New Report Suggests Anti-Game Research is Deeply Flawed

A new 13-page report by Media Coalition called "Only a Game: Why Censoring New Media Won’t Stop Gun Violence," concludes that the idea that media (video games, movies, etc.) causes people to kill is based on flawed research, and those who support it ignore the growing body of evidence to the contrary.

The goal of the report is to educate the public and in response to politicians and interest groups that continue to lay the blame at the feet of popular media related to recent tragic shooting incidents.

“The claim that video games cause violence has become a convenient narrative that is just not supported by the facts and is used as a crutch to avoid the more complex – if politically unpopular – issues,” said David Horowitz, Executive Director of Media Coalition, a trade association that defends the First Amendment rights of mainstream media. “Our report explains that when independent bodies review the research they find no studies that show that video games cause actual violence, and the studies that claim a connection between new media and aggression are flawed, in dispute, and ignore obvious explanations for their results,” Horowitz added.

According to the report, the governments of Australia, Great Britain and Sweden each recently reviewed research claiming a link between violent video games and aggressive behavior and came to the conclusion that it is flawed and inconclusive. As a result, none of these countries – despite having less stringent speech protections than the United States – have imposed restrictions on video games with violent content.

Other key findings of the report:

– Crime statistics do not support the theory that media causes violence.

– Research into the effects of video games on aggression is contested and inconclusive. Much of it suffers from methodological deficiencies and provides insufficient data to prove a causal relationship.

– Censorship of violent content is barred by the First Amendment for all types of media, but industry self-regulation works. Earlier this year, President Obama called for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to renew scientific research into the relationship between video games, media images and violence. He also asked Congress to authorize $10 million for the research.

The Media Coalition report is available online at


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  1. 0
    Kajex says:

    The problem with your anti-religious opening

    … What? What about it was "anti-religious"? Most scientists are religious (like Ken Miller), yet they accept evolution. If anything, those who believe creationism tend to be misinformed or uneducated (not often their fault), but those who tout it as "truth" tend to be anti-intellectual, dishonest or both, and in either case, are both biased and anti-rational.

    You do know that ACTUAL SCIENTISTS did those studies, right?

    Depends on the study, doesn't it. I don't hold scientists in a position where I'd consider them infallible- they are just as susceptible to bias as any other person, which is why peer-review is important. I will tell you, though, that just like creationists, the facts aren't being submitted and touted by people with the knowledge to express them correctly (or honestly), but by people with an agenda- and not necessarily (in fact, very rarely) scientists.

    Here's the thing, though- in science, a hypothesis or theory must be repeatedly tested, not just in the same way but under different circumstances. If it gets deconstructed and destroyed, you test it more until you're wrong. At best, these studies take a small, somewhat extensive study and produce some compelling results, which they then release to other people who can offer better explanations, re-test them, completely eviscerate them for being completely wrong… or disseminate them more easily.

    So what ends up happening? A news outlet or political/social/religious group with a political/social/religious agenda (take your pick, you can even mix and match) will take the study (regardless of if peer-review has obliterated the results) and tout it, not as a suggestion of a tenuous connection between media violence and actual violence, but as an assertion that there's a causal link- put short, they will not often express the study honestly or clearly. There are reasons for this-

    1. Most people want the meat of the story, even if it's not real meat.

    2. Most people don't want to be bothered to be educated either because they're dead-set on their personal convictions, they don't want to be wrong, or they aren't interested in pursuing the education when they have better things to do (the last possibly being a valid reason, if they -do- have better things to do).

    The shorthand- the studies -might- be done by scientists, but they're also not the ones expressing the results clearly, or shedding light on deconstructions of their studies.

  2. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    The problem with your anti-religious opening is that you seem to hold scientists in high regard, actually giving them a pass for all of the "scientific" studies that say that games cause violence.

    You do know that ACTUAL SCIENTISTS did those studies, right?

  3. 0
    Kajex says:

    I'm not sure what's with the "DURR" comments. People unfamiliar with how evolution works will readily accept creationism just because someone they perceive is intelligent said it did, without even bothering to demonstrate that it is. Scientists, of course, will look at such liars and shake their heads because they know exactly why they're wrong.

    Same principal applies here- of course we would think that this kind of information should be a given because we're part of a culture that, in addition to enjoying games, analyzes games beyond the spectrum of entertainment. But we forget that not everybody does that, so just like we need people like Ken Miller to explain to people why evolution works and why creationism is wrong, we need folks like the Media Coalition to tell people why some research on the effects of videogame violence is biased, unreliable or flawed.

  4. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Well no kidding, since most of them aren't doing real research ,they're just looking to confirm the hypothesis they already have in mind.

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