Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Media and Society

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  • Edition: 14th
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  • Copyright: 2016-02-29
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
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The Taking Sides Collection on McGraw-Hill Create™ includes current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. This Collection contains a multitude of current and classic issues to enhance and customize your course. You can browse the entire Taking Sides Collection on Create, or you can search by topic, author, or keywords. Each Taking Sides issues is thoughtfully framed with Learning Outcomes, an Issue Summary, an Introduction, and an Exploring the Issue section featuring Critical Thinking and Reflection, Is There Common Ground?, and Additional Resources and Internet References. Go to McGraw-Hill Create™ at www.mcgrawhillcreate.com, click on the "Collections" tab, and select The Taking Sides Collection to browse the entire Collection. Select individual Taking Sides issues to enhance your course, or access and select the entire Alexander/Hanson: Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Media and Society, 14/e volume for an easy, pre-built teaching resource.

Table of Contents

Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Media and Society,14 Edition

Table of Contents

Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Media and Society, 14th Edition

Unit 1: Media and Social Issues

Issue 1. Are Family Values Shaped by the Mass Media?
YES: Leigh H. Edwards, from "Reality TV and the American Family", University Press of Kentucky (2010)
NO: Karen Sternheimer, from "Hollywood Doesn’t Threaten Family Values", Contexts (2008)
Associate Professor Leigh H. Edwards examines how families are portrayed in television and discusses how certain narrative tropes, trends, and genres present us with real family relationships representative of American society and culture. She raises the important point that reality television in particular presents viewers with real conflicts to which many families can relate, because the programs portray real cultural problems that have no easy answers. She concludes her argument with an assessment that public debates about family and marriage often frame the content of the families we see on television. Sociology Professor Karen Sternheimer cites public controversies about the real lives and on-screen portrayals of families by celebrities who are often criticized for contributing to demeaning family values in popular culture. She argues that these celebrities and media figures are not to be blamed for contributing to moral chaos, when the real-world economy provides a more powerful argument for examining families, values, and problems in American life.
Issue 2. Have Media Representations of Minorities Improved?
YES: Drew Chappell, from "\"Better Multiculturalism\" through Technology: Dora the Explorer and the Training of the Preschool Viewer(s)", Lexington Books (2013)
NO: Elizabeth Monk-Turner et al., from "The Portrayal of Racial Minorities on Prime Time Television: A Replication of the Mastro and Greenberg Study a Decade Later", Studies in Popular Culture (2010)
Professor Drew Chappell, in “Better Multiculturalism through Technology: Dora the Explorer and the Training of the Preschool Viewer(s),” juxtaposes facts about recent actions attempting to ban ethnic studies and restrict immigration in parts of the United States with the television show, Dora the Explorer’s portrayal of a bilingual (English/Spanish) speaking girl, and discusses how the show introduces children to bilingualism, border identities, and multicultural discourse. Chappell discusses how the performance of identity in Dora’s world can teach children about what brings all humans together. Elizabeth Monk-Turner, Mary Heiserman, Crystle Johnson, Vanity Cotton, and Manny Jackson, in “The Portrayal of Racial Minorities on Prime Time Television: A Replication of the Mastro and Greenberg Study a Decade Later,” revisit what has become a classic study in the portrayal of minorities in media and finds that even though how minorities are represented have changed within context, no serious changes to stereotypes have really occurred. In this study of prime-time television programming, little has changed within the 10-year time span between the classic Mastro and Greenberg study, and the analysis provided by the authors.
Issue 3. Do Media Distort Representations of Islam and Arab Cultures?
YES: Wajahat Ali et al., from "Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America", Center for American Progress ( 2011)
NO: Gal Beckerman, from "The New Arab Conversation", Columbia Journalism Review (2007)
Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matthew Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and Faiz Shakir discuss in Fear, Inc., a special report from the Center for American Progress, how the Muslim religion is among the most maligned stereotypes in popular culture, and how these images have fueled misperceptions about the Arab world. It explores how media have been an echo chamber for misinformation created by well-funded groups dedicated to spreading fear and misinformation. These images influence politicians and citizens and contribute to public opinion. In this issue, journalist Gal Beckerman discusses how Arab bloggers from the Middle East are challenging popular stereotypes of Arab and Middle Eastern culture. Because these bloggers are writing about their lives, the global public can read about their situations and understand them as individuals, rather than racial or ethnic group members.

