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Violent video games — as well as television and movies — have been a frequent scapegoat for acts of real-world violence.

Reality check: It's hard to ignore the fact that video games are popular all over the world, yet mass shootings aren't common in most of those places. Naturally, that was the case put forth by the Entertainment Software Association, the video game industry's trade group.

  • "Violent crime has been decreasing in our country at the very time that video games have been increasing in popularity," the group said in a statement. "And other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S."

The same case is also backed up by academic research.

  • "Study after study has established that there is no causal link between video games and real world violence," the ESA said.

The other side: That's not to say there aren't voices making such a connection, including House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who argued as much on Fox News on Sunday. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also laid the blame on video games, pointing to the shooter's references to Call of Duty in his manifesto. (Patrick has also blamed video games in the past.)

My thought bubble: At most, one could argue that games contribute to a world in which we are desensitized to such violence. And that may be true. But you know what else makes people numb to mass shootings? Reading about a new one practically every day.

Go deeper: America's hate problem

Go deeper

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.

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