Churnalism: Fox News’ Selective Quoting

By John Walker on February 9th, 2011 at 1:21 pm.

May they never meet again.

While digging into the remarkable story on FoxNews.com, in which it was claimed that games like Bulletstorm cause rape, I got in touch with each of the contributors quoted in the article. Neither of the two doctors have yet got back in touch, but Billy Pidgeon of M2 Research responded with a detailed explanation of what he’d really said to the news outlet. And would you believe it – it has little in common with how their selective quoting made him appear. Quite how little is striking.

After quoting two experts, neither of whom appear to have any expertise regarding the effects of videogames, both of whom were apparently very quick to condemn the game, they then announce that the game’s unlikely to sell well anyway, citing Pidgeon from M2 Research. Tellingly they refer to him as a “defender”, before quoting him appearing to do anything but. In the original article it appears like this:

More important, defenders argue that games with excessive violence and sexual content simply don’t sell well.

“Games without sufficient quality of gameplay — games that include highly objectionable violent or sexual content — often pump up the level of this kind of content to gain media attention. This tactic typically fails, as can be seen in the poor sales performance of titles such as BMX XXX and Postal,” said Billy Pidgeon, a video game analyst with M2 Research.

But what Pidgeon actually said is quite astonishingly different. The paragraph from which the chosen quote was plucked originally read,

“The market will favor games with quality gameplay and content, so if Bulletstorm is a good game, gamers seventeen and older will likely buy it. Games without sufficient quality of gameplay — games that include highly objectionable violent or sexual content — often pump up the level of this kind of content to gain media attention…

More insight about how FoxNews.com put the story together can be found in the questions that they asked contributors. So when TV Doctor X, or Motivational Speaker Y gets sent the email asking for their thoughts about a game they’ve never heard of nor played, knowing the question they were asked puts their comments into a different light. What they received was,

“1. Bulletstorm glorifies violence for fun and extra points. You can shoot the bad guys in the private parts for points, get drunk and shoot for more points, throw a chain with spikes and hook enemies. But some of the worst parts are actually related to the names for the skill shots and the in-game dialogue, which is definitely profane. What should be done about these games?”

Classy. Is it any wonder that some rent-a-quote TV shrink fires off a headline-grabbing condemnation in response? WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?!

Clearly no one is surprised that an outlet like Fox News would be writing reactionary, ill-informed rhetoric about their invented controversies du jour. But that isn’t a reason not to unpick these stories, and to highlight the inaccuracies and hypocrisy within. It’s behoves us to care, and to give fair voice to those who are so grossly misrepresented by an agenda.

Keep it in your pants, gentlemen.

I think the rest of Pidgeon’s responses to FoxNews.com’s questions deserve to be heard, since he makes the informed arguments eloquently. So here they are in full, the used quote in italics.

Fox News: Bulletstorm glorifies violence for fun and extra points. You can shoot the bad guys in the private parts for points, get drunk and shoot for more points, throw a chain with spikes and hook enemies. But some of the worst parts are actually related to the names for the skill shots and the in-game dialogue, which is definitely profane. What should be done about these games?

Billy Pidgeon: The ESRB ratings and the market have all the control necessary to limit the availability of games with objectionable content for sale to minors. The current rating system determines who can buy a game based on content, and retailers typically strongly support these ratings. Games with violent or objectionable content will be rated T for Teen (13+), M (17+) or AO (18+). Bulletstorm is rated M and retailers will not be likely to sell the game to purchasers without ID certifying age.

The market will favor games with quality gameplay and content, so if Bulletstorm is a good game, gamers seventeen and older will likely buy it. Games without sufficient quality of gameplay that include highly objectionable violent or sexual content often pump up the level of this kind of content to gain media attention. This tactic typically fails, as can be seen in the poor sales performance of titles such as BMX XXX and Postal.

Fox: Those who are against violent games say there should be more restrictions on games like Bulletstorm. How is that argument valid or not valid?

Pidgeon: I believe games should have the same protections and legislation due other forms of media, including films and books. The courts have historically struck down legislative attempts to control the sales of games in a more restrictive manner than other media, and the current Supreme Court hearing of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA is likely to conclude that games are due the same First Amendment protections as other media.

When younger gamers have access to games meant for older players, it is typically due to parents and adult family members purchasing the games for the minors and letting them play. The industry and organizations or individuals concerned about the issue should work to better educate consumers on the importance of following ESRB ratings and controlling children’s access to objectionable content. I’d like to see better enforcement, and possibly more restrictions on games marketing. Games rated T and M should not be advertised in channels targeting children under 17.

Fox: One issue is that it is easy to download the demo on Xbox and PS3, there are few if any warnings and no blocks. Should there be?

