(2nd in a Series about Media Violence)
“Anyone who thinks the media has nothing to do with this is an idiot.”
That’s what Les Moonves, President of CBS, said in the wake of the school shooting…in Columbine…fifteen years ago!
Since that time, there have been numerous other mass shootings – Virginia Tech, Aurora, and, most horrifically, Newtown. Yet violence in entertainment has far outstripped even the violence in real life.
And the entertainment industry doesn’t care.
After Newtown, representatives of the entertainment industry responded with honeyed words of sympathy – but, unlike Les Moonves in 1999, not regret. Fearing a backlash against the huge amounts of violence they pumped into movie theaters, video games, and, through television, every living room in America, industry representatives met with Vice-President Joe Biden, claiming to be concerned about societal violence and vowing to act responsibly in the future.
If Hollywood is truly concerned, then they sure have a bizarre and twisted way of showing it: The very same day the broadcast networks met with Vice-President Biden, ABC featured a grotesquely violent scene of torture on its drama Scandal.
And the other networks have shown content just as bad. In fact, a PTC study of all prime-time broadcast programs aired between January 11, 2013 and February 11, 2013 (the month immediately following the networks’ meeting with the Vice President) found that nearly half of all shows contained violence — and almost a third contained gun violence.
Since Newtown, the broadcast networks have done NOTHING to lessen the amount of hideously graphic, gory, and downright disturbing violence they have relentlessly shoved into every living room in America – in prime time, often in what used to be called the “Family Hour,” and always rated acceptable for children as young as fourteen years old.
According to the study Media Violence and the American Public: Scientific Facts Versus Media Misinformation, the link between children’s exposure to violent media and violent behavior in real life is stronger than the relationship between calcium intake and bone mass; stronger than the relationship between condom use and the risk of contracting HIV; and stronger than the exposure to second-hand smoke and the risk of lung cancer.
Yet despite their promises to act responsibly, broadcast television has completely, utterly REFUSED to do so. In fact, the level of violence on the publicly-owned broadcast airwaves is as bad as the violence on basic cable, yet is rated LESS stringently…as our next report will show.
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