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April 12, 1976

Violence on Television

Author Affiliations

Cleveland Heights, Ohio

JAMA. 1976;235(15):1552. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260410014008

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To the Editor.—  "The Effect of Television Violence on Children and Youth" by Michael B. Rothenberg, MD, omits two fundamental realities that need facing when one grapples with the television-violence issue.First is the reality that an overwhelming majority of citizens of all age, racial, ethnic, religious, educational, and economic levels watch television. These citizens determine the success or failure of any program. The more watching, the more advertisers are willing to sponsor a program. Either with enthusiasm or with passionate rejection, the violence objected to by Dr Rothenberg is viewed by an overwhelming percentage of people. They want to see violence. The Nielsen Index proves it, and all the PhDs in the television networks know it. Perhaps we all, before we criticize television, should do our own tabulating of what our home sets are turned on to. We protest, but we typically leave the set on.The second reality