Mainstream Media Shoots Self in Foot with Sensationalized Game Coverage

Watching Fox News’ recent Mass Effect hatchet job, it became immediately apparent that the network knew nothing about the game and was in fact making outrageous claims about non-existent sexual escapades.

Perhaps the most frightening thing is that when confronted with the facts afterward the network didn’t seem to care that it got the story wrong.

Perhaps it should.

Next Generation editor Colin Campbell opines that mainstream media is only hurting itself when it sensationalizes, scaremongers, and flat-out lies about video games.

The reason the [network execs and journalists haven’t] gotten with it on games is because they don’t play them; and neither does their rarefied social circle.

This is, in fact, a failure on their part because it’s not normal NOT to play games. Playing games is the thing regular people do. So when the networks start blustering about how it’s “interactivity” or “gore” or “porn” in games that does the damage, they look like idiots. And not just to some hardcore fraternity of die-hard gamers, but to millions of their viewers.

Only someone hopelessly out of touch could hold these antique opinions.

AE:  There’s no doubt that a large and significant percentage of the population plays video games but I have to wonder just how many of those gamers are familiar enough with Mass Effect to recognize that Fox’s report was full of it.

Campbell also takes news networks like Fox to task for being inconsistent in their concern for our “moral well-being.”  He points out that extreme violence and sexual imagery are commonplace on their shows and that other forms of media such as books, music, and movies are not being held to the same standard as games.

All of the above media businesses are self-regulated with rules in place that attempt to prevent the wrong people seeing inappropriate content. None of them succeed at this any better than games; and yet it’s games that get the brunt of the networks’ outrage.

-Reporting from San Diego, GP Correspondent Andrew Eisen

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