Yesterday we highlighted two editorials that backed California in its Supreme Court appeal over a law that would make it illegal to sell minors mature-rated violent games. Today we offer you a pair of views from people backing the game industry in its Schwarzenegger vs. EMA fight.
First up is President of the First Amendment Center Ken Paulson, who took to USA Today to offer his opinion that governing the intake of media should be left to a child’s parents or guardians.
The First Amendment Center, relatedly, recently published results of a study it undertook into who should be responsible for limiting such media intake; results of that poll can be found here.
A sampling of Paulson’s argument:
In the ’50s, dime novels and comic books were pilloried as threats to the welfare of young people, with Batman and Robin characterized as unhealthy role models. Musical icons from Elvis to Eminem have been targeted as bad influences on young people. Pop culture always pushes the envelope, and well-meaning people concerned about children push back. Yet over time, industry self-regulation and parental involvement have proved far more effective than censorship.
Meanwhile, a similar opinion piece appearing on the University of Arizona Daily Wildcat website states that the issue of the California law “seems hardly debatable,” as “such a ruling would impinge on developers’ First Amendment rights, forcing them to self-censor and speculate whether their games might provoke a federal case.”
The author continued:
Plain and simple, lawyers who don’t play video games are trying to talk about them. And not just talk, but make hugely important decisions about their future. Either way, it’s clear in the transcript of the hearing that not only does Morazzini have limited understanding of the real level of violence in video games, but the justices are also not experts.
That’s to be expected to some degree, but when your argument is based off of a hypothetical game in which you can torture babies and "Postal 2," a 1997 game that was truly horrid, you don’t have much. To be frank, while you can do some pretty twisted things in a small handful of games, it doesn’t come close to infanticide.