Mass Media’s Mythic World: At Odds with Christian Values

by William F. Fore

William F. Fore received a B.D. from Yale Divinity School and Ph.D. from Columbia University. A minister in the United Methodist Church , he was Director of Visual Education for the United Methodist Board of Missions, then Executive Director of the Communication Commission of the National Council of Churches in New York City. From 1989 to 1995 he was Visiting Lecturer in Communication and Cultural Studies at Yale Divinity School.. His publications include Image and Impact (Friendship Press 1970), Television and Religion: the Shaping of Faith, Values and Culture (Augsburg 1987, currently reprinted by SBS Press, 409 Prospect St., New Haven, CT 06511), and Mythmakers: Gospel Culture and the Media (Friendship Press 1990).

This article appeared in the Christian Century, January 19, 1977, p. 32. Copyright by the Christian Century Foundation and used by permission. Current articles and subscription information can be found at This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.


It is wrong to attack the media as if they were being manipulated and mishandled by greedy people at the top. In reality, the media reflect our own greed and weaknesses far more than we care to admit or to analyze.

Few tasks are more important for the church today than that of shaping a theology of communication; that is, reflecting on the relation of Christian beliefs to the process which mediates contemporary life and thought. We have failed to examine our religious heritage and our sense of the holy in a systematic way, and to relate them to our lives in a complex social environment. In order to do this we need first to look at the nature of society.

The Need for Commonality

What every society must have if it is to survive is commonality -- common interests, language, traditions, institutions, values, ends. There must be a set of common assumptions about who we are, who has the power, what we can and cannot be, what we can and cannot do.

But these underlying assumptions are hidden. For example, when we teach children “good grammar,” we are really teaching them the social structure --space-time relationships, how to solve problems, sexism, racism and, above all, classism. These hidden assumptions come to light only when we begin to ask such questions as these: What are those things that we never have to ask about? What are those things that are not only true but are simply there? What are those things given to us in the way things “are”? The study of advanced geometry is important because it makes students consider worlds quite different from the world they assume to be “true” -- worlds in which parallel lines meet, in which the shortest distance between two points is a curved line. Science fiction, Mad magazine and the study of foreign languages get at the social world in the same way -- by questioning the given, the assumed reality.

But society resists this probing, this questioning of what is. Society needs stability, and stability depends on commonality, uniformity, conformity. Thus every society propagandizes and censors. Jacques Ellul in his book Propaganda (Knopf, 1965) describes propaganda as an all-pervasive aspect of communication in society -- not an arbitrary creation by the people in power but something that grows out of the need of the whole group and serves to sustain the group. It uses all the media of communication, but it is most effective when it reaches an individual “alone in the mass,” cut off from group participation. It tends to separate a person from outside points of reference, such as, for example, transcendent religious reference.

Society also employ active censorship against communications that threaten common values and assumptions. The censorship may be legal, as with strictures against pornography. It may be political, as with the press silence on American involvement in Cambodia. It is most likely to be economic, as in the case of TV’s exclusion of minority points of view because they would tend to reduce profits.

Propaganda and censorship are not something visited on the people by evil manipulators. They are an inevitable process that gives most people -- that is, the society -- what they want and need very badly: stability, cohesion and common purpose.

A Window on the World

Society creates this commonality primarily through mass media. Every activity (games, work, play, sex, study, eating, resting) and every medium (verbal, nonverbal, signs, symbols, architecture, paintings, books, memos, letters, maps and so on) are mediators of the culture. But only in the past 75 years have there developed the mass media of communication: the telephone, the large-volume newspaper, the wireless telegraph, radio and television -- all of which are primarily social inventions, because they fundamentally changed the speed, the extent and nature of the process whereby a society maintained commonality, and thus changed the nature of society itself.

The mass media select and distort what they mediate, for two reasons. First, because it is their nature; second, because society needs for them to create the common world of which all can be a part. Television is indeed a window on the world. But a window by its very nature selects only a small piece of reality. And though its glass is transparent, it shuts out heat and cold, noise and smells; like the tinted glass in today’s buses and airports, it may totally change the color of everything “out there.” TV acts as a filter, selecting images, extracting unpleasant (and pleasant) elements, coloring others, and making a whole world seem real to us when it is in fact nothing more than bright phosphors dancing on a piece of glass.

