Guide Media History Worldviews and communication futures

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Film critic Michael Medved explains that this small group of liberal-minded social revolutionaries has turned the Hollywood dream factory into a "poison factory" that attacks religion, assaults the legitimacy of the family, promotes sexual perversions and glorifies ugliness Hollywood vs. America , p. When we view entertainment, we enter a world created by people whose values are often totally at odds with our own—we should be alert! The last several decades reveal the tragic consequences of this attempt to use mass media to remake society. While Hollywood denies that violence on the screen makes society more violent—the facts indicate just the opposite!

Researcher James Hamilton notes that "large literatures exist on the impact of television violence on society… the laboratory evidence firmly establishes that violence on television causes children to be more aggressive… children learn scripts of behavior from television that lead them to be violent in later life" Channeling Violence, pp. More than 1, studies have established links between television violence and behavior that emerges later in life U. When entertainment industry leaders deny that violent entertainment spawns violent behavior, it is like tobacco company executives denying that smoking causes cancer—they are simply ignoring the facts!

Today we are witnessing the horribly tragic results of such misguided thinking. Increasingly, younger children are killing their peers and others who get in their way—then laughing and bragging about their exploits. Press reports repeatedly document the direct link between violence on the screen and human behavior. When television films on teen-age suicide were aired, researchers noted a significant increase in the number of teen suicides or suicide attempts Boston Globe, Sept. Films depicting characters playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun have inspired children to imitate this deadly game Arizona Republic, March 16, A teenager who watched extremely violent videos killed a classmate—with a machete, while wearing a mask—just like a character in one of the videos Boston Globe, Dec.

Recently in France another teenager killed a school friend with a knife while wearing gloves, a black cape and a mask like a movie character. After watching a horror film he commented: "I just wanted to kill someone" Irish Times, June 6, When children watch more than , acts of violence on television before leaving elementary school, it has an effect! Continuous exposure to violence hardens us.

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Growing children, "bombarded by violence… begin to view life as cheap and expendable" Atlanta Journal, March 18, This has serious implications for society. The story of sex on the screen is similar. While Hollywood claims that only religious fanatics object to sex on television and that it merely gives society what it wants, studies show that more than 70 percent of Americans feel there is too much sex and vulgarity on television Medved, p.

While writers and producers suggest that their films and programs only reflect society, they ignore that they are profoundly influencing the values of society. One college educator addressing the question "Is TV corrupting our kids? The continuous portrayal of promiscuity as exciting, adultery as natural and divorce as acceptable plays a powerful role in molding attitudes and behaviors. It has a devastating effect on traditional Judeo-Christian moral values. More than talk shows are viewed by millions of Americans every week.

For many, this is just part of the way to spend a day. To attract viewers, these shows focus on the bizarre and promote a distorted view of what it means to be "normal. Regrettably, millions of children who watch these programs "are soaking up the same doses of pathology, perversity and interpersonal aggravation that their adult counterparts tune in to every day" ibid. Topics and behaviors presented on talk shows are eroding the foundations of a morally and mentally healthy society. Today the average child watches between 25 and 30 hours of television a week.

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Yet Dr. Jane Healy warns that our "changing lifestyles may be altering children's brains in subtle but critical ways" Endangered Minds , p. Neuro-anatomists know that the internal structure of the brain is modified by how it is used.

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Visual experiences register primarily in the right side of the brain. Language and reading exercises are focused in the left side of the brain. When children watch television several hours a day where little conversation or thinking is involved and read only 5—10 minutes a day, experts fear a detrimental effect on brain development. Since reading and watching television make very different demands on the brain, extensive television viewing could "reduce stimulation to left -hemisphere systems critical for development of language, reading, and analytical skills… may affect mental ability and attention by diminishing mental traffic between hemispheres… [and] may discourage development of 'executive' systems that regulate attention, organization and motivation" ibid.

Watching television can also be addictive cf. Scientific American , February These fears correlate with what teachers observe in the classroom.

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Students today have shortened attention spans; they struggle with reading and writing assignments, exhibit less creativity, are easily bored and distracted, lack perseverance, give up easily and have difficulty remembering instructions and thinking through problems ibid. A Canadian study reported that these problems increased noticeably in communities after the introduction of television see The Impact of Television, Williams.

This study also found that "television may have a negative impact even for adults on creative problem-solving performances and persistence" ibid. However, research also indicates that better students watch less television, and that "personal interaction with adults is critical" for the development of problem-solving, language, and listening skills ibid. Healy relates that "children who have been talked to [and asked questions] and had stories read to them are at a real advantage" because "they've learned how to listen and pay attention"— and learned how to think Healy, p.

