In this essay, George Gerbner reviews eight television public service announcements (PSAs) that deal with urban violence and are produced by the media conglomerate HBO/Time Warner. Gerbner couches his critique of the PSAs in terms of the historical tension between the commercial nature of television in the United States and broadcasters' mandated role to serve the public. In creating a framework to understand the anti-violence PSAs, Gerbner broadens the discussion to include both the media industry in the United States and the demand for violence television programming in the international marketplace. Although he acknowledges the high production value of the PSAs, Gerbner contends that the race, age, and gender of the characters, as well as the situations depicted, constitute a hidden message of stereotyped violence. Gerbner argues that the images portrayed in the PSAs reflect the type of violence that is presented by the television industry itself, not the kinds of violence that may actually exists in the United States.

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