Report: Fox News Host Talks Mass Effect on Yesterday's Show

January 29, 2008 -
We didn't catch yesterday's Live Desk program on Fox News, but a sharp-eyed GamePolitics reader wrote in to tell us that host Martha MacCallum made mention of the Mass Effect debacle. From the e-mail we received: 
Martha MacCallum just wrapped up today's Live Desk with Cooper Lawrence's quote from the New York Times.

GP: That would be Ms. Lawrence's admission to the NYT's Seth Schiesel that she was totally winging it with her inaccurate remarks about Mass Effect...
Martha also reiterated that they had invited "Microsoft, BioWare, and EA" to appear on the show.

Still no apology [from Fox News]... I thought it was pretty dirty that they're letting Cooper take the fall. Personally, I feel that Martha's comments on the game BEFORE the debate/interviews were trend-setting, and Cooper was brought on with a pre-existing mindset that Fox planted.

GP: Agreed - and thanks for sending that in!

UPDATE: G4 has a transcript of Martha MacCallum's comments:
Last week we aired a segment about a video game called Mass Effect.  There has been some criticism from the gaming community about the segment – on Friday, Cooper Lawrence who was the guest who spoke-out against the game, had this to say in an interview with the New York Times:
 
(MacCallum reading Lawrence’s comments from Jan. 26th NYT article): “I recognize that I misspoke. I really regret saying that, and now that I have seen the game and seen the sex scenes, its kind of a joke.  Before the show I had asked somebody about what they had had heard, and they had said its like pornography.  But its not like pornography.  I’ve seen episodes of ‘Lost’ that are more sexually explicit.”
 
MacCallum:  That from Cooper Lawrence in the New York Times.
 
MacCallum:  Again, we are inviting a representative from Microsoft, or BioWare or EA, the creators and distributors of this game for an interview with me, on this show to give their perspective of this story...

Comments

Re: Report: Fox News Host Talks Mass Effect on Yesterday's Show

That's the trouble with office desks personalities... You never know when they will "blow up". Be careful... Ticking bomb walking...

I would like to see a video of this. But from what it sounds like, and I agree with those who have stated it, they are using Cooper as the fall guy, the patsy. They still refuse to take the blame themselves.

This may be the closest we will get to an apology and a retraction from Fox News, so savor it while you can.

Fox probably thinks they can milk this for ratings, so I wouldn't expect an apology any time soon.

I do feel bad that Cooper Lawerance is being made to take the fall for Fox, but she does deserve some of the blame. Fox did not make her say the things she said. If she was so concerned about integrity, she would have said she didn't know enough about the subject to comment or refused to take part in the "debate".

Why was she even used as an expert in this debacle? With books like "Been there, done that, kept the Jewelry" and "The Fixer-upper Man: Turn Mr. Maybe into Mr. Right in Five Easy Steps" what possible knowledge could she contribute to any topic on video games? Actually, with those books, it makes her comments about video games making women look like property and objects of sexual desire ironic.

Long story short. Forgive Cooper, but don't forget what she said or that she was wrong. Hold Fox responsible for its lies and slander and demand an apology and retraction.

they need to admit they were wrong, not pass the blame.

Time to step this up.

Here's a link to a pro-Ron Paul website that has lots of Fox News internal phone numbers, as well as phone numbers of Fox News sponsers.

http://nyletterpress.wordpress.com/2008/01/02/ron-paul-fox-phone-blitz/

Also, heres a link to "The Live Desk" (the show that picked up the Mass Effect story) on wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Live_Desk

Ms Lawrence messed up and made a sacrifice. She'll have more books and be fine, but now Fox's credibility has been damaged for it's "experts". And she isn't the first person to say that she was given information before a broadcast. Now, Fox can't reasonably come out and say, "Ok, we made some of that stuff up," or, "Well, a guy we really trust told us it was porn." This would do even more permanant damage, so they can hardly be blamed for trying to salvage this situation by addressing it as little as possible, just like EA, Bioware, and Microsoft. Too much involvement by these companies could result in more damage in the future, but Mr Haplin made the right move, and the ESA could step up, but they most likely have more important issues right now. And we have no business forgiving Ms Lawrence or Fox News, that lies with Bioware and, to a lesser extent, EA.