Rudolf Arnheim, author of Visual Thinking, says that a child who enters school today faces “a 12 to 20 year apprenticeship in alienation.” He points out that as soon as a child learns to name something, he or she begins to separate the self from it, and before long learns to handle words and concepts, but at the risk of becoming estranged from the object talked about. The child learns to manipulate a world of words and numbers, but he or she does not learn to experience the real world. The child has been conditioned to live in our culture.1 Exposure to television for hours every day simply further separates youngsters from the world of reality, or rather creates a new reality.

Abraham Moles, director of the Social Psychology Institute at Strasbourg, points out that while television has been a cultural life buoy for farmers, lonely people and the impoverished, it has at the same time been a pressure toward the banal and the constricting for those already experiencing a communication-rich life. But in both cases, as the individual is exposed to more and more TV, he or she is a bit less able to differentiate between the fictional universe and the real world. Thus by its very nature television, like all mass media, filters and changes the reality it mediates.2

Myths, Symbols and Images

In providing commonality for the society, the mass media use the tools of myth, symbol, image and fantasy. In essence, myths tell us who we are, what we have done, and what we can do. They deal with power (who has it, who doesn’t), with value (what is of value and what is not), and with morality (what is right and permissible, what is forbidden).

The myths of our society thus constitute a kind of religious framework, providing us with a belief and value system and expressing the things we uncritically assume as given in our lives. The myths express not the rules written down in our laws and our Bibles, but the unwritten rules behind the rules. That is, they express ultimate reality -- another term for religion.

Myths are expressed in symbols and images that reach us less at the cognitive level than at the level of dream and fantasy. Stanley Kubrick, creator of such memorable films as Dr. Strangelove; 2001: A Space Odyssey; and Barry Lyndon, understands what is happening: “I think an audience watching a film or a play is in a state very similar to dreaming, and that the dramatic experience becomes a kind of controlled dream. . . . But the important point here is that the film communicates on a subconscious level, and the audience responds to the basic shape of the story on a subconscious level, as it responds to a dream.”3 The image-symbol-fantasy level of communication is more powerful than the cognitive level because we find it more difficult to bring these elements up to a level of consciousness where we can analyze and talk about them in a verbal, linear, relatively nonthreatening way.

Images and myths engulf us from every direction -- from Washington, from the churches, from the schools, and from Mother, to name a few. But mass-media advertising provides the overwhelming input. Leo Bogart in his book Strategy in Advertising says:

Every day 4.2 billion advertising messages pour forth from 1,754 daily newspapers, millions of others from 8,151 weeklies, and 14 billion more each day from 4,147 magazines and periodicals. There are 3,895 AM and 1,136 FM radio stations broadcasting an average of 730,000 commercials a day. And 770 television stations broadcast 100,000 commercials a day. Every day millions of people are confronted with 2,500,000 outdoor billboards, with 2,500,000 car cards and posters in buses, subways and commuter trains and with 51,300,000 direct mail pieces.4

Mythic Worlds

Now what are mass media telling us about who we are, what we can do and be, and what is of value? As we examine the media world, we are looking for the symbolic meanings and the underlying myths that are far more important than the story line, message or content. We are looking for environment, functions and context, and, most important of all, for human relationships that define social roles and tell who has power, who is aggressor and who is victim.

For example, consider the population of the television world. For most Americans, this TV world becomes their world at least three hours a day, every day, throughout most of their lives. George Gerbner tells us that about half of all TV-land characters are married, but among TV teachers, only 18 per cent of the women and 20 per cent of the men are married.5 Furthermore, the women “find themselves, and a man,” by leaving teaching. Failure in love and life is a requisite for teaching success. The problems of TV teachers are solved by their leaving the profession -- not by towns raising taxes, building schools and giving higher salaries. TV journalists, on the other hand, are strong and honest. TV scientists are deceitful, cruel, dangerous; their research leads to murder in fully half the situations.

In the TV world two-thirds to three-fourths of the important characters are male, American, middle class, unmarried and in the prime of life. They are the people who run that world.

Unlike real-life violence, the violence on TV rarely occurs between people who know each other well; most of it does not result from rage, hate, despair or panic, but from the businesslike pursuit of personal gain, power or duty. In fact, one-third of TV’s violent people, according to Gerbner, could be considered “professionals” in the business of violence.

Marriage seems to shrink men and make them unfit for the free-wheeling, powerful and violent parts. Women appear to gain power through marriage, while losing some of their capacity for violence. Finally, dominant majority-type Americans are more than twice as likely as all “others” to commit lethal violence and then live to reach a happy ending. In the symbolic shorthand of TV, the free and the strong kill in a good cause to begin with.

