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

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…

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  1. 0
    Untouchable ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I agree with you on this, She can just play the victim in this for a while and appear on another news station and attack Fox news for using so-called experts who know nothing on the material. Boom, instant PR.

    Also agreeing with you that she is quite attractive.

  2. 0
    Wil Wheaton says:

    So she went on a national network to speak in some sort of expert capacity, and she didn’t have any idea what she was talking about? This woman should be shamed out of public discourse.

    And EA, Bioware, Microsoft, and everyone else shouldn’t dignify Fox News with any response.

  3. 0
    Spartan says:

    Does anyone else get the impression that Fox News is treating Ms. Lawrence like she is a five dollar back alley crack whore and Ms. MacCallum is was just pimping her?

    I so want Ms. Lawrence to do the victim spin against Fox News. She could get so much PR mileage out of this situation it is not even funny. Just imagine her book reviews after a few news cycles.

    I’m telling you it will work wonders for her. Shoot she would get asked on all the talk shows because of the cool factor due to the tech aspect of video games, the filth that is Fox, the twists & lies, her sexy looks, and most importantly the payback.

  4. 0
    Luke says:

    Wow. Guys. Someone disses a game we like and we go effin’ nuts over it? I have no idea why this particular event is so important to everyone. People have been bashing video games since the mid ’80s and, honestly, why haven’t I seen this kind of reaction against Hilary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi when they ACTIVELY attempt to legislate the demise of games like ME? Why waste your time castigating Cooper and Fox for their “opinion” when the real enemy (those who want to actually prevent M-rated games from being created) is given a free pass.

    I would like to hope that we gamers are a little more astute than what the non-gaming community gives us credit for.

  5. 0
    Gift ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hmmm this is just apologising without actually taking responsibility for being wrong.

    Give Cooper Lawrence her due, at least she admitted to making a mistake. I guess Fox values the illusion of fidelity over actually being honest… Ah well I don’t watch it, or any other Murdoch channelsfor that matter, no skin off my nose.


  6. 0
    Zerodash ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    What the hell do they mean “perspective on the story”? The fact is Fox lied about the content of the game- its not a matter of perspective. How hard is it to admit you were wrong and sensationalized the story? I thought the bible had crap in it about lying being bad. The conservatives running Fox certainly aren’t living up to their so-called “standards”…

  7. 0
    ConstantNeophyte ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ go fish

    Haha, no hard feelings aye? I was just being a Dick. I might get a PS3 when they get more games I want and when they come down in price a bit (I’m not going to get a crappy nerfed one).

  8. 0
    ConstantNeophyte ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ MR.B

    Yeah, I agree with Spartan on this. We need an easier way to voice our anger at fox.

    I just looked at their “Community” something tells me that it only exists as Fox’s fan service to themselves.

  9. 0
    MR.B says:


    You made a good point. It’s just one of the many options that I’m considering. But there needs to be a way to channel that energy used in those one star reviews.

  10. 0
    Spartan says:

    Too much time and effort would have to be invested in doing something like that for most people to seriously consider it as a viable option. Moreover lots of collateral damage to innocent people would also transpire and that would make us out to be the bad guys to the general public and give News Corp a justification to change things at our expense so to speak and blame us for any number of things on the backside. I see nothing but downside for us pursing such a course of action.

    I said it before and I’ll say it again the industry needs to man-up and step-up and do the right thing on behalf of its consumers.

  11. 0
    MR.B says:


    Thanks for the positive remark. You said something interesting a few posts back. “We should be focusing our rage on Fox.” You made a pretty good point. The real question is how are gamers attack Fox like they attacked Cooper Lawrence? I might have figured it out.

    I remember a few months back ago that American Idol’s ratings keep droping due to the continued sucess of contestant “Sanjaya Malikar” (and boy did the ratings droped). Everyone was talking about how such a crappy singer stayed on the show. Even judge Simon Cowell was threating how he was going to leave the show if Sanjaya won. There was many theories on why he remained on the show.

    The most credible theory was that there is a online movement centered around geting the show canceled by constantly getting the worst singer to win American Idol. The main website behind this was

    Now you are wondering, “What this has to do with your idea?”.
    The main reason I metioned American Idol is that Fox News does not have a book of it’s own on Amazon. What if we can harness that same energy that was used in attacking Cooper Lawence’s book ratings and use it to torpedo American Idol’s ratings by having the worst singer win American Idol? It all depends on how many people can we get to “vote for the worst”. It could work, the gamers are still VERY pissed off at Fox. The “vote for the worst” message would have to go viral in order to work. But that in its self could be very easy to do seeing how many people posted one star reviews of Cooper’s book after hearing it online.