Of course, I hope Fox still has plenty of trouble over this. Hopefully it will help prevent lies being told as fact in the future.

MacBoy = JT?

I would like to see EA/Bioware on Fox news, personally.

Still too stubborn to admit when you're wrong, eh? Good ol unbiased fox news.

Maybe this is Fox's version of an olive branh, to entice Bioware, MS & EA onto the show?

As other's have said: "It's a trap!" Still, that said, forwarned is foremarmed, so maybe evasive action isn't required.

*forewarned *forearmed

Fox is a complete joke and a pit of hypocrites and morons.

there not goign to apologize yet,they can run this for out for a eek or2!

I'd love to see EA and Bioware shove Fox's foot in it's mouth. That'd be fun to watch.

I feel a little bad for Cooper Lawrence now. Us gamers totally rip into her over her comments, and finally she realizes her mistake, apologises and now Fox New is trying to make her the fall guy despite them being the ones who led Cooper Lawrence into saying those things by making claims of it's non-existent "explicit full digital nudity". Sure, she's to blame for not doing any research herself, but obviously Fox coaxed her into saying those things by lying to her about the content of the game. They deserve most of the blame, especially with their idiotic panel, save for the last guy.

If they keep hanging their "experts" out to dry like this, maybe then people will stop going on Fox News pretending to be experts on matters they have never even researched!

Probably not, thought. People will say anything for publicity!

yes, I agree about poor Cooper. At least she came out and said she was wrong.

We'll be saying more about this...

[...] Now there is no transcript or video but apparently Fox News has decided to make Cooper the patsy. __________________ The Idealist www.ezknight.net My Blog (Newest Entry: Jan 23, 2008) [...]

And may this serve as a warning to all the so-called 'experts' who agree to go and read an opinion from a sheet of paper supplied by Faux News.

You feeling sorry for Cooper Lawrence? Are you farqing kidding me? Simple question, would she have apologized if her book wasn't Amazon Bombed? She was willing to go on Fox News as an expert in a field she hasn't done any research in and condemn a game she hasn't even seen and even went to far as to belittle the only sensible person on the debate with comments like "darling" and she's the victim?

Look, Fox News is evil in this, yes. But don't let Cooper Lawrence off the hook when she hasn't even apologized, she merely acknowledged she was wrong. And once again, would she have made that statement and looked into it if gamers didn't proactively attack her pocketbook? She is a shallow, petty bitch who saw some backlash attacking the credibility she needs to peddle her wares across the daytime television circuit and she quelled the backlash.

First of all - in the last article it said Fox News HAS invited EA - as in, present tense, the invite was extended right now, after the interview, so EA could debate the claims. Now they say they HAD invited EA - as in, past tense, before the interview, so they could take actual part in the slanderfest.
Simple verb tenses, Fox News. Learn 'em.

As for Cooper, perhaps she can take solace in the fact that the people who'd buy her books and otherwise listen to her may not care too much about her views on video games, and the gamers paying attention to this fiasco know that it's not entirely her fault and she's largely taking the fall for Fox.

Granted, that does beg the question of how much Cooper knew prior to agreeing to be on the show. If she knew she was arguing against a game she had no knowledge of prior to agreeing then I've no sympathy for her at all, but if she agreed and then Fox told her, moments before the interview, that she needed to argue against (nonexistant) pornographic games then it's Fox's doing. And quite a nasty bit of trickery that is, too, slandering the game and otherwise promoting your own views through someone else so that no one can actually blame you for the statements.

@ Benji

I imagine that they called her and told her that they needed "expert" comments for a program. It's likely that they didn't tell her what she would be talking about until right before the show. The producers have all the control over these segments and they will intentionally keep people in the dark or feed them false information in order to create their version of the "truth." Odds are that she didn't even know she was going to be arguing about a game until right before the show.

