Bill O’Reilly Slams PS3 Launch, Gamers, iPods, Digital Tech (not in that order)

Apparently sparked by the PlayStation 3 launch, conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly took off after video game culture and digital technology generally in yesterday’s Radio Factor.

The controversial talk show host, who advertises his program as a “no spin zone” offered the following spin on gamers and much of their favorite gear:

American society is changing for the worse because of the machines… In the past to flee the real world people usually chose drugs or alcohol… now you don’t have to do that, Now all you have to do is have enough money to buy a machine…

Basically what you have is a large portion of the population, mostly younger people under the age of 45, who don’t deal with reality – ever. So they don’t know what day it is; they don’t know temperature it is; they don’t know what their neighbor looks like. They don’t know anything… because they are constantly diverted by a machine. Now what this does is it takes a person away from reality because they’ve created their own reality…

Here comes the PS3 rant:

The newest thing is the PlayStation 3. Now this is a machine that allows you to play games in hi-def and all this other stuff… It’s the newest state of the art system from Sony…. It has a video game console, plays DVDs, connects you to the Internet, tells you how handsome you are. It’s six-hundred bucks.  Now people lined up for hours to get this thing. Hours!

Next, O’Reilly recounts some of the various, well-publicized incidents that took place on PS3 lines around the country, before launching into:

The problem with this stuff is that some people can deal with it constructively… but other people get addicted to it, just like opium, just like drugs and alcohol… So this is a big, big problem. It’s going to change every single thing in this country.

At about this point, O’Reilly has Blois Olson of the National Institute on Media & the Family on as a guest. Olson talked about some issues regarding video game addiction, but was quite reasonable. As for O’Reilly? He thinks your video gaming may well doom you to a life of poverty:

The have-nots are growing. Why are they growing? Because the skill set that is necessary to earn a decent living is being deemphasized in a fantasy world of football games and shooting zombies and all that….   Now you have the “knows” and the “know-nots”, because if you spend all your youth being prisoners of machines…..  you’re not going to know anything…. You’re gonna fail.

And, even though O’Reilly’s pay site offers a podcast, the pundit rather curiously disses the iPod and seems to equate video gaming with national collapse:

I don’t own an iPod. I would never wear an iPod… If this is your primary focus in life  – the machines… it’s going to have a staggeringly negative effect, all of this, for America… did you ever talk to these computer geeks? I mean, can you carry on a conversation with them? …I really fear for the United States because, believe me, the jihadists? They’re not playing the video games. They’re killing real people over there.

GP: A big, huge shout-out to reader Jim for the tip… Even if GP did have to shell out $4.95 in order to listen to O’Reilly’s rant. Hey, we spare no expense for our readers.

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