Pidgeon: Like most videogame consoles, Xbox 360 and PS3 have parental controls built in, and players under 18 will not be able to download M rated content. Console gamers have to certify their age before downloading content. There are ways to get around these, but if parents have enabled parental controls, it will be very difficult for underage gamers to circumvent these controls.

Fox: Many parents are also gamers — if they see no problem with these types of games, what should they do to voice an opinion?

Pidgeon: Parents who play games are more knowledgeable about game content and ESRB ratings and often impose more restrictions on their children’s gaming. Any adult gamers, including parents, who would like to support the industry’s right to self-regulate should join the Entertainment Consumers Association (theeca.com) and the Video Game Voters Network (videogamevoters.org).

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165 Comments »

  1. Ghost of Grey Cap says:

    But knowledgeable peaople saying sane things is boring, and doesn’t SELL THE NEWS.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I would buy that news. News with knowledgable people discussing and debating topics that I care about in a calm, rational and considerate manner.

    • DarkFenix says:

      As would I, but remember people on the whole are hysterical, paranoid idiots who’ll swallow any old sensationalist crap fed to them, the more dramatic and spurious the better.

    • Resin says:

      Fixed:

      “The market will favor NEWS with quality INFORMATION and content, so if FOX is a good NEWS ORGANIZATION, VIEWERS seventeen and older will likely buy it. NEWS without sufficient quality of INFORMATION that include highly objectionable SENSATIONALISTIC content often pump up the level of this kind of content to gain media attention. This tactic typically WINS, small tear.”

    • katinkabot says:

      @ SanguineAngel: You’re not the vast majority though. You’re in the pitifully small minority. Fox news is great at picking out hot talking points and repeating buzz words ad nauseum until the audience can parrot it back. I’m sure most people reading this newstory have absolutely no clue who made this game, the summary of the game, NOTHING. They just want to be outraged at something that is easy to be outraged at.

      I too would rather have calm debate and geniune journalism over the garbage they call news here. But finding out that Fox News twists their interviewees words is well….’Duh’. Give it a week and they’ll be talking about how Earth is the only planet with a moon again.

  2. Benga says:

    Urgh Fox News, the way that they sell a specific narrative is admirable at the same time as being completely evil. The daily show with Jon Stewart provides a good balance by exposing their tactics.

    • Gundato says:

      And then using comparable tactics to sell THEIR narratives :p

      Seriously, the entire news media is corrupt as hell.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      The real problem is that pretty much everyone does this. YMMV, obviously, but I find CNN even more offensive.

      Of course, what I really find offensive is the fact that the Red Cross won’t take my blood in New Jersey because I lived in London during a completely imaginary “breakout” of a non-infectious disease… which was actually mistaken for another non-infectious disease… THAT DOESN’T EVEN AFFECT THE SAME SPECIES.

      That wasn’t the worst part of it, though. The worst part was how I saw a Panorama episode that explained it all, and exactly how some people got Disease 1, and why it’s completely different to Disease 2 in spite of similar symptoms, before the hysteria started. But publicly available knowledge doesn’t help does it? The important medical fact that VIRUSES ARE NOT PRIONS doesn’t help, does it? No, let’s essentially destroy an industry so the Telegraph can sell more copies and the government can look like it’s doing something about the “crisis”. Because obviously Disease 1 and Disease 2 both have “disease” in the name, something must be done!

      So, yeah, I don’t trust anyone with a degree in journalism to know what the hell they are talking about if they are not talking about journalism. Well, RPS being one of the exceptions, obviously.

      TL;DR: Imagine if you couldn’t give blood because you lived near someone who had human cancer so the Red Cross is afraid there is a chance you might get cat cancer in the blood supply AND YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE THAT KNOWS THAT’S JUST FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE. And it was all the fault of the various British media outlets for not doing their fucking research on a subject that Panorama just had a special on. That’s what the “Mad Cow Disease” “outbreak” was like for me.

    • bob_d says:

      @Gundato: “And then using comparable tactics to sell THEIR narratives ”
      First, the Daily Show isn’t actually journalism – it’s a comedy show – and they’re very clear about that. Second, no one even gets near Fox news’ tactics, and certainly not the Daily Show, which is pretty straight with their audience (and lets dissenting voices get heard), and when something is outrageous, they point to it and let it speak for itself, rather than create the outrage whole cloth like Fox. Fox has a diverse array of techniques for distorting a story that no one else in the industry can match. Even the purely-fictional-story-tabloids like the Weekly World News can’t match their techniques as the WWN just makes up stories (that people recognize as fiction), whereas Fox has a whole “outrage manufacturing system” that allows for plausible deniability while creating supposed “news” stories that are fact-free. Fox has been sued by their own reporters after telling the reporters that the facts in their stories were inconvenient and they should report the opposite (and this is after the careful ideological screening of employees that goes on there). Fox won the lawsuit on First Amendment grounds, arguing that they had they had the right to lie to their audience, which really tells you all you need to know.

