Making Sense of
Some basic questions
• What is the role of media in our lives?
• How do media shape our culture, both
positively and negatively?
• How can media reflect and sustain a
vital democracy? How can the media
undercut a democratic political system?
• How do we take a “critical perspective”
about media?
What do we need to
study in Mass Media?
• the powerful dynamics of media
• the impact of media on community and
global life
• how the media influence our personal
desires and choices as consumers
• our role as citizens who can shape media
culture (though we are also shaped by it)
Students Shot in
Littleton, Colorado,
High School
Perspectives from 60 Minutes
(broadcast 25 April, 1999)
Robert Van der App, Film Industry Lawyer
“If we’re going to have a society where we’re only going
to allow the distribution of films and movies that are
not going to provoke a response in some aberrant
individuals, we’re going to be watching Bambi without
the shooting of the mother, because we simply can’t
predict what is going to set off any particular individual.
We are all, in 1999, bombarded with violent images:
violence in Kosovo, images of shootings every day
around the world. That is part of the culture we find
ourselves in.”
David Grossman, Lt Colonel, Green Berets
Grossman called violent video games “murder simulators”
and believes such games as Doom influenced the recent
rash of school shootings:
“Here’s what’s fascinating about that crime [in Paducah,
KY]. He held that gun and fired one shot at every
target. Now that is not natural, but video games train
you, if you’re very, very, very good, what you will do is
fire one shot, don’t even wait for the target to drop, go
on to the next and the next and the next. And the video
games give bonus effects for head shots.”
Doug Lowenstein, Head, Trade Association,
Video Game Industry
“I understand as a parent that in a tragedy like this we
want to find somebody to blame because it defies
everything we believe in as a society. And so we point
to a video game. Unfortunately, in my view, the causes
of violence in this society, the causes of tragedies like
these school shootings, go far, far beyond video games.
There are violent video games and some children play
those, but what we’ve done as an industry is attempted
to provide the best rating system in the country for
entertainment products to give parents, particularly,
informed and reliable information.”