Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fox News and alarmist media.

Oh, Fox News. You so crazy.

Yesterday, Fox News posted an article discussing a game that I personally am very excited about: Bulletstorm. Bulletstorm is vulgarity and violence incarnate. It takes everything to an extreme, in a self-parodying way. It knows it's ridiculous, and it makes no attempts to hide it, embracing the fact at every turn. I want to preface this by saying that yes, I understand why some people might be offended by this sort of thing. That's not the issue here. The issue is that Fox News takes their moral opposition to this game to an extreme, by misrepresenting facts, and even blatantly making shit up to cause a ruckus over the game.

"If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm's explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant," said Dr. Jerry Weichman of the Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Southern California. "Violent videogames like Bulletstorm have the potential to send the message that violence and insults with sexual innuendos are the way to handle disputes and problems."

Well, this is and isn't true. While it's true that explicit content and violence has been shown to cause similar behavior in young children (read: NOT THE TARGET AUDIENCE), it's not exactly true in the way that they describe here. Anyone who's taken a first year psychology class can tell you that it's a case of mimicry of the aggression, rather than cognitively file the process of shoving your gun in someone's rectal cavity and pulling the trigger under “Problem Solving”.

Misrepresentation of facts in the news isn't such an awful thing, though it is pretty fucking obnoxious. What's awful is that this isn't the limit of Fox News' bullshit. They go so far as to straight up lie to prove their point. Fox News brings in Carol Lieberman, a psychologist and author to hide behind while she lies through her teeth. "The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in videogames," she informs them. Well, there's a pretty moronic series of lies here. First, FBI statistics show that the rate of almost all violent crimes, forcible rape included, have decreased over the last two decades. Second, there are exactly zero games in my tremendous mental library where you actually play through sex scenes, and of the ones that even have sexual scenarios, almost all of them pan away from the action after a simple, brief, nude embrace at the most.

More important, defenders argue that games with excessive violence and sexual content simply don't sell well.
Games without sufficient quality of gameplay -- games that include highly objectionable violent or sexual content -- often pump up the level of this kind of content to gain media attention. This tactic typically fails, as can be seen in the poor sales performance of titles such as BMX XXX and Postal,”

I'm going to make my response to this point brief, those games sold poorly because they were AWFUL. Period. Correlation is not causation, motherfuckers. Moving on.

"The marketing is clearly aimed at children and young adolescents," said Professor Melanie Killen of the University of Maryland. She claims that the ESRB is a failed system, specifically citing that there is no enforcement of ratings, while praising the way that FCC monitors television broadcasts and fines those who violate decency regulations, and explicitly stating that there are “no penalties” for marketing to children. Well, actually, the ESRB can fine companies that fuck with their ratings process up to one million dollars. And FTC studies have shown that videogame ratings have a consistently higher rate of compliance than any other entertainment medium.

In fact, Fox News has done this shit before, though not being quite so blatant about their alarmist nonsense, over a game called Six Days in Fallujah, the blowback of which actually shut down the production of the game and sunk the company. But that's another post for another time.

Careful when you make shit up to sell a story, media. You're fucking with real people's real jobs. 

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25 comments:

  1. This media bullshit's been happening for years, and before that it was music and DnD. And as for the sexual scenes in games causing rape, any game with an overtly explicit sexual scene receives an Adults Only rating and is not carried by retailers. i.e Leisure Suit - Magna Cum Laude: Uncut

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  2. Im not surprised Fox's censorship has been around since they been broadcasting. I think there just making a big deal as they were with the Grand Theft Autos when Rockstar was pushing those commercials to buy those games.

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  3. Glad some other people see the insane shit that comes out of FAUX news

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  4. typical alarmists who have never played or watch anything involving the subject matter and just go off and likely targets to make them feel high and mighty when they aren't.

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  5. This is why I don't watch television.

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  6. That's Rupert Murdoch for ya, it's the same in the UK with his skanky newspapers

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  7. opinion, more powerful than fact

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  8. I stopped watching TV long ago. I'm not missing anything.

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  9. It is completely the fault of the game designers to create a game that every person, no matter what moral values can play. I mean nevermind the parent actually decides to monitor what their child is doing. Stores wont sell games to kids, the only way they can obtain them is through their parents.

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  10. Oh boy. I just did a piece on this exact same article. It's pretty impressive the hog-wash they are attempting to sell as "news" given their "psychologists" don't even know basic principles of child development.

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  11. I want this game so bad though

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  12. We all know the news is trying to recapture its old audiance since so many people have moved away from the tv. Its funny how they talk about how bad violence is. Next up on the 5 o'clock news, murder murder murder, rape, murder, death, destruction.

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  13. Definately a parenting problem. Parents are retardedly weak these days because if they enforce any kind of law and order the government has to get involved. Some system we have here in America.

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  14. I laughed so hard at their news article.

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  15. Haha, always Fox news.
    Fox news, you're my favorite.

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  16. i must say however that i played ocarina of time a lot in my youth & now just can't seem to stop my endless adventuring, collecting of rupees & sword carrying..its pissing my girlfriend off something fierce (who thinks she's charizard, a whole different story)

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  17. the biggest poblem for me is actually the fact that too much people watch fox news, wich leads me to the conclustion that there is a huge lack of reflection among the viewers.
    or just: too many dumb people

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  18. Postal wasn't a great seller, but is sure fun to play it ;)

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  19. seriously ... fox news is the most biased piece of crap i have ever ran into... they constantly refer to democrats as fascists and Nazis ... its ridiculous... oh and the postal series is a great stress reliever

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  20. And Fox proves once again that it has absolutely nothing else to report on.

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