Unit 2: A Question of Content

Issue 4. Do Media Cause Individuals to Develop Negative Body Images?
YES: June Deery, from "The Body Shop", Palgrave Macmillan (2012)
NO: Michael P. Levine and Sarah K. Murnen, from "\"Everybody Knows That Mass Media Are/Are Not [pick one] a Cause of Eating Disorders\": A Critical Review of Evidence for a Causal Link Between Media, Negative Body Image, and Disordered Eating in Females", Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology (2009)
June Deery examines the role of reality television and body makeover programs and concludes that these types of programs normalize the idea that bodies can and should be improved by plastic surgery, weight loss, and control programs, and that women in particular should subject themselves to all measures to find “success” and “happiness.” She theorizes that these programs assume that women in particular do have negative body images, and that the real messages of these programs is that surgical steps can and should be taken to improve one’s poor body image. Michael Levine and Sarah Murnen also investigate magazine ads, but find the assumption that media cause eating disorders to be too limited. Instead, they cite a wide range of social, behavioral, and cultural issues over time to understand the complex conditions under which girls begin to adopt negative body issues that result in eating disorders.
Issue 5. Do Video Games Encourage Violent Behavior?
YES: Craig A. Anderson, from "FAQs on Violent Video Games and Other Media Violence", CraigAnderson.org (2009)
NO: Henry Jenkins, from "Reality Bytes: Eight Myths about Video Games Debunked", PBS.org (2009)
Craig A. Anderson is an expert on the effect of violence in television and film. Based on extensive research, he holds the position that video games prompt young people toward even more aggression and violence than do other media content. Henry Jenkins tackles a broad array of misconceptions about the place and impact of video games on society. He argues that the primary audience is not children, that violence is not increasing in society, and that concerns about isolation, desensitization, and violence are overblown.
Issue 6. Is Product Placement an Effective Form of Advertising?
YES: Kaylene Williams et al., from "Product Placement Effectiveness: Revisited and Renewed", Journal of Management and Marketing Research (2011)
NO: Ekaterina V. Karniouchina, Can Uslay, and Grigori Erenburg, from "Do Marketing Media Have Life Cycles?", Journal of Marketing (2011)
Professors Kaylene Williams, Alfred Petrosky, Edward Hernandez, and Robert Page chronicle the evolution of product placement and define the term as incorporating “commercial content into noncommercial settings.” They discuss the subtle differences between brand placement and product placement and raise the topic of how product placement is becoming more common in many media forms, including music and games. Professors Karniouchina, Uslay, and Erenburg analyzed 40 years of movies (1968–2007) to uncover the idea that product placement has become a tactic that no longer interests viewers of major motion pictures. As a result, they suggest that marketers should investigate other ways of trying to connect ideas and brand identities.

