MSNBC Guest Says in the 1950s, ‘We Blamed Comic Books’ for Societal Ills

While we (rightly) point the finger at Fox News for pushing the narrative that violent video games somehow drive people to shoot people like the Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, the cable news network is certainly not alone.

On multiple shows network MSNBC has been trying to make the connection as well. On a recent episode of Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski talked about Grand Theft Auto, but had that narrative interrupted by Yahoo! News columnist Jeff Greenfield, who noted that this is the same old drum beat about violent media we have been hearing about since the 1950s.

"I know this drives liberals and library libertarians crazy," Joe Scarborough said during the show. "I grew up seeing my friends simulate murdering people thousands of times. That has continued through the years, and it’s gotten even worse. Grand Theft Auto 5—my god, after Grand Theft Auto 2, I was like, no, that’s not coming into our house again. Of course, there are millions of people that use video games that don’t do anything. But after Newtown, as I said, I know who this guy is without knowing who the guy was."

But Greenfield pointed out that what Joe was saying was very familiar:

"Sixty years ago under the instruction of a psychologist named Dr. Frederick Wertham, who wrote a book called Seduction of the Innocents, you know what was considered the threat from the part of young people? Comic books," Greenfield said. "They were censored out of existence by the New York Comics Code Authority. Every time there’s a new medium, it is pointed to as the source of horrible behavior. It’s comic books, it’s rock and roll, it’s video games. Back in the days of Pac-Man, even! I guess it was supposed to desensitize people’s brains.”

"I’m gonna sit down with you and I’m gonna show you," retorted Scarborough. "They are a long cry from comic books, brother. Long cry from Spiderman."

"Remember Tales from the Crypt, back in 1950?" Greenfield countered. "With chopped heads off? It wasn’t that far. I’m only saying that the notion that here’s the magic bullet—if you’ll pardon the expression bullet—that is the cause of it, is something we do, but it may not be the answer we think it is."

You can check out the full clip via Mediaite.

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