There's no solid evidence that violence in media causes violence in society, certainly not at the level that would warrant any kind of policy response. Here at Terra Nova, this has been discussed again and again and again and again and again. Yet the issue will not die, or, more accurately, a misguided conversation continues and at times certain points need to be reiterated. The immediate spurs to this post include a) getting an email about videogame violence effects from an undergraduate at another school, b) seeing one of Indiana's PhD students give a talk on videogame violence, and c) seeing media effects being debated at the International Communications Association meeting in Chicago this past weekend. Researchers continue to pursue evidence for a causal link between violence in media and real-world violence, and important people in the real world still think there's some sort of emergency.
Common sense objections to the agenda and the urgency are legion, best summed up here and here. Yet there are deeper issues, of a scholarly nature, that need to be addressed as well. Research in the field of media violence effects is generally ill-conceived, poorly executed, and result-driven. I have seen few things that I would describe as findings - results that become a permanent part of my view of the world and how it works. Before any more PhD students waste their careers on bad science, let's once again put the cards on the table.