentioned about the benefits of the card and ends off with “Manhattan Card. Do not get it”. This advertisment won several awards.

  55. Questions how the effects of media on us has been a long debated topic which was posed even before the age of television. Not only is the television a medium for getting messages/news across to us, now, encompassing film, the internet and video games as well. Thus the scientific approach is undeniably crucial when not just in the process of analyzing the messages presented to us by the mass media, but also to decide whether the information can be considered reliable.

    I believe the influence of media violence takes two approaches. 1) Watching violent films or even playing violent video games leads people to become violent and 2) Those who work behind the scenes in the media industry such as the producers and distributors have the choice of deciding what to show. In my opinion, I strongly believe that watching violence does not lead one to be violent. Infact, shouldn’t one take virtual reality with a pinch of salt? On the other hand, it is not true that watching violence does not have a single effect on the younger generation. As Hall mentioned, we decode the messages presented to us. Children/Teenagers are not passive dupes, but rather, they often make use of their own experiences in decoding the messages they receive from the various media sources. Those who work behind the scenes play just as an important part. Since they are of higher authority, they get to decide what is being put out in media for their viewers. Hence, it is important that we, as viewers should be active in decoding the various messages, applying our understanding of the conventions and constructions within media texts and making sense of the messages that we encounter daily.

    The RPG that was created in relation to the Columbine shooting incident is pure mockery especially in a country like America where guns are sold to the general public.

    Last but not least, violence should be in no way promoted or even encouraged. We should instead trn to the scientific approach in helping us decode the messages we receive, being able to actively make sense of the various messages and making the right decisions.

  56. Its easy to point our finger at the media as the cause for many of our actions or behaviors. Just yesterday, I watched an episode of Oprah, which featured two mothers, one whose 3 year old daughter was obssessed with make up and looking beautiful, and the other’s 4 year old, fearful of becoming fat.

    These behaviors are not normal for kids their age. They should be learning about colors, animals, flowers, and not which eye shadow most compliments their eyes, or how many shreds of meat they’re allowed for their meals, or even deciding what’s nice and what’s not in a Victoria’s Secret catalogue.

    Their mothers conveniently put the blame on what the kids see on TV and in magazines. But as the psychologist on the show reminded, shouldn’t the mothers be monitoring what these toddlers are watching on TV?

    A candid interview with the mothers revealed that their daughters’ behaviors were really a reflection of themselves. The mother of the 4 year old is an exercise freak and counts her calories, explaining why her girl is also obsessed with wanting to be skinny.

    The other mother, because she was never told that she was beautiful when she was little, now continuously feeds her daughter with what she herself lacked in her childhood. Now, the girl throws tantrums when she feels she doesn’t look pretty.

    This example, I reckon, only scrapes the surface of the scientific approach to the study of media effects. Instead casually putting the blame on media, we learn that there are really so many other factors we can examine to understand what affects us in our actions.

  57. The horrible massacre of the students at Columbine High School has reflected some probing questions about the media. One popular question would be, “is violence in video games or other sources causing violence in people?”. There has been many speculations and debates about those effects and that includes the former US President, Bill Clinton, giving his two cents worth about the relationship between violence in media and violence in people. I agree with the textbook, which says that even though Bill Clinton in an authority figure, he is not an expert in these matters and his opinions are just that. Opinions.

    Therefore, it is important to have scientific research on media to be able to ascertain what probable effects there could be on people who prefers violence or heavy metal, if any. Furthermore, research could rule out the popular notions or speculations on the cause of violence in humans and could move on and focus on other probabilities, such as good parenting, peers or the environment that a person live in. With increased understanding and research, not only could the researchers pinpoint the cause or causes, further actions could be taken to curb and control violent behaviours so that incidents, of school boys having so much hatred that they could even shoot their school mates would cease to happen.

