Hardball’s Chris Matthews Isn’t Buying What Jack Thompson is Selling about VTU Killer

Despite overwhelming video evidence that Virginia Tech killer Cho Seung Hui was an angry, sociopathic lunatic, controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson has been getting air time on national news programs this week, insisting that video games were behind Cho’s rampage.

But while some talking heads let Thompson’s claims go unchallenged, at least one mainstream media pundit has pointed out the flaws in the controversial attorney’s argument. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews had Thompson on his Hardball program last evening, an appearance touted ahead of time by Thompson in an e-mail to GamePolitics.

Of the Hardball appearance, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Peter Hartlaub writes:

Video games have already taken enough of an unwarranted hit this week. An online Washington Post report that Cho played the first person shooter Counter-Strike – which was later removed from the story – unleashed the typical of blame-the-video-games rhetoric, along with appearances from anti-game activist lawyer Jack Thompson, who should (have) learned his lesson from his embarrassing Bully fiasco…

(Hardball host Chris) Matthews more than redeemed himself… nailing Thompson down during a “Hardball” appearance and exposing the fact that Thompson had nothing to back up his claims.

While we didn’t catch Thompson’s Hardball appearance, comments made to GamePolitics by the anti-game attorney seem to confirm Hartlaub’s impression:

Typical Chris Matthews, which is why he is repeatedly made sport of on SNL. You survive Hardball, which I did.

Kotaku has video. From the show transcript:

MATTHEWS:  I asked the (killer’s) suite mate… He said there was… not a strong subculture of violent video games.  And they had no real evidence that… Cho Seung-Hui, was one of these kids involved with that sort of game. 

THOMPSON:  Well, they are inconsistent in their comments, Chris…

MATTHEWS:  Well, they didn‘t see any evidence of that… Tell me about “Counter-Strike,” because it‘s a strong theory of yours.  What is it? 

THOMPSON:  Well, it‘s not a theory.

MATTHEWS:  Well, it‘s a theory that it had something to do with this case. 

THOMPSON:  That‘s right… His own suite mates in Blacksburg said that he was on the computer all the time.  He wasn‘t downloading music.  He was playing this game. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, we have — that‘s not what we just heard… We just talked to his—one of his suite mates, who said…

THOMPSON:  He doesn‘t know.

MATTHEWS:  … when he looked on the screen, he said he just saw him writing linear English, just writing…

THOMPSON:  When he looked on the screen… Chris, you can‘t do something this well the first time you do it.  And the fact is, it wasn‘t the first time.  He was in a hyper-reality situation, in virtual reality…

MATTHEWS: How does the game prepare or drill him in the execution of 32 people? 

THOMPSON:  It drills you and gives you scenarios on how to  kill them.  It gets you to kill with your heart rate lower… 

MATTHEWS:  I know it is a theory.  And it is a theory in this case. When was the most recent testimony, and when is it applied to, that he was involved with “Counter-Strike,” the video game, that Cho was? 

THOMPSON:  Cho?  His high school friends.  And, typically, when…

MATTHEWS: OK.  Well, he is a fourth-year student at Virginia Tech.  

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