Reflective Essay #3: Cultivation theory

Cultivation theory is the perception, beliefs, and attitudes social media nurtures in the audience’s mentality, making them associate social media occurrences with real life. Frequent viewers of television get the impression that what they see happens in real life. Therefore, the fictional world aired in social media becomes incorporated into the entire life of an individual. The media has primarily aided in cultivating and promoting false information in the mind of viewers. According to Vinney, 2019, cultivation theory works by creating a homogenous view in the different audiences (mainstreaming) and amplifying beliefs to people with prior exposure to events (resonance). The study of the effects of cultivation theory works under three components; message system analysis, institutional process analysis, and cultivation analysis. Message system analysis examines the images in the message content; institutional process analysis covers the formulation and distribution of messages while cultivation analysis explores the impact of the news on the audience’s culture (Bryant & Thompson, 2002). Heavy consumers of media content become more susceptible to the belief that the world is unsafe than light viewers of television. The media effects cultivate fear, doubts, and also inspire engagement in criminal activities. For instance, films mold the culture of advocating the awesomeness of drugs (Russell et al., 2014).

           The cop television broadcast paints a picture of criminal activities unfolding in every day of cop life. In the cop shows, the police take the prestige of fighting crime in every corner of society and ensuring safer streets. However, the podcast unveils the real world’s difference, and the world depicted in the cop shows. Cops use the television shows to generate money and boast of their prowess. The police shows create a perception that the world’s existence would be impossible in their absence. The cops go to the extent of bribing and pressing innocent civilians to take responsibility for a crime to air something compelling to the audience. The American society believes they are protected and get to know the sources of offenses when they watch the cops show. The show cultivates the belief that crime is the norm in the streets in the audience. The Cops also air the black race frequently and at a strategic time of the shows, more than white people nurturing the perception that the black community poses a problem. The show also cultivates a culture of tolerating police assault and violence since the people will always link their efforts with crime-fighting.

           After reviewing the podcast and reflecting on the cultivation theory’s impacts, I highly disregarded the police shows and placed more trust in society. The show shapes a mentality of violence and fuels racial attitudes in people. The sad part of the story is that not all events aired on television are real, yet we are carried away by the police’s false impression. Whatever happens to the victims in the shows can happen to any innocent citizen; this is a violation of human rights. I prefer to stop watching the show to cherish the beauty of the real world and avoid stereotyping people in society. Inevitably a distorted icon of reality develops when we view presentations similar to the Cops show (Bryant & Thompson, 2002). Therefore, desisting from the consumption of police shows would serve best in promoting a non-biased environment by social media platforms. The media can corrupt the society values and stage universal enmity if we allow the prevalence of false information.


Bryant, J., & Thompson, S. (2002). Fundamentals of media effects. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.

Russell, C. A., Russell, D. W., Boland, W. A., & Grube, J. W. (2014, January 1). Television’s cultivation of American adolescents’ beliefs about alcohol and the moderating role of trait reactance. PubMed Central (PMC).

Vinney, C. (2019, October 23). What is cultivation theory? ThoughtCo.

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