Thus there is an interesting trade-off in the TV world. The price of being good (the teacher) is impotence. On the other hand, the price of having power (the scientist) is to be evil -- unless one happens to be a powerful white American, in which case the end justifies the means and one is rewarded with the American image of happiness.

But what about those who have no power? Let’s take another example -- the comic book, a powerful medium among the semiliterate and disadvantaged youth who today have so little power that they face between 25 and 50 per cent unemployment.

Frederick Leaman has conducted an informal study of the hidden message of comic books. He visited three drugstores in a large city and asked for their best-selling comics. From a group of 26 stories and 87 characters he constructed the comic-book world. It is a world of conflict and contest, populated predominantly by the young, white and middle-majority. Of every ten characters, seven commit some crime. Killers represent 13 per cent of the population.

But here is the underlying message: in more than half (54 per cent) of the stories, the key to superstatus is the consumption of some chemical substance that can effect a drastic transformation. One of every five characters uses drugs to seek superpower, superintelligence or eternal life. Furthermore, it is the positive, active, violent characters who use drugs most. The heroes comprise two-thirds of all drug takers. Only 17 per cent of their antagonists -- the villains -- use drugs. The role of the drug user is untainted by villainy. Ergo: heroes use drugs in good causes. Or consider the roles of black in Saturday-morning television for children. According to Joyce Sprafkin, blacks occupy 40 per cent of all human roles in record commercials, while in commercials for board games, less than 6 per cent of the parts are assigned to blacks.7 Black and white children are systematically being taught that blacks may be musical, but they don’t engage in games that require thinking.

The Central Myths

We are dealing with a complex society, and it would be impossible to detail all the images and symbols that go into creating its commonality. However, there are a few central myths and values from which most of the images and symbols spring.

1. The fittest survive. According to sociologist Marie Augusta Neal, the major myth of our Western culture is the social-Darwinian theory initiated by Herbert Spencer -- the concept that between ethnic groups there exist genetic differences large enough to justify programming for unequal natural capacities for responsible decision-making, specifically in the interests of the group one represents. Sister Marie points out that social Darwinism dominates our policy-making regarding education, jobs, geographical residential allotments, provision for recreation, health services and the uses of human beings to carry on wars.

It is no accident that in Gerbner’s TV-violence profile, lower-class and nonwhite characters are especially victimization-prone, are more violent than their middle-class counterparts, and pay a higher price for engaging in violence.8 As our myth suggests, the fittest survive, and the fittest in our mass-media world are not lower-class, nonwhite Americans.

2. Power and decision-making start at the center and move out. The political word comes from Washington; the financial word comes from New York. While watching television, one has the sense of being at the edge of a giant network where a single person at the center pushes the right button and instantaneously millions of us “out there” see what has been decided.

Of course, there are alternatives to the myth of power moving from the center to the edges. Our own Declaration of Independence proposed that government derives its power from the consent of the governed -- in other words, that the flow of power should be from the periphery to the center. But the opposite model was much more supportive of the needs of the industrial revolution and the rise of a major nation-state, and today it is clearly essential to the maintenance of both a centralized governmental bureaucracy and a capitalist economy.

In our society, people at the center make decisions about what the others need and what they get. Mass production means standardization: whether people want it or not, the items on the shelves of our supermarkets become more and more the same, while mass advertising convinces us that we are getting more and more diversity. The idea that people in the power center should plan for others extends from corporate home offices to national church bureaucracies to the social welfare agencies. The result is that corporate business leaders wonder why they are so low in the credibility polls, church leaders wonder why they are losing their jobs and their budgets, and social workers wonder why the poor don’t appreciate the plans that have been worked out for them.

3. Happiness consists of limitless material acquisition. This myth has several corollaries. One is that consumption is inherently good -- a concept driven home effectively by the advertising industry. Another is that property, wealth and power are more important than people. We need only consider the vast following for Ronald Reagan’s proposition that the Panama Canal is ours because we bought and paid for it to see how far this myth has made its way into our consciousness. We did, after all, pay for the Canal Zone. The fact that our control of the canal today results in depriving people of Panama of their human rights is regrettable, but a deal is a deal. Or recall the city riots in the late ‘60s. It was when looters started into the stores that the police started to kill. Both human life and property may be sacred, but in our mythology property rights are just a little more sacred.

