We are a bit slow to latch on to the new director of MediaWatch-UK’s first foray into the tabloids, but it be honest it was so underwhelming that it seemed hardly worthy of mention. Anyone hoping that the appointment of Vivienne Pattison would inject new life into the moribund anti-smut group will be disappointed with her soundbite offered up by the Daily Express.
To put it in context, she was voicing her support for MP Julian Brazier, who is urging local councils to ban the film Saw VI. He thinks it is too violent for adults to watch, and Pattison agrees:
Studies link exposure to film violence with violent behaviour.
If there is the slightest chance that media violence can cause harm is it worth the risk?
Ho-hum. Vague mutterings about flawed “studies” and an illogical rhetorical question. Apart from the fact that the two sentences are grammatically flawless, they could have been spoken by the Massah himself.
Why try to validate your opinions with “studies” when you have so little respect for “academics”? Look at this from the Mediawatch-UK website:
Academics, on the other hand, tend to deny any causal link suggesting that those who act violently are predisposed to it and are, or have been, influenced by other environmental factors.
Academics – people who devote their professional lives to finding out the truth about such questions – do not support MediaWatch’s opinions. MediaWatch’s opinions are based on what they call “common sense observation.” Yet they are still keen to cite “studies” (in reality one, flawed study from the 70s) if it gains them a bit of credibility. Indeed, in the paragraph following immediately after their denigration of “academics,” they talk about a “Dr Susan Bailey, a forensic psychologist, interviewed by Panorama in 1994” who said something they might agree with.
So academics are unreliable unless they agree with MediaWatch’s “common sense” conclusions? The self-belief of these would-be arbiters of taste and decency is as breathtaking as it is unjustified.
And as for her rhetorical question, it works both ways: if there’s the slightest chance that exposure to media violence could have a cathartic effect and prevent an act of violence, isn’t it worth the risk? The logic is identical, and the point equally worthless without the supporting evidence..
A spokesperson for the British Board of Film Classification is quoted in the Express:
We believe adults should be free to choose their own entertainment.
Not if Nanny Pattison has anything to do with it. Because Nanny knows best.