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Homework answers / question archive / Week Three Discussion ? This is a graded discussion: 60 points possible due Apr 18 88 100 Week Three Discussion Answer two of the following questions (drawing from Chapter 1 in Sternheimer's book), and respond to at least one other student's post afterward for a total of at least 400 words

Week Three Discussion ? This is a graded discussion: 60 points possible due Apr 18 88 100 Week Three Discussion Answer two of the following questions (drawing from Chapter 1 in Sternheimer's book), and respond to at least one other student's post afterward for a total of at least 400 words


Week Three Discussion ? This is a graded discussion: 60 points possible due Apr 18 88 100 Week Three Discussion Answer two of the following questions (drawing from Chapter 1 in Sternheimer's book), and respond to at least one other student's post afterward for a total of at least 400 words. This assignment is due by Sunday at 11:59PM. 1. According to Sternheimer, what is the larger issue behind focusing on or blaming media for various social problems? What does the author believe are the more important underlying issues? Why might politicians, the public, and the media itself be reluctant to discuss these issues, in your opinion? 2. Why does Sternheimer believe that social context is so important in understanding fears about media and popular culture? What are "moral panics," and what examples of moral panics does she provide in 20th century music? Do you see examples of similar, current moral panics in American culture? 3. What is "agenda-setting theory," and how does the media itself ironically stoke public fears about media influence on children? How might a constructionist approach to social problems provide us with a more nuanced understanding of the supposed "harm" of popular culture? This topic was locked Jun 15 at 11:59pm. Search entries or author Unread ? ? ? Subscribed 1 (https:// 2 Brenda Vanessa Moron-Morales ( Apr 8, 2021 ? 2) Sternheimer believes that examining social context is so important in understanding fears about media and popular culture because it has more to do with threatening the status quo. Sternheimer notes the shift in the balance of power from elites to the masses. For example, Sternheimer mentions how comic books were cheap, adventurous, and appealed to the masses. 1/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion These elites saw comics as a major cause of violent behavior. Another example was Elvis Presley, who introduced African American music to white Americans. The real threat wasn't the music, it was the fact that African American music was introduced to whites in a time of segregation. Fears about media and popular culture stems from teenager's deviant behavior. For the older generation, things like comics and vinyl albums being played backwards, deviate from their own cultural tastes and preferences. This is why adults associate these new cultural tastes by teens as threats and as a result fear popular culture today. Moral panics, according to Sternheimer, are real fears that are out of proportion to their actual threat. Sternheimer also notes that moral panics is a way to condemn cultural preferences of the less powerful social groups. For example, when talking about music in the 20th century, Sternheimer mentions how rap music was criticized and was greatly associated with racial intolerance. Someone saying they did not like rap music was almost equivalent to saying they disliked African Americans. Current moral panics that I see today involve pit bulls. Pit bulls are criticized for being violent and scary, but are also associated with being owned by African Americans. When one thinks of pit bulls, many seem to associate them with African Americans and associate the same behaviors for both, violent and intimidating. These moral panics are fears that are in fact taken out of proportion. 3) Agenda-setting theory, according to Sternheimer, is that the repetition of issues shown in the news, shapes what the public thinks to be most important. The media stoke public fears about media influence on children by telling us what to think about, directing us to think about entertainment as the number one enemy for kids. Stories outlining the dangers of popular culture leads people to tie media and social problems together. The continued focus on media takes our attention away from other potential causes that can also cause troubling behavior. A constructionist approach to social problems provide us with a more nuanced understanding of the supposed "harm" of popular culture because it requires us to look closely at how we come to think of something as a problem in the first place. Taking popular culture as an example, the more people raise awareness that popular culture is a threat to society, the more they create the sense that a problem exists in the first place. Another example that Sternheimer provides is youth violence. The author mentioned a report that stated poverty and family violence as the best predictors of youth violence. However, because there exists so many people who think violent media causes youth violence, they have raised awareness on this and as a result made the rest of society believe that this is a problem as well. There is harm however in blaming popular culture for social problems. Sternheimer states that it takes our attention away from other more serious issues. As a result, we are left fearing the wrong things while the real issues go unnoticed and don't provide awareness for people. ? (http Zachary Samuel Goldberg ( ? Apr 13, 2021 Brenda, 2/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion Your first answer is interesting to think about, especially the implications that published reading material as simple as comic books could have on adult perceptions of children attaining information, much like how the ease of access to the internet has somewhat become comparable in that regard. It seems reasonable to assume that this is the way it has always been and may very well always be when we look at how information is disseminated and continuing to do so. However, one area that I'm not so sure is true is how the author points out that the criticism of rap music was equivalent to saying one disliked African Americans. Perhaps this is/was true for some people, but something else to consider is perhaps that those who criticize or dislike rap or metal/rock just may not agree with the messages/ themes associated with them, which typically include drug use, violence, objectification of women, men, prejudicial remarks, etc. Also, if one mentioned that they did not like rap, shouldn't we ask that same individual if they disliked jazz music since it's also predominantly and has historically been comprised of African Americans as well? I'm not sure you'll find too many disliking both types of music, especially those from the baby booming era. This was an entertaining post with excellent points nonetheless. Edited by Zachary Samuel Goldberg ( on Apr 13 at 2:34pm ? (http Brian Dalton Situ ( ? Apr 15, 2021 Brenda, Your response intrigued me in a sense that your perspective that pitbulls come concomitant with a negative association related African Americans was one that I was previously unaware of. If there was any association between the two it may be similar between the relationship of a Shiba and Asian people or Chihuahuas and Hispanics. However, I'm not sure if it correct to consider pitbulls a moral panic as yes they may hold some sort of negative public image with individuals opting to believe that these dogs are by nature violent. However I'm afraid I fail to see the underlying evil/malevolent impact they are supposed to hold on society that can be contributed or associated with pitbulls and their relationship to African Americans. It is not like everyone is suddenly itching to own a pitbull themselves. ? (http Mengyao Sun ( ? Apr 18, 2021 Hi Brenda. thanks for your wonderful sharing. I appreciate your views on Pit Bulls. I knew the aggressiveness and combativeness of Pit Bulls a long time ago and found it very scary. My family always warns me which dogs are dangerous and I should stay away from them. 3/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion However, I never associate it with African Americans. I was shocked after looking up relevant information on the Internet. I think those trying to find connections between people and dogs are pretty absurd, but I also began to think that maybe there are some similar fate trajectories, and this is what we need to rethink. ? (https:// Zachary Samuel Goldberg ( ? Apr 10, 2021 1. Sternheimer makes the claim that the greater issue behind focusing on or blaming media for various social problems has to do with not paying enough attention to real, threatening issues that American children face. This suggests that putting too much emphasis on superficial problems within the media will distract the public attention away from the more imminent and long-term damaging problems that society faces. Sternheimer believes the more important underlying issues include quality education, violent crimes and households, early pregnancies, single parenthood, obesity, and poverty. Many contemporary mainstream media outlets already entertain the narrative, and has for some time, that media itself is responsible for most social problems which influence external forces to indulge in this notion such as politicians, as well as many public and pop culture figures. I personally agree with Sternheimer regarding the reason why politicians and many public figures do not address the real issues responsible for many social problems, and it is that it ultimately benefits them and their self-interests. Whether it is to maintain their positions of status, political gain, money, or to push institutional agendas through distraction and deception, nonetheless, it’s my opinion that it’s more beneficial for those with control to create or escalate problems that may or may not exist than it is to deviate from the consensus of the public and potentially compromise the status quo. 3. “Agenda-setting theory” suggests that the repetition of issues in the news shapes what the public believes is most important at that time. Ironically, the media constantly uses media as a tool to invoke fear or to villainize other forms of media. This is accomplished through publishing research reports such as the Surgeon General’s report on youth violence, released in 2001, but also, and primarily, through highlighting and covering stories such as the Columbine Shooting of 1999 where media, in general, were portrayed as the link between violent crimes committed; what sociologist Stanley Cohen refers to as the “folk devil” labeling tactic. Focusing only on negative stories or results from research is a common practice shared among media and academics, and in doing so can drastically shape the way people think about an issue and distort the perception of reality. This is accomplished by using the constructionist approach which can, for instance, shape people’s views of the level of harm that popular culture has on society by portraying it as such frequently and consistently. Essentially, more coverage equates to there being more 4/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion abundance of a problem than there actually may be. Although this approach may be used to shape the way we look at issues in a distorted manner, it can also be used to evaluate them methodically and critically through careful analysis. However, merely raising awareness of an issue may not always be sufficient to make the claim