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 FoxNews.com. “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 RockPaperShotgun.com contacted FoxNews.com 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 FoxNews.com 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, FoxNews.com 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