Sinclair Broadcast Group’s latest conservative “must-run” commentary segment focused on “violent video games and movies” in the wake of recent public mass shootings.
In a must-run segment posted online on August 20, chief political commentator Boris Epshteyn argued for limiting children’s exposure to “gratuitous violence” from video games and movies as one way to combat gun violence. Epshteyn acknowledged that “preventing mass shootings is an incredibly complex issue that one statistic or formula will not be able to solve,” but nonetheless devoted an entire segment to discussing the supposed “impact of violent media on the psyche of our youth.”
“Whether it has a chemical reaction or statistical correlation with as rare an occurrence as mass shootings is beside the point,” Epshteyn said in the segment, which also included some footage from first-person shooter games in apparent contradiction of his point.
There is no evidence that playing violent video games leads to perpetrating mass violence, and of course playing video games is popular in many other countries that don’t experience even close to the same number of mass shootings or levels of everyday gun violence as in the United States. The actual most accurate predictor for mass shooters is a history of hatred or violence toward women — combined with easy access to firearms.
According to a Media Matters search of the iQ media database, the segment has aired on at least 38 stations in at least 26 states, including in El Paso, TX, where a white supremacist armed with an assault weapon recently killed 22 people and injured dozens.