that there is a problem, to begin with, so a constructionist approach usually takes the form of action, such as elected officials holding congressional hearings to make the appearance that a problem has some weight or holds merit. Edited by Zachary Samuel Goldberg ( on Apr 10 at 2:35pm ? (http Felix To ( ? Apr 11, 2021 Hi Zachary, Your discussion implies that the media can be wrongly blamed for various ills in society and emphasizes the need for further evaluation to establish the underlying causes of such issues. Blaming the media for pressing societal challenges, such as poverty, early pregnancies, and obesity does not fix the problems. Besides, your assessment of the "agenda-setting theory" provides vital insights on how public perception is shaped. Emphasis on negative headlines by the media can distort reality perceptions as it influences how people think about pressing issues in society. As such, more coverage should objectively examine societal challenges and focus on the underlying issues so that the formulated solutions resolve the issues in the long term. An insightful discussion post! ? (https:// Felix To ( ? Apr 11, 2021 1. According to Sternheimer, the larger issue behind blaming media for various social problems is poverty. The more important underlying issues entail reduced funding for poverty-stricken families, which intensifies the problem. Consequently, the nation’s two-tiered healthcare system hinders children from poor backgrounds from receiving basic healthcare. Learning institutions attended by such children are in high poverty areas, meaning they are less likely to have certified teachers. Thus, numerous problems blamed on the popular culture relate to mundane causes. It is the same case with pressing challenges encountered by American children, such as violent victimization, single parenthood, lack of quality education, poverty, early pregnancies, and obesity. The politicians, public, and media might be reluctant to discuss these issues as they intertwine with the societal fabric and require a rigorous, multi-stakeholder effort to resolve. 5/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion 2. Social context is instrumental in understanding fears about media and popular culture. Notably, the fear of the media culture is motivated by anxiety concerning an uncertain future. Understanding context is crucial as the fear is deflected onto children signifying the future and the media inferring to the contemporary society. Assessment of the context enables people to comprehend the underlying anxieties about media. Media fears stem from the inability to control content as well as consumption. However, moral panics focus on moral concerns about the popular culture as the fears are characteristically real and disproportionate to the actual threat. They have a triggering event likely to elicit media attention. Examples of moral panics in 20th-century music include swing music in the early 1940s, where adults worried that kids were obsessed with listening to the music, hindering the possibilities of becoming decent soldiers during World War II. The same panic was apparent after Elvis Presley took traditionally African American music to white middle American teenagers during enforced segregation. There was another moral panic after vinyl albums were played backward. Similar moral panics are evident in the American culture as some parents castigate their children from listening to secular music or following some contemporary artists, affirming that they have “satanic” musical compositions or “evil” behavioral predispositions. 3. The agenda-setting theory implies that the repetition of news media issues ultimately shapes what the general public thinks is vital. It stokes public fears about media influence on children due to the abundance of news stories that prompt a reflection about entertainment as the leading public enemy for kids. Stories related to popular culture cause young people to become violent, depressed, addicted, or sexually active, meaning popular culture makes people form an easy connection between the media and social problems. A constructionist approach to social problems provides a nuanced comprehension of the possible harm of popular culture by stressing the importance of media and giving people the freedom to choose their preferred content from the media establishments. Edited by Felix To ( on Apr 11 at 1:49am ? (http Erubey Alejandro Apolinar ( ? Apr 14, 2021 Hey Felix I agree that the biggest underlying issue behind blaming the media is poverty. This problem leaks into various other aspects of life such as education, family, and culture. Similarly, with parents spending more time at work this leads to an increase in youth autonomy which is another problem that the media is blamed for. Aside from it being a multi-stakeholder effort to resolve, another reason why the media and politicians would be reluctant to discuss these issues is because the paper trail would lead back to them. The policies they lobbied for is 6/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion what lead to some of those issues. Although the media is being blamed for these issues they would rather control the narrative than focus on the real issues. ? (http Minjeong Kim ( ? Apr 17, 2021 Hi Felix! I agree with you that the underly issue is poverty so children from poor backgrounds would not able to get basic health care. And I also want to add that the poor backgrounds children are hard to afford the healthy food for example, in these days the water is more expensive than soda and hamburger is cheaper than a salad. It will be unhealthy for them which will lead them to have a place to receive health care. And also agree that the numerous problems blamed on the popular culture. In the second part, I agree that understanding context is crucial. These days many people want to blame the media when it creates fear. I also agree that naming “satanic” or “evil” on following artists and listening to secular music is also one example of moral panics. Instead of blaming on media and getting fear from it, I think parents need to know more about how pop culture affects their children because it can affect them positively or negatively. ? (https:// Jiayin Li ( ? Apr 13, 2021 Answer for question 1: If people only focus on social media or popular culture, they will ignore other more urgent and influential threatens to children's physical and mental health and cause media phobia. For example, the top priority now for American kids is Poverty. Nevertheless, the support for needy families and the fundamental health care for their kids has become decreasingly available. Although they want to change their fates through education, inadequate funds and lower-level school supplies reveal the brutal reality. Beyond that, what is least noticeable is the harm done to the child by the family. Hence, the tendency of blaming on media allows adults around youth, social structures, and other social problems by the first two to continue to hurt the future of our country. People can observe much of the changes in media and pop culture than others. Spending more time immersed in the virtual world creates a barrier between kids and their parents and reduces the parental supervision of youth. It is ordinary people’s fear of losing control that leads them to panic about the media. Besides, the public tends to refuse to accept internal problems within the 7/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion family and the inequality in the United States. American Dream should also play a role in that. Politicians and some researchers are reluctant to face these issues since these factors might be conflicted with someone or some group's interests. Another possibility is that these issues are impossible to figure out immediately that it is hard to give citizens tangible results. The media themselves need attention from the masses since attracting more attention is their goal. Answer for question two: According to Sternheimer, Agenda-setting theory is that the repeated coverage of issues in the news can manipulate people's minds about what is crucial and urgent. The interpretation of the current situation with this theory is that today's media remorselessly reported alarming cases and horror stories about the detrimental influence of popular culture on young people such as inducing them to commit crimes, making them violent, leading to their mental illness, and so on. These reports have contributed to social panic on social media by giving the public an impression that these events happen regularly and the condition is critical, but the reality is quite the opposite. It is worth mentioning that the constructionist approach focuses on why and how the general public thinks about the social problem rather than itself. There are many external factors from politicians, organizations, and media that rig citizens' choices and shape their minds about pop culture. From the perspective of construction theory to study, citizens can notice that the danger of popular culture to kids is not as severe as reported; and they can also explore the real cause of their panic is the claim makers’ responsibility. The deeper part is that they can identify more vital potential threatens for their kids and put more effort into the solution instead of just looking at less valuable social media and wasting their energy. Edited by Jiayin Li ( on Apr 16 at 5:11pm ? (http Nicholas Anthony Lagotta ( ? Apr 13, 2021 Hi Jiayin, starting with your answer to question one, you chose to focus on the threat that the media has on children's physical and mental health. This is indeed a major issue that many people would agree with. Limited health care resources/education for kids makes it extremely difficult for families struggling with poverty. I also agree that media immersion causes a barrier between parents and their children. The agenda-setting theory definition is on point, but you might want to reference the page you found it on or say according to Sternheimer, ... and then say the definition. You used great examples when applying the theory to today's media and definitely express the correct nuanced constructionist approach. Highlighting a deeper meaning shows the more vital potential threats to kids as you mentioned and thus provides us with a better understanding. 8/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion ? (http Jiayin Li ( ? Apr 16, 2021 Hi Nicholas, thank you for your reply. I have already changed that. ? Hayley Elizabeth Harris ( (http ? Apr 18, 2021 Hi Jiayin! I completely agree that politicians are hesitant to discuss underlying societal issues due to conflicting interests. Currently, the nation is extremely polarized and many social issues are divisive among people. In many cases, if politicians speak out on these issues, they will lose support from some of the public. Since re-election is many politicians' main priority, they avoid doing anything that will lose them voters. Unfortunately, this leads many politicians to remain silent on important social issues. If they do speak out on these issues, they often remain neutral and do not take any real action on the issues. It is easier for politicians to blame the media than to address structural issues. This gives the appearance that politicians are taking action on social issues when they are ignoring the real causes of the issues. Additionally, popular culture is a less divisive issue than many societal problems. Therefore, politicians blame the media to avoid taking a position on a more divisive issue. The media takes the blame for real societal issues, which Sternheimer (2013) mentions is a recurring problem throughout history. ? (https:// Nicholas Anthony Lagotta ( ? Apr 13, 2021 1. In chapter one of Sternheimer’s book, Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture, she explains that there are larger issues than just blaming the media for various social problems (Sternheimer, 2013, p. 2).The main two issues that cause these social problems are televisions and video games. Televisions and video games are extremely distracting. They can hinder our minds and modify our attention to dismiss important and relevant issues. Present-day concerns she analyzes include: education, violence, early pregnancies, poverty, and family instability. She 9/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion goes on to emphasize that the most serious problem American children face is poverty. Families struggle to earn a significant income that has a positive impact on their children, whether that be because of living in an impoverished area, or just due to having poor education. People tend to ignore and define a real source to this issue. They often falsely attribute it to being derived from media. In my opinion, politicians, the public, and the media are reluctant to discuss these issues because they are in fear of taking responsibility or are solely unaware of how to resolve these issues. 