Writing over at the official web site for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), Advisory Chair For Education & Outreach Betsy Gomez points out that Senator Jay Rockefeller’s (D – WV) recent announcement of a bill mandating that the National Academy of Sciences research the effect of video games on children is misguided and a very familiar topic for anyone who understands the history of the comic book industry.
Gomez cites data from a recent Washington Post article about violent video game sales and gun violence in various countries around the world that concludes that there is no correlation between the two. She also picks apart the flawed studies used by politicians and pundits to redirect the blame from other problems to the consumption of violent video games:
"Frequently politicians and pundits cite inaccurate and poorly designed studies to support their argument that the video game industry should be regulated — regulation that harkens to the persecution of comic books in the 1950s," she writes. "Fredric Wertham used his expertise as a psychologist in testifying against comic books during Senate hearings in 1954, but his testimony was not based on actual scientific study, but on anecdotal evidence, personal opinion, and false conclusions."
She goes on to conclude that "unconstitutional legislation" of entertainment is a slippery slope that can ultimately have a ripple effect on other kinds of content like TV, film, and comics:
"Should violent expression in video games be censored by unconstitutional legislation, such regulation could be extended to other forms of entertainment," she warns. "Given the fact that the evidence many politicians cite to justify video game censorship is fallacious in much the same way the the “evidence” for the censorship of comic books was, then it isn’t impossible to see such legislation being extended to affect comic books, instigating a whole new era of censorship."
You can read the entire article, "Evidence Does Not Support Link Between Video Games and Violent Crime," here.