Fox News Smears Mass Effect

January 22, 2008 -
Like a bad penny, allegations that highly-regarded Xbox 360 title Mass Effect is porn disguised as a video game keep turning up.

The smear campaign crossed over to the mainstream yesterday with a Fox News report which aired on the network's Live Desk program.

Talking head Martha MacCallum hosted the segment, which featured a brief, tense debate between talk show host/author Cooper Lawrence and Spike TV game guy Geoff Keighley. While Keighley did a commendable job defending the game, right from the start it was clear that Mass Effect was in for a beat-down. As the segment opened, a Fox News graphic read:
"Se"Xbox? New Video Game Shows Full Digital Nudity and Sex

MacCallum: ...a new role-playing video game that is leaving NOTHING to the imagination... in some parts of this, you'll see full digital nudity. Imagine! And the ability for the players to engage in graphic sex and the person who's playing the game gets to decide exactly what's going to happen between the two people, if you know what I mean... Basically, Pandora's Box is open. I mean, kids have access to these things... How damaging is it, really?

Lawrence: ...the damage is this. We know that all the research shows that violence has a desensitizing effect. Well, sexuality does too... Here's how they're seeing women. They're seeing them as these objects of desire, as these hot bodies. They don't show women as being valued for anything other than their sexuality. And it's a man in this game deciding how many women he wants to be with.

Keighley: That's completely incorrect... first of all you can actually play as a man or a woman in the game. Cooper, have you ever played Mass Effect?

Lawrence: (giggling) No...

Keighley: mentioned it has full graphical nudity, that's completely incorrect. There's no full nudity... there's the side of an alien boob... it's a small sexual situation in this game which is about two minutes out of a thirty-plus hour experience... you can actually play through this game without the sexual situation ever happening -

Lawrence: (interrupting) Right, and a young boy's going to be choosing not to have sex. That'll be what they choose. I mean, let's be realistic here -

Keighley: Cooper, it's not a simple choice. You don't turn on the game and it says, "would you like to have sex or not?" It's through the evolution of a relationship with characters and the fact that this game has incredible artificial intelligence. You can actually fall in love in this game. It's just like modeling your life...

Lawrence: (interrupting) Darling, I gotta go with the research. And the research says there's a new study out of the University of Maryland right now that says that boys that play video games cannot tell the difference between what they're seeing in the video game and the real world...

Keighley: You're completely misrepresenting the game...

Lawrence: Let me at him, Martha...

Keighley: It's a fantastic game and sex is a small, little part of it.

MacCallum: You know when you buy video games... you have to pick up the box and look at the back for the rating and you have to be involved in what your kids are looking at...

Male Panelist: Who can argue, possibly, that Luke Skywalker meets Debbie Does Dallas is a good thing? It's not. And I'm definitely not going to let Mass Effect in my house...

Female Panelist: I'm not sure why it didn't get an Adults Only rating. That's the highest rating it can have. So, first of all, this board that rates them needs to have their head examined...

2nd Male Panelist: I would argue that the government can not and should not censor everything coming across the web and in video games. At the end of the day... it's up to parents to control what their kids are seeing.

GP: Another disgraceful game bashing from Fox...

GamePolitics has previously demonstrated how shoddily some of these reports are thrown together (see: How Fox Morning Show Sensationalized the Halo-in-Church Issue). Nor are gamers likely to forget Fox's allowing Jack Thompson air time to bash video games while the Virginia Tech massacre was unfolding.

As for Cooper Lawrence's expertise with video game issues? It's apparently nonexistent. She is the author of several books - on dating: The Cult of Perfection: Making Peace with Your Inner Overachiever; Been There, Done That, Kept the Jewelry; The Fixer-upper Man: Turn Mr. Maybe into Mr. Right in 5 Easy Steps; and the unforgettable Cosmo Girl's Quiz Book: All About Guys.


I don't have a television (I do use Joost), and I am still not missing anything apparently...I would also add that even though many Americans fly off the handle with the topic of sexuality, none of the people I personally know are that way.

A few of us "yanks" have evolved beyond the puritanical behavioral system.