3. According to Sternheimer (2013), the agenda-setting theory is “the idea that the repetition issues in the news shapes what the public believes is most important” (p. 11). Media influence on children is sparked by the media itself by making us develop easy connections within media and social problems. These connections are enhanced through the media’s displaying of young people committing violence, being depressed and becoming addicted etc. This influential focus causes individuals to steer their attention toward the media, rather than toward other potential causes of troubling conditions. The constructionist approach to social problems is one that requires us to “look closely not just at the issue of concern, but also at how we have come to think of it as a problem and—equally important—who wants us to view it as such” (Sternheimer, 2013, p. 11). The use of this approach allows for a better understanding of the supposed “harm” of popular culture. For example, a constructionist views popular culture as a problem created by numerous claim makers, including: news reports, activist groups, and politicians. This type of approach only displays the negatives and portrays the alleged harm of popular culture. Using a constructionist view drowns out the petty issues and makes our minds focus on the more important ones. Edited by Nicholas Anthony Lagotta ( on Apr 13 at 11:08am ? (http Brenda Vanessa Moron-Morales ( Apr 13, 2021 ? Hi Nicholas, I can't say I disagree with you when you say that people falsely attribute certain problems as being derived from the media. However, I also believe that people have been blaming media for problems that can be tied to something other than media. For people, it's easy for them to associate fear with media because media today is so much different than they were used to in the past. This has turned into a socialized norm that for many, media is their first response when asked why society is the way it is today. I don't personally believe people ignore these problems or that the government fears taking responsibility. I believe it has to do with the fact that people have been blaming popular culture for many societal problems for so long that they have started to believe it's to blame for pretty much everything else. Like I previously 10/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion stated in my post, older generations fear young adults' deviant behavior. Younger generations have different cultural tastes that older generations would never support. This change in behavior causes people to associate different and new tastes as dangerous. They blame these new cultural tastes as the culprit for many problems in society today. Furthermore, to add to the conversation of the constructionist approach, I believe that most of the problems we have today is because people tell us it's a problem in the first place. For example, with popular culture, before taking this course I didn't think it could have such a negative impact on people. Now, after reading the first chapter of Sternheimer's book, I see how many people are quick to blame the media for almost every issue society has. Media has the power to shine something in either a negative or positive light. It just so happens that this time, it has decided to shine a negative one on popular culture. Media also has influential power and because of this, it has made so many people turn against popular culture by portraying it in a negative way. I believe this is the reason why so many fear popular culture. The same could be said for almost every issue. However, I also believe that for certain issues, it's actually a good thing that people bring awareness to issues because most of the time we won't know something is actually a real issue until people speak up. If it weren't for them we would go on believing incorrect information and be so comfortable where we are in life as a society. ? (https:// Erubey Alejandro Apolinar ( ? Apr 13, 2021 Q1. According to Sternheimer, blaming the media for various social problems is a front for the bigger issues, it is to deter the public eye from the real issues at hand. Those issues are the rise of poverty and an increasing youth autonomy that scares adults. There has been an increase in impoverished youth and when they try to break the cycle by staying in school it does little to alleviate their situation as most schools in their areas suffer from lack of supplies or uncertified instructors. Furthermore, shifts in the economic landscape has made two income households more necessary; with parents working more this has led popular culture to pick up the slack and fill in that role for them which scares adults. Politicians are reluctant to discuss the issues because it would direct the attention back to the ones who lobbied for the policies that caused the current predicament. The media is reluctant to talk about it because they enjoy the attention and the effect they have on the people, they would not wish to change the status quo of the situation where they control the narrative. 11/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion Q2. Sternheimer believes that social context is important in understanding fears about the media because they reveal what causes those worries about the media. Moral panics are real fears that are spread among a community however most of the time they are exaggerated compared to the real threat it is trying to convey. The example that the author provides relates to the rise of swing music in the 1940s and later the rise of Elvis Presley in the 60s. Adults were worried that swing music would eat up too much of their kids’ time and they would be woefully unprepared for WWII. Similarly, as Elvis had brought traditionally African American music into the mainstream, many viewed it as a threat because of the enforced segregation that was happening at the time. In the present day, a similar moral panic that has occurred has been the criminalization of violent video games as a means to explain the rise of mass shootings. ? (http Orlando Fabian Gutierrez-Ayala ( Apr 15, 2021 ? Hello Erubey, I agree that by blaming media it distracts the public from what the real problem is. There are major issues that are going on in this world that aren’t really focused which truly impact the youth like poverty. Poverty leads to other problems like poor education, no health care, problems at home, and many more. I also concur with what you said about how politicians are hesitant to discuss the issues going on because they don’t want to take the hit for the problems going on. In a way media is the scapegoat in this problem because it’s much easier to blame the media for most of the bad things that are happening in this world. It’s true that knowing the social context is important in understanding the fears about media because it allows us to see why people create this negative perception about media. Another example that Sternheimer used was how people believed that rap and rock are dangerous to society because it can cause people to get influenced by the lyrics. I definitely agree that violent media is one of the more common moral panics in the present day. Many people like to blame violent media for the cause of violent acts like shootings, robbery, murder, and etc. since it’s easier to say that this type of media influences the behaviors of teens. ? (http David In Kim ( ? Apr 18, 2021 Hello Erubey, I agree with your points pertaining to why politicians and the media might not want to discuss these issues. The fact that politicians have to appease those who lobbied for certain policies 12/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion is a great point. The media also does have a strong grasp on the narrative currently, and not only do they enjoy the attention and correlated effect, they financially thrive off of it. ? (https:// Jusheng Chen ( ? Apr 13, 2021 Q1.Poverty is the larger issue behind focusing on or blaming the media for various social problems. Because of poverty, people have lost their motivation in life. The voices of poor people are difficult to hear by the upper echelons of society, such as politicians or elites. The author believes that the more important underlying issue is the uncertain future. People who are living in poverty cannot see the hope of life. They cannot see the path toward the Upper Class. Therefore, they choose to use popular culture to represent their voice so that the decision makers at the top of society can hear them. However, some social media describe this popular culture from the bottom of society as these people are addicted to popular culture. Furthermore, I think the public turned a blind eye to these problems because the resources of the upper class were limited, and those who had the resources wanted to keep people in poverty. As for politicians, they only want voters’ votes. However, politicians also want voters to have a low level of education because lower education leads to fewer people will have critical thinking which helps them keep their voters blindly to believe in them. The reason why the media is reluctant to discuss poverty is because the topic is not attractive enough. It is not an interesting topic, and the media needs an interesting topic to increase more people’s attention and make money. Q2. The author believes that from the perspective of the current social situation, we can understand what creates the core of fear of media and trend culture which is power struggle. The transfer of power from the elite to the working class in the past and the fear of losing children control in the present. Moral panic refers to the media deliberately misleading the public to misunderstand a certain group. There is one example of moral panics the author provides in 20th century music which is rap music. Author suggests that 20th century criticism of rap music was used as a symbol to divide people from African Americans without being said racist. There are many examples of similar moral panics happening in American culture today. For instance, the previous game station short squeeze event. Many media are madly describing this incident as retail speculation disrupting the operation of the stock market. This also makes many people, including my friends and family members, have a negative attitude towards investing in stocks. 