Should the Industry Embrace or Reject Limbaugh as Game Backer

Rush Limbaugh recently defended videogames after a caller to his talk show brought up the subject of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, but is Limbaugh someone that the game industry even wants on its side?

Limbaugh used the case to rail against an over abundance of government and liberalism, asking the caller to “Join me when the government gets involved in all these other behavioral and speech things that they try to tell you and control us we can’t do.” He added that he was “glad” that the case was taking place, as it would push these topics (over-governing and liberalism) into the mainstream, alerting people “to what’s happening throughout society.”

A GameTheory column authored by Nadia Oxford calls Limbaugh’s opinions “controversial, to say the least,” and asks “should the games industry embrace him (or maybe a friendly handshake will do) as a quotable ally on the grounds of ‘Enemies of my enemies are my friends?’”

Oxford notes that last year, Limbaugh took exception to an eventually cancelled game called Rendition: Guantanamo, a title that had players attempt to escape the Cuban prison. Limbaugh, because the game was planned for release on the Xbox 360, said that Bill Gates and Microsoft should be held accountable for the game, which he labeled “insulting” to military personnel.

Oxford claims that calling out Gates and Microsoft in the example given could be interpreted as “an act that stifles free speech.”

Just to play contrarian to Oxford’s point, Limbaugh, as previously noted by GP reader PHX Corp., did attempt to lessen any links to videogames in the fallout following the 2007 Virginia Tech school shooting.

Oxford then explored the other side of the argument:

On the flip side, it’s tempting to hand a free pass to someone like Limbaugh because he defends video games. But unless Limbaugh gives some indication that he understands or is at least interested in the workings of the games industry and its history, it’s better to hold off before praising him.

Wrapping up, the columnist offered:

In spite of everything, it would be a good thing if he took an interest in games in order to argue their case. As it is, though, games are just a disposable example he can reach for when he needs to put together a quick rant for his own ends.

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  1. Nerd42 says:

    I think alot of the comments here show that Mr. Rush Limbaugh is the most misunderstood and misrepresented figure in American politics. There is a wide contrast between his actual views known to his regular listening audience and the ignorant missing-the-point analysis of those who have tuned in only once or twice just in order to reaffirm their preconcieved notions that they get from the mainstream press. There are more in-jokes among Limbaugh fans than almost any other fandom I’m aware of and people who don’t realize this get all kinds of mistaken impressions.

  2. Hevach says:

    His history when it comes to understanding law in general and the constitution in particular is suspect at best. He will be as effective a champion for any side of the cause as Jack Thompson was. For all his noise and anger, Jack Thompsonw as honestly not a good champion of the anti-game crowd for the same reasons Limbaugh would be a poor one for the pro-game crowd.

    His loyalty on individual issues is always suspect – he has rapidly changed opinions back and forth on other matters because of which party is currently leading on that matter. One of the favorite things people do to criticize him is to say, "But that was [Republican]’s policy to begin with and here’s a tape of you from 2004 supporting it."

    He uses the issue like any other as a tool to beat on one political party and support another. Problem being, the chief supporters of the law belong to the party he supports. If enough politicians at the national level chime in to make this a partisan issue, he’s going to change. Even his support reflects a change. He has advocated removing certain creative works removed from shelves because they endanger our troops or are un-American in the past.

    All that’s before tacking on that he’s a controversial figure in and of himself. Simply by virtue of involvement he’ll invoke new opposition and distance existing support. At best his support will be guarded because individuals he’s expressed undying love to politically have already started arraying themselves on the side he’s opposing.

    He’s the kind of support you want as a political party. But in almost every way he’s the kind of support you don’t want to emphasize on a single issue, unless that issue is so fundamentally partisan that the issue ceases to be the focus anyway.

  3. prh99 says:

    I don’t think Limbaugh is a reliable ally for gamers or the game industry, much of his comments on the California game law and the case now in front of the Supreme Court seemed like it was just a convenient club with which to bash Democrats. Especially considering The Governator and the laws chief supporter is a Republican.