Unit 3: News and Politics

Issue 7. Is Excessive Use of Social Media a Form of Narcissism?
YES: Soraya Mehdizadeh, from "Self-Presentation 2.0: Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook", Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking (2010)
NO: Alex Lambert , from "Discovering Intimacy on Facebook", Macmillan (2013)
Soraya Mehdizadeh examines the links between narcissism and self-esteem and the uses and presentations of self on Facebook. She finds that individuals who rank high in narcissism tend to use Facebook more than the norm. Alex Lambert takes issue with the notion that Facebook is primarily used for narcissistic reasons. He argues that Facebook provides a space to seek friendships and intimacy with others, rather than to indulge narcissistic motives.
Issue 8. Will Evolving Forms of Journalism Be an Improvement?
YES: The Economist, from "The People Formerly Known as the Audience", The Economist (2011)
NO: James Fallows, from "Learning to Love the New Media: Shallow, Divisive, Unreliable", The Atlantic (2011)
In a special report The Economist studies “The People Formerly Known as the Audience” to argue that social media allow a wider range of people to take part in gathering, filtering, and distributing the news. A torrent of information is being posted on the Internet, creating a role for people—not limited to journalists—to evaluate, verify, and create meaning. James Fallows analyzes the rise of new media and its unintended consequences of giving people what they want, not what they “should” want. He fears an age of lies, undercovered stories, disconnection and distraction. He concludes with concerns and predictions for journalism’s future.
Issue 9. Should Corporations Be Allowed to Finance Political Campaigns?
YES: Thomas R. Eddlem, from "Citizens United Is Breaking Up Corporate Dominance of Elections", The New American (2012)
NO: David Earley and Ian Vandewalker, from "Transparency for Corporate Political Spending: A Federal Solution", Brennan Center for Justice (2012)
Conservative author Thomas R. Eddlem makes the case that corporate media institutions influence the messages that the public sees and hears. As a result, the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which gives corporations the right to make political contributions and creates the possibility of the establishment of SuperPACs, also results in the exercise of freedom of speech. David Earley and Ian Vandewalker, two counsels at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, argue that the rise of political spending that resulted from the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has created a situation in which political elections can be “bought” by corporate donors.
Issue 10. Is Twitter a Good Source of Political Information?
YES: John H. Parmelee and Shannon L. Bichard, from "How Twitter Influences the Relationship between Political Leaders and the Public", Lexington Books (2012)
NO: Evgeny Morozov, from "Excerpts from Chapter 1: The Google Doctrine", Perseus Books (2011)
In these sections of their longer study on the role of Twitter and politics, Professors Parmelee and Bichard examine how political leaders use Twitter to influence the public. While politicians establish personal relationships with followers, some tweets are intended to influence policy. They examine the potential for the one-way form of communication provided by Twitter to engage with the public. Citing what he calls “cyber-utopianism” as the reason journalists and policymakers claim Twitter and the Internet in general are good for democracy, Morozov provides evidence that authoritarian regimes can also use social network systems to subvert democratic initiatives. By showing how Twitter has been misunderstood in the context of revolutions and dissent, he warns policymakers not to become enamored of technology when data does not support their assertions that Twitter and the Internet will be harbingers of democracy.

