Amy Zegart: Is Spy-Themed Entertainment Affecting Public Opinion on Torture?


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As part of our ongoing partnership with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, we spoke with Amy Zegart, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and co-director of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, about the effects of spy-themed entertainment on public opinion of U.S. security policies.

She conducted two surveys, one informal with her students and another that was the first national poll of public attitudes toward torture techniques. Both had similar results: support of more severe techniques, assassination and indefinite detention increased with people who watched more spy-themed entertainment like James Bond, Jason Bourne and 24. In fact, this support has increased under the Obama presidency.

What are the reasons and how do we close the gap in spy-themed entertainment and spy-themed education? Watch the video to find out.