  4. FlakAttack says:

    In day to day life, politicians are so predictable. But mention video games and it’s amazing how polarizing they can be. You have conservatives who usually fight against too much government control saying "VIDEO GAMES DESTROY CHILDREN’S LIVES, PROTECT THE CHILDREN" and you have liberals who would usually want the government to step in yelling "FREE SPEECH FREE SPEECH GET OFF OUR ASS GOVERNMENT".

    I wouldn’t bother securing Limbaugh’s support. The man is a liability on a good day.

  5. Arell says:

    I say, accept his endorsement.  While I don’t agree with most of what Limbaugh preaches, he’s very intelligent and thoughtful.  He’s not Glenn Beck crazy, he’s just angry about the conditions in our country (Liberal or Conservative, you hav to admit it’s hard to say "greatest country" with a straight face when one country or another beats us in just about every category.  We have military muscle, and that’s about it, and even that comes at a hefty wallet-busting pricetag) and has an opposing viewpoint of how the world should work.

    If Limbaugh and the gaming industry’s opinions intersect, I say "Great!"  We’re supposed to find common ground with people of different worldviews, not label them as enemies and shun them.  That’s how Paritsan games have made the gov’t into the inefficient and ineffective joke that it is today.  A joke, mind you, that no one is laughing at. 

    Fox News and MSNBC’s personalities can keep their "it’s Us versus Them" attitude.  Thank you, Rush Limbaugh, for your support.

  6. Nerd42 says:

    I’m a social conservative. And a Constitutionalist. Which means I think the government needs to keep it’s hands off the gaming industry. Individual states could pass laws forbidding the sale of mature rated products to minors but it’s not the federal government’s job.

    I’ve never been to an actual Tea Party event but I think they’ve been getting a bad rap and I would aspire to be part of any movement that tries to remind people about what this country is supposd to be all about, how it got started and why. I’d rather have inexperienced but honest politicians than experienced sharks eating us alive.

  7. Nerd42 says:

    The Tea Party movement is economically conservative, thus keeping the government’s hands off industry is exactly what the moement is dedicated to ensuring.

  8. udx says:

    I also join in the group who says we should reject Rush Limbaugh.  I don’t care if he’s right or not, but I don’t like his vibe period.  He acts like some kind of angered prophet wannabe and his viewers are also like that, a reflection of his true self.


    Tea Partiers, keep your hands out of my industry.


    What is a game?(throws wine glass on the floor and it breaks to pieces) A miserable little pile of secrets.

  9. Nerd42 says:

    The guy makes his living by the First Ammendment and has been a primary opponent of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" on first ammendment grounds. He knows the First Ammendment and had to in order to make that argument. Seriously. You might not agree with his views on it, but he knows what it says.

  10. robbway says:

    My criticism of Limbaugh is based on my listening to his rants back in the 90’s.  I was not saying he was stupid.  His ability to judge the first amendment, the Constitution, video game issues, and laws has been deficient, and that’s being nice.  He is ignorant on this issue.

  11. gellymatos says:

    I agree, the less controversial (though still well known), the better.

    "Of course, comments to this topic will be rife with the typical rhetoric equating anyone "against" Liberalism as being racist homophobic woman-hating Nazis."

    Any different than those "against" conservatism being called racist godless christian hating nazis? Well, so long as it has nazis at any rate. Rhetoric like that is sad thing really. Shows a lack of willingness to discuss and compromise.



    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  12. Avalongod says:

    As a deep admirer of Sagan and one who has read his books widely, he had his prickly moments, but your point is well taken.  He was a much better advocate for science than the pugnatious Dawkins (although Sagan himself seemed to admire Randi).

  13. Thad says:

    You make a good point.

    I can’t hitch my wagon to Limbaugh even though I agree with him on this subject, because he is a controversial figure who I don’t agree with in general.  It’s just like how even though I agree with nearly everything you say in your post, I can’t hitch my wagon to you because you are a paranoid loon who constantly thinks everyone on GP is calling him a racist, even though nobody ever actually has.

