From shortformblog:

Oh, Erin Burnett … The other night, the CNN host had a segment on gun control which seemed to push pretty hard on the idea that video games are the cause of school shootings — despite the fact that her guest disagreed with her. But the big problem with the clip is this: She spends the first couple of minutes of the clip talking about how much Obama’s gun control legislation might cost gun companies and how it might cost people jobs. But you could say that about new regulations in any industry! How much will more strident regulation of movies and video games cost those industries, Erin? And those products are protected by an amendment, too — the First Amendment. No matter your opinion on violent games, the way the show sets gaming up for the fall here is simply tacky. (ht Polygon)

A while back, I posted a (very crude) statistical analysis of the relationship between gun ownership and gun deaths. Obviously, we should consider all factors (mental health, media influence, etc.) to have a more nuanced picture of what steps we could take to reduce gun deaths in our society. 

But it does seem odd to simultaneously argue that regulations on guns would be an undue burden on the gun industry and gun owners, but then argue for tighter regulations on video game or other media industries and their consumers. Particularly without presenting any evidence to suggest that these are linked to violence in any scientific way. It also seems odd to simultaneously argue that the government is “overreaching” if it looks to reform gun ownership regulations, but then call for that same government to impose similarly onerous restrictions on some other aspect of social life. 

Here’s a thought: Why doesn’t someone gather evidence on public consumption rates of “violent” media (video games, movies, music, etc.) across countries and compare those to gun violence? Because I’m guessing (I have no evidence) that there’s probably little or no statistical relationship. After all, we live in a global society and young people across the world play violent video games, watch violent movies, and listen to music that praises violence. Unless we consume more of these kinds of media than Germans, Brazilians, Russians, and others, it’s hard to see how games like Call of Duty or Halo cause Americans to commit violence, but not our counterparts. A while back, a reporter for The Washington Post crunched some numbers, and found no relationship between video games and violence. Although, not surprisingly, the United States was a significant outlier. 

Yes, the Washington Post story only looked at 10 countries (not a very robust sample size). But if you’re going to argue for massive restrictions on media industry—particularly if it may infringe on First Amendment rights—I expect convincing evidence to demonstrate that the alleged cause of gun violence is, in fact, a significant causal factor. There’s overwhelming evidence that gun ownership rates are significantly related to gun violence. It seems, therefore, to make more sense to figure out how to balance public safety with Second Amendment rights, rather than looking for ways to scapegoat (without any empirical evidence) some other industry. 

62 notes


  1. politiciansoc reblogged this from shortformblog
  2. mikesboxofawesome reblogged this from shortformblog and added:
    Polygon’s post is the accurately titled: CNN host blames video games for violence despite expert disagreeing. Clearly...
  3. dukenanan reblogged this from shortformblog
  4. theedwebb reblogged this from pol102
  5. auz reblogged this from shortformblog
  6. pol102 reblogged this from shortformblog and added:
    From shortformblog: A while back, I posted a (very crude) statistical analysis of the relationship between gun ownership...
  7. guygoldman reblogged this from shortformblog
  8. jephkelley said: I attempt to give all reporters the benefit of the doubt but she is legitimately one of the single worst reporters I’ve ever encountered.
  9. powersmash reblogged this from shortformblog
  10. instantheartattack reblogged this from riningear
  11. aquapainter reblogged this from riningear
  12. ceeissquared reblogged this from shortformblog
  13. ohheybill reblogged this from shortformblog and added:
    lol Erin Burnett is terrible.
  14. hasnolamb reblogged this from shortformblog
  15. tumblinwithdesty reblogged this from riningear and added:
    oh please industry regulation is put in place and organised for good reason when you regulate yes some may lose jobs if...
  16. ojlefty reblogged this from shortformblog
  17. encapture said: CNN is simply tacky.

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