Shock Value

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A survey released in January by the University of California-Los Angeles Center for Communication Policy found that Fox “shockumentary” shows were a wholly new category of intense violence. Reality-based specials such as “The World’s Most Dangerous Animals,” “When Animals Attack,” and “World’s Scariest Police Shootouts” represent the only type of network programming in which the level of violent content has increased during the past three years.

Meanwhile, in Murdoch’s own publications, the message is more upbeat. As Michael Starr gushed in the New York Post last February, “If you’re looking for TV’s scariest, deadliest thrills, Fox is ready to satisfy your craving–again….Tonight’s first special–‘World’s Scariest Police Chases 4’–includes clips of Arizona police locked in a wild, high-speed pursuit of a suspected carjacker….Fox has also showcased shock-specials such as ‘When Animals Attack’ (‘They’re big! They’re bad! And they’re biting back!’), ‘The World’s Deadliest Swarms,’ ‘Video Justice: Crime Caught on Tape,’ and ‘Prisoners Out of Control.'”

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