OMG! Gun Violence! In G-Rated Movies! OMG!

“A study set for publication in the December issue of Pediatrics confirms what some of Hollywood’s sharpest critics have suspected,” nytimes.com reports. “The level of gun violence in the top-selling PG-13 movies has been rising, and it now exceeds that in the most popular R-rated films.” So G now stands for “gun-related gore-fest”? “Violent encounters with guns occur, on average, more than twice an hour in the best sellers in both ratings categories, according to researchers.” Here it comes . . . “In announcing the study, its authors called for changes to the ratings system, which, according to some of its critics, is tougher on sex than on violence.” As Ellen Foley sang STOP RIGHT THERE! Turns out the Times got this one completely wrong . . .

This appeared at the bottom of the NY times piece [forcing me to re-write this blog post]:

Correction: November 11, 2013

An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the type of violence the researchers were looking for when they examined 945 films made from 1950 until 2012. It was for violence in general, not just gun violence.

WTH? How does a journalist get a study THAT wrong? Could it be something to do with a bias against guns? I dunno, but the study IS about gun violence in movies. It’s called “Gun Violence Trends in Movies.” And here’s a surprise (i.e. not): the study was co-authored by a gentleman employed by one of the most virulent anti-gun organizations: annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org.

It’s disturbing that PG-13 movies are filled with so much gun violence,” said Dan Romer, director of the Adolescent Communication Institute of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) and a co-author of the study. “We know that movies teach children how adults behave, and they make gun use appear exciting and attractive.”

I’m so confused! Why would the Times highlight the study as BIG NEWS then retract the bit about the methodology, which undermines the entire study, which makes the Times report on the study pretty much null and void? I mean talk about an agenda. [Click here for the full press release.] Annenberg again:

The dramatic growth of gun violence in movies aimed at younger viewers is especially troubling, the researchers said, because of the “weapons effect,” a finding that just the sight or depiction of a gun can make people behave more aggressively. “Because of the increasing popularity of PG-13 films, youth are exposed to considerable gun violence in movie scripts,” the researchers said in the study. “The mere presence of guns in these films may increase the aggressive behavior of youth.”

May? What “weapons effect”? Oh wait. I think I got it. The study sucks so the reporting sucks so I suck for not figuring that out before. Right. Carry on.

comments

  1. avatar John L. says:

    So then a classic B-grade ninja film with decapitation and chopping off arms and legs and sprays of blood and gore doesn’t count as violence?

    Or, I know, Lord of the Rings? No violence there…

    How ’bout some good old-fashioned death rays in sci-fi? Clearly, blowing somebody to bits isn’t violent, right?

    1. avatar Danny says:

      How about in the newer Star Wars movies where robots are getting chopped into pieces left and right? If you replaced those droids as humanoids the film would have never been released. Or is it because it was a sword and not a gun that no one says anything about that? Reminds me of this: http://25.media.tumblr.com/68549918d6f1eaa47a6ffd6ff4a6e044/tumblr_mf6pt95rvT1qz4ba2o1_500.jpg

      1. avatar Ing says:

        Ha! Awesome.

        You gotta watch out for the red lightsabers. They’re the dangerous kind. If Anakin had stuck with basic Jedi blue instead of one of those Evil Assault Sabers, he’d never have joined the Dark Side.

        Or did he get a red one because he had already joined the Dark Side ? So confusing…better ban them all before they corrupt the youth.

    2. avatar Cliff H says:

      Since 1950?

      Did they bother to look at all the TV shows in the same time period? Gunsmoke, Lone Ranger, Bat Masterson, Have Gun(!), Will Travel, etc. And that was just the westerns. What about M Squad or Highway Patrol?

      These people are just as full of sh!t as the folks with the idea that violent video FPS games will turn kids into mass murderers. The point of the stories is the message – who is being shot and WHY? If the outcome is in favor of the protagonists and the bad guys get the dirt nap, isn’t that a good influence on kids?

  2. avatar SdubM45 says:

    Old Corporate Executive: Nice shooting son. What’s your name?
    RoboCop: Murphy.