    I’ll be sure and count all the posts in the thread "rife with the typical rhetoric equating anyone "against" Liberalism as being racist homophobic woman-hating Nazis" — if I can keep track of the huge, overwhelming number of them I always see in every thread.

  14. Zerodash says:

     Limbaugh is too controversial for the industry to embrace. The same would be true for Michael Moore, who had commented that games don’t create killers during the VT issue (although he believes owning a gun magically turns you into a killer).  If you want mainstream acceptance, you need allies who will not alienate large groups of people.  

    As an example, look at what the friendly and inclusive manner Carl Sagan used to promote scientific awareness compared to the abrasiveness of people like James Randi or Richard Dawkins.  The larger public will react better to a centrist than someone on any fringe.

    Ironically in terms of a strictly governmental perspective, this issue is basically about limiting government control over people’s lives, which is more of a center-right goal than leftist ideals of a powerful government.  However, the stigma that the Christian right has brought on right-wing politics (which believes religion should dictate policy), prevents this from being a clear-cut partisan issue in the first place.  And let’s not forget that the Christian right is all for this type of legislation, even though most of these laws are proposed by Liberal politicians despite the Nanny State having very little to do with the Christian Nation.

    Of course, comments to this topic will be rife with the typical rhetoric equating anyone "against" Liberalism as being racist homophobic woman-hating Nazis.   But I contend that given that both right and left wing groups approve of anti-games legislation, it only makes sense that it would be opposed by individuals of both right and left wing political leanings.  This is the very essence of a bipartisan issue, and in such a case the games industry needs to tread carefully on who they embrace and are best left to associating with centrists.


  15. gellymatos says:

    Well, it is Randi. No matter what one thinks of his other activities, his taking on of pseudoscience was always impressive. I mean, I remember watching vidoes of him taking on psychics and similar people in my high school psych classes. Always entertaining. As for Dawkins… I wish he had just stuck with taking on creationists. At least then he was in his element and knew what he was dealing with.



    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  16. Zerodash says:

     Sagan was a big fan of Randi, but I think more for the entertainment value he provided through his stunts.  And while Sagan did indeed have his "prickly" moments, his honest attempt to be everyone’s friend and take a non-abrasive and even sympathetic approach to believers in "baloney" was incredibly admirable.  

    I think more people in all walks of life, especially those involved in controversy, should try to emulate his approach to matters.

    We need another Carl Sagan 🙁

  17. Arell says:

    Exactly.  The Libertarians actually started the Tea Party phenomenon (I cannot spell that…), if not by that name.  Then they caught the eye of some Conservative groups that were tired of the Republican Party, and everyone involved thought it’d be a great idea to merge and combine their strength.  But, just as when two guilds in WoW decide to merge to take on bigger raids, one guild typically swallows the other regardless of early talk of both groups of players being equal partners.  As such, the other guild gets elbowed out, and those that choose to stay find they have less of a voice than before.  This is what happened with the Tea Party.  Both found common ground in fiscal responsibility and small gov’t, but ultimately the Social Conservative voices are dominating and the more Social Libertarian voice has become a whisper.

    Conservatives in the Tea Party, while still mostly about fiscal responsibility and small gov’t, realize that they have a great platform to also pursue their Social agenda.  That’s how a large number of "Tea Party" groups railed against things like gay marriage, even when that means gov’t interference in our personal lives.  Many Conservatives would be surprised to know that their supposed "brethren" in the Libertarians would oppose such restrictions on personal freedom (actually, many Libertarians would oppose any governmental "approval" or enforcement of marriage as an institution as a whole).  Whether the Libertarian in question has a positive or negative view of homosexuality, they’d ultimately have to say, "it doesn’t hurt me, or anyone, so I don’t have the right to interfere."

