When Media Looks for an Angle on Violence and Video Games

University of Missouri Media Researcher Greg Perreault pens an enlightening article on violence and video games over at the Huffington Post, and while the entire article is definitely worth reading an excerpt from it really caught our attention. The excerpt is an exchange between Perreault and an unnamed journalist who contacted him looking to use him as an expert.

The problem is that the journalist (who Perreault was kind enough not to name) was looking for him to say something that was not true to fit the narrative of his reporting. The narrative being that "playing video games leads to violence." Perreault documents the exchange, and we share it below:

Broadcast Journalist: "So do you think video games cause the kind of violence we saw in Connecticut?"

Greg: "I'm not a media effects scholar but research has not substantiated that video games cause any kind of violence."

Journalist: "Oh… I really need someone who can say that video games make people violent. So you're saying they don't make people violent?"

Greg: "As a sole factor? No, we haven't found that."

Journalist: "Oh, we have a lot of people who say that already. We're having trouble finding someone who says video games create violence."

Greg: "Probably because there's not much to support that. The most we can say is that some video games can cause some sorts of short-term aggression, but aggression isn't violence. Video games are a unique storytelling medium and there's still a lot to learn."

Journalist: "So can you say that? Or do you know someone who can say that?"

Greg: "What? About aggression? Or about video games being a storytelling medium?"

Journalist: "That video games cause violence."

We're not sure of the journalist in question was trying to push a specific narrative based on his own conclusions, a narrative directed by the higher-ups at the company he works for, or if he simply needed an expert to engage in a counter-argument about video games. Anyway you can read the whole article here.

Source: Huffington Post

"Illustration of a Male Broadcaster Surrounded by a Microphone, a Video Camera and a TV Monitor " © 2012 Lorelyn Medina / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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