Cooper Lawrence: "I Misspoke" about Mass Effect

January 26, 2008 -
The pop psychologist and author who so enraged the gaming community this week with her condescending attitude and false characterizations of BioWare's Mass Effect has 'fessed up to the New York Times.

Cooper Lawrence made her comments to the NYT's Seth Schiesel, who writes of the gaming community's intense reaction to Lawrence's Monday appearance on Fox News' Live Desk. From the article:
The Internet hath no fury like a gamer scorned...

Bound by global message boards, blogs, chat rooms and of course the games themselves, gamers are perhaps the single most intense subculture on the Internet — fiercely protective of their pastime and at ease with the byways of cyberspace...

Irate gamers have flooded the page on selling Ms. Lawrence’s most recent book, “The Cult of Perfection: Making Peace With Your Inner Overachiever,” sending its user-generated rating into oblivion... Many of the reviewers admit that they have not read Ms. Lawrence’s book.

Lawrence told Schiesel:
I recognize that I misspoke. I really regret saying that, and now that I’ve seen the game and seen the sex scenes it’s kind of a joke.

Before the show I had asked somebody about what they had heard, and they had said it’s like pornography. But it’s not like pornography. I’ve seen episodes of ‘Lost’ that are more sexually explicit.

Meanwhile, BioWare CEO Ray Muzyka told Schiesel:
We’re hurt. We believe in video games as an art form, and on behalf of the 120 people who poured their blood and tears into this game over three years, we’re just really hurt that someone would misrepresent the game without even playing it. All we can hope for is that people who actually play our games will see the truth.

GP: We're delighted to see that Cooper Lawrence has come clean. But we'd also like to know exactly how the Mass Effect beat-down was orchestrated by Fox News. As GamePolitics demonstrated in an earlier case regarding Halo 3, another pyschologist was briefed on what to say just before air time (see: How Fox Morning Show Sensationalized the Halo-in-Church Issue). Did something similar take place in this case?

So far we've received no answers to three questions we posed to Lawrence earlier this week:

1.) Did Fox News brief you on the game, and to what extent?

2.) Were you instructed by Fox News to adopt a position critical of the game for the program?

3.) What study from the University of Maryland are you referring to in your comments?


Yeah im with Deyth, and for anyone else who wants to do the same, you can leave a neg review at this address:

Her email:

And her Myspace page:

At this point I don't see why angry gamers shouldn't bash her books on Amazon without reading them. At least when we are asked if we read the book we can say "No" in a way that's not insanely condescending. And we won't even call her "darlin'."

"You're right Ms. Lawrence, I didn't read your books. Someone told me they sucked and there was a new study out by the University of Maryland that said chick lit merged with pop psychology isn"t terribly good."

Fine, fine, we shouldn't be bitter. There should be more repercussions to her career than gamers saying apology accepted, though. She could at least apologize on Fox News and see if she can't get the rest of those idiots to join in.

What I still want to know is why the ESA has done NOTHING about the rampant media sensationalism over videogames. EA should not have had to act unilaterally.

The games industry owes its audience A TON- gamers seem to spend more energy fighting the ESAs' public perception battles than they do...

"Misspoke"? How about lied?

The least she could do was admit that it was a lie. When you misspeak, you don't portray yourself as an expert and act like you know all about the game. Hopefully, at the very least, Mass Effect will be behind us now.

Yeah, good on her on apologising (despite the obvious motives behind her doing so being financial, and to stop the flaming).
It's a shame it takes a Nerd-Rush to make people apologise for lying and pandering to commercial tub thumping, in the name of a quick buck.

Still I'd say cool it on sending her any more negative reviews. It just makes us look bad, and like vindictive children.
She's best now forgotten amongst the rest of the media hacks and idiots.
Game over.

Sorry about the double post...

I also feel Cooper Lawrence deserves absolutely no sympathy- if she had ANY integrity she would have refused to come on the show to speak about something she knew NOTHING about.

All she wanted was exposure which makes her an ATTENTION WHORE.

