When Media Looks for an Angle on Violence and Video Games

University of Missouri Media Researcher Greg Perreault pens an enlightening article on violence and video games over at the Huffington Post, and while the entire article is definitely worth reading an excerpt from it really caught our attention. The excerpt is an exchange between Perreault and an unnamed journalist who contacted him looking to use him as an expert.

The problem is that the journalist (who Perreault was kind enough not to name) was looking for him to say something that was not true to fit the narrative of his reporting. The narrative being that "playing video games leads to violence." Perreault documents the exchange, and we share it below:

Broadcast Journalist: "So do you think video games cause the kind of violence we saw in Connecticut?"

Greg: "I'm not a media effects scholar but research has not substantiated that video games cause any kind of violence."

Journalist: "Oh… I really need someone who can say that video games make people violent. So you're saying they don't make people violent?"

Greg: "As a sole factor? No, we haven't found that."

Journalist: "Oh, we have a lot of people who say that already. We're having trouble finding someone who says video games create violence."

Greg: "Probably because there's not much to support that. The most we can say is that some video games can cause some sorts of short-term aggression, but aggression isn't violence. Video games are a unique storytelling medium and there's still a lot to learn."

Journalist: "So can you say that? Or do you know someone who can say that?"

Greg: "What? About aggression? Or about video games being a storytelling medium?"

Journalist: "That video games cause violence."

We're not sure of the journalist in question was trying to push a specific narrative based on his own conclusions, a narrative directed by the higher-ups at the company he works for, or if he simply needed an expert to engage in a counter-argument about video games. Anyway you can read the whole article here.

Source: Huffington Post

"Illustration of a Male Broadcaster Surrounded by a Microphone, a Video Camera and a TV Monitor " © 2012 Lorelyn Medina / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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  1. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Because the people doing the finger pointing know thaat if they acknowledge that anyone is capable to such evil acts without some kind of prompting, then it might lead to the realization that thery themselves or someone they know could do it.

  2. 0
    Imautobot says:

    Why is everyone so intent on finding scapegoats.  Only one person is responsible when there's a killing, the person holding the gun.  Point your fingers where they belong.

  3. 0
    Hevach says:

    There's still the veil of secrecy, and if you don't stay behind it, all of a sudden integrity exists and you're being punished for your ethical lapses. "But everybody's doing it!" "I don't know, from here I only see YOU doing it."

    You see this in politics, finance, even the military. Sure, everybody's doing it, but that doesn't mean your career isn't over when you get caught. And because everybody's doing it, you have to do something really silly to get caught, like try to coerce an expert into saying what you want to write and not what he knows, rather than just shopping for a friendlier source (plenty exist) or just creating an expert from scratch like with the Fox News Mass Effect thing (plenty of qualified individuals with no video game knowledge that you can feed bad info – garbage in, garbage out, your article's garbage but you still get fifty cents a word).

  4. 0
    GrimCW says:

    That journalist should've just done what Fox news does.

    Find an uninformed individual in a semi-related field, give them NO idea what they're to be talking about until minutes before the show. Then feed them tempered "evidence" and BAM, ya have your puppet and article!


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