4. Progress is an inherent good. At one level this myth is symbolized by the words “new and improved” attached periodically to every old product. But the myth goes much deeper than that. Lewis Mumford believes that the “premise underlying this whole age, its capitalist as well as its socialist development, has been ‘the doctrine of Progress.’ ” Progress, he writes, “was a tractor that laid its own roadbed and left no permanent imprint of its own tracks, nor did it move toward an imaginable and humanly desirable destination.” Rather, “the going is the goal” -- not because there is any inherent beauty or usefulness in going, but because to stop going, to stop wasting, to stop consuming more and more, to say at any given moment that “enough is enough” would spell immediate doom.9

5. There exists a free-flow of information. Of course the whole import of this analysis is that instead of a genuine free-flow there is consistent, pervasive and effective propaganda and censorship. Such a view is resisted most of all by the men and women who spend their careers reporting the news. But they are the very ones least able to judge the matter, for they were selected and trained by the system so that they could be depended upon to operate within its assumptions and myths.

This is not to condemn newsmen and newswomen any more than others of us who function uncritically within the system year in and year out. When Walter Cronkite says, “And that’s the way it is,” he is summing, up mostly the information our society wants and needs to hear that particular day.

Consider the flap when Roger Mudd, on the campaign trail with Ronald Reagan, filed a story on how the telenews for all three networks had covered Reagan that day. Reagan had said nothing new or newsworthy, and he had indeed talked before a total of only about 2,000 people at shopping centers. But that morning he appeared before the network cameras so each could have something to send back as the day’s “news.” Mudd’s story about the manufacture of news was killed by Cronkite, because it reflected negatively on the profession. But when Cronkite’s rejection itself began to be circulated around the nation’s pressrooms, CBS decided to run the Mudd story on the morning news; only a small fraction of viewers saw it, but CBS averted revelation of censorship which could have been even more harmful to its “free-flow” image than the original story.

Society’s Values

And what are the values that the mass media communicate on behalf of our culture? Power heads the list: power over others, power over nature. As Hannah Arendt points out, in today’s media world it is not so much that power corrupts as that the aura of power, its glamorous trappings, attracts.10 Close to power are the values of wealth and property, the idea that everything can be purchased and that consumption is an intrinsic good. The values of narcissism, immediate gratification of wants, and creature comforts follow close behind.

Thus the mass media tell us that we are basically good, that happiness is the chief end of life, and that happiness consists in obtaining material goods. The media transform the value of sexuality into sex appeal, the value of self-respect into pride, the value of will-to-live into will-to-power. They exacerbate acquisitiveness into greed; they deal with insecurity by generating more insecurity, and anxiety by generating more anxiety. They change the value of recreation into competition and the value of rest into escape. And perhaps worst of all, the media constrict our experience and substitute media world for real world so that we are becoming less and less able to make the fine value judgments that a complex world requires.

In terms of the economic system, the media are the obedient servant of capitalism. The high technology required for our current mass-communication system, with its centralized control, its high profits, its capital-intensive nature, and its ability to reach every individual in the society, is perfectly suited for a massive production-consumption system that is equally centralized, profitable and capital-intensive. Our production-consumption system simply could not exist without a communication system that trains people to be knowledgeable, efficient and hard-working producers and consumers. The fact that capitalism turns everything into a commodity is admirably suited to the propaganda system of the mass media, which turns each member of the audience into a consumer.

In terms of the political system, the media, again reflecting the values of the society, give us politics by image. The whole media approach to Vietnam was guided by the necessity of a superpower to create for itself an image that would convince the world -- and itself -- that it was number one, the mightiest power on earth (our most important value). The experience of Watergate is also revealing. Several observers have pointed out that the public, its leaders and the media were offended and shocked not so much by what the president and his men did as by the fact that they got caught -- publicly, red-handed, in a way that simply could not be imaged away. And after Watergate we see the immediate return to the old value system: those who were indicted and convicted have been overwhelmed with high offers from publishers, the press and television to tell their Stories. This simply drives home the point that our society demands “positive images,” including even more lies and fabrications, in order to mitigate the horror of the cover-up, to rehabilitate the criminals in the American TV viewer’s eyes, and above all, to help restore through imagery the public’s confidence in the political system.

What is the Christian response to this value system? The answer is obvious and undeniable. The whole weight of Christian history, thought and teaching stands diametrically opposed to the media world and its values.

