How Much Responsibility do Violent TV Programmers Have for Gun Crimes?


John Landgraf runs the FX network, home of some of basic cable's most popular, and most violent, programming. Landgraf is also a father to three sons. When first-graders were massacred in Newtown, Ct, he was “upset and so horrified and sad and angry,” and he pondered whether violent content in television, movies and video games should take any blame for mass murders like those in Newtown; Aurora, Co.; and elsewhere, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“I think anything and everything that bears any responsibility for these kinds of tragedies, up to and including what we do in the media, should be fair game and should be looked at,” Landgraf told TV critics meeting in Los Angeles with broadcast and cable networks. Neither he nor other programmers would draw a direct line of cause and effect. After the Newtown murders, some advocacy groups (including the National Rifle Association) laid blame on media. In a poll by the Hollywood Reporter and Penn Schoen Berland, 44 percent of parents said the shootings made them more aware of how much violence their children are consuming in media, and 35 percent said Congress or the president should pressure Hollywood to cut back on violent content. “We're in the culture business,” said Kevin Reilly, chief programmer for Fox, which will launch the graphically bloody serial killer drama “The Following” later this month. “It comes with responsibility.”

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