Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

A pair of opposing editorials appear on the USA Today website, delivering two distinct takes on Schwarzenegger vs EMA.

Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer penned a piece opposing the game industry, stating that the showdown “pits the profits of a multibillion dollar video game industry against the best interests of kids.”

Steyer, whose organization backed California with an amicus brief of its own (PDF), went on to cite American Academy of Pediatrics research to back his choice of sides, research which “declared the connection between game violence and aggression nearly as strong as the medical association between cigarettes and lung cancer.”

Steyer appears to be referencing an old study (PDF) by the University of Michigan’s Brad Bushman and Iowa State’s Craig Anderson, a study that Texas A&M International researcher Christopher Ferguson subsequently picked apart (PDF).

Saying that Common Sense Media preaches “sanity, not censorship,” Steyer stated, “We simply believe that parents, not retailers, should decide which games are appropriate for their kids to purchase and play. That’s exactly what the California law would ensure.”

He continued:

If parents decide a violent game is OK for their kids, that’s one thing. But kids can’t judge the impact of violence on their lives. This law is a common sense solution that puts a parent or adult in charge of the decision-making process, instead of an industry just protecting its profits.

On the flip side, USA Today itself chose to back the game industry, citing constitutional concerns, subjective language in the law and scant, perhaps even non-existent, research that establishes a link between violent games and juvenile problems.

USA Today summed up its position:

Guarding the First Amendment often means protecting the right of people to say or do things that most Americans find repulsive, such as Nazis marching in a Jewish neighborhood in Skokie, Ill. But the alternative is to arbitrarily pick and choose who’s entitled to free expression and who isn’t. In that world, anyone might be deprived of rights reserved for individuals since the nation’s founding.

Pic from icanhascheezburger

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