13/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion Edited by Jusheng Chen ( on Apr 13 at 11:16pm ? (http Bryce Roshon Rutledge ( ? Apr 14, 2021 You decided to focus on the threat to physical and mental health of children from your answer to Question No 1. In fact, this is a major issue with which many would agree. Limited health care/education resources for children make poverty reduction extremely difficult for families. I accept that immersion in the media causes a barrier between parents and their kids. In regards to question 2, understanding media fears and popular culture, the social context is essential. In particular, anxiety about an unsure future is the cause of the fear of media culture. A context of understanding is crucial because of the disfigurement of fear among the children who mean the future and the media of today's society. Context evaluation allows people to understand the media's underlying concerns. Fears of the media arise because the contents and consumption cannot be controlled. Moral panic however concentrates on moral concerns about popular culture because the fears are typically genuine and out of proportion to the actual threat. ? (https:// Bryce Roshon Rutledge ( ? Apr 14, 2021 2) Sternheimer believes that social context analysis is so important in understanding media and popular culture fears because of the threat to the status quo. It notices the shift from the elite to the masses in the balance of power. Sternheimer, for example, mentions how cheap, adventurous and appealing comic books were for the masses. The comics were seen by these elites as a major cause of violence. Elvis Presley introduced white Americans to African American music as a further example. The real threat was not that of music, but that of white African-American music in an age of segregation. Media and popular culture fears stem from the deviant behavior of young people. Differences in cultural tastes and preferences for the older generation include bands and vinyl albums. This is why adults threaten these new cultural tastes by adolescents and therefore fear today's popular culture. Moral panics are real fears that are beyond proportion to their actual threat, according to Sternheimer. Sternheimer also points out that moral panic is a way to condemn the cultural preferences of social groups that are less powerful. Sternheimer mentions, for example, how rap music has been criticised and greatly related to racial intolerance when speaking about music in the 20th century. Someone who said that they did not like rap music was nearly the same as saying that African Americans did not like that. The pit bulls today 14/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion include current moral panics that I see. Pit bulls are criticized for being violent and frightening, but also African Americans. If you think of pit bulls, they seem to be associated with many African Americans and associated with the same violent and intimidating behaviours. These moral panics are fears that have indeed been removed. 3) The theory of the agenda setting implies that repeating news media issues ultimately forms what the public believes to be important. The news stories that inspire a reflection on entertainment as the principal enemy of children are a cause for concern to the general public about the influence of children on media. Stories about popular culture make young people violent, deprived of their rights, addicted, or sexually active, which means that popular culture makes it easy for people to interact with the media. A constructionist approach to social problems offers a nuanced understanding of the potential damage to popular culture by underlining the importance of media and granting the freedom of media institutions to choose their preferred content. ? (http Zhanrui Liu ( ? Apr 14, 2021 Hi Bryce, I agree that, Sternheimer’s primary argument is that, we can only understand fears of media by understanding the social context on which they are conceptualized. In a culture characterized by violence and attitude behavior, people will generally have a negative attitude towards the media and popular because they will always attribute such behavior to what is aired on these platforms. I think the agenda setting theory imply that, the media has a strong impact on what is perceived as true, because people are likely to perceive what is aired on media as the ultimate truth. ? (http Hayley Elizabeth Harris ( ? Apr 18, 2021 Hi Bryce! I agree with your comment on moral panic being a way for society to condemn the tastes of less powerful social groups. As Sternheimer (2013) mentions, moral panics begin when the majority group feels that its culture is threatened. Typically, the majority group views the threatening culture or media as inferior. Therefore, the majority group fears the "inferior" culture imposing on their "elite" culture. As you mention, White adults did not fear Elvis Presley himself. They feared the fact that Elvis Presley was introducing White youth to African American music. I think another example of a moral panic today is social media. 15/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion Adults blame social media for the way many teens dress and behave. They say that social media causes teens to dress and act in older ways. However, in many cases, teens are merely embracing their bodies and sexuality. Older generations grew up in a more modest time and associate publicly embracing one's own body and sexuality with inferior social groups. Thus, adults actually fear teen sexuality, not just social media. ? (https:// Zhanrui Liu ( ? Apr 14, 2021 Question 2 Sternheimer believes that understanding social context is important because issues such as fear of the media, violence are conceptualized or made within specific contexts. He argues that understanding social context is important because it helps us to understand the various factors that create or contribute to anxiety about media (Sternheimer, 2018 P.13). Thus, understanding current issues facing a community will help us to understand people’s overall attitude towards the media, and how issues such as violence contribute to fear or anxiety towards the media. He argues that popular culture is generally acknowledged by society members as a set of objects, practices, and beliefs which are universal or dominant in a society at a particular point in time (Sternheimer, 2018 p.13). Thus, the social setting or context has a way of changing or influencing a person’s attitudes towards particular topics, such as fears towards popular culture and media. Nevertheless, there are different ways of expressing concerns about pop culture and the media. Fears about mass culture and media may be described by various conflicting means by a variety of individuals across diverse contexts. Moral panics encompass the various fears that are spread among a wide number of individuals, deducing that a certain evil will always threaten the societies’ well-being (Sternheimer, 2018 p.14). The mass media have become the main players in the moral displeasure spread in recent years, even though the moral rage does not seem to be consciously concerned with exaggeration. Simply laying out facts may be enough to produce anxiety, panic, or concerns. Common mass culture groupings include technologies, sports and recreational activities, slang, news, fashion and clothing, and entertainment, for example, televisions, games, videos, and movies. In this concept, moral panic is a key concern as it revolves around the course of instigating social concern. Recently, mass media have become an imperative factor in the trending moral resentment dissemination. Examples of moral panic include political discourse, terrorism, the fight on drugs, and concerns over the 21st-century music lyrics analogies and beliefs. There are several moral panics in America such as violent video games and an increase in crime. The public fears that violent video games like Tekken and Hitman have an effect on their players since they look lifelike. They believe that there is a relation between the games and the player's 16/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion behavior; the violence portrayed in the games may lead to the players being violent and abusive. Additionally, the public fears an increase in the crime rate, but in the real sense, the crime rate has drastically declined since the ’70s. The thought of it still brings about moral panic. Question. 3 The agenda-setting theory describes an immensely powerful influence of the media. The ability to tell us what issues are important and what the public thinks about is set by the media. In the current society, the media is an essential tool for communication and entertainment and agendasetting. Many modern people conduct their lives as a result of influence and reason as argued or presented by social and mass media. In the context of child development and behavior, there is a widely held perception that the content displayed by vast media platforms is influencing and affecting the young generation negatively. For instance, whatever children do as mistakes are labeled by the media, ‘breaking news, and the majority of people conclude that the incident stems from online influence. The media initiates the thought and fuels the conversation that social and mass media is up to harm the behavior of a young generation (Sternheimer, 2018 p.17). It is ironic because such information barely represents what is actually taking place with the children in reality. The media fraternity only magnifies and makes popular what people want to hear rather than what is actually happening. In the long run, the public lives in fear of exposing children to the media and barring them from enjoying the benefits of technology and communication. From a constructionist perspective, the role of tools such as media is highly regarded when it comes to human development (Sternheimer, 2018 p.15). The theory postulates that social problems experienced in society can be solved through the incorporation of technology, education, and other fluency aspects envisioned to making the world a better place. Constructionists are more inclined on advancing the role of media, technology, and other advancements in shaping the behaviors of a young generation. ? (https:// Orlando Fabian Gutierrez-Ayala ( Apr 15, 2021 ? 1. In chapter one, Sternheimer states that blaming media, such as video games, TV shows, movies, and social media, as the reason behind social problems is because it takes away eyes from what the main issue truly is. She notes that the biggest crisis that youth go through isn’t exposure towards media, but poverty. Living in poverty has caused children to receive no health care, poor education, experience home violence, malnutrition, and can lead to early pregnancies. All of these play a factor on youth growth and development. In my opinion, the public and 17/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion politicians don’t want to discuss these issues because they don’t want to become responsible for these issues. For many years they’ve been blaming the media for influencing the youth to commit such actions like criminal acts, drug use, getting pregnant, and learning violent behaviors instead of taking accountability for them. For example, for many school shootings, politicians are quick to blame violent media as the problem instead of their gun control policies. In reality the reason why so many of these things happened was because of the policies that they made. Like Sternheimer mentioned, it’s easier to see changes in media than in public policies. 