Prof. Lynne Chatham
February 19, 2013
A Response to Meg Greenfield’s Article
“TV’s True Violence”
In her Newsweek article “TV’s True Violence” Meg Greenfield argues that excessive fictional violence desensitizes viewers to the image of violence they see on television. Her discussion about this subject “generates hypocrisy and confusion”: the coarsening impact of violence on viewers, the effect on children, the volume of the violence, and the harm of dulling our response to the real thing. Everyone knows that there is too much violence on Television and that the networks must take action. Sex and violence are mixing on the screen and are becoming a “single phenomenon” and everyone knows that this phenomenon can have negative effects on the viewers’ behavior. Greenfield reveals that this “coarsening” makes “the unthinkable just a little less unthinkable, a little more OK.” Two objections Meg Greenfield has, the first is not to the violence itself, but to the volume and the way it is presented on Television. In the history of art violence has frequently played a role in , literature, art, and for example in Shakespeare’s plays, but violence back then had actually meant something. The second objection to TV’s fictional violence is that it will affect the viewer’s reaction to the real thing, for instance, the images of the wounded kids in “Sarajevo” and in other massacres and wars. Greenfield believes that We need to be able to respond appropriately to the images of violence. While every thinking person would agree there is too much violence on TV, the solution Greenfield offers is flawed. Watching more real violence on TV would complicate the issue, because real violence can be biased, desensitizing and manipulated. In her article “Did the Media Buy a Military Spin on the Gulf War?” Terry Pristin argues that the news the media was reporting to the American people about the Gulf War was biased and one sided. And it was...