The entertainment value of violence has long been recognized in human societies and remains a familiar element of modern life. Violence in the media has been a subject of active public debate for generations. When novels were first introduced, concerned husbands and parents worried that young women would be corrupted by the dramatic portrayals of romance, adventure, and transgressive behavior. The introduction of mass media extended concerns about the impact of violence on social norms, with each new media technology accompanied by publicly voiced fears about its negative effects. These fears are met with equally insistent proponents of free speech contending that media violence is more a reflection of society’s violence than a cause of it. The controversy over media and violence reveals a ...

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