2. Sternheimer believes that social context is important when it comes to understanding fears about media and popular culture because social context allows us to understand why people create this worrisome perception about media. Adults create these anxieties by thinking about the worst possibilities that media can influence the youth. They fear that they won’t be able to control what their children access since it’s easier to get exposed to popular culture than it was before. These persistent concerns about popular culture are known as moral panics which are fears that threaten society but at the same time the threat isn’t really there. She provides two examples about 20th century music that caused moral panics which are heavy metal and rap. Sternheimer mentions a study that sociologist Amy Binder that found that heavy metal is feared for being dangerous to potential listeners while rap being a danger to society as a whole. Since many African Americans are associated with violence, people used rap as a way justify restriction on black youth because they’re seen as a threat to society. Some current moral panics in today’s society would be violent videos games or other forms of violent media. In the past couple of years there were multiple school shootings and violent media was blamed for making them commit these actions instead of actually trying to find out why the perpetrator did this act. Music especially rap and hip hop are also a source to multiple moral panics since many children have access to listen to this music making parents afraid that they’ll get influences by the lyrics or video. ? (http Jane Kim ( ? Apr 15, 2021 Hi Orlando! I agree with what you said about the public and politicians almost avoiding these topics because they don't want to play responsibility in fixing these larger issues. It's so evident in our country today that we see violent media as the "quick blame" to the violent behavior in our youth. However, when we look into the impact poverty has on various aspects of life, like education, access to healthcare, malnutrition ,etc., we can see that poverty may be the root of these changes. I also agree with the current moral panics we see in our world today. With increasing violent behavior, I feel like we tend to escalate the dangers of violent video games. Yes, the fear of 18/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion violent video games is real, but I also think that our fear of it has grown out of proportion to say it is the root to various societal problems. ? (http Josephina Theresa Valentina Brooks (She/Her) ( Apr 15, 2021 ? Hi Orlando, I completely agree; blaming media for social problems is an easy answer to a complex problem. I agree that the public and politicians likely don't want to discuss these issues because they don't want to get involved. This led me to think that they are living comfortably, so they don't want their ways of life to change. I think that the fear from moral panics stems from the fear of society changing. Some people probably want to protect their ways of life. I think this also helps explain why moral panic is something that repeats throughout history. People don't want society to change, so they start to villainize things that are leading to that change in an attempt to control it. Doing so causes us to completely ignore the real contributing factors. ? (http Jusheng Chen ( ? Apr 16, 2021 Hi Orlando, I agree with you. People always say that video games lead to school shootings. The lax gun policy is the chief culprit in the school shootings. If the federal government and state governments can agree to more rigorous background checks and assessment of the mental state of gun buyers, school shootings will certainly be much less. The reason why politicians are unwilling to do this is because they have accepted the lobbying of gun companies, so they chose to blame the shooting on video games. ? (https:// Jane Kim ( ? Apr 15, 2021 19/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion Question 1: Sternheimer believes that the larger issue behind focusing on or blaming media for various social problems is because it’s easier and more “convenient” to blame media and popular culture to the ongoing social disparities related to race, gender, and socioeconomic status. When the important underlying issues stem from poverty, we address media and popular culture as the root of childhood and social problems. The schools in areas with students who are facing poverty aren’t safe and don’t provide the proper materials or teachers for success. Schools here lack supplies and qualified teachers. The lower quality of education, victimization at home and school, obesity, etc. are all led by poverty, but we blame popular culture. I think that politicians, the public, and media itself may be reluctant to discuss these larger issues because they are afraid. In a society where segregation has continued, it’s alarming to admit that it is the social structure itself that needs to be changed, not the media the children have access to. Question 3: “Agenda-setting theory” is the idea that what the news reports repeatedly is what the public views as most important. This theory is what causes us to believe that media and popular is the root to the changes in childhood we see today. When we see media portraying young people as being heavily influenced by popular culture, it’s ironic that we believe in what that same media tells us to fear. However, by viewing social problems through a constructionist approach, we can focus on how we came to believe the problem and who or what made us believe it to be true. By using this approach, we may be able to see how the media itself ironically heavily focuses on the harmful impact of popular culture and media on young people. Through this realization, we may be able to stray away from the source of these claims and view the impact of popular culture in a more objective way. This, then may lead us to tackle the real issues leading to childhood changes like race, socioeconomic status, access to a proper education, equal healthcare, etc. that all stem from poverty. Edited by Jane Kim ( on Apr 15 at 9:43am ? (http Jiayin Li ( ? Apr 16, 2021 Hi Jane, Reading your response is thoughtful. I quite agree with your answer for the first question that people so focused on social media that allowed other dangerous elements such as to be hidden within the social framework and continue to threaten children or even adults. The social inequality caused by poverty has led to the existence of many social problems. And I really agree with you about people who did not want to face these problems was because are deeply rooted and difficult to solve. At the same time, I think some solutions were difficult to implement or might touch the interests of others. 20/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion Besides, I agree with your answer to the other question. Using a constructionist approach could remove the veil from people's eyes and let them see the real problems rather than just blaming on social media by understanding why they were too attached to the dangers of social media and how they think about it. ? (https:// Josephina Theresa Valentina Brooks (She/Her) ( Apr 15, 2021 ? 1. According to Sternheimer, focusing the blame on media for social problems allows people to ignore the root of the cause, and gives us an easy answer to complex problems. One example of an cop-out answer to a complex social problem is the argument that violent video games cause violence. The author explains this as an easy answer because “Graphic video games are easier to see than changes in public policies,” even though the public policies better explain why violence happens in certain places. Politicians and the media might be reluctant to discuss these issues in order to please the people and put them at ease. Most people probably are not interested in these issues when they don't affect them personally; they want to hear a quick answer and move on with their lives. The author states how today’s fear of media culture is rooted in our inability to control content and how it is consumed. Parents are uncomfortable with their children having access to almost anything on the internet and how different their children’s upbringing is from their own. However, our way of life is changing as we become more technologically advanced, and some people are not comfortable with that change. This example shows the basis of Sternheimer’s argument; people are uncomfortable with the thought of their way of living changing. In order to prevent that from happening, people will often villainize anything they see as a “threat” to their familiar way of life. 2. Understanding social context is important because it allows us to see what is underneath that fear and anxiety surrounding new media and technology. We can examine where that fear is stemming from and why it is happening. For example, in the 1940s and 1950s, comic books were being blamed for children’s maladjustment and violent behavior. Around the same time, pinball machines were viewed as a bad influence, the argument being that playing on a pinball machine encouraged youth gambling. In these situations, the public surely was not afraid of literal comic books and pinball machines. They were both easy answers to explain the complex climate of America at the time. Moral panic refers to recurring concerns about popular culture. This fear comes from society being afraid to change their way of life, so as a result they believe that it must be controlled. An example of a current moral panic prevalent in today’s society is viewing 21/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion transgender people as “threats,” and sometimes describing transgender women as predators. There are plenty of videos that show people describing transgender women as predators, stating that the only reason they transitioned was to gain trust with (cisgender) women and take advantage of them. Of course, they do not have any evidence to back up these outrageous claims. I believe that this “fear” of transgender individuals stems from fear of binary gender norms being “threatened" (changed). ? (http Christine Nguyen ( ? Apr 15, 2021 Hi Josephina, I also believe some people are not comfortable with change. But I think saying people are not comfortable with accepting change may be the case also. I say this because people often have to live with change, that is inevitable. However, it is whether or not people choose to accept the changes that causes media fears and/or causes them to be reluctant to discuss such issues. The example you provided with modern day moral panics is something that can offer explanation for the first question also. The fear of changing gender identities and sexual orientation is not a new concept and/or change. However, it is a general concept that has been neglected and rejected for many years, and, still today, people are not willing to accept change. ? (https:// Christine Nguyen ( ? Apr 15, 2021 1. Sternheimer emphasizes that blaming the media for the numerous social problems can distract the attention and focus from the cause and effects of these issues. Popular culture influences children who grow up watching and following the media. However, the larger issue is that children carry on these ideals when they grow older in adulthood, after having experienced many events with aging. For instance, a large issue within children is not the media, yet it is actually poverty. Children are experiencing poverty as they are living in underprivileged conditions and areas. The culture surrounding this area may be “dangerous” and “unwanted” by the public. Therefore, these real life experiences may create behaviors and changes within children and further affect them in their development/adulthood. However, it is easier to complain and put the blame on things that are easier to control or maintain like the media and popular culture. The public and media may be reluctant to discuss these issues because of the numerous opinions surrounding social problems. 