In powerful effect paradigm, media has immediate, direct influence and assumes that people are passive and absorb media content uncritically & unconditionally. That paradigm related to Frankfurt school of though. Three theories come under this paradigm; one is Mass society theory, second is Magic bullet theory and third is Critical theory. All that theories based on assumptions, that all theories shows that media has strong impact on audience and a malignant force within the society. Mass society theory:
This theory is related to media and Herbert Marcuse presented this idea. It’s a first media theory and also known as “Grand Theory”. Mass Society Theory is based on various assumptions. Following are the assumptions of Mass Society Theory: 1. The media are a malignant, cancerous force within society and must be purged or totally restructured. 2. Media have the power to reach out and directly influence the minds of average people. 3. Once people’s minds are corrupted by media, all sorts of bad long-term consequences result – not only bringing ruin to individual lives, but also creating social problems on a vast scale 4. Average people are vulnerable to media because they have been cut off and isolated from traditional institutions that previously protected them from manipulation. 5. The social chaos initiated by media will inevitably be resolved by establishment of a totalitarian social order. 6. Mass media inevitably debase higher forms of culture; bring about generation decline in civilization. Limited effect paradigm:
Limited effect paradigm idea has been associated with Paul Lazarsfeld and his colleagues. They focused on the media effect is measureable, short term and concluded that the media played a limited role in influencing public opinion. The “Limited-Effects” Model developed by Lazarsfeld and his colleagues from Columbia was highly influential in the development of media studies. The model claims the mass media has “limited-effects” on audience. Comparison of Mass Society Theory Assumptions with Limited Effect Paradigm
1. The media are a malignant, cancerous force within society and must be purged or totally restructured. The Functional Analysis Theory rejected this assumption as in this theory media is a healthy organization and has a positive role within the society, and Information Flow Theory also discarded this assumption that all information does not consider valuable and 80% people heard and read soft news so the reaction and the negative effect of media is less.
2. Media have the power to reach out and directly influence the minds of average people. Two step flows discarded this assumption, this theory urges media to be less direct and less powerful effects and people are much more affected by opinion leaders rather than media. As in the Information Flow Theory most news are unnoticed by people so how it can affect average people and also in the Attitude Change Theory, society or people cannot change by media. People changed when they want change or change their self.
3. Once people’s minds are corrupted by media, all sorts of bad long-term consequences result – not only bringing ruin to individual lives, but also creating social problems on a vast scale. Attitudes Change Theory discarded this assumption that changing is a complex process and societal change is a slow process. As in a Cognitive Dissonance Theory, anything which is inconsistence that effect is less. Psychological disorder topics have a less effect on audience. One more theory rejected this assumption Functional Analysis Theory says that media role is positive in the society.
4. Average people are vulnerable to media because they have been cut off and isolated from traditional institutions that previously protected them from manipulation. Reinforcement Theory rejected this assumption it says that media act to reinforcement already held beliefs and idea. Change transpire by family, school, church etc and traditional institution are still there and have strong power to stop the individual an society by manipulation. As in Cognitive Consistency Theory people consciously or unconsciously want to see those channels or programs which are of their interest. Two Step Model also discarded this assumption by opinion leaders are attached with our institutions and in the Attitude Change Theory, in human attitude changing these three variables play focal role, 1.the Communicator, 2.communication, 3.situation.
5. The social chaos initiated by media will inevitably be resolved by establishment of a totalitarian social order. Only Innovation Diffusion Theory prop up that assumption. New idea, information introduced in the society by innovators, to spread any new idea is society has five stages by establishment of totalitarian social order the social chaos can be pave. 6. Mass media inevitably debase higher forms of culture; bring about generation decline in civilization. Cognitive Consistency rejected this assumption people always try to hold their existing beliefs so they do not allow to change their culture and values. As Reinforcement Theory, media acts to reinforce the already held and existing beliefs and ideas. It does not disturb society by creating any change. Conclusion:
Mass society theory portrait media role is negative and malignant force within the society but there are many other theories which describes that media role is positive and it is a healthy institution like other social institutions. Change always comes, when people want change or try to change themselves. We negated all these assumption by these imperial studies.