Surgeon General’s Advisory flags media harm

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has issued a landmark Surgeon General’s Advisory declaring firearm violence in America to be a public health crisis. He also specifically addressed harmful media exposure: “Beyond these precious lives that are lost to firearm violence, there are wider ripples of harm to those who are injured, who witnessed the incidents, who live in urban and rural communities where such violence takes place, and who constantly read and hear about firearm violence.”

A footnote on page 14 adds: “In the scientific literature, exposure to firearm violence may range from being directly injured or witnessing firearm violence to living in a community affected by such violence or encountering these incidents on the news or social media.”

Last year, the multidisciplinary collaborative led by PCGVR director of research Dr. Jessica Beard published the landmark study on this topic: “Like I’m a nobody:” firearm-injured peoples’ perspectives on news media reporting about firearm violence

Addendum: Surgeon General Murthy reiterated his concerns during an interview with The Trace one week after issuing the advisory, adding: “We’ve certainly seen an increase in overall gun violence-related deaths. But the ripple effects of gun violence on those who survive, on witnesses, on family members who lose loved ones, and on the millions of people who are reading about and hearing about these incidents every day — that impact is far greater than what many people may realize.”