22/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion When there are numerous issues, it becomes a sensitive issue that not everyone can make out the right words to publicly discuss. People become anxious to speak upon an uncertain future and/or they fear situations they cannot control. People often follow societal norms because it is the easier route, and, just like so, the media chooses to do the same. 2.Social context is important in understanding media fears because it gives insight on how society perceives something according to the corresponding social/physical environment. When the social and/or physical environment changes in such a way, society may consequently influence a certain perspective based on norms. “Moral panics” are excessive fears in people that are disproportionate to the actual posing threat they may actually implement. Moral panics, in a way, redefines and captures what the public views and labels as “deviance”. An example of panics about popular culture in the 20th century is with rap and hip hop music. With triggering and violent events, people may blame violent music, like rap, as the root cause and reason. However, rap music stems from Black culture in America, and criticism may be used as a symbol for creating boundaries between underlying cultures. This is still seen in modern day as hip-hop dances may be seen as “provocative” to parents and the older generation. ? (http Breann Nicole Galsim Iglesias ( Apr 15, 2021 ? Hi Christine! I definitely agree with you on the reluctance of addressing the numerous issues society faces today. With today's generation, it has become increasingly harder to speak upon poverty or victim violence as it can trigger a negative perspective by the public. That being said, people tend to hide behind societal norms, just as you had mentioned, as an easy way out from publicly addressing these issues. It is quite saddening to observe these situations pan out, especially with problems that need the extra boost in attention in order to be addressed. The increase of fear and anxiety has almost become a default response amongst the public. In a way, popular culture is like a scapegoat, in which it is easier to place the blame on for the cause of today's social issues in order to avoid having to directly tackle the root cause. Edited by Breann Nicole Galsim Iglesias ( on Apr 15 at 11:55pm ? (http Siyan Wu ( ? Apr 18, 2021 Hi Christine, 23/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion I really like your opinion that "People often follow societal norms because it is the easier route, and, just like so, the media chooses to do the same", This is an idea I have ever come up with but I did not focus on it. I really agree with it and I think it is true about the reality. And I am also very agree with your opinion that not everyone could make an accurate idea for public discussion, and that is also one of the reasons that media and popular culture could lead people's views. We should get over this problem so that we could see the essence of those issues. ? (https:// Breann Nicole Galsim Iglesias ( Apr 15, 2021 ? 1. Sternheimer indicates that the most crucial issue beyond blaming the media for social problems is poverty. In fact, American children are the most impacted by poverty. She emphasizes the importance of focusing on the internalized problems of society, with poverty being the largest issue. Society as a whole fails to acknowledge this, rather, placing their interest over the uprise within other societal issues. Statistics had shown in 2011 that more than 16 million children were living in poverty. As a result, many of these young children lack access to quality education or basic health care. This is essentially detrimental to their well-being as a whole and can create a hindrance in their growth physically and mentally. Sternheimer believes that the more important underlying issues lie within lack of quality education, early pregnancies, and violent victimization, to name a few, in addition to poverty. In comparison to popular culture, these matters are often overlooked. It is much more so easier to visualize and observe the difference and growth of media technology rather than social or political changes. Therefore, adults tend to target popular culture as a threat to society, fearing for not only their children, but what may become of the future. We forget that the actual threats may not actually be popular culture, but rather the adults and their arrangement of societal standards that they uphold. According to Sternheimer, issues that stem from popular culture, at most, are more so mundane in contrast to the more vital current issues that many face today. Politicians, the public, and the media itself may be reluctant to touch upon these issues as it could affect aspects such as tarnishing their reputation or manipulating economic growth. To add, high public figures may use popular culture to hide these issues that they perceive could create mass fear amongst society. This can cause an uproar that could therefore damage what has already been curated, by concealing the larger issues and redirecting it towards popular culture. 2. Sternheimer believes that social context should be considered into play as it allows society to understand as to what creates the hidden anxieties revolving in the media. As generations passed, there has been a drastic increase in constant fear of the lack of control of media 24/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion consumption. An example of this may be what is considered as moral panics, a fear that, although is deemed real, is blown out of proportion to what the actual threat may be. Moral panics alone stem from triggering events that can garner mass media attention. She brings up the case of rap music in which people have classified it as a source of threat to social order due its contents. They go on to describe the concerts as “bastions of violence”, which only further restricted the culture of African Americans, especially towards the youth. Within American culture, moral panics reflected within social media is a defining factor that has risen over the years, especially with the advancement of technology. With social media in tow, it allows exposure to dangerous contents with a simple button that can be easily looked upon by the youth. With this fear comes widespread attention. Despite this, social media has served as a platform for the youth and has brought attention to world issues and other important matters that are not as addressed. Social media alone has become a source for the younger generation to communicate, socialize, and connect with one another. However, it has been displayed as a threat within the eyes of the public. This only causes an amplification of fear amongst the people. So much is encompassed in today’s social media that adults are afraid that what is lying underneath it may be a form of what can become the next big threat to society. Edited by Breann Nicole Galsim Iglesias ( on Apr 15 at 11:35pm ? (http Yijia Hao ( ? Apr 17, 2021 Hi Breann, You have done an excellent job. I totally agree with your idea in Question 1 about the poverty is the most crucial issue for media. A large number of children in the United States still live in poverty. An even greater challenge than the negative impact of the media on children is the negative impact of poverty on children's physical and mental health. Also, the potential problems you mentioned about lack of quality education, early pregnancy, and violence are quite reasonable. People pay too much attention to the influence of popular culture on children and ignore the influence of these potential factors on children. For Question 2, I couldn't agree with you more. I think your point that technological progress can cause moral panic is quite valid. The development of technology makes it easy for people to access all kinds of information and to do whatever they want on social media. However, in this era of big data, the development of technology is often accompanied by many potential crises, such as the spread of false information and evil information, and so on, which will cause panic. ? 25/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion (https:// Brian Dalton Situ ( ? Apr 15, 2021 1. In chapter one, Sternheimer elucidates to the audience that by scapegoating different media and technology platforms such as video games, television, social media, etc. for our social problems, individuals will often fail to pay attention to the true root causes behind these issues. Basically, it becomes an easy way out for us by allowing us to point the finger and shoot the messenger rather than to truly evaluate our own actions and policies as a society. Sternheimer analyzes more significant and contemporary issues such as family instability, widespread poverty, early pregnancy, violence, and inadequate education while asserting the greatest challenge American children face is poverty. The reason why politicians, the public, and the media are reluctant to discuss these issues is due to fear of retaliation by public opinion and the prevalence of cancel culture in modern society. Sometimes it could also be a result of the issue coming into direct conflict with that parties personal interests. I personally believe that these parties are afraid to discuss certain controversial yet necessary topics because they fear that they themselves will become a symbol of the issue and bear the responsibility/punishment for said issue. They could also potentially have no answer to these issues and would prefer for to leave those topics at the back of our minds. 