Hypodermic Needle Theory Essay

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Effect studies describe the media’s effect on its consumer’s behaviour in a logical way. Within his discussion about these effects, Fourie (2007: 276) differentiates between short-term and long-term effects. Short-term theories refer to the “almost general agreement” (Fourie, 2007: 232) that the media influences people’s behaviour in extreme cases, and the long-term theory believes that the media does not have an immediate effect on the consumer, but rather that this influence happens over a long period. The first includes the two-step-flow, the hypodermic needle and the gratification theory, whereas the latter refers to the diffusion of innovation, modelling, social expectation, stereotyping, meaning construction, accumulation, agenda setting,…show more content…
However, modern-day concern about the effects of media and technology is a result of “the underlying assumptions of the hypodermic needle theory,” meaning that media does have an influence on society (Fourie, 2007: 234). To this, Critcher (2010: 3) emphasizes the study of moral panic; when certain activities are perceived as negatively influencing the dominant culture. This, says Watson and Hill (1984:109), normally happens when a society goes through significant change, such as the South African society has since the early 1990s. During these changes, the media tend to report incessantly on a matter. Through these reports, the South African society’s morals are reflected, which instantaneously encourages debate “to a point of mass hysteria”. This hysteria is evident in the 2015 Xenophobic attacks, where the South African media were blamed for the violence against foreign nationals. According to News24 (2016), sensational headlines and false information on social media platforms added to the outbreak of attacks, especially so during the height of the attacks. This after Goodwill Zwelithini, the Zulu King, was quoted saying that foreigners "should pack their bags and go". Many people saw his statement as the forerunner to the attacks (Al Jazeera,

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