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Prof. Allison Edgley
Literature Review
Maggie (Chen Manqi) 8/11/2014
Literature Review
Many kinds of media have been around humans for a long time. Undeniably,
they have had a powerful impact on our lives over a long period as well. In response
to emerging technology, many forms of media have reinvented themselves
dramatically in our lifetime. The changing styles and performances about the media
created a deep dividing line between “old media” and “new media”, which shows
negative consequences together with positive consequences.
Although some of the information show that the “new media” make people
smarter, most of the articles below reveal shortcomings of media which develop
quickly today. As a literature review, this essay will focus on that nowadays the social
media do have the negative formative influence on the human, which includes:
information becomes overloaded; morbid TV-shows increase and in turn strengthen
people’s morbid desire; children become abnormally mature because of children’s
television with adult worldview; the eager of violence in TV is strengthened under
extreme “safety”; people’s field of vision becomes confined; people turn to be
scattered and superficial thinkers; people escape reality easily.

Funt, P. (2014). So much media, so little news. In L. G. Kirszner & S. R. Mandell
(Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 197-199). New York, NY: Pearson.
This essay compares “old media” to “new media”. Additionally, it focuses on the
relationship between media and people, and the situation about it. Here are the main
When surrounded by “old media”, like daily newspaper, television and radio,
people had to receive hard news, and a large amount of information tended to rub off.
But today’s media in turn allow many people to skip news altogether. Besides, many
people are overloaded with information. Thus, people seem to know less than ever
about current events. Normally, there is a concept that media should give the public
what it wants to know, and together with what it ought to know. However, nowadays,
the social situation shows that some people are naturally curious about what they do
not know, but an increasing number of people want to reinforce what they already
The author supports that the “new media” makes people become overloaded by
similar kinds of news, which results in the situation that people seem to know less
than ever. However, humans themselves should shoulder the responsibility as well.

Rushdie, S. (2014). Reality TV: A dearth of talent and the death of morality. In L. G.
Kirszner & S. R. Mandell (Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 199-202). New York, NY:
This essay analyzes the situation of today’s western society, which is the reason
that causes today’s TV-shows. Here is what the author discussed:
Clearly, "famous" and "rich" are important to human, but now it seems become
the unbelievably important concepts in western society, whereas ethical questions are
simply overlooked. That means now, in order to become famous and rich, people
think it is “normal" to be devious. Moreover, it is exactly boredom that dulls the
moral edge. Then here comes a question, how to feed our hunger for more action,
more pains, and more vicarious thrills?
The author finds that nowadays people always chase after fame and wealth,
which directly “encourages” some morbid TV-shows to increase. By describing such
phenomena, the author appeals for a change.

Last, J, V. (2014). TV for tots: Not what you remember. In L. G. Kirszner & S. R.
Mandell (Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 202-204). New York, NY: Pearson.
Starting by the feminized children TV-shows, this essay focused on what makes
children’s television today not “pure” enough. And here are the main points about this
These days, politics are even in children's television, and nearly every show has a
worldview or a message to push. To some extent, over the past 40 years, TV has been
feminized. It is good to forbid bullying officially, but it forbids physical courage and
manliness at the same time. Another truth is that, now no one can find any children
TV-shows without adult debates and sociopolitical fashions.
What is shown in this article is Mr. Last’s opinion that children’s television
always mixes adult worldview and politics, which will influence future generations as

Brooks, M. (2014). The movies that rose from the grave. In L. G. Kirszner & S. R.
Mandell (Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 211-214). New York, NY: Pearson.
This article describes the “zombie fashion”, and digs out the reason for its
popularity. In this essay, the author also shows his prediction. And here are the main
Zombies not only have replaced previous alpha-monsters, but are continuing to
generate more interests. The reason why today comes such a sudden and ravenous
obsession with ghouls appears is mostly about the current bombardment of tragic
events, which has created a global undercurrent of anxiety. On another aspect, zombie
movies present people with an outlet for their fears about the end of the world with
extreme “safety”. However, just like things are always changing, the living dead will
not be gone forever. It is undeniable that those living dead will retreat underground
again, waiting patiently for the day of rebirth.
The popularity of zombies reflects the bombardment of tragic events, which in
turn causes the popularity of zombies. And the author believes that one day there will
be updates based on the social phenomenon.