    The show is going to begin the main singing contest soon, so that leaves some time to organize. If this works, the gamers can really hurt News Corp. in the wallet. News Corp. is heavily relying on the show to generate money during these rough times (slowdown in the economy, the WGA writers strike). Numbers are one of the gamers’ main strengh :)

  12. 0
    Grifter_tm ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    There’s a low probability that EA will take up Fox on this one. First off they know that Fox just wants a ratings boost and will try to milk this story for all its worth. Second, EA’ll be walking into another smear campaign, given that Fox News is Fox territory, and they know it.

  13. 0
    Dog Welder ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    In regards to the story update, Fox News is still in error in thinking that it’s the responsibility of EA or BioWare to come on their show and set the record straight. It’s the responsibility of the JOURNALIST to do this when they get the facts wrong. The position of EA is pretty clear — Fox News screwed up and got the facts wrong.

  14. 0
    Tom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ shady8x

    Fox “News” is at fault. It’s their responsibility to choose their sources and validate the information that is reported on their network.

    What they do isn’t journalism, it’s bullshit. A real journalist or a real news network would ensure that the person acting as an “expert” has verifiable credentials. Fox “News” doesn’t do that, they just find someone who’s looking for publicity and who’s charismatic.

    They’re basically saying that rather then do any of the real work that is a journalist’s trade they will instead just present sources to the audience. That’s crap and they need to be taken to task for what they’re doing.

    @ go fish

    Welcome to the field! I hate to be the one to break this to you but it’s all corrupt. The trick is to find the least corrupt organization possible and try to do something positive when you can.

  15. 0
    Gary says:

    Meh, what do you expect from the global ambulance chasers network? They make money through fear, fear that they have created in the first place. Just think about how much money they make when there’s a natural disastor or conflict. Makes me sick.

  16. 0
    MR.B says:

    (In response to the youtube clip)

    “Theres been some criticism from the gaming community about this segment”; there been “SOME CRITICISM FROM THE GAMING COMMUNITY”? Theres been a whole hell of ALOT of criticism from the gaming community to be accurate (unlike Fox News)! Underestamating us will be something they will regret.

  17. 0
    go fish says:

    ok im a learnig journalist and they are breaking part of the journalists code
    of ethics
    seek the truthe and report it….hmmmm, minimise harm (journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues has human beings deserving of respect)…what they did to BioWare was not respect, BE ACCOUNTABLE (journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers, and each other……being a lyer is not being accountable

    yes there is a code we must follow created by the Society of Profesional Journalists
    they are NOT professional

  18. 0
    ConstantNeophyte ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ shady8x

    I think the Amazon bomb was an appropriate response to her statements at the time, however, now that she has rescinded them and been smeared by Fox I really think any further attacks are just plain stupid and would make us look less like an outspoken (so to speak) demographic and more like a bunch of childish assholes.

    She’s learnt her lesson. Even if her apology was only to protect her bank balance she still got the message: do some fucking research!

    We should be focusing our rage on Fox.

  19. 0
    shady8x says:

    Cooper Lawrence is to take the blame for the whole thing…
    Some feel bad for her, I say keep the online assault on her comming for another 6 to 8 months…
    We must make it painfully obvious that becoming a lying ‘expert’ that blames everything on games… is a bad career move…

    Know if only Hillary Clinton would say how she really feels about games soon and got a similar reaction before election time and Barack beat her… It would be good for the country and no politician would ever blame anything on games ever again…

  20. 0
    sheppy says:

    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.

  21. 0
    Spartan says:

    @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.

  22. 0
    Dog_Welder ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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.

  23. 0
    William ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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.

  24. 0
    LAG (Law Abiding Gamer) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Here’s a humorous little tidbit…I did a search of the 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:,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?

  25. 0
    Doctor Proctor ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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.

  26. 0
    Sean ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    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?

  27. 0
    Sean ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    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?

  28. 0
    Benji says:

    @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.

  29. 0
    Zerodash ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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…

  30. 0
    Monkeythumbs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ 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.

  31. 0
    Benji says:

    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.

  32. 0
    Tye The Czar says:

    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!

  33. 0
    Tom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ 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.

  34. 0
    Benji says:

    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.

  35. 0
    sheppy says:

    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.

  36. 0
    Skylar ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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!

  37. 0
    Trevor McGee says:

    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.

  38. 0
    Monkeythumbs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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.

  39. 0
    Kira says:

    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.

  40. 0
    Gameboy says:

    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.

  41. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 2 ) says:

    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.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
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