Desensitisation in the public sphere.

“Continued exposure to violent videos will make an adolescent less sensitive to violence, more accepting of violence, and more likely to commit aggressive acts, since the emotional component associated with aggression is reduced and normally acts as a brake on aggressive behaviour.” (Adams, 2010)

The public sphere in Western countries have become desensitised and disinterested towards political culture, with themes broadcasted in the media such as criminal television shows and half-assed comical Journalism such as “Sunrise” and “The morning show”, serious political and social issues like violence, rape, suicide, murder and public news have become less important than “celebrities, diets and sex tips” (Mckee, 2005, p. 1,31.)

Furedi (2004) suggests that people are more interested in the “private lives of politicians than the way they handle their public office”.
He also claims that the media or public sphere has shifted from politics to personal, and that individual misbehaviour, private troubles and personality conflicts excite greater interest than important issues. I agree.

At the beginning of every Law and Order episode, it states that the show is about “The crimes, not the people who investigate them”, and succeeds in leaving out the drama or love affairs of the detectives, and focusing on the crimes and investigations relevant to them. It doesn’t censor or skip over any grisly details, and gives the proper attention and sense of horror that things such as these should invoke. Although it does not follow the usual soap-worthy back-story running behind some of televisions most successful tv shows, so why are dramatic and scandalous personal lives more successful? – People don’t want to focus too much on the real world.

Comparatively, shows such as NCIS and Dexter intertwine murder with romance, comedy and personal drama, so after watching somebody get butchered, you’re watering down the effects of what you’ve just seen with something ‘normal’ and relevant to your own life. 

People are becoming accustomed to seeing dead bodies on the screen and it makes it hard to apply any real-life significance to these occurrences. Murder, violence and suicide etc. aren’t controversial issues anymore; they’re everyday themes on your favourite TV show, blanketed and served with sex, laughter and emotional theatre.



Adams, S. 2010. Screen violence ‘desensitises teenage brains’ – Telegraph.
viewed on 9 Apr 2014.

Furedi, F. 2004. spiked-essays | Essay | The politics of the lonely crowd.
viewed on 9 Apr 2014.

Mckee, A. 2005. Introduction to the Public Sphere: An introduction. Cambridge University Press, p. 1,31.
viewed on 9 Apr 2014.




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