    Best response ever.
    P.S. The ‘M’ in SdubM45 stands for Murphy

  3. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

    At the bottom of the NY times piece, for what it’s worth:

    Correction: November 11, 2013

    An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the type of violence the researchers were looking for when they examined 945 films made from 1950 until 2012. It was for violence in general, not just gun violence.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Oh great. Re-writing.

      1. avatar SdubM45 says:

        NYT better knock of this type of journalism or there will be…..trouble.

        1. avatar Cliff H says:

          The NYT knows how to deal with that and people like YOU. It doesn’t take much of a Google search to find the picture of the two machine guns guarding the NYT front door.

      2. avatar SAS 2008 says:

        “WTH? How does a journalist get a study THAT wrong? Could it be something to do with a bias against guns? Ya think?”

        The journalist didn’t get the study that wrong, See my comment below about the mere presence of guns inducing aggressive behavior.

    2. avatar SAS 2008 says:

      The correction is worth nothing. The article, name of the study and the Romer’s comments are all about gun violence.

      To quote the announcement at http://www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/more-gun-violence-in-top-pg-13-movies-than-in-biggest-r-rated-films/ from the Annenberg Public Policy Center:

      the researchers said in the study. “The mere presence of guns in these films may increase the aggressive behavior of youth.”

      So if anyone even sees a gun them may become aggressive. Yes I trust everything this researcher has to say. /sarc

  4. avatar MattG says:

    So by there logic Bambi should be rated R because of gun violence, but Showgirls should be rated G because sex and nudity is harmless to children. Typical.

  5. avatar Jeff in Tacoma says:

    The new RoboCop isn’t R-rated? Now I know it’s gonna suck…

    1. avatar Sixpack70 says:

      The third Robocop was PG-13 if I remember correctly and it really sucked.

  6. avatar Frank Masotti says:

    A remake of the first Robocop. Looks like it would be a good movie. But there is no way that is G rated.

  7. It’s the “New Journalism” whereby you write the story so it says what you WANT it to say (knowing that is what most people will remember), but later retract or correct it on page 12 or in teeny-tiny-font-size notes.

    That way you can pretend you “reported the facts” and still pretend that the article says something else entirely.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      In my Digest tonight I’ve got an example of a story (that was covered on TTAG) being memory-holed not because the story was in error, but because the subject of the story changed his mind about the policy. The entire story is gone, the quote we used is gone, and the link now points to the “revised” article.

    2. avatar William Burke says:

      “but later retract or correct it on page 12 or in teeny-tiny-font-size notes.”

      “I never said I never said you could keep your own doctor and insurance!”

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    Bearing out the thrust of this article, there’s no question that Elmer Fudd’s shotgun violence toward Bugs Bunny led Glenn Close to boil Michael Douglas’ rabbit in “Fatal Attraction.” It’s a proven fact.

  9. avatar BDub says:

    The absolute absurdity that “Gun Violence” is somehow more disturbing than violence in general, and thus deserve extra special scrutiny, is both farcical as well as infuriating!

    1. avatar BDub says:

      Wait, I’m confused. They printed a retraction saying the study was not specifically about “gun violence”, but the study is in fact about “gun violence” specifically?

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        Son… you’ve got real potential!

  10. avatar Roger says:

    They wouldn’t have anything to whine about if producers didn’t keep neutering what should be hard-R movies down to PG-13 to get teenagers in the crowd.

    Seriously, when you have a movie with a PG-13 rating and the words “Die Hard” or “RoboCop” in the title, you’ve done something very wrong.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      “They wouldn’t have anything to whine about if producers didn’t keep neutering what should be hard-R movies down to PG-13 to get teenagers in the crowd.”

      If we could only get Hollywood to understand that making money isn’t the most important thing…

  11. avatar Jack says:

    This is odd. I read an article about this subject on my local news station yesterday, and it said:

    “Researchers examined a total of 945 films, drawing from the 30 top-grossing movies from 1950 through 2012. It focuses on sequences involving ‘the firing of hand-held guns with the intent to harm or kill a living being.'”