  58. Tharavathi Sithi

    I believe that in today’s fast paced world, there is too much dependency on Science to be able to explain just about everything. And because the whole process of thinking itself has become such a novelty, we are highly dependent on the scientific faculty to do the thinking for us. Hence, it is vital to know and understand, the scientific methodology used behind many scientists’ claims, with regards to today’s media landscape.

    Scientists have long been involved, in finding answers to many problems/issues, in the many facets of life and even death, if you will. However, one of the areas of research that is very controversial, is the effects of media on human behavior. I must agree that many Scientists have made great innovations and discoveries that have dramatically improved the quality of our lives, especially in areas such as medicine and astronomy. However, when it comes to an area of interest like that of mass media effects, their focus of research shifts from trying to innovate or discover to that of trying to understand, explain, predict and control the effects.

    “Trying to understand, explain, predict and control the effects of mass media on humans.”

    How would a scientist go about explaining something that exists purely in air waves, which, invisibly penetrates into another intangible thing, called the “mind”? The textbook for this course, just like many other books, briefs us on the many ways in which the scientific faculty tries to achieve just that. It talks about the different approaches that Scientists use to analyze the effects of media on humans. However, the authors also warn us about being too complacent about scientists’ claims. The scientists researching on the subject of media have indeed come up with many theories and hypothesis. However, their research all these years have proved only nothing but replaceable. After their famous “Magic Bullet” theory, which concurred with the term “the legacy of fear”, the limited-effects theory came about to make the former theory invalid. And so it continues, with theories changed, altered or voided with the formulation of “more accurate” theories, but, never being able to come up with the “right” one.

    There is also the other issue of how these scientists are being funded and whether or not they are working for the interests of the public or the organizations supporting them. An excerpt from an article I read in the below mentioned website agrees with my point.

    “By trusting scientists, you throw away your rights to analyze and question their results. There are scientific results with undesirable factors played down or intentionally omitted for reasons of publication or funding. If you trust them, you are misinformed.
    One should always view scientific results with an objective mind, and look at how the supporting evidence is gathered, and whether the evidence are representative enough to support the arguments, before deciding the results is acceptable or not.”
    Simon, Cambridge, U.K.
    I am not trying to say that we should not completely listen to what the scientists have found in their researches. They in fact have the qualification and the capacity to be able to collate relevant data, infer from it and present it to us in a way that we can understand. However, what I am trying to say is that we have to exercise judgment and be able to think and come up with our own inferences from the data rather than blindly buying what the scientists are claiming, hence why, scientific approach is vital in today’s media landscape.

  59. Tharavathi Sithi

    Sorry I went out of point in the last part.My edited version!!

    I believe that in today’s fast paced world, there is too much dependency on Science to be able to explain just about everything. And because the whole process of thinking itself has become such a novelty, we are highly dependent on the scientific faculty to do the thinking for us. Hence, it is vital to know and understand, the scientific methodology used behind many scientists’ claims, with regards to today’s media landscape.

    Scientists have long been involved, in finding answers to many problems/issues, in the many facets of life and even death, if you will. However, one of the areas of research that is very controversial, is the effects of media on human behavior. I must agree that many Scientists have made great innovations and discoveries that have dramatically improved the quality of our lives, especially in areas such as medicine and astronomy. However, when it comes to an area of interest like that of mass media effects, their focus of research shifts from trying to innovate or discover to that of trying to understand, explain, predict and control the effects.

    “Trying to understand, explain, predict and control the effects of mass media on humans.”

    How would a scientist go about explaining something that exists purely in air waves, which, invisibly penetrates into another intangible thing, called the “mind”? The textbook for this course, just like many other books, briefs us on the many ways in which the scientific faculty tries to achieve just that. It talks about the different approaches that Scientists use to analyze the effects of media on humans. However, the authors also warn us about being too complacent about scientists’ claims. The scientists researching on the subject of media have indeed come up with many theories and hypothesis. However, their research all these years have proved only nothing but replaceable. After their famous “Magic Bullet” theory, which concurred with the term “the legacy of fear”, the limited-effects theory came about to make the former theory invalid. And so it continues, with theories changed, altered or voided with the formulation of “more accurate” theories, but, never being able to come up with the “right” one.

