The Mayo Clinic is out with a study that basically says CBS crime dramas CSI and CSI: Miami don’t know what they’re talking about. The clinic compared the portrayal of violent death offered by the programs to actual violent death statistics, and found the programs to be out of sync with reality.
Mayo’s main beefs are that the network fails to show the high correlation between drug and alcohol use and murder, in both the victim and the perp; it tends to focus on Caucasian victims and perps when more often another race is involved; and it ignores the fact that in real life the victim usually knows the perp – the CSIs more often have a stranger commit the murder.
Mayo says more accurate plots are important because the shows affect both public health behavior and perception (perhaps making the alcohol/drug connection the most important of the three to get right). “We make a lot of our decisions as a society based on information that we have, and television has been used to provide public health messages.”
RBR/TVBR observation: CBS may want to hew closer to the line of what is in the real world, but we remind the Mayo Clinic that we are dealing with fiction here. And on a completely unrelated note, it is refreshing to see a study of violence that does not breathe even a whisper about its deleterious effect on children.