Unit 4: Law and Policy

Issue 11. Should We Ban Hate Speech on College Campuses?
YES: Jeremy Waldron, from "Approaching Hate Speech", Harvard University Press (2012)
NO: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, from "Spotlight on Speech Codes 2013: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses", The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education ( 2013)
Waldron rejects the argument that hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. He offers models from other developed democracies that value a civil society in which all members can participate with dignity. He argues that hate speech undermines the public good and asks who benefits from allowing this to continue. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) publishes a yearly volume on speech codes. They find that many colleges and universities have speech codes that infringe on rights that citizens would have beyond the campus. Each year they articulate particularly grievous examples of infringement of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Their selection makes clear that college policies go far beyond what we would think of as hate speech and threaten faculty and student freedoms.
Issue 12. Does Technology Invade Our Privacy?
YES: Daniel J. Solove, from "Excerpts from \"The All-or-Nothing Fallacy: The False Tradeoff between Privacy and Security\"", Yale University Press (2011)
NO: Stewart Baker, from "The Privacy Problem: What’s Wrong with Privacy", Tech Freedom (2010)
Daniel J. Solove, Professor of Law at George Washington University and authority on privacy issues, argues that privacy is too often sacrificed for security concerns. He argues that there are often solutions that do not involve such sacrifices, but that they are dismissed by an all-or-nothing attitude. Stewart Baker, former Assistant Secretary for Policy at Homeland Security, argues vigorously for better collection and use of technological information. Its importance in preventing acts of terrorism, in tracking potential criminals, and in protecting the interests of the country far outweighs privacy concerns of individuals.
Issue 13. Are Copyright Laws Effective in Curbing Piracy?
YES: Brian R. Day, from "In Defense of Copyright: Record Labels, Creativity, and the Future of Music", Seton Hall Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law (2011)
NO: Alex Sayf Cummings, from "\"Introduction\” and \“Conclusion\" from the Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth Century", Oxford University Press (2013)
Attorney Brian R. Day addresses the size of the recorded music industry which manufactures and distributes 85 percent of the recorded music in the United States today‚ and discusses the need for copyright protection and the different business models used by the music industry today. He argues that copyright is essential to the music industry and other media industries because it constitutionally protects the work of artists and their ability to profit from their talents. Alex Sayf Cummings writes from the perspective of the impact of piracy‚ bootlegging‚ and counterfeiting on the music industry and concludes that contemporary copyright legislation is just not adequate to circumvent the ease with which people can download unauthorized copies of musical performances. He warns that copyright is no longer adequate to meet the challenge of digital music today, and warns that the recorded music industry is in danger of becoming obsolete.
Issue 14. Should Newspapers Ban Anonymous Online Comments?
YES: Carolyn Nielsen, from "Newspaper Journalists Support Online Comments", Newspaper Research Journal (2012)
NO: Maria Konnikova, from "The Psychology of Online Comments", The New Yorker (2013)
Although newspaper journalists support online comments, they find the protection of anonymity promotes uncivil discourse. They dislike the personal attacks and political tirades in these comments. For journalists this issue pits issues of freedom of expression against principles of journalistic accuracy and civil discourse. The authors interviewed practicing journalists about the influence of online comments on their role and practice as a journalists, as well as attitudes about anonymity. The unique characteristics of the Internet and the Web allow users to present themselves anonymously. For the most part, these online the identities bear little or no resemblance to actual users’ real-life identities. Most of the time, the “alternate identities” pose no problem and are harmless, but sometimes the rules and practices of people engaging in online communication and commentary clash and violate principles, guidelines or practices that had been adopted to protect earlier forms of communication through media forms that provided greater transparency and required greater responsibility and accountability from the users.

Unit 5: Media Business

Issue 15. Will the Recorded Music Industry Survive Digitization?
YES: IFPI, from "IFPI Digital Music Report 2013: Engine of a Digital World", International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (2013)
NO: Panos Panay, from "Rethinking Music: The Future of Making Money as a Performing Musician", Rethinking Music: A Briefing Book (2011)
The IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) is a not-for-profit organization registered in Switzerland. It represents the worldwide recording industry with 1300 members in 66 countries and with affiliated industry associations in an additional 55 countries. In this 2013 Report, the organization looks at data to support the idea that the recorded music industry has begun to rebound after many years of a business model that favored consolidation of the recorded music industries, and that the evidence of today’s growth benefits an international market. Panos Panay examines specific changes to the live music scene, and the growth of niche markets that contributed to the evolution of several new models for the music business. Despite a poor economy in 2010, fans are becoming more active and involved in the production of a successful band and/or record. Along with a new model of entrepreneurship, Panay offers insights to how the recording industry is evolving.
Issue 16. Should Newspapers Shut Down Their Presses?
YES: Clay Shirky, from "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable", Shirky.com (2009)
NO: Cary Spivak, from "Are These Guys Crazy", American Journalism Review (2012/2013)
Clay Shirkey argues that the old economies of newspapers are destroyed in the digital age. This is a revolution similar to that which occurred with the invention of the printing press. No one knows what the future will hold, but we can only hope that journalism is not lost with the demise of newspapers. Cary Spivak examines the motivations of investors who are willing to buy newspapers. In an industry with plummeting ad revenue, circulation losses, and high print and delivery costs, what do these investors see? He finds their rationales range from bargain shopping to a faith that the investor has good ideas that will save the paper to acquiring a venue to advance political ideologies. What they share is a belief that the industry can be saved.
Issue 17. Should We Oppose Media Consolidation?
YES: Mark Cooper, from "Testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights", U.S. Senate ( 2010)
NO: Brian L. Roberts and Jeff Zucker, from "Testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights", U.S. Senate (2010)
Consumer Federation of American Research Director Mark Cooper opposes the merger because it will give the merging firms "the incentive and ability to not only preserve and exploit the worse aspects of the current market, but to extend them to the future market." Company presidents Brian L. Roberts (Comcast) and Jeff Zucker (NBC) support the merger of their companies; they believe the merged firm "will benefit consumers and will encourage much needed investment and innovation in the important media sector."

