Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How much influence does TV really have?

I am old.  

So when I tell you that the whole "violence in the media inspires violence on the street" argument has been done to death.

Back in the 1970s there were a lot of cop shows on TV: Baretta, Starsky and Hutch, and Cade's County (which I remember because Glenn Ford drove a Jeep, which I thought was really cool at the time). In the mid 70s, there was a a great hue and cry about violence on TV. So one news outlet decided to interview some of the worst offenders. I vividly remember Robert Blake (long before he had his own gun issues) earnestly tell the reporter that if TV cut out violence, TV would be about who's sleeping with who. A few years later, here comes Dallas.

Look, I haven't seen a single credible study proving what's on TV or the movie screen to violence on the street. Nor have I seen studies that can prove video games cause violence. But that hasn't stopped TV programmers from pulling Bugs Bunny cartoons from the airwaves.

But I have seen Wayne LaPierre say that's the reason there's so much gun violence. And that if we had armed teachers, janitors, principals, secretaries, crossing guards--in fact if everyone was armed, there would be no gun violence.

And yet, Chris Kyle is dead. Killed at a gun range with a weapon in his hand.

I've been reading about gun companies threatening to stop selling their product to state and local governments who enact gun bans. In Colorado, a legislator argued against the gun ban saying that if an ammo company leaves, thousands of jobs will be lost.

So it comes down to money.

Again.

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