Danzig, D. (2012). Countering the Jack Bauer effect: An examination of how to limit the influence of TVs most popular, and most brutal, hero. In M. Flynn, F. F. Salek (Eds.) , Screening torture: Media representations of state terror and political domination (pp. 21-33). New York, NY US: Columbia University Press.
To some, Jack Bauer, the hero of the FOX television program 24, is just the sort of guy the U.S. needs to counter the threat from extremist groups like al-Qaeda. Bauer never flinches when confronting a terrorist. In its first six seasons 24 broadcast eighty-nine scenes that feature torture. Bauer has used nearly every torture technique imaginable over the lifetime of the series. He has stabbed, shot, kicked, choked, electrocuted, drugged, blackmailed, threatened family members of terrorists with death, and used other exotic forms of torture in his abusive quest for information. Terrorists who are willing to die for their cause routinely reveal critical secrets seconds after Bauer turns on the pain. 24 is at the leading edge of a new trend in television. Since September 11 there has been a lot more torture on TV—an average of more than 120 scenes a year on prime time. In this chapter, the author argues that the torture techniques and effectiveness of the hero of 24 are admired and sometimes emulated by American soldiers. He also discusses a documentary he coproduced, Primetime Torture, that debunks the effectiveness of the practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)