Pariser, E. (2014). When the internet thinks it knows you. In L. G. Kirszner & S. R.
Mandell (Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 214-216). New York, NY: Pearson.
This essay also compared broadcast society to internet society. Additionally, it
focused on how codes become information’s new “gatekeepers”, and the limitation of
using codes to narrow the information. And here are the main points:
While living in the broadcast society, because of the limitation, sharing
information were not widely available. However, now internet has created the
possibilities for millions of people to communicate with others at little or no cost.
That means there is a new group of “gatekeepers” for all of the information – the code,
which in effect monitor, analyze, control and limit the information that reaches our
screens, and maybe even affects not just what we read but how we think. No one can
deny that sometimes it is convenient to see what we want to see, but it is critical at
other time to see what we do not. We need to demand and accept broader or more
spacious content even when it is uncomfortable for us to read.
The author tries to show the limitation of the revolutionary connective medium.
The codes confine people’s field of vision. Besides, the author calls on people to
accept more information which people are not very much interested in.

Carr, N. (2014). Does the internet make you dumber?. In L. G. Kirszner & S. R.
Mandell (Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 216-220). New York, NY: Pearson.
This essay focuses on how people changed because of the internet. There is
always a controversial topic about the effects of the internet. And here are the main
Based on the research, People’s picture emerging becomes deeply troubling now.
We become mere signal-processing units, quickly go through disjointed bits of
information, and then develop short-term memory. When distracted and interrupted,
our brains have difficulties to forge the complex and expansive neural connections,
which negatively influence people to think deeper and more distinctive. Some of the
studies indicated that certain computer tasks can enhance "visual literacy skills."
However, others found that such rapid shifts in focus result in less rigorous and "more
automatic" thinking. Then what can be found is that we are becoming shallower and
have been accompanied by "new weaknesses in higher-order cognitive
processes."(Carr, 2014)
In the author’s opinion, the Internet makes people access to amounts of
information easily. However, scientific evidence suggests that the Net is also turning
people into scattered and superficial thinkers.

Mathias, A. (2014). The facebook generation?. In L. G. Kirszner & S. R. Mandell
(Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 229-231). New York, NY: Pearson.
In this article, the author commented on the influence of the Facebook. The main
ideas and influences are discussed further:
Face book, the popular online study buddy, has distracted college students. The
humor which can be seen on Facebook bits often reveal more about people’s
personalities and interests, than any honest answers. Facebook stimulates human
connectivity, but it has also made people more wary of real human confrontation. For
young people, Facebook can be another form of escapism; as older users try to turn
Facebook into a legitimate social reference guide, the hope is that younger people do
not treat it as a circus ring.
The author shows the advantages and disadvantages of Facebook, but he pays
more attention to the disadvantages. In his opinion, Facebook make the connection
among people looser, and make young people escape whatever they do not want to
face. He calls on people do not rely on the Facebook too much, especially the young

However, here is still one voice supporting that new media makes people smart:
Pinker, S. (2014). Mind over mass media. In L. G. Kirszner & S. R. Mandell
(Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 220-222). New York, NY: Pearson.
This article focuses on the research and explanation of the influence of the
internet, highlighting the following concepts:
New forms of media were all once denounced to have a bad effect on consumers’
brainpower and moral fiber. Every time people learn something the wiring of the brain
changes; however, it does not mean the brain can be pounded into shape by
experience. Besides, experience does not revamp the basic information-processing
capacities of the brain. The truth is the effects of experience are highly specific to the
experiences themselves; they immerse themselves in their fields. The constant
information can be distracting or addictive, but what we can do to solve it is simple –
just strengthen self-control rather than complain about technology.
As for Pinker, knowledge is increasing, but not human brainpower and waking
hours; the Internet and information technologies are helping to manage, search and
retrieve collective intellectual output at different scales, which help to keep people
smart. However, this “smart” here means the efficiency of dealing with information
increases, but not the way people think becomes progressive.

In conclusion, all those articles above share kinds of information about the new
media. All the researches and comments show authors’ opinions directly. About the
influence of new media, it is still a controversial topic today. However, based on those
analyses above, it seems more bad influence than good influence, which can bring us
a conclusion that the new media affect people negatively from both mental side and
physical side. Besides, what individuals can do is to think, and balance the advantages
and disadvantages in their minds; at last, decide if they need to change present