How Fox Morning Show Sensationalized the Halo-in-Church Issue

October 19, 2007 -
Earlier this week GamePolitics was highly critical of an appearance by Dr. Susan Bartell on Fox's The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet.

Bartell, a psychologist and author, ripped violent video games in general and Halo 3 in particular. Putting it mildly, we took issue with her comments. (see: Who is This Person & Why is She Saying These Awful Things About Halo 3?)

Apparently, GamePolitics readers flooded Dr. Bartell's e-mail with protests following our coverage. A dialogue of sorts developed between the good doctor and longtime GP reader Hayabusa75. Eventually, this led to my own correspondence with the psychologist.

Dr. Bartell was gracious, especially considering the cirumstances. I learned that she does quite a bit of TV. Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC - she's been on all of them multiple times. She's written four books and does a good bit of public speaking.

That being said, I was fascinated - and concerned - by what she told me about how the Halo-in-church discussion went down. If you haven't seen it, watch the clip:



Here are some excerpts from e-mails between myself and Dr. Bartell:
GP:  One thing I found especially concerning... was [an e-mail] comment that you only saw the [Indiana University] brain scan pix five minutes before air [of The Morning Show]. That being the case, do you think it appropriate to go on and offer a professional opinion based on the scans to the audience?

Dr. Bartell: That's the way it is with TV -- it's just not a black and white thing. I am genuinely sorry that it caused such a sense that I was being so disrespectful [to gamers]. The scans aside I stand by my opinion that violent games should not be played by teens... As to whether I should have responded to the scans -- my intent was going on air to discuss whether the church should be holding Halo nights, clearly that was derailed.

GP: In all honesty, I’m having difficulty reconciling “that’s the way it is with TV” to responsible professionalism. It smacks of sensationalism. Just being candid here.

Dr. Bartell: I can understand how you feel... there is an element of sensationalism to it I suppose, but no less, IMO than all the hoopla created by the GP posters in response to my appearance. I appreciate candor -- it will always help me grow as a person and as a professional. I couldn't -- five minutes before going on air -- say, sorry I won't do it, I don't have enough background information about this brain scan! I'm just not that much of a purist...

Nice person, Dr. Bartell. But that aside, I can't condone allowing herself to be portrayed to the audience as a subject matter expert, yet in actuality trying to explain a study she'd never seen until a Morning Show producer handed it to her just before air time.

And while I don't doubt that some gamers were nasty in their e-mails, I'm not sure that's relevant. Flame e-mails don't help the gaming image, of course. But who's got the greater responsibilty here?

I'd submit that it's Dr. Bartell, who made these remarks on national TV because... why? The show must go on?

Comments

She could of easily given her opinion with out the use of the brain scan but because it backed up her beliefs she used it. If she has been on other T.V. programs she should of come off more professioal.

@ Black ice
They are not all quacks but the ones fox used sure are

Sweet Home Alabama... Lord i'm comin' home to you...

..Did I just say that..? I'm never going near Coffee again.. Well, not Nescafe certainly..

"To ere is human, to forgive divine."

Yes, what this woman did: speaking about a subject she didn't really know about while feigning knowledge, was indeed reprehensible.
The fact that she owed up to it, and that she was polite in her responses, does make me have a bit of respect for her.

I wonder how fast JT will drophis opnion of her.

O kay you are flagged no more coffee

Well, at least she admitted her mistakes and responded appropriately to criticism.

To lovely:

But why won't she admit what she did on tv? Or would that hurt her career?

It's a lot harder to get angry at someone when they don't end their correspondences with "HOOAH!!!!"...

to retrogamer: Well, her chance to admit what she did on tv has already past. I sincerely doubt that Fox will put her on to make such an admission. Considering they are the one who partially put her up to it.

knowing something is wrong and doing it anyway doesn't make it not wrong.

@mary

Me? Flagged? Pah. It's the snails. Snails everywhere. But i'm ready for them! I've built a fort up in the mountains. The secret entrance is under the floorboards, but don't tell anyone. It's a secret.

Maybe I am flagged.. Must have... Gunpowder..

just what you need right now .

...............?

........Explain.

@Tom
Isn't IGN owned by News Corperation, the same people that own Fox? If I'm wrong, somebody let me know.

I'm not using IGN again. Ever.

She actually doesn't seem that bad.

She may be the first intelligent violent video game critic ever. *Gasp*

@Geno

It's because she doesn't appear to be on a religious crusade against us lowly sinners.

She also doesn't appear to be trying to replace the parents of America.

Lastly, she's not filing gay porn in her report. That one's key.

For those blasting Fox News, do you really believe CNN or MSNBC are any different in the way they present "news?" Fox might have a conservative spin, but if you're thinking they're any better than the other 24 hour "news" stations, you're incredibly deluded.

I limit any news station viewings for when a big event happens to get actual news. The moment a so-called "news" show featuring opinion comes on, I change the channel. I can decide what I think for myself, thanks.

@Geno

Speaking out once doesn't make you a critic.

@BlackIce, Leftie

Well she seems to be getting there

@Geno

And yet, she's not there yet.

