Media madness and what we can do about it
While it is easy (and often warranted) to blame Fox News for the crazy punditry that is produced by its articles and news segments, we often forget that just about every cable news network on the planet uses the same questionable methods in selecting “experts.” When it comes to hot button issues, the talking heads and the producers of those shows are going a million miles a minute trying to create segments to engage viewers that have attention spans equivalent to six-year-olds opening presents on Christmas morning.
When they are putting these segments together, someone hits the phone or email and looks for anyone willing to talk about the subject at hand, without much thought to whether or not they are knowledgeable at all. Many go on the show cold, with little or no knowledge of the topic they will be talking about and they are usually chosen because they are outspoken or confrontational.
If you need an example of this, look at the recent Fox News article featuring comments from Carole Lieberman. When Game | Life’s Wired pressed her on how much research she’d done on Bulletstorm prior to issuing her comments to Fox and what hard data she had to back up her claims, she stumbled, stammered, and avoided the question.
Sadly, not much research goes into these controversial topics prior to air due to time constraints. Most guests have hidden agendas too; they go on these shows to vent about their own personal views, plug a web site, or promote a new book. Yes, some of them are passionate about particular topics, but the facts on any given subject seem irrelevant to them. Producers do not care much for the truth either. Facts be damned – this is entertainment.
Honestly, when it comes to video game experts, there are not very many worth talking to. As much as I do not agree with Douglas Gentile (who has been studying media violence since 1999), he is at least more reasonable than the Jack Thompsons, Leland Yees, and pop psychologists like Lieberman. Similarly, the video game industry is in dire need of some serious experts who want to make themselves available for this kind of nonsense. Maybe these cable news networks do not know who to call (or maybe they want less knowledgeable people defending video games), but the most articulate among us are nowhere to be found. Reason and common sense can prevail if we have more people on television comfortable in their own skin. I am sure Ben Kuchera, Adam Sessler, Kyle Orland, Hal Halpin, Scott Jones, Leigh Alexander, and dozens of others would make themselves available if someone gave them a call.
The most disappointing part of all this is the muted response of the industry who may think this fight is beneath them. If the Supreme Court’s decision later this year supports the state of California the fight will become even more of an uphill battle.
My point is that we should always expect that ridiculous statements like “video games cause rape” or “Jared Loughner shot people because he played video games” will come out of these segments if the experts cable news producers go to people that know absolutely nothing about video games. We need to step up.
I understand that sometimes it does not matter; in the case of the whole Carole Lieberman story, Fox News heavily edited the comments of the experts they did contact. Still, we have to make every effort to get into this fight and defend what we love from all the lies, misinformation, and omissions that paint pictures about video games that are not based in reality.
Gamers also need to push back. It doesn’t cost you anything to write am email to Fox News or call your elected representative to complain in a thoughtful and constructive way. You may not think it can make a difference, but when thousands (or millions) of emails or phone calls pour in people take notice.
- “Lieberman Discusses Fox News Comments” – GamePoliticsExplore posts in the same categories: Crime, Industry, Life, Politics, TV, Video Games
Tags: Bulletstorm, Cable News, Carole Lieberman, CNN, Douglas Gentile, EA, Epic, Fox News, Game | Life, Journalism, Kotaku, Media, MSNBC, Pundits, Rape, Talking Heads, Video Game Violence, Video Games, WiredYou can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.