In addition, her blatant man-hating feminism (the fixer-upper man?) also demonstrates she is no better than a garden variety bigot. Would a white supremasist (sp?) ever get on the air? Man-hating feminists are no different.

If this is true I cant blame her entirley but what Faux News did was just downright lying.

Ah. Sweet justification. It's so genuinely rare to see internet outrage affect more mainstream media.

SO she admits she goes on television and talks about things of which she knows nothing? That's some professional integrity you got there...

I'm really curious about what school she is supposed to be getting her degree from that a)is so easy that she has all this time to appear on television and not do things like, you know, study, teach classes, or work in the campus health center. As a phd student (not in psychology) I know I have these things called responsibilities that would prevent me from being the attention whore she seems to have devoted herself to being. Moreover, I'm curious as to what school would see her on television using her academic credentials to lie and not be a bit concerned.

Yeah I would like to see her go back on that show and renege her statements on air, a different audiance watches Fox News than the one that reads the New York Times, she needs to tell the truth to the same people she lied to, otherwise it's like running over someone in your car and apologizing to someone else.

I think this is another example of Fox Noise setting up a person who doesn't know anything and was handed false information.

I wonder how IGN feels.They're paid by the same person who pays the employees of Fox News.

At least she gave up that crap. Hope the next pseudo-expert think twice before to spit any crap like this again.

Cooper really made a mock of herself, and I really hope more people learn from this. If you don´t like children to play videogames, at least don´t lie.

While coming clean is certainly commendable, she should still be ashamed for having acted the way she did. She took something someone told her, and acted like she was the expert who had played the game and knew all about the situation. That's what an "expert" is supposed to do.

But then again, having experts comment on crap they know nothing about other than what they were briefed on 5 minutes before the show is typical 24-hour news channel BS. So I'm not surprised.

Hopefully she's learned her lesson, and takes from this not that gamers shouldn't be messed with, but that relying on Fox's talking points as your sources of information is just asking for trouble, because it assumes that Fox has done their research... which they clearly haven't.

And if it turns out the facts are complete bull, it's the "expert" who ends up embarrassed for looking like an out of touch tool, not the minimum-wage researcher who was given 5 minutes to write up the talking points, or the marketer who edited said talking points to ensure the discussion was as fiery as possible.

oh how i love vendettas and how they always bring out the guilty

i can pretty much guarantee this apology is because of the Amazon-slamming she took.

sometimes to get someone's attention you have to hit them in the pocketbook.

good that she apologized, would be better if she made a full retraction on the same news show.

For true recompense, Ms. Lawrence should donate the fee that she received for appearing as an "expert" on the show, to a game charity such as Child's Play. And in the future not accept the offer to appear as an "expert" unless she has the time required to fully research the topic in question.

The outrage was rightous, but there are too many people resorting to unprofessional means (Amazon-slamming). For crying out loud, grow up and take a more direct stand.

And for some people to encourage the continued harassment after shes given her apology (albeit to the wrong audience)... Those who would argue against us think we're childish. Quit justifying said belief.

Always good to hear an apology over this sort of thing.

No point in bothering her any further; Fox News is the real problem here.

And as always, WE get the last laugh. Divine retribution.

One other thing:

As infuriating as false news reports can be, it's important to remember that speaking out of ignorance is not the same as lying.

When Lawrence tries to ad lib her way through a topic she isn't prepared for, that's different from, say, Bill O'Reilly deliberately misquoting his own guests. You end up with a false statement either way, but one's more benign than the other.

Of course, either way, journalists have a responsibility to get it right — but it's clear that Fox News has no interest in getting it right, never has, and Lawrence is small fry compared to that.

Don't be like the one obsessive, creepy guy who's still spamming Kevin McCullough. The anger directed at McCullough and Lawrence has made all the difference it's going to. Let Fox News know what you think of them.

Wow. I didn't think that would work, but since it did...

