Kim Sy

From Violent Video Games to Mental Health Illnesses: A Critical Discourse Analysis behind the Media’s Treatment of Sandy Hook

The dissertation aims is to establish how two British news outlets has wrongly accused violent video games and mental health illnesses as being the killer’s motivator behind The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (2012). A two-part methodology, critical discourse analysis and surveys were used to contradict these existing discourses of scapegoating. From analysing six online news articles between 2012 -2014, from the perspectives of the Daily Mail and The Telegraph, it demonstrated through Foucault’s critical theory of language and power, that hidden messages were used to describe and propagate audience’s perception on how violent video games and mental health illnesses were causal factor behind the massacre. From the findings, it concluded that violent video games, which has been the primary scapegoat for a very long time, became a dying topic in recent media and how audience’s perceptions has opposed with the media’s views. Psychological research has proven no correlations between violent video games, as well as mental health illnesses being influential factor to the mass school shooting. However, this incident was kept alive through the strategies of scapegoating, as it was considered as newsworthy, after reports showing the transitions from victimising violent video games in 2012 to mental health illnesses in 2014.