Christian Values

Instead of power over individuals, the Bible calls for justice and righteousness (Amos 5:23-24), kindness and humility (Micah 6:6) and the correction of oppression (Isa. 1:17). Instead of power over nature in order to consume and waste, the Genesis story affirms the value of humanity’s guidance and transformation of nature, in harmony with the whole of creation. Instead of affirming the value of wealth, Jesus tells the rich young ruler to sell all that he has (Matt. 19:21).

Sister Marie Augusta Neal compares the classic definition of justice rooted in entitlement -- that is, the protection of property already possessed -- with Leviticus 25: 1-29, which prescribes that property must be returned every 50 years to the people who sit on the land. And Jesus simply tells us to give our coat to the person who needs it (Matt. 5:40). As for the idea that money can purchase everything, there is the story of the wealthy man who built bigger barns and Jesus’ question: “What does a man gain by winning the whole world at the cost of his true self?” (Mark 8:36). The values of narcissism, of immediate gratification and creature comforts are placed against Jesus’ affirmation that one who wants to be a Christian must leave self behind, must take up the cross and follow Jesus’ way (Matt. 16:24).

Against the myths that we are basically good, that happiness is the chief end of life and consists in obtaining material goods, there are arrayed the affirmations that human beings are susceptible to the sin of pride and will-to-power, that the chief end of life is to glorify God, and that happiness consists in creating the kingdom of God within one’s self and among one’s neighbors.

Clearly we find ourselves living in a society completely at odds with our professed religion. What can we do about this situation that will make any difference?

Reviving the ‘Twofold Vision’

Perhaps the first and the most difficult thing we have to do is to spend a good deal more thought in understanding what the media are saying to us and to help others understand it also. Media education involves much more than reading film reviews and the media section of Time, the New Yorker and Saturday Review. It means quite literally having to be in this world but not of it.

Let me illustrate what this task requires. In The Broken Covenant (Seabury, 1975) Robert Bellah describes the growing dominance in America from the middle of the 18th century of what William Blake called “single vision” -- the scientific-technocratic view of the world that everything is amenable to reason and that there is no need for the imaginative perspective supplied by religion. But Blake called for “twofold vision,” which adds to practical rationalism the awareness that there is always more than what appears, and that behind every literal fact there is a depth of implication. To Blake the cutting off of this dimension was a kind of sleep or death.

I suggest that our society is today cultivating single vision, and that the desensitization that we detect all around us is a kind of sleep or death of awareness and conscience. We must revive in people a habit of double vision that can identify myths and values underlying society and can evaluate them from a perspective that transcends society’s limitations.

The best place to do this is in the myths and symbols found in the mass media. Here we see all the appeal of a practical, rational, well-organized society -- and what it does to people: how it drives the rich and powerful onward by preaching the rewards of success; how it motivates and channels the energies of the working millions by encouraging them to be good, to follow the rules, to do what is right, and to produce in order to consume; and how it teaches some that they are poor and powerless and that they had better stay that way.

This twofold vision is no good without a reference point that transcends the culture. The Bible makes it clear that God is on the side of the poor and powerless, and the lives of the faithful right up to Martin Luther King illustrate that there is where God wants his people to be.

But where will this analysis take place? Media propaganda is most effective when it reaches people as individuals in the mass -- as when they are watching TV. The situation least hospitable to such propaganda is one where people meet face to face in small groups -- and this is precisely where the church has its strength. For all its failings, the church remains one of the few places in society where people regularly come together on a face-to-face basis. Here is where media education can and must take place.

Such analysis is not easy. It is complex and threatening. It is far easier for church people to gather together to condemn a TV episode containing more sex or violence than usual -- and thus miss the whole thrust of the analysis.

Media education would have a different focus with different groups. It would aim at helping the poor define what the media says about them, and then to define their real problems and their real role in society -- which could very well lead to action to get out of that role. It would help middle-class workers and consumers understand the ways in which they are being manipulated, to evaluate the satisfactions held out to them by the media, to establish values independent of those of the media, and to develop life styles in keeping with their own goals rather than media goals. If this happened, new myths, new symbols and images would develop, moving into competition with the old, to help transform the society into one better suited to meet human needs.

A second thing we can do is to take a long look at our existing mass-media output on behalf of the church -- and to repent. We simply have to ask to what extent our religious broadcasting and news releases and articles do more harm than good because they accept uncritically the underlying assumptions of the media.

