London Evening Standard Corrects Game Blame Headline, Daily Mail Runs with It

The revolving door that is blaming games for bad things that happen in the world spins and spins… First, after blaming video games for the riots that have plagued London for three days, UK Newspaper The London Evening Standard, ran a bold front headline page yesterday suggesting that Grand Theft Auto had inspired youngsters to run rampant through the street, committing acts of violence, looting and general public displays of destruction. But as Computer & Video Games points out in this story, the paper later issued a reprint of the same edition removing the GTA angle altogether.

"Children as young as ten, inspired by video game, among the looters", read the sub-heading under the headline "Lawless London." Later the headline was changed to "Children as young as ten hunted by police after riots across city."

The changes came, says C&VG, due to pressure from them and other UK games media outlets. Bravo.

But just as progress is made and things seem right with the universe, someone else has to throw a spanner (as they say in England) into the works. According to this Sp0ng report, the Daily Mail has picked up where The London Evening Standard began, blaming Grand Theft Auto for the rioting. The Daily Mail is quoting the same anonymous London Constable blaming Grand Theft Auto:

"A policeman said last night that children involved in the rioting and stealing were inspired by violent video game Grand Theft Auto."

"The hugely popular computer game, which should not be played or bought by anyone under 18, is popular among teenagers, with many having the game given to them by their parents."

"In Tottenham, the scene of the first riots on Saturday night, a police officer said: ‘These are bad people who did this. Kids are out of control. "‘When I was young it was all Pacman and board games. Now they’re playing Grand Theft Auto and want to live it for themselves."

Of course, The Daily Mail ran with it, without checking any facts or even getting the officer's name. Meanwhile, no one knows why a bunch of VERY YOUNG CHILDREN were running amok in London suburbs going completely insane, while their parents were..  somewhere else.

Thanks to the irrepressible Andrew Eisen for the links.

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  1. 0
    mr_mlk says:

    The guy owned a loaded gun (1). At this point the "be passive little sheep who would let us shoot whomever we want" rubbish  just does not fly with me.

    1) Now I am sure some Americans will complain about the UK gun laws. But even if guns were legal, it is unlikely that this man would have a legally owned one. Not that this would matter to the police officer who would only know that he has to arrest a known armed (legally or not) criminal.

  2. 0
    Erik says:

    Shouldn't the police be doing the penitent thing, rather than passing the blame?  Seriously, it reeks of "Oh, well people would be passive little sheep who would let us shoot whomever we wanted if it weren't for these damn vidja games".

  3. 0
    Magic says:

    someone else has to through a spanner (as they say in England) into the works

    'Throw', not 'through'!

    Maybe you heard someone's pronunciation of the word and took it the wrong way. 😉

  4. 0
    Grif says:

    It is kind of interesting how the officer was allegedly blaming video games for kids being out rioting in the streets without asking where the parents are.


  5. 0
    Craig R. says:

    Regardless of any bias to one political side or another, there's one thing that's certain about the media these days:

    They also only care about the bottom line.

    And if that means irresponsible journalism and shock headlines in the hopes of selling a few extra papers? So be it. None of them are really worth supporting any more.

  6. 0
    Austin from Oregon says:

    Wow, a rhetorical statement from an officer, remarking on how kinds these days are crazy, becomes cause and effect. Why should you have to back up your reporting with evidence?

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