Who is the Biggest Political Hypocrite? ...Vote in New GP Poll

April 8, 2008 -
Video games, as every GamePolitics reader knows, have become a political football.

It is often easier for elected officials to target the virtual mayhem in games than the real causes of violence in society such as crime, drugs, poverty, mental health issues and the easy availability of guns.

But in the three years in which GamePolitics has been tracking the nexus of politics and video games, we've noted some truly remarkable displays of political hypocrisy. The five listed below especially stand out. After you take a look, please feel free to vote for your choice of "biggest political hypocrite." The poll is located in the upper right sidebar.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D): Mayor Menino led a 2006 movement to have ads for GTA: Vice City Stories removed from public transportation and got the local transit agency to commit to never again carrying an ad for an M-rated game. Now he is at the center of a legislative proposal that would equate violent games with pornography. In between attacks on video games, Menino hopes to lure game developers to set up shop in Boston. Because it's, you know, such a game-friendly city...

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R): The man who signed California's 2005 video game into law, and ordered the state to appeal a 2007 ruling by a U.S. District Court judge that the law was unconstitutional, is himself the star of many a violent movie. What's more, he appears in character in several violent games based on the Terminator films. Like the one pictured...

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D): Gov. Sebelius threw her support behind an unsuccessful 2006 attempt to legislate video games. Earlier this year it was revealed that Gov. Sebelius' son John created a Grand Theft Auto-like board game called Don't Drop the Soap and marketed it from the taxpayer-funded Governor's residence.


New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D): During his 2006 election campaign Spitzer railed against video game content, saying, "Nothing under New York State law prohibits a fourteen-year old from walking into a video store and buying… a game like ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ which rewards a player for stealing cars and beating people up. Children can even simulate having sex with a prostitute…"  As everyone now knows, it was  the "sex with a prostitute" part that brought Spitzer himself down in 2008. He shoulda played GTA instead...

British Labour MP Keith Vaz: Vaz got into the video game violence debate in 2004 when a 14-year-old constituent, Stefan Pakeerah, was brutally murdered. Vaz alleged that the controversial Rockstar title Manhunt inspired the crime. A Scotland Yard investigation, however, established no such link. Vaz would go on to criticize Rockstar's Bully and Manhunt 2 games. While he has attacked the make-believe crime of video games, Vaz, as documented by the BBC, carries significant real-world ethical baggage.


Re: Who is the Biggest Political Hypocrite? ...Vote in New GP

It's a tough call and I'll go with Governator. This is the same guy who was in violent movies and video games as well. Spitzer was stupid enough to get caught.


Spitzer, cuz he got caught

50 on Spitzner.

I still say he was pissed at "simulated sex with hooker" Because he wanted children of all ages to experaince said sex with hooker.

Crap, now Vaz is reminding me of Kirby about to suck or blow. Could we use another picture of the guy already?

lol I choose Arnold because in the picture he is choking a bitch!

Oh and look at this:


No rating on that game.

I'm sure this will be reported on in the next day or so.


Boston Mayor Thomas Menino

Spitzer, that was easy

Yeah, Spitzer

It's a nice array of choices, but as a hypocrite, it's gotta be spitzer. He's opposed to virtual versions of what caused him to shamefully step down.

I'm going with Spitzer.

I have to say Arnie on this one, he's made a career out of violence, and yet now wants to censor it because it is a politically savvy move.

Wheres the "all of the above" option?

I hesitated between Spitzer and Keith Vaz. Actually, Spitzer may be the most hypocrite of all, because contrary to Schwarzenegger, who blasts game violence AFTER having starred in violent movies, Spitzer blasted GTA prostitution WHILE he was involved with a real-life prostitute.

But I finally voted Vaz because his relentlessly accusations against Manhunt, and his quote about raping women in games.

This was a tough call. Ultimately I went with the Guvinator for the same reasons tollwutig mentioned. If it weren't for his political career he would still be blowing stuff up on screen. The only reason he's against it now is because it makes him look "family friendly". Besides, I don't see him refusing his residuals from said movies and games.

I had to say Menino. Spitzer comes to mind easily, as well as Schwarzenegger, but Menino is not only trying to pass the "games-as-porn" law, he's asking the people who make the games to Boston to set up shop. Essentially, "we don't want your M-rated games, but if you come here, it's totally cool for you to stay and MAKE them so we can make money from you".