2. Sternheimer believes social context is important because it allows us to better understand what is creating these underlying anxieties behind whatever is being depicted by the media or popular culture. A moral panic is a feeling of fear spread among many people in society that a malevolent/evil force is corrupting and damaging society. It is generally propagated by moral entrepreneurs and the mass media. Sternheimer goes over several examples of moral panics that occurred during the 20th century like when comic books were thought to inspire violence amongst youths and pinball machines would introduce and promote gambling to adolescents in New York during the time. In terms of music during the early 1940's swing music was going to prevent the US from training soldiers properly or when Elvis Presley gained popularity, people were afraid of the African American style of music becoming mainstream during a time of enforced and de facto racial segregation. In todays age, with social media continuing to expand and engrain itself deeper into our society, the rise of social media influencers or OnlyFans content creators has created a fear in some that the current upcoming generations have suffered from a moral degradation relating to sexuality and commitment. ? (http Zipei Chen ( ? Apr 16, 2021 Hi Brian, 26/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion I totally agree with your idea that media somehow acts as a scapegoat for other social problems such as inequality and poverty. I think politicians believe those problems are not easy to solve and as long as most of the citizens realize those problems, there will be social conflicts and further problems. For this reason, they blame all those issues on the media and let most people focus on the media instead of other more important issues. Also, I think for the second question, you really gave a good example. The panic toward the media always exists, it just changed its target as time goes by. In the 21st century, the panic shifts to social media because parents think it provides too much information and some of the information will probably harm their children, which is similar to the role of comic books, pinball machines and swing music in the 20th century. ? (https:// Zipei Chen ( ? Apr 16, 2021 Question 1. According to Sternheimer, media is probably not the biggest causal factor of the social problems caused by children and teenagers. Rather, she believes blaming media for social problems has already shifted people’s attention from the real problems. The author regards poverty as the largest crisis that many American children and teens are facing. For example, in high-poverty areas, children cannot get proper education since many of their teachers are not certified for some subjects. Poverty, according to Sternheimer, can cause various kinds of social problems such as violence and prejudice. Also, there are still lots of causal factors of social problems which are covered up by the existence of media. In my opinion, there are many reasons why politicians, the public, and the media themselves did not discuss those issues. First of all, media has changed so fast and everyone in the country can feel it and get access to it. This means it is easier for people to focus on media such as video games and ignore other social problems. Secondly, I think other social problems such as poverty, inequality cannot be solved easily and as soon as everyone has noticed these problems, there will be more conflicts between social groups and individuals. However, if there is only one “enemy”, which is media, things will become less complicated, and less conflict will happen because all people will only focus on one target. For this reason, those people blame media for social problems and try to let the public ignore other potential problems. Question 2. The reason why social context is important to help understanding fears about media is that throughout history, our society is always changing and the fears about media are also changing in different time periods. For example, in the early 1940s, American parents were afraid 27/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion of swing music because if their kids listen to too much music, they could not become decent soldiers and serve their nation in World War II. This is somehow different from contemporaries which we or our parents are afraid of violent movies, video games, sexy videos. This means when we understand social contexts, we can better find out the real factor that creates the underlying fear of media in a specific time period. Moral panics, a phrase proposed by sociologist Stanley Cohen, means the fear towards some social threats or threatening groups created by culture or media. In the book, Sternheimer proposes many examples to illustrate this concept. For instance, in the 1980s, Prince’s “1999” lyrics about masturbation caused moral panic and it subsequently caused the formation of Tipper Gore’s Parents Music Resource Center, Senate hearings, and parental warning labels (Sternheimer, 2013). The 1999 school shooting that happened in Colorado is also an example of moral panic, after the tragedy, people became afraid of video games, music, and the Internet. An example of current moral panic is probably rooted in the pandemic. At the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic, some media regarded Covid-19 as “the China Virus” and blamed the Chinese people for spreading the virus. As a result, some people became afraid of the Chinese and avoid having interaction with them. Some citizens even attacked or abuse Chinese elders. The virus was racialized and the Chinese became the scapegoat. This is similar to the role of media in violent events, media was blamed but it is not the real causal factor. Edited by Zipei Chen ( on Apr 16 at 7:06am ? (http Aaron Chang ( ? Apr 16, 2021 Hi Zipei, I completely agree with your idea that one of the reasons why the public chooses to use popular culture is because more pressing issues, such as poverty, are hard to fix. Theses problems have been affecting the country since its inception as well as other countries. I think in the U.S. this is also coupled with the fact that the middle class population is much more vocal and tend to vote more so they get a lot more attention from politicians. I think big issues like this are hard to find a solution that will benefit everyone, not just people it mainly affects. While I think that bringing up difficult topics may lead to conflicts between different social group, I also think that conflicts like this are necessary for change to happen. Running away from the problem will just make the problem snowball into something worse. Take the American Civil War, for example. What started off as a debate about slave state versus free state erupted into the bloodiest war that America ever fought because the law makers kept ignoring the matter and refusing to talk. ? 28/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion Xuanhao Hu ( (http ? Apr 18, 2021 Hi, Zipei I agree that the biggest potential problem behind condemning the media is poverty. This problem permeates all other aspects of life, such as education, family, and culture. Similarly, as parents spend more time at work, this will increase the autonomy of young people, which is another problem that the media has been criticized for. In addition to the need for multiple stakeholders to resolve, another reason why the media and politicians are reluctant to discuss these issues is that the trail of the paper will lead to them. The policies they lobby are responsible for some of these problems. Although they blame the media for these problems, they would rather control the narrative than focus on actual issues. ? (https:// Aaron Chang ( ? Apr 16, 2021 1. The problem with blaming media for various social problems is that it shifts the blame away from the bigger issues. It makes the public talk about it rather than issues like poverty. I think politician and media are reluctant to discuss these issues because they cannot think of a good solution to fight against poverty without everyone else suffering. It may be easy to help those in poverty, but I think it is much harder to help everyone including those in poverty. 3. "Agenda-setting theory" is the idea that the media does not tell us what to think, but instead tells us what to think about. The media wants to bring in more views, so they have to depict interesting topics. Tragedies on the new bring in more view than anything else. The media ends up stroking public fear about media influence on children because they choose to cover topics like that. Even though in the U.S. crime is down in general, the reporting of crime has been going up. It makes people feel unsafe and look for reasons as to why this is happening. A constructionist approach to social problems may provide us with a more nuanced understanding of the "harm" of popular culture because it questions people who coined the social problem as well as the problem itself. It tries to look at everything, including things not commonly looked at by the public. ? (http Kaitlyn Ignacio (She/Her) ( ? Apr 18, 2021 Hi Aaron, 29/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion I like how you brought up how a constructionist approach to social problems could provide us with a more holistic view of things that are happening so that we can acquire a better understanding. Especially in regards to the harm of popular culture, I believe there are many views that are depicted by the media that cause us to stray away from the real underlying issues that are prominent. We are fed research and statistics by the media to give us a biased outlook on the effects of social media, but we often do not see other types of contexts that could be causes. ? (http Jey Chi ( ? Apr 18, 2021 Hi Aaron, I definitly agreed with your point of why the media's and politicians are reluctant to discuss issues that are deep due to themself has not solution or good solutions for those problems at all. Without any idea, it is a clever way to keep the problems get exposed to general public so people's focus will be shift to things they are happy to look at such as children problems. For the second paragraph, I personally do not think tragedies are the news' focus, but instead, the focus is to portraits a reason or directions for people to illustrate their emtions. Another kind of distraction in my view. A constructionist's idea is not coined the social problem as the problem itself but telling us to look a little further to the question that we missed what acutally is the thing we should look at but not lettting emotional or subconscious drag away out theme. ? (https:// Minjeong Kim ( ? Apr 17, 2021 1. According to Sternheimer, the larger issue behind focusing on or blaming media for various social problems is that social problems distract people to focus or pay attention to the essential issues and causations. The issues that Sternheimer stated were education, violence, poverty, family instability, and early pregnancies. Poverty is the one that people need to pay attention to because there are lots of American children live in a poverty. The reason is that their families do not get enough benefits and money from their workplaces, so it is hard to afford their children safe houses and healthy foods. Also, because they can afford to live in a safe area, their schools are not safe and have a great environment to study. People can know and see these problems through media which can control lots of pop cultures. I think politicians, the public, and the media itself be reluctant to discuss these kinds of issues because of the abilities on solving problems. Many people expect that politicians are the people who have to or can solve these problems but 30/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion in reality, they cannot. It will take lots of time and effort and also when they start talking about these issues there will be some others who will disagree or distract them. Therefore, the politicians blame on media and cultures. Because of this, the media dislike talking about the problems so that they can prevent conflicts and troubles. 