RE: media violence report in Science

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Mon Apr 15 2002 - 17:48:40 BST

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: RE: media violence report in Science
    Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 09:48:40 -0700
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    Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 13:35:40 +0100
    > <I don't know. I have a lot of respect for 'Science'. It is one of
    >the most
    > > respected scientific journals in the world. I don't think they publish
    > > 'bogus' research.>
    > >
    > One shouldn't believe what you read just because it's in a highly
    >regarded journal. Judge an argument on its evidence. These researchers
    >assume that level of TV viewing equates to watching "violence", yet they
    >neither actually measured this, nor even define it. New Scientist carried
    >an uncritical piece on this piece of research, and I wrote them a letter
    >outlining these problems (whether they'll publish it or not I don't know.
    >put my hat on as a member of the Stirling Media Research Institute to try
    >and give a little impetus to my submission but we'll see).
    > < And it makes perfect sense to me. See violence. Do
    > > violence.>
    > >
    > There you go you see- they claim the public don't have this view,
    >and you do at least. When do you last see violence on TV and then go out
    >and commit a violent act? Never? Why- is that because you are abnormal?
    >No, it's because that is not how it works at all. Violent people commit
    >violent acts- they may also watch violent TV shows, but so do 10s of
    >millions of other people without committing violent acts. If it's all
    >see/do then why this state of affairs? Reactionary writers speak of the
    >multitide of violent acts on US TV per hour, yet why don't the crime rates
    >reflect that? How come we're not all murderers etc.? _Because it doesn't
    >work like that_.
    > <Memetic transmission at its most basic. Especially when the more
    > > repellant results are censored.>
    > >
    > Even if this were true, the problem of this kind of "research" and
    >the ultimate reason I get so worked up about such views is that the only
    >consequence that results in censorship, and censorship is anti-democratic,
    >and undermines the very basis of the societies we live in (that is those of
    >us in democratic states). There's a reason that freedom of speech comes
    >before the right to bear arms in the US constitution, and why the former is
    >enshrined in the UN and European declarations on human rights and the
    >is not.
    > Vincent

    Claiming there is a correlation between the amount of violence on TV and the
    amount of violence in society is not a claim of a direct cause and effect.
    I don't believe they are saying that anyone seeing violence will commit
    violence. What they are saying, IMO, is that an increase in one leads to an
    increase in the other. That could be for a large number of reasons: with
    more violence going on, the need to report and talk about it increases;
    when children see people using violence to solve problems without negative
    consequences they see no reason not to do it themselves; kids normally are
    more violent in their younger years when they are learning to cope with
    others in society (I know mine were) but doing studies of it is relatively
    new; etc., etc. None of these things "prove" anything about the
    relationship of one to the other in terms of cause and effect. They just
    show that there is a relationship between the two.


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