[...] Apparemment, contrairement à ce que je croyais, l’affaire n’est pas terminée puisque Mass Effect a fait l’objet d’un… heu… “débat” sur Fox News. Vu le titre choisi par la chaîne (“SeXbox? New Video Game Shows Full Digital Nudity and Sex”), on ne pouvait pas s’attendre à un traitement honnête. Bon, en même, temps, c’est de Fox News dont il s’agit, et on peut au moins se réjouir qu’ils aient donné (brièvement) la parole à quelqu’un qui savait vraiment de quoi il parlait. J’ai nommé Geoff Keighley, de SpikeTV, qui a fait ce qu’il a pu face à la psychologue de service (laquelle en faisait des tonnes sur un jeu qu’elle n’avait visiblement jamais vu). C’est déjà ça. [...]

Even if there was full on sex, what matters? Movies and TV can do it, why not videogames. Considering the average age of gamers and the sheer success of the entire biz in the past 10 years, it is only natural that things will mature.

The funny thing is, all this same bs isn't being made up over and over again. They aren't all that creative. Since the early stories were so thoroughly and publically debunked, why would they still run with them?

At this point, it has to be intentional. But why? Why would they go after a game so easy to defend? Why risk suit from EA or MS, knowing that MS has a huge stake invested into the series being a continued success?

If they wanted to demonize games and gamers, there is a lot better games to choose from. I just don't get where this is coming from.

I also don't get how the destruction of entire sentient species (Arachnids, Krogan, Geth) gets nary a whisper, while a butt and a nanosecond of side boob make people grazy.

Guess it just goes to show you, some people in this country would rather wipe out human existance than let other people see someone naked.

When that twat was so dismissive and called him "darlin", I felt like slappin' her.

"Se”Xbox? New Video Game Shows Full Digital Nudity and Sex"



This is just retarded, I'm sorry but that's all it is.

I'm just amazed that this is still being argued. All you have to do is play the game to realize that this isn't anywhere near 'Luke Sykwalker meets Debbie Does Dallas' and that the M rating is rightly deserved.

Personally I find it insulting that they consider this offensive. I can name out of my head 15-20 movies that were worse. I've borrowed books at the library that were worse (and I was a minor at the time). I've seen web sites that were worse. I have one question for them. What kind of a world are they living in were Mass Effect romantic scene (I refuse to call that a sex scene) is offensive. And also I am insulted by this phrase "Right, and a young boy’s going to be choosing not to have sex." Well the relationship with the alien (who has no sex actually) is well written and her comments on what's happening are well written. I wanted to see mor of.

Why can't they talk about the performance of the guy who voiced Wrex. Or the choices you have to make. Why must they always think I'm stupid because I play videogames.

"boys that play video games cannot tell the difference between what they’re seeing in the video game and the real world…" Wow... so boys cannot make the difference between a world were we can travel between stars using space Gates... I guess boys think barney, Santa Claus and the teletubbies are real... Oh no those arn't video games... As a 14 years old boy I could have taught them about world geography, and history, in english, a language that is not my native one. And they think I couldn'T make the difference between games and reality...

Every gamer should ban Fox news...
When their ratings will drop sharply they will understand.
If we let our money do the talking they will understand only when it's too late.
We already did this to the music industry. if Television doesn't learn to respect it's audience they shall fall.
They are taking us for stupid sheeps well let's prove them wrong.

Shit like this is why i don't watch Fox anymore

I couldn't finish the clip... I got to the "panel" part of it and it was so ignorant and uninformed and COMPLETELY out of touch that I couldn't even watch it.

If it's possible to be grossly, willfully negligent (and I use that word to its fullest legal and moral definition) in new reporting, that was it.

Fox News = EPIC FAIL

This is exactly why I do not watch network news. Support your local township and buy a newspaper. It may not be immeadiate notification, but you can hope someone put some real thought into the articles and did some research on the stories.

more shit flung at us- when will it stoP?

If you simply replace "Video games" with "TV" throughout the entire discussion, this would've never been broadcasted.

Great, another Bill. I wrote to Martha MacCallum directly at Fox News. I don't care if they are not well liked, they should still be corrected, and our voices should still be heard.

What worries me is that the dialog right now is over whether there should be stronger controls in place to ensure that young people don't have access to sexually explicit games. This'd be a fine dialog to have except that it's a solution in search of a problem - there are no games on the market that are sexually explicit to the extent the nay-sayers are worried about. All this uproar is essentially over a game that DOESN'T EVEN EXIST - which is a shame, since the time could be better spent on topics that matter.

Why does fox make such awful news?

Actually, I'm glad they picked on Mass Effect to pick on this time, rather than something like Postal or a R* title. This time, anyone who spends even 5 mins worth of research on Google would get to see how great a game Mass Effect is and how high the potential for gaming is. Maybe they'll even play it and like it.

