That was certainly the reaction of many a gamer when they read Dr. Carole Lieberman's comment in FoxNews' Bulletstorm article earlier this week: “The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games.”
As we saw a couple weeks ago with Dr. Walid Phares' opinion on a link between Modern Warfare 2 and the recent Moscow airport bombing, sometimes talking points can be taken out of context. With this in mind, we decided to see what Lieberman had to say in regards to how her comments were presented by FoxNews.
“My FoxNews.com statements were taken out of context and made to sound more inflammatory than they were meant. Nonetheless, I stand behind my view that media violence, and particularly video game violence is harmful. Thousands of studies have shown that the more violent media a person consumes, the more desensitized to violence and the more aggressive they become. When this violence is sexualized it is even more stimulating. And rape is a violent crime. Furthermore, research has shown that, not only do people become more aggressive in a general sense, but they also act out copycat violence in response to behaviors seen in movies, TV shows, and video games.
Since the FoxNews.com article didn't describe my background, it made it seem as though I was simply making a flippant remark. Actually, I have been a researcher in media violence for over twenty years and, as such, have testified before Congress several times, been the head of the National Coalition on TV Violence, and have stopped the 'Schwarzenegger rocket' (a NASA rocket that had planned to have an ad for "Last Action Hero" on its exterior). I was also invited to contribute an essay to Larry King's book Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, about video game violence (Click here to download it).”
Lieberman tells us she was not familiar with Bulletstorm when she was first asked about it but did subsequently research the title.
“I have received an onslaught of abusive emails, phone calls, and angry comments from gamers to the point of harassment… What has been most disturbing is the Amazon-bombing that gamers have done, regarding a book that has nothing whatsoever to do with video games.
I wrote Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets in an effort to help men and women find the love they deserve. The so-called reviews have served to prove that video games do make people more aggressive, indeed.”
AE: I disagree with Lieberman’s last comment as I believe that only proves that every group has its immature jackasses and gamers are no exception. That said, thanks to Dr. Carole for taking the time to answer our questions.
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen