More Bulletstorm Musings from Fox News

In yet another editorial masquerading as a news report (the last one being the whole Carole Lieberman "Games cause Rape" story), Fox News writer John Brandon takes another shot at stirring the pot about Epic Games’ Bulletstorm. In his latest article, Brandon uses the censorship of the game in Germany as a jump-off point to attack Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s dissection of his first article, to claim that "anyone" can buy the game online, and to throw some more quotes around. Of the censorship in Germany, Brandon opens by baiting gamers with the line: "It’s too violent for Germany. But it’s okay for America?”

He goes on to say that the game is "easily purchased or watched online by anyone, despite warning labels." This is just an opening salvo in a litany of half-truths and [edited] quotes from experts to shape a view on a game that isn’t as violent as he’d have you believe. So who are his experts for this round? Some of the experts include Clair Mellenthin, a Director of Child and Adolescent Services at Wasatch Family Therapy in Salt Lake City; ECA president Hal Halpin, EA’s Jeff Brown and others. The article also reprints a quote from last week’s article from Dr. Jerry Weichman, a clinical psychologist at the Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Southern California. Here is the stand-out quote:

"Being rewarded for sexually assaultive and violent behaviors and thoughts … I believe that the unintended consequences far outweigh any possible positives," Mellenthin told “There should be significant blocks in downloading this game to ensure that it is truly an adult making an adult decision to use this technology."

Brandon then goes on to talk about Lieberman’s book on Amazon being "amazonbombed," and to critique RPS’ reporting on Lieberman’s so-called list of "evidence" that games cause rape. Again from the article:

The site contacted sources and posted transcripts of interviews, exposing "the full story," they claimed. Some sources, including Scott Steinberg, the CEO of consultancy TechSavvy Global, shared private e-mail interviews with other websites.

After psychiatrist Carole Lieberman told of a connection between violent games and rape, the site Destructoid ran the headline, ‘Games cause rape’ psychologist’s book gets raped. The article described how Lieberman was "Amazonbombed" — meaning gamers posted dozens of scathing and profane reviews of her books to the online retail site.

Next, he moves on to the ESRB, which he claims has no way of enforcing rating, thereby allowing children to buy games such as Bulletstorm easily: "many experts say it’s useless, because it isn’t enforced at retail."

What he means specifically is that children can use a credit card or gift card to purchase the game from retailers directly. The Federal Trade Commission does not deny this fact and admits that more could be done about it. A spokesperson for the agency says the following:

"Online retailers should be concerned about selling M-rated games to children under age 17,” said Claudia Bourne Farrell, an FTC spokesperson. "Although valid credit card information does not guarantee that the purchaser is an adult, it is a reasonable proxy for the purchaser’s age,"

Of course the same could be said of anything purchased online, including membership to and merchandise from the "No Spin Zone." No doubt certain parents don’t want their children buying that material or Glenn Beck’s newest book, but kids have access to it using a credit card..


Brandon ends his article by saying that Bulletstorm just is not as good as everyone says it is (based on his time with the demo):

"Indeed, tested a widely available demo and found the game was gory and crude — but hardly a creative tour-de-force."

I suppose taking a personal shot at Bulletstorm’s quality is appropriate for an article that was supposed to be about Germany’s censorship of the game. Oddly enough the only discussion of the game’s censorship is in the first few sentences; after that it’s all about game sales, and the game industry’s reaction to the first article. You can read the whole thing here. Frankly it’s a poorly veiled opinion piece that we have become accustomed to reading at Fox News. You can also read the latest RPS response here. We’ll let you judge which author has his shit together on the topic of video games.

Source: Fox News

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  1. 0
    SimonBob says:

    Rock Paper Shotgun claims to be unbiased, but I went to their site and made a shocking discovery: they only cover PC games!  If they’re supposed to be a fair and balanced media source (like FoxNews is) then how come they’re so lax on reporting news for the equally important console specialist?

    And for that matter, what’s the deal with GamePolitics only reporting on politics?  I mean, sure, that covers the "politics" part of their name, but where are the games?  How come I’m not playing Farmville right now?  Oh my god I can’t trust anybody!  Save me, FoxNews!  Tell me how many layers of duct tape to wrap my windows in so I can keep the terrorist gas out!


  2. 0
    Kincyr says:

    the MPAA has no more way of enforcing rating then the ESRB, thereby allowing children to watch movies such as Saw and Kill Bill easily.

    your move, John Brandon

    岩「if Phyllis Schlafly wants to undo Women’s Rights, she should lead by example and get back in the kitchen」

  3. 0
    black manta says:

    Considering he’s now written two articles about this game, I have to wonder if he’s got some sort of hidden agenda in all this?  The site Gamingupdate claimed that Fox News was backing AB 1179 that’s at the center of the Schwarznegger Vs. EMA case.  So there might be a reason why they’re singling out this game, as to them it represents a more current poster child for an ultra-violent video game than Postal 2.

    But it seems like John Brandon at the same time is all butthurt that he’s been called out on his BS, and he’s just lashing out now.  Interestingly enough, RPS just posted their own rebuttal, which can be seen here.

  4. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    I have to say, RPS’s exhaustive examinations of both FoxNews articles and Lieberman’s evidence have been wildly entertaining.  I can’t wait to see if they actually score an interview with Brandon.


    Andrew Eisen

  5. 0
    Chris Kimberley says:

    Correcting a small typo: "FoxNews", not "Fox News".  The space implies that the content is in fact news when clearly it’s intended for entertainment only.  If there was a space they’d be held to too high a standard to "report" as they do.

    It’s interesting to watch someone attack a fairly broad and thourough report like RPS’s while using highly edited quotes with little to no context.  I find that, as a rule, the quality of a news story can be measured by the length of quotes they dare use.


    Chris Kimberley

  6. 0
    Zerodash says:

    Where did the fence post come from?  Who put it there?  You can’t explain that.  Why does your yard have one but mine doesn’t?  You can’t explain that. 

  7. 0
    MechaCrash says:

    What? Fox News put out a sensationalistic story full of baseless accusations and outright fabrications?

    Good sir, I believe you owe me a new monocole, for the one I was wearing has flown away in surprise!

  8. 0
    Cerabret100 says:

    I remember seeing that one night i was watching the colbert report. I remember at first i was completely flabbergasted, then i started laughing my ass off.

    Two people who should NEVER defend religion in intelligent debate: My friend who’s about as intelligent as a fence post, and that man.


    Anyways, shouldn’t that be an argument as to why America is as great as people say? aren’t we kinda known for not slamming the censor hammer compared to other countries? 

  9. 0
    Zerodash says:

    For all you pinheads who play videogames:

    You can’t explain Videogames.  Tide goes in tide goes out- there is never a miscommunication. 

    Where did videogames come from?  Where did the ratings system come from?  How come Germany has one and we don’t?  You can’t explain that.


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