2. Sternheimer believes that social context is so important in understanding fears about media and popular culture because the social context can change people's attitudes when they are comprehending or knowing about a specific topic. There are many ways that pop culture and media can be expressed. Therefore, people can comprehend the same mass culture and media in a good way or bad way by the social context. Moral panics is a way that fears spread to lots of individuals, so they get a stereotype that negative things threaten the positive things in society. The examples of moral panic that Sternheimer provides in 20th-century music are swing music in the early 1940s and Elvis Presley music. In the 1940s, swing music became very popular with kids. Adults feared because they thought they were wasting their time listening to swing music instead of becoming decent soldiers in World War II. Secondly, Elvis Presley made traditional African American music popular in White middle America. The music did not have any problem but it was fear because white middle-class teens were listening to traditional black music. These examples were threatened to adults because parents’ did not understand their kid’s cultural preferences. Therefore, they wanted to control the cultural preferences. These days, many people believe crimes are increasing because people are so exposed to violent video games or movies. Because the movie and video games are so similar to reality, people are fearful that some people would not be able to recognize the differences a reality and the background in the movies or games. They believe if the people watch or play more, they will be violent and abusive. However, the crime rate does not very related to the increase in violent movies and games. ? (http Sarah Marie Lutter ( ? Apr 17, 2021 Hi Minjeong, I agree with your response to question one. While there are more pressing issues such as poverty, blaming the media for society's problems just diverts us from the focusing on solving the real issues. And like you said, it is a lot more difficult for politicians to discuss and solve these real issues, such as poverty, than it is for them to blame the media. I also believe this is because adults/politicians do not want to admit that they themselves as well as their environment influence their children a lot more than the media does. Your answer to question two is also very interesting, like Sternheimer mentioned, fearing music with roots in other cultures, such as rap, was a way for society to "mask" their racism/dislike towards disenfranchised social groups. 31/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion ? (https:// Yijia Hao ( ? Apr 17, 2021 2. Sternheimer believes that social context is so important in understanding fears about media and popular culture because examining the social context can help people understand what causes the underlying anxiety about the media and popular culture. Specifically, people's perception of media is different in different social backgrounds. For example, Sternheimer writes that the fear of comic books in the 1940s and 1950s occurred during the McCarthy era, and that it had a big impact on the cultural control of the time (14). Besides, “moral panics” are recurring concerns about pop culture that are very real but disproportionate to the actual threat, and moral panics usually have a trigger event that gets a lot of media attention. In this chapter, Sternheimer mentions some examples of moral panics in 20th-century music. For instance, in the 1980s listeners worried about hearing sinister messages on vinyl, and people panicked over Prince’s “1999” lyrics about masturbation (Sternheimer 15). In my opinion, gender inequality, the spread of COVID-19, vaccine safety, human trafficking, etc are examples of the current moral panics in American culture. 3. Agenda-setting theory refers to the news media’s manipulation of public awareness and audience of prominent issues, that is to say, the repetition of issues in the news will shape what the public considers to be the most important. Notably, the news media itself encourages us to be afraid of the media because it stirs up public fear of the media's influence on children by delivering bad things. The media lead the public to believe that the media have a bad influence on children by publishing news or advertisements. For example, the New York Times reported on the dangers of video games and depressed teens (Sternheimer 17). In addition, the constructionist approach to social problems can require us to pay close attention to both what we care about and who wants us to think about it that way. In more detail, as we pay attention to these issues, we also need to pay close attention to how the community views the issue and what aspects they want us to see. Hence, the constructivism of social issues can enable us to have a more detailed understanding of mass culture, and we can understand the views of all walks of life on this culture to understand the “harm” of mass culture. ? (http Fiona Wu ( ? Apr 17, 2021 Hi Yijia, I completely agree with everything that you discussed. It's extremely important to understand the social context behind fears about media and popular culture. Popular culture has been viewed as less "classy" because it is so accessible and affordable compared to 32/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion more "elite" forms of media like the opera. The discourse on popular culture is heavily dependent on the social economic classes that are rooted within our society. The reoccurring theme of this fear does not seem like it will ever really go away, as I also see moral panics about vaccine safety and gender inequality. These are extremely pressing issues to look further into–specifically on how our economic standings might play a role. Agenda-setting theory is a very real and serious problem. I would say that it's also ironic because news stations are selling flashing headlines that keep consumers coming back for more, which only seems to add more to the dangers. ? Gabriela Alexandra Cardenas ( (http Apr 18, 2021 ? Hi Zipei! Excellent analysis. I agree that the media is frequently blamed for already existing problems in society. It is much easier for people to blame the media rather than analyze and challenge the issues of social structures. Blaming media can serve as a sense of control for individuals. Since changing society can be much more intense and challenging to change, blaming social issues on the media can feel more attainable for people to do. Social media has provided young people higher accessibility to worldly phenomena at the touch of their devices, causing concern for adults who feel a loss of control in the type of information their children experience. The media can confront young people with overwhelming propaganda without the context and insight from adult conversations. I agree that the importance of social context can provide insight into the latent factors causing social behaviors. I also used the example of racially motivated attacks toward Asian and Asian-Americans in the United States as an example of the destruction moral panic impacting groups of people, stemming from misinformation. Edited by Gabriela Alexandra Cardenas ( on Apr 18 at 8:47pm ? (https:// Sarah Marie Lutter ( ? Apr 17, 2021 1. According to Sternheimer, the larger issue behind focusing on or blaming media for various social problems is that the actual causes of these problems are overshadowed and not addressed. For example, while society blames the media for many of its issues, especially 33/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion regarding their negative impact on children, one of the most pressing issues children face today is poverty. So while society could instead by working on its poverty problem, it instead chooses to place more focus on blaming the media for its problems. Sternheimer believes that the more important underlying issues include: lack of good education, violent victimization, early pregnancies, and poverty to name a few. Pop culture is not the main perpetrator of these issues, adults and the structure of society contribute more to these issues. In addition, Politicians, the public, and the media itself might be reluctant to discuss these issues because it's easier for adults to blame pop culture for their fears about the radially changing and uncertain future than it is to delve into more complicated / darker societal problems. Sternheimer claims that the media is a refracted social mirror, in which society's problems with the media and what it depicts, is actually a reflection of issues present in society. This means that the public and politicians do not want to talk about such issues because they reflect institionalized/societal issues regarding topics such as race, gender, and class. 3. "Agenda-setting theory" is when the media repeatedly mentions the same issues, causing the public to think more about these issues and view them as important. The media itself ironically stokes public fears about media influence on children by creating headlines and releasing articles about the dangers of pop culture and the media. They produce such articles in order to garner the public's attention and patronage with their sensational titles. Even though people might be worried about or even scared by the media, they will keep watching it to keep themselves informed on its dangers. A constructionist approach to social problems provides us with a more nuanced understanding of the supposed "harm" of popular culture by looking into why the public has come to think that a certain topic is an issue and who wants us to see it as an issue. Looking into these questions can help people determine the origins of societal problems and if said issues are actually as important as the media/society makes it seem. Edited by Sarah Marie Lutter ( on Apr 17 at 1:53pm ? (http James Zili Xu ( ? Apr 18, 2021 Hi Sarah, I completely agree that the larger causes of social problems are overshadowed and not addressed. It is so simple to point the finger at one issue and ignore the rest. Poverty is extremely problematic for children, and leads to numerous issues. The ones you mentioned regarding lack of quality education, violent victimization, early pregnancies are all the exact same issues that the public blames media for. I completely agree that based on our readings and your post, media has become the "strawman" for issues politicians and the general public simply do not want to address. It's a Pandora's Box that society simply doesn't want to open. However, if we want to make meaningful change, we have to begin to look beyond just blaming one particular issue. The text really opens up my perspective regarding these issues, 34/69 2021/8/3 Topic: Week Three Discussion and I'm really curious if Sternheimer will bring some perspective on whether she thinks there are clear solutions. I think Agenda-Setting Theory is very important to the prior questions and I believe that we should dive more deeply into this as our readings continue. Your post addressed the questions really well and I think you did a great job. Edited by James Zili Xu ( on Apr 18 at 12:48pm ? (https:// Fiona Wu ( ? Apr 17, 2021 2. Sternheimer believes that social context is important to understanding fears about media because this fear has been a recurring theme. It even dates back to Pluto, in which adults were concerned about the effect that Greek tragedies would have on children–it was too mature and advanced for children. And while comic books are seen as a fun pastime for children today, they were feared in the 1940s. “Moral panics,” as defined by sociologist Stanley Cohen, are fears that are very real but out of proportion to their actual threats/consequences. In accordance to 20th century music, many are afraid of the link between pop culture music and their actions. For example, they suggest that violent music will lead to actual violence. While this fear is very valid, it seems very unlikely that there is a strong direct correlation between these two, and the threat of violent music is taken out of proportion. There are many examples of current moral panics in American culture. Parents today are very skeptical about iPads and electronic devices. Because these kids have more open access to information, parents are worried about the long lasting effects this will have on their development. 3. “Agenda-setting theory” suggests that the repetition of issues in the news shapes what the media believes. Media ironically stoke public fears about media influence on children because entertainers will talk about how dangerous media is and distributed through media. They use dramatic headlines to keep consumers scared and glued to the media for updates.

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