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

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.

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