    • Ovno says:

      Although I support your general point, theres good evidence pointing to prion diseases actually being contagious (though we’re not quite sure how atm) and that as we share the same basic protiens as other other mammals there is a chance of BSE jumping the species barrier and causing CJD.

      Also there could easily have been contaminated meat reaching humans during the time during which we hadn’t yet realised there was such a problem with it in our livestock.

      Which is why such precautions are nessisary until the recently created blood test for CJD can be used to screen any and all blood being given.

      In fact there is quite a bit of trepidation within the scientific community about quite how many people are going to prove to be infected with CJD causing prions once the test is rolled out across the country.

      But in general the media are terrible for this sort of thing, just look at the MMR fiasco for proof of that…

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      Funnily enough, I get all my truthes from comedians. They don’t have to check their facts. And then you have Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe and other satirical releases (The Now Show) that do check their facts but are clearly filed under ‘entertainment’. Infotainment more loike.

      And then you have Wikileaks… who go one further than checking their facts by having evidence. How many journos these days have evidence any more? It’s all he said she said.

      What?

    • Tacroy says:

      And then using comparable tactics to sell THEIR narratives :p

      Seriously, the entire news media is corrupt as hell.

      You might want to read this, Gundato. Most news media organizations say “The sky is falling!”; Fox News says “The Earth is pizza shaped, and we’re being eaten by space weasels!”

      Just because one thing is wrong and another thing is wrong doesn’t mean that they are both equally wrong.

    • Shadram says:

      Now I feel sad for the cat. :(

    • Gundato says:

      With regard to “Jon Stewart is a comedian, he says he is!”:
      O’Reilley is a political commentator, yet most of people’s arguments with Fox are based on what they hear him or Hannity or Beck spout out. They are NOT news sources, they are commentators and repeatedly mention this (even if one of them is “fair and balanced” :p). But people don’t care.
      And same with Stewart. Is he a comedian? Yes. Is he funny? Kind of (prefer Colbert, honestly. And small doses of Dennis Miller beat them both :p). But people (sadly) use him as a news source, which is the “problem”. Is he responsible for being impartial? No. He is a commentator, and it is his right to be biased. People just need to realize that, otherwise they are as bad as the “sheeple” who follow Papa Bear and Beck.

      As far as “relativity of wrong”: Really depends on the subject. With the recent shooting in Arizona, Fox probably had some of the best coverage, whereas the other stations outright misreported things to push their agendas. Why? Because the event as a whole pushed Fox’s agenda, and misinformation pushed CNN’s agenda.

      That is what it boils down to. The reason most gamers and online peoples tend to hate Fox is because they largely prefer the CNN agenda (or, if you prefer, Fox dislikes their own personal agendas). Like with this subject. This is the kind of thing Fox attacks, so obviously they are going to be the ones doing selective reporting.
      And just like how Fox does selective reporting, their critics do the same.

      And when CNN or Stewart push an agenda that Fox can catch them on, they do it. They tear into them. And then, a week later, CNN or Stewart do the same to Fox. And so forth.

      Do two wrongs make a right? Hell no. It would just be nice if people would realize that there are multiple wrongs going on.

    • Torgen says:

      Gundato, do a little research. The “news” portions of Fox use the “opinion” portions as an excuse to parrot those “opinons” as fact, under the cover of “well people are talking about it, so we’re reporting on it.” (Actual excuse used by head of the news division at Fox.) There are several documented cases that show that this occurs daily on Fox, and it works like this:

      Beck/O’Reilly/whoever says outrageous lie. The next morning “Fox and Friends” reports on lie that “everyone is talking about” as if it is true. Fox opinion shows then take that excerpt as validating the lie, representing it as acknowledged truth.

      When called on the BS, Fox hides behind the “opinion” facade, and teaches their fans to do likewise.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I believe this is known on the internet as the ‘both sides are bad, so vote republican’ argument.

  3. faelnor says:

    I like this Pidgeon fellow.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      Up. The guy is reasonable.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the other “specialists” also are.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Probably they are, probably they don’t have the slightest idea what they’re talking abput. Faux just wants a name with a “qualified” tag to whip out cheap scandals if not outright fabrication of news.

  4. rhizo says:

    They seemed to ask at least semi-reasonable questions. Had the answers been properly quoted or reported on, the article could have taken a completely different tone.

    Seems that the assignment for this particular “journalist” was to stir up controversy, monger fear and sensationalize. One might expect this from Fox, but sadly enough many other game related issues seem to get a similar treatment even at the hands of more reputable news organizations.