"changing kids' brains" is inappropriate language... (+that was one sorry=ass map of the human brain with 't-storm' splotches)

that would be like saying if someone had a sip of beer and felt slightly tipsy, the brain was 'changed' -it's a temporary emotional thing

At least her correspondance seems civil but aside from that her reasoning that behind her actions is drasticaly opposed to the entire nature of professionalism. shame on her.

@BlackIce, Leftie

Pretty much what I just said.

At Geno:

It's not intelligent to use evidence you don't understand to support your claim.

@Tom,general531 and BlackIce
On a news story on Fox News about Manhunt 2 (this was a couple days ago),the screenshots of Manhunt 2 they used had the "IGN.COM" web watermark on them. Make sure that when you see any new news storys about the game on Fox News that you look for that watermark.

@ Dog_Welder

True, MSNBC and (especially) CNN have their own bias and left-leaning agendas. Fox gets a bit more of the hate lately because of:

A) Liberal types are still coping with this "new" media. People typically label outlets of opposing viewpoints to be "biased". It happens everywhere.

B) Fox News constantly claims to be "fair and balanced" to the point of redundancy and they really wear it on their sleeve. The fact they are anything but "fair and balanced" highlights the irony.

Yep. Never using IGN again. Oh, and I don't watch FOX.

I loved watching adam sessler Pwn Jack..Only thing that would of made it better was if adam and morgan tag teamed jack...


as for this lady i have no comment

@Blackice

So you are giving up Coffee (Nescafe. Didn't know they still made that... shudder), IGN (which would also include Gamespot which is a pity) and FOX? The sacrifices you make in the name of..... er what is it in the name of?

Guess that leaves All the more time for you to spend warping your greamatter into something violent and making odd posts here.

The screenshot was the one with the guy holding a axe ready to hit someone laying on the ground.The watermark was in the lower-right corner.

@BlackIce
The reason why I said to watch for it was the possibility of the same screenshots to be used in the Jack Thompson interview tomorrow on Fox News.If the watermarked screenshots show up in that interview and that interview hits the web,it could really effect the cred of IGN in the gaming community.

See, this is what is SUPPOSED to happen when someone gets it wrong and stereotypes people. They APOLOGISE.

@Icehawk
Gamespot is not part of Media Corp.It's part of Cnet.You might be saying that GameSpy is part of IGN enertainment and Media Corp.

@Icehawk

The cause of Communism. I'm giving up Nescafe and IGN. I didn't watch Fox to begin with. Aside from the occaisional Simpson's Episode, but I get that on Sky One and Channel Four..

@MR.B

Will do. Will need a link though. I can't watch Fox to save my life. Stupid conservatives..

perhaps she should look to marry jack thompson

@ BlackIce

You are aware that communism would limit your rights in ways that even the "stupid conservatives" can't?

Read up on your history plz.

@BlackIce, Leftie
Do you really hate anything involving News Corp that much? I know Fox News is not the best ever, but I'm not blowing off IGN because their staff has something in common Fox News (Rupert Murdoch's ownership).

@MR.B
I did not see that segment.

@BlackIce
I could not find the Fox News story.But I found a video of "Adam Vs. Jack" for you.Enjoy.

http://www.gametrailers.com/player/usermovies/10360.html

Thank you... I am going to enjoy this..

I just found video of the Manhunt 2 story.I found it on their web site.The link is too long to post.According to http://www.foxnews.com the story aired on Oct. 16. Since its a long link to post, just type in "Manhunt 2" in their search bar and click on the "Video" tab.It's the top-most story on the list.This is the story with the watermaked "IGN.COM" Manhunt 2 screenshots.

Now that was worth my 9 minutes. Excellent.

Why do people not see the real problem here?

The Average American Mindset:

I. PERFECTLY OKAY:

1. Teaching a child who is barely capable of reading elementary text books about an insanely complex religious tradition that venerates a "REAL" God that kills for pleasure, commits acts of genocide, threatens free people into submission, and is not supported by any emperical evidence, whatsoever.... (all done while the child is often forced to attend services, does not learn of the negative aspects of the religion, and does not have access to other religious theories. PERFECTLY OKAY!

II. OH MY GOD, WTF?

2. Allowing children to play a fictional game that depicts a man fighting to save life on the planet earth from swarms of evil intergalatic aliens. NOT OKAY!


...Does anyone else see a MAJOR problem here?

Stupid f***ing computer. Won't play Manhunt 2 video.

@Pandralisk

Shut the fucking hell up you stupid dick.

@Skylar

Actually, I had the exact opposite reaction.

She knew she didn't know enough, but she went on the air and pretended she did because it made good TV. And doesn't seem to feel the slightest real regret over it.

No professionalism, or at minimal she is not a professional. You try that excuse in ANY real profession not only would you get laughed at but you would probably loose your lisence.

I swear, you can take your Religion bashing someplace else. No-one here agrees with you.

I actually agree with Pandalisk on most of his opinions on religion. I think he can come on a bit strong and missing a bit of tact.

@Zerodash

I am talking about the parts where he fails to realise that religious people have a right to post here without beratement over their beliefs on a topic which has nothing to do with Religion in the slightest.

@ Blackice

Ah, I see. You are correct on that one.
 
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