Social Issues and Mass Media

From time to time, the media "discover" a problem or social issue and focus on it intensely for a time. Often an outside agency brings this issue to the forefront, whereas it may have been a minor issue or factor for some time prior to that. A recent example is so-called "gangsta" rap, a form of popular music that is said by some to contribute to the increasing violence seen in the inner cities and to violence against women, especially in the black community where gangsta rap thrives. A number of people have raised concerns about this type of music and the degree to which it might be considered encouraging violence, though another complaint against it in broad terms is that it contributes to a poor image of the black community by presenting marginal characters and attitudes to the majority white community as if they were representative of the black community. Most recently, complaints against the violent message in rap lyrics has been raised from opposite sides of the political spectrum, by Bob Bennett from the right and C. DeLores Tucker from the left. The media have addressed the issue in a way that has contributed to the view that gangsta rap creates violence rather than merely including it as a subject.

This call for change by Bennett and Tucker serves as the primary and central persuasive event, one covered by and continued by the news media for some time as arguments developed on both sides of the issue and as record company executives and artists found themselv



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