Menino's logic is pretty flawed.

Vaz is pretty icky, too.

Three way Tie between Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathleen Sebelius, Eliot Spitzer. I love Arnie but he can never get rid of his past, and he can't pretend he was in some very violent movies which had licensed games (and I'm sure a god profit for his likeness). as for Kathleen Sebelius that was just stupid, pure 100% Columbian Hypocrisy. as for Spitzer, well he's just a douchbag.

damnit! meant to say "he wasn't in..." curse you no edit button!

Spitzer, while probably not the biggest hypocrite above on video gaming issues, is the biggest one overall. His video game, and anti-prostitution stances that starkly contrasted his illegal private life, are easily complimented by the unethical and deliberate tax-money-wasting methods used to go after businesses he claimed were doing unethical things.

Do I really NEED to pick one? or can I just call the lot of them pillocks, and knock off for lunch?

@ Arashi

Like I was saying in another post, I think the best way the industry can address that is by having the game dvelopment studios based there like 2K Boston pack up and leave and other studios considering moving there not to come in at all. It'd be kind of the video game industry equivalent of "not gonna play Sun City."


I hate the small minded pillock.

If he actually had facts to back what he says up then I wouldn't care.

Spitzer...definitely a pecksniffian. Schwarzenegger is second though because his efforts are more ingenuous (Leland Yee is the bigger problem in this case).

In my heart I'm going with all of the above. On the Poll I'll pick Vaz because that damn picture of him haunts my dreams. HE'S A DAMN CHIPMUNK.

Menino is my choice.

He wants publishers and developers to move to his city to make their games then use the money he gets in taxes from those companies to draft legislation against them? Not going to work out well.

As for Spitzer? Meh, I think he was a fall guy for someone with more pull that uses the agency.

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptVideo games, as every GamePolitics reader knows, have become a political football. It is often easier for elected officials to target the virtual mayhem in games than the real causes of violence in society such as crime, drugs, poverty, mental health issues and the easy availability of guns. But in the three years in which GamePolitics has been tracking the nexus of politics and video games, we’ve noted some truly remarkable displays of political hypocrisy. The five listed below especially stand out. After you take a look, please feel free to vote for your choice of “biggest political hypocrite.” The poll is located in the upper right sidebar. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D): Mayor Menino led a 2006 movement to have ads for GTA: Vice City Stories removed from public transportation and got the local transit agency to commit to never again carrying an ad for an M-rated game. Now he is at the center of a legislative […] [...]

Menino is probably the least hypocritical. If anything, we should be praising him for being the only anti-game pol to go anywhere near the concept of give-and-take, in that while he wants to censor games in such a manner as he is, he is willing to play fair and offer to give something back to the games industry, as opposed to the rest of the anti-game lobby, who want the games industry to bend over for them and then thank them for being asked to do so.

Vaz is not so much a hypocrite as a straight-up liar. He's been frequently told that what he's saying is factually inaccurate, but chosen to ignore such comments, instead choosing to play the victim in parliament (claiming to be "pilloried by the games media", while also refusing to talk to said media) to continue to further his political career, which, yes, is built on shady dealings.

Spitzer (not pictured) probably isn't so bad. He's always made a point of complaining that it's *children* who shouldn't be seeing prostitution in GTA, and for him as an *adult* to partake in it is not directly comparable. As well as that, he had the balls to step down from office when he was caught -heh- with his pants down. For the sake of this comment, I am disregarding any non-gaming positions he may have had politically, especially regarding prostitution. If he has vocally supported anti-prostituton laws, however, then consider him to be the most hypocritical of the hypocrites.

As such, I must select Sebelius and Schwarzenegger to tie for the prize- the former for criticising one media form for touching on a subject while actively encouraging another to do the same, and the latter for criticising something while he himself is profiting from it.

However, all five of them do not deserve their places in office. The first four for being so foolish as to pitch such clearly doomed laws, knowing full well that their laws would be struck down on First Amendment grounds, and the fifth for being slimy and deceitful, even by politician standards.


How did good old Jack Thompson miss this list?

How did good old Jack Thompson miss this list?

He's not a politician (despite what he thinks in his deluded, rotting brain).

Bah, I was halfway through a long post before I realised that Beemoh has said eveything I was about to, about Menino, Vaz and Spitzer.

I went for Sebelius, over Schwarzenagger, as she just went on about how wonderful her son was, despite pillorying an industry for the very things he put in his game.

