Biden: President Feels 'Very Strongly' about Research into Violent Media

Vice President Joe Biden reiterated on Thursday the White House's interest in research into the impact of violent media, particularly video games, on real-world gun violence, saying both he and the president felt "very strongly" such research was necessary.

That came in the latest in a series of Google-sponsored Web "Fireside" talks -- a takeoff of the Franklin Roosevelt radio Fireside Chats -- with top administration officials (the president spoke after last year's State of the Union speech, for example).

Asked by moderator Hari Sreenivasan from PBS NewsHour about earlier issues with funding gun violence-related research, Biden said that there was "part of the interest group population" that was "afraid of facts. Let the facts lead where they will, and let the research be done."

He said that both he and the president feel very strongly about the research portion of the initiative, "including with regard to the entertainment industry."

He conceded there was no hard data on whether "excessively violent video games in fact cause people to engage in antisocial behavior, including using guns." But he suggested that as because the research hadn't been done.

There is one study done, he said, that found that if kids watched three to six hours of video games it can lead to aggressive behavior. "They didn't make the next connection that that leads to violent behavior, but there are no studies done." He said he had recommended to the president that there be significant research done.

"Let CDC and the National Institutes of Health go out and look at the pathology that's behind this if there is a pathology," he said. "We shouldn't be afraid of the facts."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.