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Violent Media Content: A Cross-Media, Longitundinal Analysis
Unformatted Document Text:  7 Media Violence as a Dependent Variable The closest parallels to this research are other analyses that examine media violence as dependent variables in relationship to external factors. Hoerrner (1999), for example, looked at the relationship between governmental attention to media violence between 1950 and 1996 and the amount of violence on television between 1967 and 1992 and found little association. Hoerrner’s primary interest was in determining what factors predict legislators’ activities and actions regarding the debate surrounding media violence. She used the existing findings of Gerbner and colleagues (Signorielli, 1991) to document the amount of violence on television over time as an independent variable to determine whether it predicted the engagement of members of Congress in steps toward regulation or in making official speeches against media violence. Yet, Hoerrner found that fluctuations in the actual amount of violence on television over time bore little resemblance to degree of Congressional activity on the topic. Also, of course, the Clark and Blankenburg (1972) study provides the most important precedent for this study. Defining violence as “physical acts or the threat of physical acts by humans designed to inflict physical injury to persons or damage to property,” (p. 189) Clark and Blankenburg analyzed very large amounts of media content. For primetime television programs, they first established (using Gerbner’s data) that the amount of violence in TV Guide synopses of select television programs was related to the actual amount of violence in those same programs. However, by undertaking a two-year comparison of data drawn from direct coding of episodes and those drawn from coding of TV Guide synopses, they found that the latter method results in a lower percentage of violent programs that was estimated at a 7.7% difference. Thus,

Authors: Scharrer, Erica.
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7
Media Violence as a Dependent Variable
The closest parallels to this research are other analyses that examine media
violence as dependent variables in relationship to external factors. Hoerrner (1999), for
example, looked at the relationship between governmental attention to media violence
between 1950 and 1996 and the amount of violence on television between 1967 and 1992
and found little association. Hoerrner’s primary interest was in determining what factors
predict legislators’ activities and actions regarding the debate surrounding media
violence. She used the existing findings of Gerbner and colleagues (Signorielli, 1991) to
document the amount of violence on television over time as an independent variable to
determine whether it predicted the engagement of members of Congress in steps toward
regulation or in making official speeches against media violence. Yet, Hoerrner found
that fluctuations in the actual amount of violence on television over time bore little
resemblance to degree of Congressional activity on the topic.
Also, of course, the Clark and Blankenburg (1972) study provides the most
important precedent for this study. Defining violence as “physical acts or the threat of
physical acts by humans designed to inflict physical injury to persons or damage to
property,” (p. 189) Clark and Blankenburg analyzed very large amounts of media
content. For primetime television programs, they first established (using Gerbner’s data)
that the amount of violence in TV Guide synopses of select television programs was
related to the actual amount of violence in those same programs. However, by
undertaking a two-year comparison of data drawn from direct coding of episodes and
those drawn from coding of TV Guide synopses, they found that the latter method results
in a lower percentage of violent programs that was estimated at a 7.7% difference. Thus,


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