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Communications & Media
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The Power of the Media to Shape Our Perceptions and Understanding of Reality on Gun Control (Research Paper Sample)

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This was a research paper asking me to describe the power of the media to shape people\'s perceptions on gun control

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The Power of the Media to Shape Our Perceptions and Understanding of Reality on Gun Control
Introduction
The wake of guns violence in the United States has seen various proposals on how to handle the gun issue. Occasionally, people have woken up to shocking incidences of gun violence on various quarters. Perhaps the most outrageous incidence was the one that involved shooting of school going children by a fellow student, seemingly unstable, or at least for that moment. It is important to note that in these incidences, the media coverage of the live happenings has always been extensive giving the perpetrator of such violence a lot of fame. Various segments of the society have reacted to such incidences with diverging and converging opinions on what should be the best way forward. While the Obama administration has been on the forefront proposing stringent measures for the purposes of reducing or eliminating repeat occurrence, Republicans have a different view on how to address the whole matter. Religious groups and civil society have not spoken in one voice although one may deduce that everyone desires some changes in regards to how the whole issue should be addressed.
Some of the emerging schools of thoughts that have come put have to do with logic behind issuance of guns, the ethical and practical implications of the solutions proposed for adoption as policy. Probably the big challenge is that the incidences that have occurred cannot qualify to be categorized as organized crimes. They are spontaneous reactions from private citizens with unforeseeable emotional and psychological instabilities. This has made generalizations very difficult. It has even begged the question whether first time offenders of gun violence can be treated as criminals or patients unlucky enough to be roaming outside instead of being attended to in mental programs.
The media is one of the most powerful tools with regards to the flow of information. Most people have a lot of trust in the media. The view of the media is considered by many to be the right view. For this reason, it is easy to manipulate the public through various media platforms. Over the years, politicians and law makers as well as various governments have used this blind trust that the audiences have to propagate different agendas. This aspect of blind trust has been described by Robertson Davies in the following quote, “The eyes sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend”. This quote insinuates that the media has the tendency to change the view of its audience, their attitudes, level of knowledge, and ideal about overall subject. Gun control is one of the most commonly discussed subjects by the media. However, this subject has been discussed in an impartial manner. In other words, the media has not been able to discuss both sides of gun control matter. . This paper shall analyze the effect of media on people’s perception of gun control
Background
In the American society, gun control issues have now topped the list of communication trends. Incidents such as Virginia Tech University (2007), Tucson Arizona (2011), movie theatre at Aurora Colorado (2012), Newtown Connecticut (2013) etc. have been made the topic of discussion in many media broadcast sessions. Consequently, these media broadcasts have shaped biased perspective regarding gun control Different people have varied views with regard to the gun control debate. Most of these views are directly related to the hype on gun control propagated by the media. After the incident in New Connecticut, the enforcement of the gun control laws took a different turn. The following graph that appeared on edition.cnn.com under the heading How Media Lose Interest in gun control by Danny Hayes indicates the trend of coverage of gun control by different media news channels (Hayes, Why this gun control debate has been different)

Figure  SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 1: Graph showing the news coverage of gun control (Hayes, Why this gun control debate has been different).
It is very important to understand the issue of gun control while discussing various arguments and debates over the topic in detail. In this way, readers will be able to form a clear understanding of the proposed argument. It is expected that this will help the readers to form a neutral stance regarding the subject and form a rational perception. This research paper is a proposal argument, which seeks to understand the role of media in shaping up the perception of public regarding the issue of ‘Gun Control’. The paper will also provide and suggest some recommendations, after addressing the issue in detail.
Thesis Statement
The role of media regarding the issue of gun control is biased. The information they churn out suggests that gun control is the only way to curb supposed rise in violence.
It is the media which provides terrorists or psychopaths with an incentive to become the center of attention and become famous.
Providing consumers with false information / misconception regarding gun control.
It is influencing the public in the wrong direction regarding the topic.
The media makes people feel as if they support violence and senseless killings if they are not for gun control.
Arguments in Support of the Thesis
Fredrick E Allan writing for the Forbes magazine in an article tilted Gun Control: The Congress of Cowards referred to the lawmakers as cowards when they shot down the bill on background check for guns. Elizabeth Flock wrote an article on usnews.com under the title Gun control debate clouds the definition of mentally ill claiming that gun control advocated for gun violence through research done at John Hopkins. Senator Joe Lieberman said that the American people will continue hearing the screams of the people who died in New Connecticut until action was taken. The senator was talking to fox news on the topic of gun control. Fox news Sunday reported Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, a gun rights advocate saying that it would have been better has the principal of Sandy Hook elementary school had an M4 (Mirkinson).
It was noted that different media houses followed the bandwagon of gun control campaigns. Different campaigns on gun control were designed by the media organizations to pose as the sole reason behind the violence. In addition, these campaigns which are broadcast everyday on various channels across the country changed the perspective of American citizens. Another impact is that it has allowed terrorists and other dangerous non-state elements to gain popularity. Gun control is not a minor issue, and it should be brought to the attention of the concerned authorities but in a proper manner. No one has ever proposed to completely abolish media coverage over the topic of gun control, but at the same time it is the duty of this society to fulfill its responsibility and curtail the issue in the best possible manner (Jones, Media overwhelmingly promotes gun control).
The media advocacy for strict gun control in was heightened after the incidence in New Connecticut. The assumption that possession of gums is the only reason behind such incidences is wrong. Studies have shown that untreated mental illness may result to violent activities. The increase in coverage of violent scenes by the media gives a platform for the publicity of these people. It is important for the media to ensure that they are responsible in the manner by which they convey the information to the public According to an article which was published for ‘The Week’; the author has questioned this issue. The author Mat Lewis has questioned the purpose of gun control. According to the article, the extinction of mankind is not dependent on guns alone. According to an article on newsbusters.org titled Gun control? How about media control the author Matthew Sheffield says that the media should not assume that the core issue behind terrorist’s attacks is the availability of guns alone. This is just one of the factors which also contribute to such disastrous events (Sheffield).
According to an article on globalsearch.ca under the title Violence: The American Way of Life, the author John Kozy says that the American society has been a violent society as it has been ‘conceived and nurtured by violence’, ‘Americans not only engage in violence, they are entertained by it’ (Kozy). Keeping this fact in mind, the journalists should consider the fact that they might be contributing to our already ‘violent-society’ in an unproductive manner (Sheffield).
Various studies including one done by Browne and Giachritsis, show that the media has a violent influence on children. The entertainment industry has the tendency to glamorize violence in an effective manner. Various games and movies advocate for violence. Live broadcast of violent issues is one of the platforms that most terrorist use to satisfy their desire for publicity (Sheffield). This does not mean that the argument is against the first Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It’s an argument aimed at advocating for responsible journalism. There are better ways for lobbying for better gun control measures than the current continued coverage of violence in a bid to convince the public to adopt the laws.
According to an article ‘The Power of Media Bias: Most Americans Wrongly Believe Gun Violence Has Increased’ published on newsbusters.org by Geoffrey Dickens, it was revealed that the information regarding the increase in the gun violence is incorrect. The article gave references and statistics from researches (Pew Research Center Poll), which states that gun violence has dropped by half with comparison to the mid 90s. 56% of the people, who watch news, think otherwise suggesting that the media is propagating fa...
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