Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate

By Martin Barker; Julian Petley | Go to book overview

1

THE NEWSON REPORT

A case study in 'common sense'

Martin Barker

In June 1994, the Christian Democrat celebrated a famous victory. It had forced the Home Secretary, Michael Howard, to amend his Criminal Justice Bill to make the British Board of Film Classification much more stringent about what was allowed on to video. Howard hadn't adopted their amendment-one which had been drafted at a meeting of the Movement for Christian Democracy in March-outright. But its main thrust, without question, was accepted.

How had they done this? By a combination of arguing and lobbying. They had talked of the need to protect children. They had spoken of gratuitously violent films and videos, and how bad they are for the young. And they had played on memories of recent cases where young people, even children, had so obviously gone to the bad. And they got their argument into every newspaper in the land, and on to many radio and television programmes. The effect, as their Parliamentary sponsor David Alton himself put it, was that they had 'changed the terms of reference' in which 'films of this kind' would henceforth be discussed.

That was no small achievement. And it owed much to one thing: a report by Professor Elizabeth Newson published in April 1994, just two weeks before the 'Alton Amendment' reached the floor of the House of Commons-a report which, as this essay aims to demonstrate, was wildly misleading (Newson, 1994). But the most important thing to note is not just its appall-ing quality of evidence and argument, but that, because of the nature of what it was arguing, those weaknesses went wholly unnoticed. What we have, in the Newson Report, is a classic case of 'common sense writ large'. By this I mean that its claims have the same status as medieval witchcraft accusations. When a 'witch' was denounced, a whole array of evidences and proofs could be adduced; but these could only ever convince because those hearing them were already completely persuaded that these were the only likely explanations. You can only believe someone to be a witch if you believe there

-27-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 229

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.