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Sarah Jordan 5/4/11 Final Essay

Personal Stance as a Communication Major & Scholar

Living a life of integrity is a fundamental part of my being and something I will perpetually strive to achieve. It would be insincere for me to claim that I have never cheated by cutting people off on the highway, lied to my parents about curfew, or stating a false compliment in order to help someone disregard a senseless insecurity. Unfortunately, we live in a society where cheating and deceit have become accepted and consequently disgraceful actions tend to be ignored. Persuasion portrayed through media is a major contributor in the way people think and plays a significant role in the diminishment of morals. Citizens need to reclaim personal power in order to stay true to his or her genuine ethics. As an independent individual, I strive to live by strong morals and aspire to apply them in every situation I encounter. As a communication major and scholar, it is my imperative responsibility to use the knowledge that I have acquired throughout my educational career to follow principles as a way of contributing to society. The communication theories studied over the course of the semester have helped me acknowledge the methods in which I can live a life composed around virtue. The Cultivation Analysis Theory illustrates how people are heavily influenced by the media

whereas the Narrative Paradigm offers insight as to how the negative influences of the media can be prevented. The Cultivation Theory focuses on the long- term impact of television on behavior and perception. Attitudes and beliefs are subliminally altered as a result of persuasion communicated through the mass media. The theory states that “heavy viewers tend to believe the mainstreamed realities that the world is a more dangerous place than it really is, that all politicians are corrupt, that teen crime is at record high levels, that African American families are all on welfare, that illegitimate births are skyrocketing, and so forth,” (p. 383). The Mean World Syndrome is a causal effect of the pessimistic messages we frequently receive, resulting in the belief that events and people are worse than they really are. Based on the evidence provided by this theory, people are clearly impacted by advertisements and persuasive messages that bombard every broadcast station. Many consume television shows that portray actions engaging in behaviors such as cheating on a spouse and demeaning others in an attempt to prosper. This shameful behavior is depicted almost everywhere; Desperate Housewives, Gray’s Anatomy, and The Bachelor, just to name a few. Regrettably, the consistent exposure to unethical actions slowly alters the perception of morals. Acts labeled as taboo are becoming more prevalent and accepted among society. At what point did we become so understanding of destroying people’s lives to get ahead financially or engage in inexcusable relations of adultery? I believe the most notorious form of betrayal is infidelity in a marriage. The constitution of matrimony is the most tremendous commitment anyone can make it life: two individuals promising to share the rest of their lives together until the end. Nonetheless, people find it in

themselves to betray their life partner and move on as if nothing had ever happened. According to the book Human Intimacy: Marriage, the Family, and Its Meaning, “in about one-half of all American couples marrying in a given year, one or both partners have been previously married,� (Cox, 2009). The stigma of divorce has diminished over time for many different reasons, but I believe a major factor in the growing tolerance of separation is the mass media. The Cultivation Theory illuminates how media modifies perceptions, but the Narrative Paradigm offers a resolution in resisting the detrimental effects. The Narrative Paradigm explicates how people have the ability to create his or her own story based on the interpretation of events. In other words, we can change our life according to what we desire to believe, thus we have the power to create our own narrative. Establishing high standards for morality would allow for many to re-write a narrative paradigm, and eventually the drastic amount of unethical incidents will decrease. Constructing narratives based solely on personal beliefs and insights is crucial in being honest with oneself and others. Allowing the mind to transform distinctive perceptions due to outside influences is merely betraying your individuality; if you cannot be truly honest with yourself, then it is impossible to be honest with others. The majority of people have subliminally lost their voice within the Spiral of Silence. It is essential for everyone to look past the persuasion and stay true to the sincere values our culture has honored for numerous years. As a Communications major I find it compulsory to follow the code of ethics especially in terms of honesty and integrity. The theories I have studied provided the knowledge I need to conquer vicious influences that I will continue to endure through the

media and others. Strong interpersonal relationships built on a foundation of honesty and integrity is key in Communications. If you can’t trust others or yourself, then what is the point?

Work Cited C o x , F. D . ( 2 0 0 9 ) . H u m a n i n t i m a c y : m a r r i a g e , t h e f a m i l y , a n d it's meaning [p. 467]. Retrieved from h t t p : / / b o o k s . g o o g l e . c o m / b o o k s ? i d = B k U Av p N w 1 A M C & p g = PA 4 6 7 & l p g = PA 4 6 7 & d q = d i v o r c e + r a t e s + i n + a m e r i c a & s o u r c e = v r t & o t s = f e 5 H U 3 G X p u & s i g = Te t x 4 D L f Z p z R a f 9 O h Y b X Y t v V f B w & h l = e n & e i = hlfBTdCmBMXDgQePx5HYBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=resul t&resnum=15&ved=0CGAQ6AEwDg#v=onepage&q=divorce%20r ates%20in%20america&f=false