The real bullshit is that Fox invited EA to come on to discuss their claims even though the claims made by Fox are objectively, verifiably false. Any professional news service would immediately issue a retraction and an apology over such grievous errors proving, once again, that Fox News is not a news channel.

EA should pull all News Corp advertising and sue Fox News.

I think Fox could do with a bit of a lawsuit from EA, if you catch my drift. Something about slander and libel and stupidity.

You know, let's all just look at the credits and find their email addresses so we can send our "courtesy" there. As TF2's Soldier would say GIVE 'EM HELL BOYS!

It's very rare for Fox News to admit there wrong >_>.

I think this'll be the end of it. Someone takes the fall, and no one else will discard their pride and admit ignorance.

Weirdest thing about this whole deal?
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,314541,00.html

Back in December, Fox News's website posted a favorable review of Mass Effect. Their own guy played the game and pretty much said it was awesome.

Weird.

Fox News. We're not a real news channel so why apologize?

There's no mention of this story on http://www.foxnews.com/livedesk/

Her wikipedia page is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_MacCallum

Yeah, Cooper's lack of knowledge in the gaming field did strike me as odd. Perhaps Fox simply keeps a sharp eye out for people who are charismatic, have enough credentials to be considered an expert in something, and are willing to say whatever Fox puts in front of them. Which is probably more people than you'd like to think. If Cooper's trying to make it in the world by selling her books, she wants money and publicity and a spot on Fox News would provide both of those. That, and she may well have been grossly misinformed about the matter at hand. Pornographic games shouldn't be given to kids (at least I would agree to that) and research may very well corroborate that, but the entire show was built on the premise that Mass Effect is such a game. When the founding premise is wrong, there's not really any way the end result can be right.

@ Gameboy

QFT: Long story short. Forgive Cooper, but don’t forget what she said or that she was wrong. Hold Fox responsible for its lies and slander and demand an apology and retraction.

Can you begin to imagine what kind of tripe Fox will pull out when GTA4 comes out? They will have all kinds of faux "experts" weighing in on it- most of all who are proven liars.

It makes me sick just thinking about it...

@Austin Lewis and others calling for a lawsuit: The practicality of such a lawsuit has been debated for a while here, and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't fly.
-Fox didn't attack the game. They paid Cooper to do it for them.
-Cooper's already apologized. Even if you wanted to go after her, it'd be a douche move on EA/Bioware's part - and EA doesn't typically have that much goodwill to spend.
-The most questionable statement made is that Mass Effect has sexually explicit material - which it does. Kind of. Some very puritanical but reasonable people might find the material highly inappropriate, and Fox wanted to warn those people about said inappropriate game. It sounds like a flimsy argument, but it's good enough to withstand a defamation lawsuit.
And honestly, that's a good thing. Game critics should be allowed to criticize games without fear of lawsuit. If this is legally considered slander, then it's not much of a stretch to suggest that saying Manhunt 2 is nothing but grotesque, senseless, and disgustingly graphic violence is also slander.

Yes, Dennis, you are right. This is a huge conspiracy and Fox News is trying to brainwash us all.

Oh, and that was sarcasm.

Looks like Fox News is eating their young.

Incredible that anyone still wants to go on air with them.

@Zerodash

I can.

First, we'll hear watchdog groups screaming to give it an AO rating. Then, all news media will give their bullsh- er I mean unbiased take on the game. Wait, why does that sound familiar?

@Zerodash

I can.

First, we'll hear all the watchdog groups threatening the ESRB to give it an AO rating. Then, all the news outlets will give their bullsh- er I mean unbiased report on the game. Wait, why does that sound so familiar?

Why aren't my posts showing up?

 EZK: Fixed that for you.

I'm just glad we got some sort of retraction on the show. The NYT article was nice, but now the regular Fox News will see that they were *waaaay* off base in their comments.

