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Violent Media Content: A Cross-Media, Longitundinal Analysis
Unformatted Document Text:  2 Introduction and Theory In 1972, David G. Clark and William B. Blankenburg published an extensive analysis of the amount of violence in multiple mass media outlets, investigating the relationship between the presence of violence and external factors such as crime reports and Nielsen ratings. Clark and Blankenburg’s comprehensive study compared the amount of violence in different media, including television news, newspapers, magazine fiction, movies on television, and primetime television. This frequently cited and uniquely far- reaching investigation is now thirty years old. In light of the rapidly changing media industry and the continued importance of media violence as a social issue, this important research deserves to be updated. The study at hand updates and extends the work of Clark and Blankenburg by providing a cross-media comparison of the amount and type of violent content as well as by determining whether changes in the presence of violence are associated with variations in external factors from the social world. The research presented here is a large-scale comparative analysis of media content over time, measuring the amount of violence that appeared in both fictional portrayals—primetime television—and non-fictional accounts—television news, newsmagazines, and newspapers. The study also treats amount of violence in the media as a dependent measure, investigating correlations with statistics for violent crime, news coverage of political attention to the issue of media violence, and actual political or legislative activity on the topic. Despite the rather extensive past attention to the issue of media violence, the topic continues to merit further study due, in part, to the importance of the social impact of violent messages in the media. Indeed, exposure to media violence has been consistently associated with such antisocial outcomes as aggression (e.g.,

Authors: Scharrer, Erica.
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Introduction and Theory
In 1972, David G. Clark and William B. Blankenburg published an extensive
analysis of the amount of violence in multiple mass media outlets, investigating the
relationship between the presence of violence and external factors such as crime reports
and Nielsen ratings. Clark and Blankenburg’s comprehensive study compared the amount
of violence in different media, including television news, newspapers, magazine fiction,
movies on television, and primetime television. This frequently cited and uniquely far-
reaching investigation is now thirty years old. In light of the rapidly changing media
industry and the continued importance of media violence as a social issue, this important
research deserves to be updated. The study at hand updates and extends the work of Clark
and Blankenburg by providing a cross-media comparison of the amount and type of
violent content as well as by determining whether changes in the presence of violence are
associated with variations in external factors from the social world.
The research presented here is a large-scale comparative analysis of media
content over time, measuring the amount of violence that appeared in both fictional
portrayals—primetime television—and non-fictional accounts—television news,
newsmagazines, and newspapers. The study also treats amount of violence in the media
as a dependent measure, investigating correlations with statistics for violent crime, news
coverage of political attention to the issue of media violence, and actual political or
legislative activity on the topic. Despite the rather extensive past attention to the issue of
media violence, the topic continues to merit further study due, in part, to the importance
of the social impact of violent messages in the media. Indeed, exposure to media violence
has been consistently associated with such antisocial outcomes as aggression (e.g.,


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