I’ve forgotten where I stumbled across this term, Mean World Syndrome, although it was yesterday!
“Mean world syndrome” is a term coined by George Gerbner to describe a phenomenon whereby violence-related content of mass media makes viewers believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is…”You know, who tells the stories of a culture really governs human behaviour,” [Gerbner] said. “It used to be the parent, the school, the church, the community. Now it’s a handful of global conglomerates that have nothing to tell, but a great deal to sell.”…
…Individuals who watch television infrequently and adolescents who talk to their parents about reality are claimed to have a more accurate view of the real world than those who do not, and they may be able to more accurately assess their vulnerability to violence…
What do y’all think of this idea?
I have only a few scattered fragments of thought about it, so far. First, I’m suspicious of anything that smacks of Behaviorism. But I also notice that this idea isn’t the standard fare, that our violent media culture somehow programs us to do violent crime. It makes a different point: that our violent media culture (and I would count TV News shows, in that) has given us all a darker vision of the world, making most people a little more frightened and suspicious. True/untrue/?
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