chapter  9
The “Magic Bullet” Theory of Uniform Effects
Pages 11

I t was widely held, as the twentieth century began, that the new mass media-radio and the movies-were going to destroy our moral standards by their depictions of unacceptable social behavior. By the 1920s, the new radio stations began transmitting popular music-jazz,

which some claimed would stimulate strong sexual urges in young men. A woman attending a social event unchaperoned with such a man would clearly be vulnerable, especially if they traveled in his automobile. The motion pictures, especially during the 1920s, seemed especially menacing. They showed gangsters committing crimes, people in speakeasies consuming illegal liquor, and even couples in bedrooms where the women were shown in their undergarments. These depictions, some feared, would sweep away the sexual prohibitions and other standards of decency in society, leaving it in a state of moral ruin.