Fox News Offers Two-Part Feature on the Bad Influence of Violent Video Games

Fox News can't seem to get enough of trying to connect the dots between real-world mass shootings and violent video games. Part one of a two-part report on the subject gathers the usual suspects to try and say definitively that video games played a central role in inspiring some of the worst shootings in the last decade or so including Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, Adam Lanza, etc.

So who are their go-to sources this time around? Well the article pulls quotes from child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Paul Weigle, Iowa State University professor Dr. Douglas Gentile, associate professor of psychology at the University of Missouri Bruce Bartholow, and former president of the American Psychological Association’s Society of Media Psychology and Technology Dr. Phyllis Koch-Sheras.

The worst part of the article isn't that Fox News sought out experts on only one side of the issue; it's with the report itself, which makes claims about the heavy influence of video games, without taking into account other factors like the availability of a firearm, or mental illness.

Here's an excerpt, which pretty much gives you pretty good idea of what direction this article ends up going:

A decade after Evan Ramsey sneaked a 12-gauge shotgun into his Alaska high school, where he gunned down a fellow student and the principal and wounded two others, he described how playing video games had warped his sense of reality.

“I did not understand that if I…pull out a gun and shoot you, there’s a good chance you’re not getting back up,” Ramsey said in a 2007 interview from Spring Creek Correctional Center, in Seward, Alaska. “You shoot a guy in ‘Doom’ and he gets back up. You have got to shoot the things in ‘Doom’ eight or nine times before it dies.”

"Doom," the computer video game Ramsey described, was all the rage in the 1990s, but primitive by today’s standards, where gamers can play first-person shooters with movie-like graphics on high definition televisions.

We would like to point out that, out of all the experts, Dr. Douglas Gentile had the most reasonable response:

"I think it’s the wrong question — whether there is a link between mass shootings and violent video game play,” Dr. Doug Gentile, a research psychologist and associate professor at Iowa State University, told “I understand people want to look for a culprit, but the truth of the matter is that there is never one cause. There is a cocktail of multiple causes coming together. And so no matter what single thing we focus on, whether it be violent video games, abuse as a child, doing drugs, being in a gang — not one of them is sufficient to cause aggression. But when you start putting them together, aggression becomes pretty predictable."

You can read the rest of the article here.

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