|MEDIA VIOLENCE AND THE AMERICAN PUBLIC:
SCIENTIFIC FACTS VERSUS MEDIA MISINFORMATION
American Psychologist, 2001,477-489.
Brad J. Bushman and Craig A. Anderson
Iowa State University
Fifty years of news coverage on the link between media
violence and aggression have left the U.S. public confused. Typical news
articles pit researchers and child advocates against entertainment industry
representatives, frequently giving equal weight to the arguments of both
sides. A comparison of news reports and scientific knowledge about media
effects reveals a disturbing discontinuity. Over the last 50 years, the
average news report has changed from claims of a weak link to a moderate
link and then back to a weak link. However, since 1975 the scientific confidence
and statistical magnitude of this link has been clearly positive and has
consistently increased over time. Reasons for this discontinuity between
news reports and the actual state of scientific knowledge include the vested
interests of the news; a misapplied fairness doctrine in news reporting;
and failure of the research community to effectively argue the scientific
© Copyright 2001 by Brad J Bushman & Craig A.
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