*cue Final Fantasy fanfare*

Pay attention to what Orange Soda says above though; this fight is over. Fox News is the main boss of this stage; Cooper Lawrence is now someone who we'll hopefully be able to look back at and say "she was just a poor NPC in the beast's control, but we freed her by hitting her with our swords".

...that didn't come out like I wanted, but hopefully you get the idea.

OMG! She even admitted she's seen worse on prime time tv!

A joke indeed. Fox News is a joke. You are a joke.

As for "fiercely protective". Of course we are. For years (decades?) gamers have been portrayed as immature children trapped in adult bodies and reports like the one in Fox News are the norm, not the exception, in mainstream media. Any group portrayed in that manner by the mainstream media will naturally become "fiercely protective".

Wow, This news made my morning. I didn't see this coming...

Anyway, I agree that it's time to let her go and rip "Faux News" a new one. But uh...

About what Orange Soda said, I personally thing the Amazon bash was reasonable. At least the ones that didn't wish death upon her and just cussed her out. No, the more "mature" responses did more justice. I believe it was a good way to make our voices heard... Besides, even if this confirms this "childish" belief, Honestly...these come from the same people who games rise the crime rates in this country. I bet most of 'em think it contributes to global warming. >_>

Although, I believe the Amazon bash can stop now. Considering the fact that this'll be as good of an apology we'll get.

"And as always, WE get the last laugh. Divine retribution."

No we didn't. I'm still not laughing. It's fine and great that Lawrence said she was sorry after the Amazon thing, but the problem will continue as long as people like her will continue putting themselves up as puppets for Fox News. If these experts would just refuse to appear on the air and speak against a subject with no research for the sake of their professional status this would not be happening.

So there. Call me immature. I still blame Cooper Lawrence. She deserves a harsher punishment and to be made an example against the lack of integrity that's running rampant in the media today. Keep in mind this isn't limited to just video games either.

She got off easy.

I'm happy that she came clean, but it I don't think everyone who watched that FOX News segment will read the NYT artical, so we still have a large amount of viewers who still believe falsely about Mass Effect.

In all fairness, Fox News isn't the only news organization that has stretched the truth or outright lied. CNN recently did an interview with John Cena over steroids in the WWE. They edited the interview to make it look like Cena admitted to doing steroids.

Regardless, the conservative bias of Fox is yet another indicator that the christian right has firmly set their sights on games. I'm suprised there haven't been church-organized what they did with Beatles records back in the day.

@ jccalhoun graduate student

I agree with you, I'm an psych undergrad working in a psych lab with grad students and I can tell you they don't have time to host a TV show, sometimes much less for anything else, but school.

However, there are some schools that allow part-time grad studies, so Cooper Lawrence is highly likely to be a part-timer. I wonder what her grad supervisor/advisor thinks of her right now... Unless she's doing a Psy. D and not a PhD... which could make a difference.

Anyways, I'm still waiting for the Maryland study so I could comment on it.

Great, now they're gonna go after Lost.

Anyone else heard the Final fantasy victory music? Anyone..? Just me then?

Well let this be a lesson to so called "experts" that don't know what they are talking about when it comes to video games.

I doubt she would have apologized if her book hadn't been spammed with one star ratings.

My thoughts exactly Xsorus.

When I read the title and then half way through the artical. I couldn't help to think she's more reacting to her book then to the gamers.

One more person who now knows to not go out of their way to insult a very, very rapidly growing part of the population.

Still, she at least tried to apologize, so that puts her above most of the people who insult games for no reason.

Damn, first McCullough and now her,

Gamers are getting the victories now, fter so long of talking to brick wall thompson its good to get some fresh air.

I'm very happy that she has apologised after looking into the matter, now we need to go gung ho for fox and get in a finishing move, the ball is in EAs court.

This, if it generates enough publicity can be a real turning point for respect for games, becoming self-consciouss of alarmist propoganda is something that is very hard to undo and can turn a lot of heads in our favour.

Wow, it's almost like our book review retaliation got her attention and actually worked. Good thing no one listened to those on this site that were up on their soapbox preaching that leaving negative reviews were beneath us as a community.

