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The Moral Responsibility of Media Makers

             More and more media coverage has drawn national attention towards violence committed by children and the possible roots of such tragic behavior. From Columbine to recent events in Knoxville, the role of television shows, movies, and videogames in inspiring acts of violence has become a common and increasingly important topic across the country. Putting aside the discussion of causality and violent media, another question arises: If there is the possibility that some movies, television programs, and video games incite violent and criminal acts, then what responsibility do the producers of these medium carry for the acts? Though a conclusive link between violence and media influence has yet to be found, there is much circumstantial evidence to support such a causal link: such as the study by Anderson and Bushman linking video games with aggressive behavior (pg. 353), or the findings of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Gloria DeGaetano in their book Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill, in which the authors state that “video games are …conditioning children to be violent, and [to be] unaware of the consequences of that violence.” (pg. 185). With such a link having been shown to most likely exist, those who produce such inciting materials have a moral responsibility to cease and desist with the production of those materials. It is wholly unethical to make any film, game, or show which inspires violent behavior in those who view it.
             In the past, when the role of games or movies in violence has been the central issue in lawsuits, the makers of games and movies have defended their actions as protected by the first amendment. However, in court cases, the producers of influential media have not provided arguments to counter claims of influence on violent acts, nor has the issue of the moral reprehensibility that the game and movie makers possess for inspiring violent actions.