    I thought that was strange, as a lot of old movies and TV shows contained plenty of shooting but no bloodshed. And I always thought that it was the bloodshed that determined the rating. This reminds me of the push, a few years ago, to assign an R rating to any movie that shows smoking.

    The article has not been “corrected” and is located here: http://www.komonews.com/news/entertainment/Study-PG-13-gun-violence-rivals-that-of-R-movies-231503821.html

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      How about the original A-Team TV show? As I recall from the few times I bothered to watch it, in each and every show there was always a climactic shoot-out where they fired thousands of rounds from fully automatic weapons at each other and I do not recall even once where anybody actually got shot, much less bed. I would tend to think that THIS sort of unreal gun play is more harmful than say, “Saving Private Ryan”

    2. avatar ropingdown says:

      Rating smoking R didn’t work. Everybody knew it wasn’t the cigarette, but what you did just before lighting a cigarette, that deserved the R.

  12. avatar Jeff says:

    I can’t think of any possible way that PG-13 movies of today could top the 1980s. You’d be hard-pressed to find even an animated Disney film that didn’t have at least one MAC-10 or MP5 in it.

  13. avatar WarsawPactHeat says:

    The “Battle of Britain” movie from the 1960’s garnered a G rating. Though the violence depicted was a bit dated in terms of special effects and was meant to be loosely historical, it did have its fair share of guns, blood, and burned flesh to warrant a rating for more mature audiences.

    1. avatar Jack says:

      Some of the movies rated PG, and even G, were very harsh until the PG-13 rating came out. There are so many examples, but the ending of Beneath the Planet of the Apes stands out as especially trauma-inducing. Lots of bloody bullet holes in bare skin, and that was rated G. The Getaway and Electra Glide in Blue were both PG and definitely not for children.

      And the MPAA rarely goes back and changes ratings on old movies. At least they had the sense to re-rate Let’s Scare Jessica to Death as PG-13.

  14. avatar Ardent says:

    If the mere image of a weapon induces aggression why is it that CCW holders are statistically less likely to commit crimes? Shouldn’t seeing (and touching) a gun all day every day eventually lead to some weapon induced mega rage making them incapable of containing their malice? Oh wait, liberals actually think that IS how it works. . . absolute garbage.

    If there was anything to this the police would carry concealed so that the sight of their weapon(s) didn’t incite aggression in suspects and trips to the museum would leave children stoked and aggressive instead of dull and bored.

  15. avatar 505markf says:

    Well, you have to give the study authors credit for this truth: “…they make gun use appear exciting and attractive.” Well, that’s because gun use is exciting and attractive. Glad we all agree on that point, at least.

  16. I am confused by the title of this article mentioning Gun violence in G-rated movies. I feel oddly mislead…

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      I am confused also. Is cleaving zombies’ heads in two with a broadsword now less politically correct than tricking them onto a subway car headed for the heart of the Sun?

  17. avatar Shwiggie says:

    I heard someone talking about this study on ABC News with Diane Snoozer (TV was on while waiting for the local news…honest). At the tail-end of the report, the reporter, David Wright, said, “gun violence in the movies may have dramatically increased, but in real life, violent crime is at an all-time low.” You could have knocked me over with a hummingbird feather, but it also caused me to involuntarily blurt out a rhetorical question: “then why did you report on it?”

    Of course, we know the answer to that. I was just shocked that the reporter acknowledged and added that to his report.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      I think you nodded off into a dream, personally. Happens to me all the time.

      Memo to self: cut back on the Melatonin.

      1. avatar Shwiggie says:

        I would have thought so, too, had I not gone to the website and found the video. The transcript didn’t have it (natch), but it was on the video report.

  18. avatar Taro Tsujimoto says:

    To quote Archie Bunker: “Well, geez, little goil, would it make ya feel any better if they was pushed out a window?”

  19. avatar Samuel Leoon Suggs says:

    Hey it’s in Wayne’s wheelhouse; at least he won’t be uncomfortable.

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