February 7, 1996
Web posted at: 1:30 a.m. EST
From Correspondent Jim Moret
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A new report card has been issued on the state of television -- and the industry gets a "V" for violent.
After examining more than 2,500 hours of cable and broadcast programming, researchers concluded that "psychologically harmful" violence was pervasive in broadcast and cable shows.
More than then half of all dramas, comedies, children's series, movies, and music videos contain violent scenes, the study concluded.
Although the Mediascope study, sponsored by the cable industry and conducted across four universities, does not single out a particular show, it warns that the context in which most violence is presented can be dangerously misleading to viewers.
"The report says you don't show the consequences of violence, that it glorifies violence too often," said Sen. Paul Simon, D-Illinois, a longtime critic of television violence.
According to the study, perpetrators of violence go unpunished in nearly three quarters of all violent scenes. More disturbingly, in more than half of such scenes, victims display no pain, which may send out a signal that violence is not hurtful.
If a crime goes unpunished, a child may interpret that as a reward, said Marcy Kelly of Mediascope. (128K AIFF sound or 128K WAV sound)
Kelly hopes that the study will help the industry learn how to handle violent scenes responsibly and in a way that does not desensitize the viewers or provoke imitative behavior.
"For those who thought it was going to be some kind of a snow job because it was paid for by the cable industry, it says very clearly we have to do a better job," Simon said.
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