I am particularly concerned about those religion programs that ape the images of the secular media -- images of prestige and power, of sex, escape and nostalgia, with all the trappings that reinforce the myths of secular society -- and then somehow hope to turn the whole thing into a religious statement about the God who requires only justice, humility and love. Those who produce these programs simply do not recognize that all the good words in all the sermonettes are belied by the image projected by the program itself.

In another area, the increase of religion-for-money programs on radio simply attests to the pathetic gullibility and lack of moral sensitivity on the part of a substantial audience. The perpetrators are in some cases charlatans and in other cases innocents who have simply bought the society’s values and applied them to religion without realizing what they have done.

What about the serious programs under religious auspices that try with varying degrees of success to examine the moral and spiritual views of biblical Christianity in relation to the society? Here is the area of greatest moral ambiguity. For transcendent religious values are so much at odds with the society’s values that it is often quite impossible to deal with the real issues on radio and television. Such programs are simply alien to the system. Some sensitization through mass-media programming is possible; of that I am sure. But the dangers of being co-opted by the media are so subtle and powerful that it is incumbent upon us to approach every attempt to program in the mass media with the greatest caution and theological sensitivity.

Briefly, I think we might proceed by an emphasis upon providing perspective, context and meaning to news; by the development of creative alternatives to commercial mass media, such as public broadcasting; by depicting social models of liberation that work; by encouraging further discussion of issues in a group context. I would suggest that we need to find ways of telling the Christian story in a way that relates to people’s everyday questions and problems, and that brings about a kind of primal recognition, so that people say “I already knew that.” It seems to me that there are areas for programming that can do this and successfully resist co-optation by the media and their cultural biases.

Challenges to Power

The third and final thing we can do is to engage in direct social and political action to change the structures of the media so that they will be more open and responsive to points of view that differ from the cultural norm. I am thinking of such action as testifying before the FCC, initiating and building political support for bills in Congress, and instigating court suits and developing stockholder action with broadcasters, advertising agencies and sponsors.

Again, if we choose only to develop programs whose primary criteria are those of the media industry, and if we cozy up to the industry in order to get whatever scraps of goodwill and time and space it is willing to offer, then we simply have gained access to the media at the loss of our own soul. The mass media surely constitute one of the most powerful of all institutions in society, and if we believe that God is on the side of the poor and the powerless and of justice and love, then we have to be ready to challenge the pretensions of that power and to do battle with it. At the same time, we must do battle in love, not forgetting that many in positions of power accept their role as uncritically and even unknowingly as those who are powerless accept theirs.

I therefore think it is wrong to attack the media as if they were being manipulated and mishandled by greedy people at the top. In reality, the media reflect our own greed and weaknesses far more than we care to admit or to analyze. This means that we can’t solve the problems of TV by grouping spots together or reducing the number of ads. Although such measures might help ease the irritation, they do nothing about the fundamental media problem. The solution is much more radical: a change in the beliefs and assumptions and economic base of the entire society.

Our social and political problem is thus to change enough individuals to bring about a change in the social structures -- and that will enable even more individuals to change. Social action and personal persuasion are reciprocal, and we cannot afford to neglect either one.

I do not want to leave the impression that we are doomed to be shaped wholly by inexorable social forces and that the situation is hopeless. In the 1940s. Reinhold Niebuhr observed:

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love.

Our Christian theology is fundamentally at odds with the theology of our society, and the mass media happen to be one of the most important arenas for resolving the conflict. It will take clear thinking, hard work and a good deal of faith, hope and love. But it is our society and our lives that are at stake, and I can think of no more exciting challenge.



1.   “Eyes Have They, but They See Not.” a conversation with Rudolf Arnheim, by James Petersen. Psychology Today, June 1972, p. 55.

2.   “A skylight Open to the Neighbourhood,” by Abraham Moles, Inter-media. International Broadcast Institute, February 1976, p. 6.

3.   Stanley Kubrick in Cultural Information Service. January 1975, p. 12.

4.   Quoted in Advertising Age, November 21, 1973, p. 7.

5.   George Gerbner. address at International Communication Association, April 21, 1972.

6.   “The Social Uses of Drug Abuse,” by George Gerbner, Annenberg School of Communications. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. undated.

7.   ‘‘Stereotypes on Television,” by Joyce Sprafkin. Media Action Research Center, New York City.

8.   Violence Profile No. 5. by George Gerbner and Larry P. Gross, University of Pennsylvania, June 1973.

9.   Quoted in “Home to Roost: A Bicentennial Address.” by Hannah Arendt, New York Review, June 26, 1975. p. 3.

10. Ibid.. P. 4.