Other Media Effects Theories

Cultivation Theory

says that people gradually come to accept the view of the world as portrayed in media as a true representation of reality and adapt their hopes, fears and understandings accordingly. It is gradual and cumulative.  According to the movie Oskar is good and Germans are bad and it is cultivated in our minds to hate germans.

Hope is also another cultivation that is witnessed in the film. Truly the Holocaust is about about failure, but Spielberg repeatidly expresses scenes of hope. Viewers continually witness  brutality that ends in hope, and gives them a false depiction.



Media created an imaged of Oskar Schnidler in Schnidler’s List as a hero who helped save the Holocaust. In reality For Spielberg, Germans are people who shoot Jews. Oskar is the hero Ammon Goth and the Nazi’s are the villains.  Nazis are portrayed as people who drink to excess, whore and womanize at every opportunity, offer and accept bribes as a natural part of life during wartime, follow orders without question, and cut every corner that will make their lives easier. The Jews are helpless and do little to save themselves, while Oskar is the only one that can save them. At the end of the movie, Schindler’s character is spending all his money and one can only wonder why. Is this new behavior part of Schindler’s basic character, and would have taken place without any external influences. As a whole, the Holocaust is framed as sad but hopeful.

Gate Keeping

The Gatekeeping decides what information should be expressed and what information should not. Watching the movie, viewers are led to believe Schindler as the only hero of the Holocaust.  Though there were countless efforts among German people to hide and keep Jews safe, they were omitted out of the story and their efforts are left unrecgonzied.  Even the efforts of Emilie Schindler to secure bread and food for Jewish workers are not illustrated in the movie at all.

The movie is also criticized for not accurately depicting the brutality of the Holocaust. The Holocaust was about the torture and dehumanization of the Jews, though brutal scenes were shown throughout the movie it can barely be compared to actual events.

Former prisoner Henry Block testified at Goth’s trial in 1946″

“Göth ordered his deputy to start beating us. He went away to have his lunch. We were then taken to the back, next to the house he lived in. Two tables were brought, also buckets of water and they started beating us directly on our naked flesh. Göth ordered that everyone should receive 100 strokes each, but everyone received more than 200 and even 300. Every prisoner had to count each stroke loudly. If a mistake was made in the count by him, the beating started afresh from number one. We were not beaten by one person, they were taking turns, as one man would tire very quickly, having to hit someone 100 times with his full strength. The whip would be passed to another SS man there. It was impossible being hit so many times, to count properly, people were making mistakes, and the beatings were starting afresh. And so the beatings went on and on, the tables were covered in blood, as every hit meant a fresh cut in someone’s flesh. As anyone left the table, he was virtually one bloody mass of cut flesh.Everyone getting off the table was ordered to report, standing to attention: `I report humbly that I have received my sentence.’ In the course of all this, one man screamed terribly. Göth shouted at him to calm down, to count. The man did not calm down. Göth approached him, picked up half a brick off the ground, went to the table on which the man was being beaten and from a very close distance struck him on the head with the brick, splitting his head. The beating of that man continued uninterrupted, then the pouring of water and beating again.Covered in blood, with a split head, he went off the table, and approaching Göth, he reported he had received his penalty. He was ordered to go away, and as the man turned, Göth pulled out his revolver, firing it into the back of the man’s head”. 

A survivor, Arthur Kuhnreich, later told about Amon Goeth in his Holocaust Memories:

“I saw Goeth set his dog on a Jewish prisoner. The dog tore the victim apart. When he did not move anymore, Goeth shot him.”

Shootings, a scene of the gas chamber, and the dumping of bodies is the extent of the torture shown in the movie. Because the details of what actually happened were not portrayed in the movie people are left the feeling the holocaust was not as bad as it really was.

Although Hollywood does try to portray historical events due to gatekeeping, cultivation, and framing an incomplete picture is formed about the Holocaust,  Oskar Schindler, and his story.


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