Manufacturing a False Consensus on Media Violence

October 9, 2014 5:14 PM

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Manufacturing a False Consensus on Media Violence

Scholars and the general public continue to debate whether media violence does or does not contribute to aggression or violence in society. As part of that debate, it's not uncommon to hear arguments about whether a scholarly consensus exists on the issue of media violence. Consensus isn't actually evidence of course... plenty of prior scholarly consensuses have proven wrong, particularly in social science. But the degree of consensus among climate scientists regarding climate change (about 99.4 percent) certainly is compelling. Scholars advocating the "harm" position of media effects often claim a similar consensus exists on the issue of media violence.

Increasingly, evidence suggests that is not the case, although that hasn't stopped some from making the claim. The most recent salvo comes from a study by Ohio State University. Briefly, this study surveyed scholars belonging to several specific groups (such as the Council on Communication and Media...

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