Does boxing news increase homicide? Does news about executions reduce homicide?

Annotation: This study of the impact of mass media stories on homicide found that the number of homicides in the United States increases significantly after stories about prizefights, in which violence is rewarded, and decreases significantly after stories about murder trials and executions, in which violence is punished.

Abstract: Study data came from computerized death certificates generated by the National Center for Health Statistics from 1973 through 1979; from an earlier study listing heavyweight championship prizefights; and from newspaper and television indexes showing publicized acquittals, life sentences, death sentences, or executions for homicides. The analytic techniques used were developed specifically to detect short-lived fluctuations in mortality. The focus was on the period from 0 to 4 days after publicized events. Nearly all the publicized punishments involved white murderers and white victims. The publicized punishments had a short-term deterrent effect on the homicides of white victims, but the drop was only 3.32 victims per homicide story. Further research should examine the fluctuation of daily homicide statistics for a large population after heavily publicized punishment stories. Data tables and a list of 47 references are supplied.

Source: “When Violence is Rewarded or Punished – The Impact of Mass Media Stories on Homicide” from Journal of Communication  Volume:34  Issue:3  Dated:(Summer 1984)  Pages:101-116

Vaughan Bell had an interesting post recently on last words before executions.

I highly recommend the Oscar winning movie about boxing, When We Were Kings. Also, Facing Ali is quite good too. Just don’t go kill anyone after you watch them.

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