X-Play did a story aimed at her today. This is the link:

Oh, God, I'm waiting for some network news channel to pick this up. I can just imagine all the anchors making fun of her, saying "Oh, yeah, I 'was told' that TV's are great for psychiatric stress as well" and them all laughing into oblivion.

That's it? Three sentences in the NY Times? Thanks for the apology but I still want her to go on the air with the people that she spoke with on the show and recant those remarks. We all know a majority of Fox 'News' watchers don't read.

This just proves that so-called experts should keep to their field. She's not really sorry she blatantly lied on national tv about something that she was completely ignorant about. She should recant her statements in the same forum where she said them, and then explain why and how she came to make her wild accusations. I'm sure the rest of you are just as sick as I am of people with absolutely no experience in gaming being trotted out by the news as experts on games. EA has the money, I'd like to see them drag FOX into court over this. Why is it that complete retards like Jack Thompson can tie up the judicial system with repeated frivolous lawsuits, but when people blatantly lie about their products, the GameCo's just sit back and politely ask for apologies. Hey guys, time to stop being sniveling nerds and fight back! This shit won't stop 'til you do something to hold those behind it responsible.

While I do agree that she should go on air with some sort of apology or whatnot, I'm pretty damn sure the uppers wouldn't allow such a waste of airtime for something they would deem to not be important enough (much less showing their silly "report on things even if it's not true" tactics), just the fact it is on record is enough of a victory to me.
On the other hand, as juvenile as it is to bash her on amazon just from this scenario (smile), it would be a nugget of sweet yak teat if we could affect FOX itself for ultimately being responsible for this to occur on its network.

Still though, victory marks for us, small though they seem, are still progress!

I still think we should take her down. I won't be happy until the only way she can make money is to sell her mouth for crack.

This is somewhat good news. I wonder if there is a way to go after Fox the same way people went after Cooper Lawrence (looks over the shoulder and starts staring at in a dramatic movie kind of style).

I really doubt she complained to amazon about it, that amount of negative reviews in such a short amount of time probably would trigger some sort of security device sites like that use to help prevent false ratings.

J C -

Did you see the roundtable portion of the clip? It's considerably worse then the interview. GP has gone after MSNBC when they've had J. Thompson on. It's not a 'left/right' thing, it's a 'FOXNews blatantly and knowingly' lied thing.


Much like Kevin McCullough, now that she has issued an apology, let her fade back into obscurity.

MSNBC, come from mostly the AP. That and it's joint venture from Microsoft, Microsoft would not let a subsadary bash its self.

Nice. Although I don't think her apology means squat. Basically she saw that she had endangered sales of her book (which was just released this month) and knew that she had to do SOMETHING to try to save it.

Just goes to show, the way to make sure no one gets away with this stupid behaviour is to punch them in the wallet.

Just because Ms. Lawrence has recanted her statement in a small article on the NY Times does not mean that we should cut her some slack. I say we should continue the push just to see what, if any, results can we generate. Or at least we should remain ever vigilant in our fight to project our art, our games, and our community from further slander by both politicians and journalists. This includes bombarding the Clinton campaign with e-mails, and calls about gamer's rights. If nothing else, this would let those people know that we are no longer a silent community, and that we do vote, pay our taxes, and mobilize to protect our interests.

OH and where the hell was the ECA in all of this?

I am glad that she has admitted to her wrong doing.

So we have learned that to stop people from lying about games we need to get them early. With McCallaugh and now with Cooper we got them early and they were able to learn how wrong they were.

The true measure of our power of influence will be if we could get the likes of Yee and Thompson to admit they were wrong.

But they are at the point that anything we do is just fuel for their agendas.

She didn't misspeak. She didn't do her research, just like all the other morons at Fox News. *waits for some idiot to go after Metroid because you can see Samus out of her Power Suit and in a bikini*

I'm glad to hear that she apologized but I have no faith that she did it for any other reason than for damage control. If the woman had any integrity, she wouldn't have made her slanderous appearance in the first place. Sorry, no change in my view of her.
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