Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

The Television Entertainment - between Profit and Responsibility

Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

The Television Entertainment - between Profit and Responsibility

Article excerpt

In television, the entertainment should answer the relaxation desire of people who are stressed out by their job requirements, but also to the escape desire of people who are not accustomed to an imaginary universe. In the long run, the pursuit for celebrity and for fabulous earnings has allowed more amateurs than professionals to enter this field of activity. According to the German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas, in the industrial democracies, media has the face of Ianus, the protective god in the Roman mythology who has two opposing faces: one looks forward and the other backward. Thus, media has the role of illuminating, but also of controlling, of informing, as well as of advertising, educating and manipulating. Brian McNair, an American sociologist and media analyst considers that "the personalization of the serious problems correlated to the public interest for the private lives and the sexual indiscretions of the public persons take place in an environment of trivialized politics and of a profoundly corrupted public speech."1

The violence presented on the screen, either real or fictional or symbolical, has some of the most undesired and unexpected effects on the TV viewer. The Brazilian professor Valdemar W. Setzer, a specialist in informatics at The Säo Paolo University, claims that the connection between television and violence is not a coincidence. In his opinion, "even the fact of watching TV represents a permanent violence against the human mind all along, and thus violence becomes an ideal instrument for getting everybody's attention, by activating the mechanism of the guiding or protecting answer of the Pavlov type."2

Nevertheless, in spite of the personalization, trivialization and commercialization, which are contemporary phenomena, it is the media that supports the democratic reforms and serves as a basis for the improvement and stimulation of the civil society. At the same time, media has several times served as a filter through which the state institutions and society could be contested and subject to analysis in an endeavour to eliminate corruption and to charge the power abuse.

A first hypothesis is that the violence noticed in the television entertainment is represented mostly by the symbolical violence when dramatizing any topic and transforming any information into a media show. Thus, these audio-visual programmes emphasize the sensational and exploit the emotional side of the TV viewer on the expence of a rational analysis. Another hypothesis is that the public in front of the TV screen is induced the idea that a woman is a sexual object, which represents a kind of manifestation of the symbolical violence that can be constantly seen in the Romanian audio- visual.

In order to prove the validity of these aspects, we have decided to use "the grounded theory" which starts from systematically generating concepts and theories according to the collected data. This is an inductive modality starting from general observations; there will appear other conceptual categories in the analysis process of the primary data.

In A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957)3, the purpose of L. Festinger and of his collaborators was to analyse the process of changing the opinion of a subject confronted with a message or with information in contradiction to his reference system (cognitive dissonance). Thus, each human being is supposed to have a need for cognitive coherence. When this "consonance" is destroyed for a particular reason, the subject suffers from psychological distress, which arouses "reduction strategies". In order to eliminate the straining state, beliefs can be modified by mitigating the differences to the other's opinion or by rejecting an information contrary to one's own convictions.

The psycho-sociologists talk about conformation when a person, in our case the TV viewer, modifies his/her attitude or behaviour according to the norms and values presented in the media. …

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