Communicating Unreality: Modern Media and the Reconstruction by Gabriel Weimann

By Gabriel Weimann

Reviewing the pictures and meanings of the mass-mediated international, Gabriel Weimann examines the symbolic atmosphere, the place fact and fiction are nearly inseparable. via dialogue of mass-mediated pictures of individuals, cultures, struggle, love, intercourse, dying, group, and identification, he demonstrates that there's frequently a wide hole among fact and the reconstruction of "realities" as communicated by means of the mass media.

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As the a u t h o r s point out, these data suggest a very strong relationship b e t w e e n the emphasis placed o n different campaign issues by the m e d i a and the judgments o f voters as t o the salience and i m p o r t a n c e o f c a m p a i g n topics. , perceived i m p o r t a n c e ) play a part in formulating public policy. In o t h e r words, i f the media emphasizes a given t o p i c t o a point w h e r e the public c o m e s t o believe that it is truly i m p o r t a n t , do political leaders then take action t o " d o s o m e t h i n g " about the issue?

A n o t h e r p r o b lem relates t o the source o f the effect. M e d i a effects may be the i m p a c t o f a particular media message content, such as the i m p a c t on viewers' sexual arousal from watching sexually explicit films or the effects o f " J o e C a m e l " ads on young people's predispositions t o begin s m o k i n g . O n o t h e r o c c a s i o n s , scholars are m o r e c o n c e r n e d with the c o n s e q u e n c e s o f using a m e d i u m as a totality, relatively i n d e p e n d e n t o f the nature or c o n t e n t o f its messages, thus referring t o m e d i u m effects.

Such subtle but powerful influences c a n n o t be e x p e c t e d t o s h o w up in research strategies m o d e l e d after t h o s e o f physical science, w h e r e a limited n u m b e r o f factors are m e a s u r e d and c o n t r o l l e d . Obviously, n e w scientific procedures had t o be devised t o study l o n g - t e r m , large-scale, accumulative, and subtle processes. T h u s , the n e w wave o f studies set forth a n u m b e r o f t h e o r i e s c o n c e r n i n g l o n g - t e r m and indirect influences o f the m e d i a — t h e t h e o r i e s 26 THE R E C O N S T R U C T I O N OF REALITY o f a c c u m u l a t i o n , a d o p t i o n , modeling, m e a n i n g , and stereotypes.

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