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NANCE: Hollywood’s Hypocrisy on Media Violence Must End

By January 4, 2013Blog
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On the same day Sandy Hook Elementary school students and faculty returned to new classrooms, a controversial You Tube video mocking gun-control and the Hollywood celebrities who demand it went viral. (Warning: the content of this You Tube video contains offensive language, violence, and graphic images. Just take my word for it when I tell you this video vividly portrays the violence and indecent scenes for which Hollywood actors are paid millions.)

The controversial video is a direct response to a celebrity-endorsed TV ad demanding harsh gun-control in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. But filmmakers of the You Tube video blatantly call out each celebrity’s hypocrisy. In an ironic twist, viewer discretion is advised before watching the parody due to the violent footage featuring, who else, but each of the 50 odd actors and actresses condemning gun ownership. The video also ends with a very graphic message to Hollywood. I wouldn’t have put it that way but can understand the frustration behind the remarks.

Among the parade of pro-gun control celebrities is Julianne Moore, Jamie Fox, Jessica Alba, and Cameron Diaz, each of whom have profited from the glorification of violence in their recent movies. In fact, Jamie Foxx’s current box-office film, Django Unchained, is rated R for a vicious fight scene, extremely graphic violence, gore, nudity and offensive language, including an unprecedented use of racial slurs.

How can Hollywood even attempt to offer solutions to violence, when they are in fact a part of the problem?

Before leaping onto the liberal bandwagon, maybe they should have considered the serious implications their so-called entertainment that glorifies and sensationalizes gun violence has on young impressionable viewers

Concerned Women for America (CWA), of which I am CEO and President, does not take a position on gun rights. Personally, I am a registered gun owner and proud of my right to bear arms to protect myself and my family.

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary prepared a special report entitled, “Children, Violence, and the Media” which charted over 1,000 studies on the effects of violence in television and film. The majority of these studies conducted over the past 40 years all reached the same conclusion: Television and movie violence leads to real-world violence. Additionally, the report found that by age 18 an American child will have seen nearly 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence on television, which is responsible for 10 percent of youth violence.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 53 percent of parents say they are “very” concerned about the violence their children are exposed to on TV. And after listening to arguments for both sides of the issue, 63 percent say they favor new rules to limit the amount of violence in TV shows when children are most likely to watch.

Hollywood actors and producers try hard to dismiss media violence as “harmless entertainment.” But that just isn’t reality. Social science researchers agree there is a connection between violence on television and violence acted out. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Children are influenced by media-they learn by observing, imitating, and making behaviors their own. Aggressive attitudes and behaviors are learned by imitating observed models. Research has shown that the strongest single correlate with violent behavior is previous exposure to violence. Because children younger than 8 years cannot discriminate between fantasy and reality, they are uniquely vulnerable to learning and adopting as reality the circumstances, attitudes, and behaviors portrayed by entertainment media.

A steady intake of violent content over time will only create a culture that tells kids that violence is acceptable. And Hollywood is determined to ignore the problem, as they manipulate the facts to advance their Liberal political agenda.

Celebrities need to take responsibility for their action’s influence on our children. Parents are sick and tired of the violence and indecency on television and in movies their kids see on television. A Pew Research Center survey showed that 75 percent of the 1,505 adults polled would like to see tighter enforcement of government rules on broadcast content and harsher fines for networks that violate those indecency rules, particularly when children are most likely to be watching.

So instead of condemning guns for violence, let’s talk about what makes someone want to pick up a handgun in the first place? Is it how cool Tom Cruise looks as gunman Jack Reacher, or how shooting is seen as the ultimate thrill in movies? What about all Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s movies sensualizing shootings and brutal beatings? What about all the music that glorifies both violence and rape?

“The first amendment gives license for porn on TV” advocates, will tell you that it’s just fantasy and that it’s downright unpatriotic to question. If that is true and what we see and hear doesn’t change our behavior then the $144 billion companies spent in 2011 on television advertising wouldn’t exist. Clearly business knows that’s false and deep down the other side knows it, too.

However, we have grown accustomed to more and more graphic violence replete with cool actors. Responsibility for our nation’s problems has to begin with each one of us taking responsibility for our part. Concerned Women for America calls on Hollywood to step up and own their share of the tragedy of gun violence by pledging publicly to do better. If they refuse to be politically consistent, then may I politely ask them to shut up and act or sing or do whatever it is that makes them so famous that kids want to emulate them.