I also think it would be good for EA/Bioware to go on with them. Yes, it might be a trap, but they now have both the NYT article and Fox's retraction of the comments to back themselves up. They can now get up and talk about the misperceptions and lies surrounding games, rather than defending themselves constantly about "alleged" content in them.

They have a chance to expose the bias for what it is.

Here's a humorous little tidbit...I did a search of the foxnews.com website for "Mass Effect", and came up with several links to articles that described Mass Effect as one of the year's best Sci-Fi video games:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,314541,00.html

While I understand that the two evaluations of the game may be mutually exclusive (one as the "best" and one as the "porniest") and this article wasn't actually written by Faux News staff, it still strikes a note of irony in my mind. All Lawrence had to do was read Faux News' own website to realize that maybe the position that she'd been asked to take was questionable.

Faux News dropped the ball on this one, true (although I have to wonder if they every had a ball to drop in the first place...they've dropped so many already). However, I can't say that I feel a bit sorry for Ms. Lawrence, as it was her responsibility to do the research before opening her pie hole. Unfortunately, this is probably the most we'll ever see out of Faux in the way of a retraction or apology, but at least they admitted in perhaps an offhand way that their reporting was inaccurate and evidence-free. Maybe that will turn at least a few gaping-mouthed Faux-cult followers into questioners...maybe?

There is a video of this segment on youtube :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc_FlnjYkTg

Neither Fox nor Lawrence really apologized. Cooper Lawrence admitted that she was wrong about the game, but only because gamers were bombing her new book with one star reviews on Amazon. She never apologized to EA or BioWare. Martha MacCallum and Fox News, being the stubborn little ignoramuses they are, are more than happy to place the blame on Cooper Lawrence. Somehow, I doubt we'll ever hear an admission of wrong (much less an apology) from Fox. Oh, well. Hopefully this whole thing might damage their credibility as a "Fair and Balanced" news group.

Cooper Lawrence is the messenger, and Fox is letting people shoot the messenger.

[...] One down! Still nothing from Fox, except an offer to appear on one of their shows, and an apparent willingness to let Cooper take the heat for them. Meanwhile, Entertainment Consumer’s Association has called for a retract of the story. [...]

@ rumsey:
yes.

First of all, Cooper Lawrence did NOT apologize, she retracted her statements. An apology generally has the words, "I'm sorry" involved in it somehow. No apology, no mercy. Bioware deserves a public apology for this disgrace. I feel bad that it appears she was set up by Fox News, but she needs to come clean on this.

Second of all, it would be cool to see her get married to Anderson Cooper.

@Sheppy - My feelings exactly.

Speaking as a PR person, if I was Cooper, I would do some interviews both in print and of TV and blow the shit storm back at Fox. I would explain preair coaching, tainted environment, angle focus, talking points -etc... Then let's see if Fox tries to sue her for slander and libel. EA and or MS should be talking with her now - secretly of course. As pretty as she is she would make for a nice "innocent" victim is this whole torrid affair. Hell she could even get a second book out of it all if she spins it correctly.

Spartan and William, good to know some people can see her "apology" for what it was. "Oh shit, they are attacking my bottom line, better say something quick."

If she was really sorry, she would apologize to Bioware, EA, and Microsoft. She would explain what research she was referring to or more importantly, where this "study that came out of Maryland" came from. This isn't her field, where would she have access to such a study from? Sounding like Bartley all over again. And most importantly, she should apologize to Geoff Keighly for her blatantly unethical debate practices displayed there.

Unfortunately, she has done NONE of these things. All she has done is said she was mislead on Mass Effect, attacked Fox programming, and simply laughed it off. She pretended to be an expert with zero knowledge of what she was talking about and got caught. So she retracted her statement and tried to push the blame towards Fox.

It's simple, people. If a child stands up in class and reads a letter handed to him by his classmate and says "The teacher is a douchebag guzzling whore," does this child suddenly get off the hook because the other student told them to say it? Regardless of who told them to say it, he said it.

[...] Source: Report: Fox News Host Talks Mass Effect on Yesterday’s Show Bookmark it: [...]
 
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