We can understand the serious consequences of watching too much television when we realize that the brains of children who watch less television may actually develop differently than the brains of their couch-potato peers! What does the future hold for countries whose citizens watch 20 to 30 hours per week of entertainment saturated with sex, vulgarity and violence? What will come of a nation whose people get most of their news from television, where the average story gets 30 seconds of coverage?

What happens to a nation when its scriptwriters and producers deliberately undermine the moral values upon which it was founded? Perceptive observers see danger ahead! Ken Burns, award-winning producer of the PBS series The Civil War, believes that "television is rapidly eroding the strength of our republic from within" Atlanta Journal, March 13, In a column titled "Television and the Slide of Civilization," writer William Murchison laments the modern "inability not just to distinguish between [good and bad, beauty and ugliness, truth and falsehood] but even to admit the possibility of a distinction" Dallas Morning News, October 13, Postman also warned that, because of our constant exposure to the present-centered medium of television, "we are being rendered unfit to remember " ibid.

This is sobering when historians point out that "in the great empires of history we see a picture of our own world… virtually every one of the symptoms of decline that can be detected from history is present in this nation today… to ignore such lessons is to court disaster" When Nations Die, Black, p. Judge Robert Bork has warned that "television is showing the end of western civilization in living color" Slouching Towards Gomorrah, p.

Do we grasp what is being said? But why would individuals in the media seek to undermine the foundations of a society where they enjoy more freedoms than ever before? Why would nations tolerate films and programs that sow seeds of self-destruction?

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Why do we ignore obvious lessons of history as we gorge ourselves on trivial amusements? Film critic Richard Grenier believes we have allowed a small class of self-proclaimed intellectuals who dominate the electronic media to "capture" our culture. The ideas of this reactionary group that disdains the fundamental ethical values of western Judeo-Christian culture "come spewing forth out of every TV" and permeate the scripts of nearly every film—that we watch by the hour Capturing the Culture, pp. Television critic Medved makes the perceptive observation that Hollywood is "following its own warped conceptions of artistic integrity, driven by some dark compulsion beyond simple greed" Medved, p.

In our modern, politically correct culture, certain topics are carefully avoided—especially theological topics that hearken back to an earlier "pre-enlightened" era.

What’s a Christian Worldview?

Yet these intellectually taboo topics hold real answers to the questions that we have just raised. The Bible, a book held up to ridicule by many in the media, explains why the most powerful and influential means of communication yet devised has been used to such warped and perverted ends.

The Scriptures reveal this world is actually under the sway of an extremely cunning spirit being—Satan the devil. The Bible refers to Satan as "the god of this world" who has blinded the minds of those who do not believe 2 Corinthians He is also called the " prince of the power of the air , the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" Ephesians The name Satan means "adversary"—and Satan has been in rebellion against the way of God from time immemorial Isaiah —15; Ezekiel — This is the dark force who works through people to generate and promote the warped content of the media that degrades the values and behavior of our modern world—yet many do not even believe that Satan exists!

When we compare what is projected on the silver screen with what the Bible reveals about Satan's influence, the connection is obvious. The Bible explains that when people reject God and His ways, God gives them over to a "debased [Satan-influenced] mind" which revels in sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, murder, strife and all kinds of evil—including homosexuality and other perversions Romans —32 ; an accurate description of modern media entertainment! God also allows us to reap what we sow Jeremiah — We are told that, because our society has forgotten God and rejected the ethical values of the Bible, " in the last days perilous times will come"—people will be selfish, materialistic, callous, brutal, "despisers of good… lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God" 2 Timothy —5 —again, a dead-on description of our age!

Isaiah describes the society of modern Israelite nations as "sick" from head to toe Isaiah —6 , where people are determined to "call evil good, and good evil" Isaiah God proclaims through the prophet Hosea: "My people are destroyed for lack of [right] knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being a priest for me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children" Hosea These are sobering warnings to a society that has been willingly misled by the corrupting influence of modern, misguided media.

How can you survive a cultural collapse?

How can you live and raise children in a society where religion has been watered down and corrupted, and moral values are under constant attack by the most powerful medium ever invented? What hope is there for the future?

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About 9. Communist Party members were more inclined toward Liberalism and less inclined to the New Left than non-Party members. Youth League members were more inclined toward Liberalism, and less inclined toward the other two ideologies see Table 7. Table 8 summarizes the findings from an ordinary least squares OLS regression analysis predicting political ideology by media use, new technology use, social interaction, and political cognition. Overall, results concerning demographic variables were largely similar to the foregoing analysis. Table 8.