1. According to Sternheimer, what is the larger issue behind focusing on or blaming media for various social problems? What does the author believe are the more important underlying issues? Why might politicians, the public, and the media itself be reluctant to discuss these issues, in your opinion?
2. Why does Sternheimer believe that social context is so important in understanding fears about media and popular culture? What are “moral panics,” and what examples of moral panics does she provide in 20th century music? Do you see examples of similar, current moral panics in American culture?
3. What is “agenda-setting theory,” and how does the media itself ironically stoke public fears about media influence on children? How might a constructionist approach to social problems provide us with a more nuanced understanding of the supposed “harm” of popular culture?