  18. Zerodash says:

     Ah, but the Tea Party movement also is the unfortunate home to quite a number of Social Conservatives, some with very Theocratic leanings.   In fact, they seem to be influential enough to have made the Tea Party more of a Christian movement than an economic movement.

    It sure would be nice to have Economic Conservatives and Social Liberals come together and form some kind of party- freedom at all levels of life.  

  19. hellfire7885 says:

    After reading through the comments, I also say reject.

    After all is said and done he could easily whip around and say there should be a law banning video games.

  20. Anonononomous says:

    You complain that he is making a strawman against you while you did the same thing about Moore in your post. In Bowling for Columbine he specifically pointed out how Canada has a higher rate of gun ownsership than the US yet the US has a much higher rate of gun crime, explicitly stating that gun ownershiip does not cause gun crime.

  21. Zerodash says:

     And you, with every post you make in response to me, proves my point about leftists being just as prone to strawmen and namecalling as those you claim to oppose.  You must be very proud.

  22. BearDogg-X says:

    Consider that the California law(as well as the vast majority of the other state-level laws and even the federal attempts) was sponsored by liberal Democrats and even though it was signed into law by a Republican, keep in mind that Schwarzenegger is married into a family of liberal Democrats.

    So an argument can be made that the Parent Trash Cult(as well as Eagle Forum) are hypocrites, as well as Schwarzenegger himself.

    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)

  23. King of Fiji says:

    Either he dosen’t know they exist or he is selectively forgetting that the Parents Television Council, a flamingly conservative group wants that law in California to pass even though he is blaming liberals for said law.

    Limbaugh is a hypocrit.  Allying with hypocrits does nothing for one’s side of the story.

  24. Zero Beat says:

    We are allies in the short term.  After this, our collaboration will end.

    He goes back to being a highly controversial pundit, we go back to being us.


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  25. lomdr says:

     Thanks to their harassment of me in Minecraft I’m seeing them more often outside of minecraft.  They’ve attributed to most of my deaths in the game [The most entertaining one was a creeper gang bang thanks to the improved enemy spawning in deep caves] and whenever I come out of hiding from night time there is always 1 or 2 waiting for me (Just now after night time once I dug my way out of my cave a spider and a creeper saw me and gave chase.  As I was running away ANOTHER flanked me and blew me into the air).  The thought process that made me draw the conclusion is "Gah, that is pretty creepy the way that Rush is grinning as he creeps up to that exec like he…is…a…creeper….Oh god damn it!"  So, yeah…

  26. Nerd42 says:

    I listened to Rush Limbaugh alot as a kid – his humor introduced me to the world of politics in general. The man is devastatingly intelligent and only pretends to follow the cliche’s ascribed to him by the mainstream press because they’re absurd which makes it amusing. Disagree with him all you want on the issues because that’s what freedom is all about, but he’s not stupid and you’re fooling yourself if you think he is and also making an ad hominem fallacy.

    I’ve been thinking about it and while I don’t think it’s the federal government’s job to tell anyone what video games they can and can’t buy, individual states SHOULD be able to pass laws forbidding the sale of mature content to minors. That would be federalism, going by the Tenth Ammendment. And I’d support my own state passing such a law. But nobody besides the consumer, the customer, the market, should be able to tell game developers what they can and can’t put in their products and sell to adults.

  27. robbway says:

    We should definitely reject Limbaugh.  Even though he is correct about over regulation and the first amendment, he is only right by sheer accident.  It’s a lot like guessing the correct solution to a complex algebra problem.

    If someone with little or no experience in the games industry and their products backs California, we criticize them, and rightfully so, for lacking the ability to judge the issue.  If someone else with little or no experience endorses the ESA side, they should be criticised equally.

  28. vellocet says:

    We should reject him.  Not because he’s wrong about games but because he’s schizophrenic.

    Although his constant double standards and insane ramblings often have little to do with games, it would severely taint any group that embraces him for any reason.

    Tiger Woods’ affairs have nothing to do with him being an amazing golfer but we all know how that affected everything else (endorsements, media coverage, etc).

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