    There is also the other issue of how these scientists are being funded and whether or not they are working for the interests of the public or the organizations supporting them. An excerpt from an article I read in the below mentioned website agrees with my point.

    “By trusting scientists, you throw away your rights to analyze and question their results. There are scientific results with undesirable factors played down or intentionally omitted for reasons of publication or funding. If you trust them, you are misinformed.
    One should always view scientific results with an objective mind, and look at how the supporting evidence is gathered, and whether the evidence are representative enough to support the arguments, before deciding the results is acceptable or not.”
    Simon, Cambridge, U.K.
    I am not trying to say that we should completely mistrust what the scientists have found in their researches. They in fact have the qualification and the capacity to be able to collate relevant data, infer from it and present it to us in a way that we can understand.
    However, what I am trying to say is that we have to exercise judgment and critique how these scientists are coming up with their claims in the first place. Was the choice(s) of scientific approach(s) appropriate and relevant? Is there a possibility that they could have altered their evidences and/or their results from the research to serve some other commercial or political purpose?

    For example, in Singapore you are not allowed to overtly express any form of racism or negative comments about its government in any local publications. However, we can sometimes come across surveys done with regards to racial harmony and public opinion about the government in the papers. Would you trust the results of the survey or would you question how the survey was conducted and whether the results of the survey were altered? Think and critique we must about the scientific approach used so as to come up with our own inferences from the data rather than blindly buying what the scientists/researchers are claiming. Hence why, scientific approach is vital in today’s media landscape.

  60. Media shapes popular society and society shapes peoples lives. People have reasoning power and can believe what they want to. Their indulgence in one specific avenue of a specific medium can mould their perception. If this were to be true then I believe that the massacare at Columbine was not directly related to theses indulgences, in realtion to the media, but in fact was an extreme replication of it. The boys who were reposnible for this hideous crime were not only exposed but obsessed with violent video games. This obsession coupled with the fact that they were not popular in school resulted in bloodshed. However, thier popularity issues are also related to popular culture, and their resistence to it, which labelled them as outcasts, or ‘losers’. Popular culture is an expression of that particular time, and this culture is amplified by the media. By controlling the media , such extreme cases of violence can be subdued , but education , stringent laws on violent material , and councelling for troubled adolescents can be just as effective in reducing the number of such cases of violence.

  61. Scientific approach is the vital method in natural sciences without any doubts. However, social sciences are much more complex for people to understand the ultimate truth. In fact, there is no truth in social sciences yet the “nearly” truth because there are tons of uncontrollable factors in social science research like human, societies, politics…. Therefore, we need a scientific approach in social science in general or specially in today’s media landscape.
    Scientific approach bases on systematic observation. The observation is the result of careful and logical thinking empowered by precise data analysis. Through scientific approach, researchers reduce the risk of making wrong conclusion.
    For example: the Columbine High School Massacre was still an endless topic for public. Everyone has the right to give his opinion whether he is Bill Clinton, news reporter or myself. Yet, only scientists who have spent enough time to analyze data, make thesisses and test them are able to give the most correct answer. (They are still doing it now)
    Paradoxically, scientific research is a time,money-consumed activity. There is no scientists could explain exactly why the Columbine High School Massacre happened right after the event. Therefore, people make their own assumptions. It’s dangerous because “It’s not what we don’t know that hurts, it’s what we know that ain’t so.” (Will Rogers 1879-1935)
    It’s hard to use scientific approach in media effect studies.The harder it is, the more we need to use scientific approach. Only science can be able to explain, predict and control future. We will not only explain why the Columbine High School Massacre happened but predict the causes and stop the similar cases in advance. Again, it takes time!

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