Atkinson Funds Group That Made Absurd Game Cancer Claim

The talking head from the Council on Children and the Media, who claimed in an Australian TV report that videogames are to violence like cigarettes are to lung cancer, is just a sock puppet of South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson.

Dr. Wayne Warburton made the claim in a piece that aired on Australia’s Ten network earlier this week. reports that the Council on Children and Media, also known as Young Media Australia, has received tens of thousands of dollars in funding from Atkinson.

A spokesperson for Atkinson verified the link, which sees the group receive a grant annually in order to fund its Know Before You Go project, which is designed to provide information to parents on what films are suitable for children.

While Atkinson’s office would not reveal the amount of money that changed hands, a Labor MP talking in parliament in 2006 put the figure at $33,000.

Council on Children and the Media CEO Barbara Biggins said that Atkinson has no influence on the group’s view on videogames, “It’s the only project that’s funded by him and it’s been funded for years now. And I think good on him for helping parents to understand the classification system better. That doesn’t mean that we owe him anything in terms of what we do with campaigns.”

Update: Wow, Jack Thompson actually made a great point in relation to this story. In between urging me to pay attention and calling Hal Halpin my puppet master, JT notes that Dr. Craig Anderson made a similar reference to cancer in a 2003 paper on violent games:

Myth 9. The effects of violent video games are trivially small.

Facts: Meta-analyses reveal that violent video game effect sizes are larger than the effect of second hand tobacco smoke on lung cancer, the effect of lead exposure to I.Q. scores in children, and calcium intake on bone mass. Furthermore, the fact that so many youths are exposed to such high levels of video game violence further increases the societal costs of this risk factor (Rosenthal, 1986).

Update 2: Texas A&M Texas A&M International University researcher, and nemesis of Dr. Anderson, Christopher Ferguson also wrote in to point us towards a research paper of his (PDF) that goes to great lengths to debunk Anderson’s claims which JT referenced above.

Thanks to everyone who sent this story in!

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  1. Bigman-K says:

    I think you’re getting a little bit paranoid man. I don’t think anybody is so against video games as to actually go out an murder someone over it. That would be extremely hypocritical as many anti-gaming activist types claim to want to ban, restrict or censor games over the myth that violent content in video games causes people to commit violent actions. It would pretty much destory their cause. Not even Jack would stoop to that level.

     "No law means no law" – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

  2. hellfire7885 says:

    No, he just tries to provoke people into commiting violent actions. Pretty sure Atkinson does the same, he tries to provoke people into "proving" his claims.

  3. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Anyone think hes trying to  start grass roots support for him so he can run for higher office?


    I mean you spread money around to get blood in the water and all….

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! CP/IP laws should not effect the daily life of common people!

  4. mdo7 says:

    So Atkinson was sort of behind that Channel 10 fiasco.  When I heard about Channel 10 attacking video game.  I felt this was not a coincidence when they just broadcast it during the R18+ debate.   I knew something was up, after seeing the article my suspicion was confirmed. I knew Michael Atkinson was involved with Channel 10’s sensationalism, I can smell this like from a thousand miles away.  He’ll do anything to keep R-18 for video game plan pass.  He did this, and extort 20,000 dollar out of a person who call Atkinson a crook, which is not even that insulting.  They even went that low by using Anderson’s work (which JT used and fail miserably).  I can’t predict what Atkinson will do next, if I hear anything like

    -A game store burn down mysteriously.

    -A R18+ supporter die in a mysterious way, or ended up getting murder (and probably cover up the murder making it look like a random murder)

    We got to keep our eye open.  Atkinson just stoop from a DA to extortionist.  We don’t know what he’ll do next.  He may even go that low to murder a person in order to keep the R18 plans out.  Michael Atkinson may be an Attorney General, but there has been history of District Attorney committing crimes (corruption, embezzlement, and even murder), and Michael Atkinson is not an exception.  I hope a internal investigation will be done on him.  I know Atkinson may do something foolish and that can land him in jail.  If I was Atkinson and I wanted to make sure to keep R18+ game out of Australia, I would have to eliminate every opponent (when I say eliminate, I mean kill them and make it look like either a accident or a random murder).  He want to keep R18+ game out, and he’ll do anything to keep it out.



  5. hellfire7885 says:

    Thompson is the type to cling for dear life to ANY small piece of "evidence" that MIGHT prove him right.

  6. floydhead42 says:

    Man, G4C won’t even need to run an advertising campaign with how agressively Mr. Atkinson is vying for the title of "Most Corrup Politician Since Blagojevich".


  7. Ryoshi says:

    It might be worth pointing out that secondhand smoke, in fact, does not have a particularly large bearing on whether or not one develops lung cancer in life.  Likewise, human adults don’t really process much calcium at all from their food, it’s not like every time you drink a glass of milk your bones level up or anything.  So really, that paper Jack links to might be correct, though inadvertantly.

  8. HarmlessBunny says:

    Ah Jack is still around? Sounds like he is yelling out: "I am relevant! I am relevant! Hate me or love me! Give me attention!" Yes we know Anderson is a liar and a hack. We all told you about that back then too.

    I am glad though that more and more Australian websites and editorials are calling Michael Atkinson an opportunist and an embarassment to Australian politics.

    People are not fond of him… I am hoping that he will lose his seat. The election is looming soon down there. I am looking forward to see what happens.

  9. Andrew Eisen says:

    I love how 8 out of the 10 references cited in Anderson’s paper are referencing his own work.


    Andrew Eisen

  10. Zerodash says:

    Another day, another new bit of info on Mr. Atkinson being more than just a fearmongering elderly politicial- he’s a full blown crook.

  11. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    "Atkinson has no influence on the group’s view on videogames, it’s the only project that’s funded by him and it’s been funded for years now. And I think good on him for helping parents to understand the classification system better. That doesn’t mean that we owe him anything in terms of what we do with campaigns.”

    Sounds like an honest person to me.


    My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship):

  12. hayabusa75 says:

    I think the batteries in your sarcasm detector may need replacing.

    "De minimus non curat lex"

  13. Neeneko says:

    Not that unusual actually.   Public interest groups are a great way for a politician to build the apperance of public support.

  14. BearDogg-X says:

    Should we really be surprised that the childish Continental Cretin of Australia is funding a group of morons that made such an asinine claim?

    Atkinson once again proves his detractors right about him being a crook who should learn to grow up and get a life.

    Edit: Thanks to Jacky Boy for pointing out the old news that Craig Anderson is a proven liar.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra. Hell will stay frozen over for quite a while since the Saints won the Super Bowl.

    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  15. Adamas Draconis says:

    "That doesn’t mean that we owe him anything in terms of what we do with campaigns"

    PUH-LEEZE!!!! Thats the main reason that politicans fund Special Intrest groups, and why the groups support politicans. It’s the way the system works these days. Most people aren’t idiots.

    Edit: But the people who believe that Atkinson has no influence over this group certainly are.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  16. Wraith108 says:

    I think if Gamers For Croydon and others that oppose Atkinson can get this into the spotlight and exploit it for all it’s worth then it may be a shot in the arm. Anytime he quotes a statistic this can be thrown in his face. 

  17. Cheater87 says:

    The hope of an R18 rating sinks with this story and this anti gaming propaganda that Atkinson and his chronies spew out. 🙁

  18. DarkSaber says:

    To Barbara Biggins: There is now officially more evidence that Atkinson exerts influence over your group than there is that games are worse than smoking. Not so high-and-mighty when the upper hand is on the other foot, eh?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  19. DarkSaber says:

    And so his web of lies comes apart like a tapestry set-upon by angry kittens.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

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