Am I the only one who gets really pissed off whenever you hear some person over the age of 35 go "and these games today are crazy whatever happened to (pacman/pong/atari)" it really does happen quite often, and it's annoying every time


Exactly! I don't give a s*** when the dumb media masses attack Manhunt 2 or Postal or something. But when they go after Mass Effect, a game I had been waiting for and anticipating for months on end...grrrrr! The scene is 15 seconds or less and the most you see is an ass. As many people have said before me, I've seen ten times worse in PG-13 movies!

"Well, I'm not going to listen to you because I have an imaginary friend who says he did a study on this that says you're completely wrong! Isn't that Right Doctor Fairyprincesspants?"

Can someone find this study from Maryland that somehow rejects all of the common sense and actual evidence that have been into studies about game violence and adolescent boys? I like that nice blanket statement there, too, "...that boys that play video games cannot tell the difference between what they’re seeing in the video game and the real world…"

So... From that statement, we can come to assume that any male who has ever stared at a television believes that there have been countless alien wars and that, even though they are on the other side of the screen holding a controller, that they are somehow actively partaking in the digital sex?

Remember the Halo 3 incident ont he talk show where their expert doctor was someone who wrote a book about weight-loss for girls? It may be a vague connection, but these mindless idiots who write books about dating and feminine issues and how to nag your man into doing _____ seem to have kind of a sexist agenda. Kind of a big leap to make, I know, but there is never talk about young girls playing this game, only that they are somehow objectified and damaged because of Mass Effects single sex scene. I fail to see how a little girl, or and female for that matter, can misconstrue that one scene as insulting because a man and an asexual blue alien decided to have sex.

I hope someone is updating Mass Effect's Wikipedia page with all of these false criticisims for the record. At least if one of these morons decides to look it up they can see where other news groups are getting it wrong.

I'm lucky I don't have Fox News then. Just like my father said, they're not looking for real news, they're just looking for sensationalism. Every TV news network that are looking only for that isn't trustworthy.

At least, I have CNN (much better in my opinion) and various Quebec TV networks that, at least, can give accurate informations. I also read the newspaper and listen to the radio.

I am getting so sick of this shit...

This is the email that I sent to the show,
"You recently had a segment on your show about the game "Mass Effect" for the X-Box 360. You said that the game displayed "full digital nudity" where the game grants the "ability for the players to engage in graphic sex." Frankly, none of this is true. You yourself admitted on the show that you have not played this game and let your guest psychologist say that women are nothing but objects who's worth is defined by their sexuality and so on. This is not the case. While we all can agree that turning women into mindless sex object is a terrible thing, the point is that "Mass Effect" does not do this. For a brief two minute cut scene, where, I might add, the player has no control over their characters, there is a love scene between you (the captain) and a crew member. This scene is neither pornographic, nor explicit. I would compare it to the kind of love scenes that can be seen on day-time soap operas.
Now, there is some upheaval in the video game community about the misrepresentation that games are getting. And Fox News has done this before. That being said, there are many who despise Fox News for what they call "disgraceful game bashing." Sorry to say, but Fox News has allowed some questionable facts about video games make it to the air, and this show is no exception. If you can please, please at least rent the game and play it for yourself, I would be glad to hear your opinion. I agree with Keighley from SpikeTV here when he said that you are "completely misrepresenting the game."
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, and I hope that amends can be made."

I blame this whole thing on Penny Arcade. If they hadn't been so excited about elevating a petty idiot into a supervillain, nobody would ever have noticed the townhall guy's delusional rant.

Now the precedent has been set, and the next nobody goofball can rocket to stardom just by writing a rant that Mario Galaxy teaches kids to rape puppies and then "leak" the URL to the Penny Arcade forums.

They are so clueless...

The news... LOL, what a hoot

I needed something to brighten up my day, thanks. Great stuff :)


GP reported it well before PA did, so...

Skyler whats the Email address?

@ Hunty

I learned about the Town Hall guy on Game Poitics and responded to him there long before Penny Arcade picked up on it. Many other posters were from Kotaku and other enthusiast sites and were posting before PA commented. IMO they were a little late to the party on this one, though I do love how they managed to stir the pot.

@ Logan

When choosing her show in the "Contact Us" list that is the e-mail provided.

Like the last guy who diss Mass Effect she has her own "radio" show.
I suggest that people call into it and try to get on and see what she says.