I've got to go with Client-9. While the others could be rationalized and denied with conventional logic with details easily available in the public eye, Spitzer did all of his secretly. Cognitive dissonance is one thing but it is something that can't be applied here.

@ Black Manta

It's a good thought - I'm not sure if it would be very practical for the studios already camped in Boston, but I would think it would be a possibility.

@ beemoh

I fail to see how Menino's statements are in any way "fair". I don't see how the legislation he wants to put forward and the so-called invite to companies would be "giving back" to the gaming industry. In fact, I feel that's greedy.

God, so many great choices....

I'm going to have to go with Arnie, he seems to have the most actual connection to the "violent" media he speaks out against, plus he's my governor.

In terms of overall Hypocrisy? Spitzer. Mostly for his anti-prostitution stance that helped him get elected.
In terms of hypocrisy relating to games? The Governator, hands down.

@ black manta: yeah... because everyone who works at those companies are willing to up and move their family because the company doesn't like the political air. Fuck that. Maybe wherever you work should just up and leave, leaving you stranded in a shitty job market.

Spitzer, followed up closely by Sebelius.

@Arashi: That's why I said "to go anywhere near the concept of give-and-take"- while the situation he would put the games industry in if both his ideas came into play is hardly ideal, compared to other states, who have attempted to pass similar bills and refused to so much as speak with the industry, never mind offer incentives to set up camp there.

Yes, he should never have attempted the censorship bills in the first place, but at the very least he offered a sweetener to the whole deal.


All of the Above.

Im thinking either Spitzer or Arnold....

I went with Schwarzenegger. He profits off of violent movies, and their related licenses, yet he goes against violence in games because it's the politically good move to do so.

Spitzer runs second as while he is a hypocrite, he did clear himself out of the way when he got caught. Sort of a "Ok, you got me doing something bad, I'll go quietly now."

Vaz runs last as he hasn't really done anything hypocritical. Sure he's a liar, but I don't know of him actually doing something contray to his "violence in media is bad" stance.

Hmmm... hypocrisy... I'll have to delve further into each one... with my answer down the bottom.

Menino: here's someone so out of touch with the world around him. He probably doesn't remember doing one or the other, so it's not hypocrisy, it's political quagmire. I would choose him simply because of local ties and the fact that he's supposedly a democrat.

Schwarzenegger: Okay, he was an actor turned politician... republican politician. Here's someone who's been put into office by his party mostly with the "help" of Enron. Former governor Gray Davis was a scapegoat in which republicans capitalized. That doesn't neccessarily make Schwarzenegger a hypocrite. He's simply holding to the ideals of conservative views while in office.

Sebelius: It was her son, not her, that made the game... yes, it happens to be while she's in office. That doesn't make her a hypocrite.

Spitzer: Here's someone who was elected due to his "family values" ideology. So much for that.

Vaz: This guy's just a liar. If it was a matter of how despicable these people are, I think Vaz would be #1 or a close #2.

After examining each person, I have to conclude that Spitzer is, indeed, the biggest hypocrite of the bunch.

Way in the lead in my book is Menino, with his "games are porn but bring them here" attitude. In second place comes Eliot "Grand Theft Auto made me do her" Spitzer, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in third. The other two don't strike me as very hypocritical (Vaz's problems don't tie to games too well, and Sebelius's son is the one making the game, not her).

IMHO 90% of all politicians are hypocrites. I'd pick Spitzer and Arnold as a tie for the worst ones out of these though.

MP Vaz may not be the biggest hypocrite, but his hypocrisy has the most chilling effect spread throughout the UK. Our USA entries don't wield that kind of power.

I had to go with Spitzer on this one. The guy ran on a family values platform while also being documented as Client 9 in a prostitution ring bust.

Client 9 and the High-Priced Prostitutes would be a great name for a band.

Spitzer really took the cake.

Papa Midnight

Definitely Spitzer.

Gotta go with Spitzer. "Lol guys GTA should be banned 'cause you can simulate doing stuff with prostitutes. TTYL though cuz i'm gunna go do stull with real prostitutes, lol"

I see Spitzer is getting a lot of votes. I'd like to point out that it was the idea of "children" having simulated sex with prostitutes that upset him, not necessariy the "sex with prostitutes" part.

So he really doesn't qualify as the most hypocritical on that list. :D
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