Unit 6: Life in the Digital Age

Issue 18. Are Youth indifferent to News and Politics?
YES: David T. Z. Mindich, from "Journalism and Citizenship: Making the Connection", Nieman Reports (2008)
NO: Pew Internet & American Life Project, from "The Internet and Civic Engagement", pewinternet.org (2011)
Author and professor David T. Z. Mindich addresses the sobering facts of why youth do not follow the news. He links this with low voter turnout, a widening knowledge gap between younger and older citizens, and a lack of trust in news media. The author of Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don’t Follow the News, Mindich explores the essential link between news and information and being an informed and engaged citizen. The Pew Internet and American Life Project released The Internet and Civic Engagement in 2009. This report examined whether the Internet could change long-established patterns of civic and political involvement. Based on a sample of more than 2,000 adults, the project found that new forms of civic engagement based on the Internet, blogs, and social media have the potential to alter long-standing patterns of information and engagement of younger voters.
Issue 19. Are Online Services Responsible for an Increase in Bullying and Harassment?
YES: Penny A. Leisring, from "Stalking Made Easy: How Information and Communication Technologies Are Influencing the Way People Monitor and Harass One Another", Peter Lang (2009)
NO: Amanda Lenhart et al., from "Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites", pewinternet.org (2011)
Penny Leisring discusses negative effects of using online technology to cyberstalk or harass someone. Use of social networking, e-mail, GPS systems, cell phone spamming, and caller ID all can be used to create a threatening or hostile environment for those people who use them for antisocial purposes. The author also addresses the situations that lend themselves most often to these undesirable uses of communication technology, such as in the break-up of romantic relationships, abusive relationships, or just plain hostile behaviors and interactions. This study, conducted by Researchers Amanda Lenhart et al. at the Pew Internet & American Life Project, suggests that bullying and harassment also exist in face to face communication contexts more often than in online formats. The researchers contextualize the responses to questions that show that teens in particular also find it possible to use online services for kind interactions and social support. The findings of the research team suggest that teens use online social networks for a variety of reasons, and the data they represent indicate that while there may be some situations in which bullying and harassment occur, the numbers indicate that in general, online bullying and harassment are not as big a problem as Leisring predicts.
Issue 20. Are Millennials More "Tech-Savvy" Than Other Generations?
YES: Ben Adler, from "Streams of Consciousness", Columbia Journalism Review (2013)
NO: Siva Vaidhyanathan, from "Generational Myth: Not All Young People Are Tech-Savvy", The Chronical Review (2008)
Journalist Ben Adler writes about his own personal awakening in terms of how he began to think about news, and what constituted news. By interviewing a range of people who are concerned about how news is changing to fit the tastes of millennials, he outlines how the process of getting news and what constitutes news is changing. Professor Siva Vaidhyanathan takes the perspective that his own students (who are largely millennials themselves) exhibit a wide range of skills necessary to be considered “tech-savvy.” He claims that the many assumptions that young people are better with technology actually overgeneralize skills and abilities of any group. Instead, the simple generalization that young people have superior knowledge of technology and how to use technology forces us to think in terms of creating policies that perpetuate the generalization, rather than dealing with the real problems of social and cultural change.

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