"Who can argue, possibly, that Luke Skywalker meets Debbie Does Dallas is a good thing. It’s not. And I’m definitely not going to let Mass Effect in my house…"

What is WITH these conservative pundits? Are they sex deprived or something? How do they keep interpreting a side shot of some body curvature, followed by some blurry shots of bodies, equate to full on hard-core pornography?

My gawd, it's like those gel bracelets, and how conservatives would take great delight in describing IN INTRICATE DETAIL all the different sex acts each bracelet would entail... practically drooling as they went...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

After watching the video, I picked up on one comment from Cooper that should have disqualified her from this "debate" instantly.

"Watching this made me feel old. What happened to the days of Atari and Pac-man?"

She obviously has no clue how video games and those who play them have evolved or developed. If she thinks video games and thinks Atari 2600, she has no reason to be debating them on television.

Also, where was Geoff Keighley at the end? Why didn't they let him talk with the panel? Cooper was talking with them. Did Geoff get annoyed and leave?

Fox news is the biggest pile of shit on T.V these days >_>.

Fox News... ---

stopped reading right there.

All the news treats games this way. Stop being a biased liberal nut Game Politics or at least do a better job of controlling your bullshit partisan attacks and "Fox News is the devil" rants.

@ Pochoski

But other people do watch it. Those people need to have the record corrected just like anyone else.

Does anyone really expect anything better from Faux News?

Hey Unpartisan

Fox got it wrong. Should they be ignored untill CNN gets it wrong, all in the name of fairness?

Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me that, based on the way she took the "sex scenes" out of context of the overall story, she would take the "fake orgasm" scene from Harry Met Sally and claim Meg Ryan was being raped in a Public place and that no one cared because men only see women as "sex objects".

It is, after all, the same. Take an intimate love scene out of ANY story, no matter the medium used, and it can be described the way she decribed the ones in Mass Effect.

And the male Panelist's description of Luke Skywalker and an erotic movie is as ignorant as trying to link the revelation of Luke Skywalker and Leia as advocating incest, ignoring the fact that they didn't know they were related earlier on.

NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

LOL Cooper isn't much of a relationship expert, despite her doctorate. Her radio show consists mostly of Celebrity Gossip. Her show is webcast live 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM EST on The alternate website for her show is

If you want her to make her show interesting email:

That's one of her Radio Show's producers, not to mention he answers the phones for the show.

I forgot Chad likes correct Cooper on stuff on air.

I watch Fox News religiously and listen to Fox News Radio in the car. I can't stand CNN or MSNBC because of the liberal idiots like Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann. Anyways, I do think that when Martha got off of the teleprompter she was a little more sensible, but yeah, they didn't represent this game as it truly is at all, making it seem like the moment you put the disc into your 360 it forces you to watch a full sex scene. In fact, if you're a kid, you're probably not gonna want to deal with the cutscenes and talking to crewmembers and you'll just focus on the action scenes, so most kids would probably avoid the sex scene altogether. Fox definitely dropped the ball on this one, but I'm still going to continue enjoying what Fox News has to offer.

That's my two cents.

I meant to address "Unbiased" a few posts ago. My mistake.

wow, she doesn't even appear to have a wikipedia page. I guess it doesn't take much to be an "expert" on the 24 hour news channels these days...

You know what makes me want to resort to violence? not games, not movies, but crap like this. I hear them blab on about all this stuff in the game, when they haven't even played it, and only say CLIPS of a 30+ hour game. that is like saying "oh I hate chocolate.." "have you ever had chocolate?" "no, but I saw a wrapper of a chocolate bar and I think it looks gross"... because that is all they see, a small part of something that isn't even the main subject of tha game, nor is it even a fraction of what the game really is. Every stupid lie and fabrication I hear spill out of their filthy lying faces just throws me into an inner rage. And it isn't even just this game, its with everything. that is the problem with alot of these news shows and 24 hour news shows. they get shit thrown at them and they want to be the first to brodcast it, so they just throw whatever they find on the screen. if it is correct or not is a non-issue, all they care about is being the first to say it so they can claim "first in news!" to get higher ratings. Not to mention most of these shows are politically bias, which has been true for some time, but real news should be unbias... unfortunatly that may never happen, you can only hope to hear all the sides and judge for yourself.

It's incredible that Keighley kept such composure...were it me, i would have laughed lawrence off the set.

Probably a good thing they don't call me.
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