  5. Pijama says:

    Fucking reactionaries. They were only fun in the Victorian era, now they are all TWATS.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I’m not sure that they count as reactionaries – they have been given the full facts, they are probably smart enough to comprehend them. The fact that rather than being a knee jerk reaction, this seems to be a concious decision to scare people, ruin livelihoods and mislead everyone whilst simultaneously lying would lead me to judge them to be actually evil people. Like, genuinely malicious.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      I agree, Sanguine. But what I don’t understand is the why behind it. Why corrupt the opinions and minds of people that aren’t informed enough to know better? Why spread terror like you’re making a generous peanut butter sandwich but you ran out of peanut butter and had to use terror-spread instead? I can’t understand what is profitable for the news outlet in creating cowed, terrified, ill-informed citizens. Does anyone know why any company would want to do that? Even one good reason that doesn’t sound like a conspiracy theory?

      I thought not.

      (Yes, that seems like hubris but I couldn’t resist quoting Dr. Breen. His speeches make my knees go.)

    • Trayder says:

      Try these:
      More news less work.
      By being the only people covering something (because it’s made up) it looks like the other news stations are biased. Imagine only one news network covering a REAL scandal.
      By being the only news that tells people there might be condoms in their supermarket yoghurt (oh my, thank goodness they warned me about that!) people become reliant on them for their own safety.
      And I’d imagine if you were flicking between news channels something more exciting would be happening on fox.

  6. Premium User Badge mR.Waffles says:

    /Sarcasm/ Fox News deliberately deceiving its audience!? GASP /end Sarcasm/

  7. Mike says:

    Excellent stuff, John. That’s really quite amazing.

  8. Staggy says:

    I genuinely cannot wait for the Daily Mail to get hold of this game.

  9. 7rigger says:

    Great piece, thanks for showing us this :)

  10. BigJonno says:

    “While digging into the remarkable story on FoxNews.com, in which it was claimed that games like Bulletstorm cause rape, I got in touch with each of the contributors quoted in the article.”

    Actual journalism on website about games, surely not! In all seriousness, it’s this kind of thing that keeps me reading RPS, although it saddens me that such basic investigation and fact-checking stands out.

  11. xcession says:

    I’m baffled that any news outlet is allowed to spin a story into blatant lies without them incurring some kind of penalty. Perhaps i’m missing something, but I thought the press were bound by some kind of laws on objectivity and truth? Am I just making that up? Perhaps I misheard someone.

    Is there an American equivalent of the Press Complains Commission? If so it would probably be worth reporting Fox. Naturally it won’t have the slightest effect and it’ll be shrugged off, but even if it irritates Fox just a tiny bit its got to be worth it!

    • WMain00 says:

      Fox News do it every single day with biased anti-Obama reporting and pro-Tea Party propaganda.

    • NetsukeMonkey says:

      This is an excellent article. However John obviously has a vested interest in Bulletstorm because as he says:
      ‘I…dig…rape’. Don’t believe me? It’s a straight quote from the 1st paragraph of the article:

      “WhIle digging into the remarkable story on FoxNews.com, in which it was claimed that games like Bulletstorm cause rape.

      I learnt my quoting skills from Fox news

    • Soon says:

      It’s mostly self-regulatory. Any laws would be considered anti-Freedom of the Press and against free speech. It’s shamefully abused like a topical metaphor.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      The first amendment would defeat any legislation passed by Congress.

      And although Fox News never tell the truth if they can help it, changing the laws to mediate what people say isn’t a good plan. Moreover, what is needed (although not achievable in the current capitalistic climate) is a counter point news network that researches everything and educates the public on what lie they just told you and what it was about. The closest thing we have right now is The Daily Show.

    • pirusu says:

      There was actually a lawsuit about Fox News being able to lie. And honestly, it applies to all major media organizations in the United States.

      http://foxnewsboycott.com/resources/fox-can-lie-lawsuit/

      The whole story is interesting, but basically:

      “The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves.

      In its six-page written decision, the Court of Appeals held that the Federal Communications Commission position against news distortion is only a “policy,” not a promulgated law, rule, or regulation. Fox aired a report after the ruling saying it was “totally vindicated” by the verdict.”

    • Premium User Badge FriendlyFire says:

      It’s best not to have state regulations for things like that anyways. Remember that the law must be applied by people and that everyone is biased. Chances are FOX would find a way to only get conservative-leaning officials to regulate them and they’d end up with even more latitude.

    • Acorino says:

      And I thought there was a difference between opinions and facts, free speech protecting opinions, but not lies. Oh well…

    • Demonbooker says:

      There aren’t any actual regulations to control this, and technically, the media -can- say whatever they want, under the First Amendment. There are concepts of Journalistic Integrity, and a Code of Ethics though. While different organizations have different variations, the general tone is to uphold common principles – truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, general welfare of the public, and public accountability.

      Fox seems to put a lot of weight into that last one, apparently feeling that the public that views them is to blame for taking the bullshit they spew as Fact.

  12. Monchberter says:

    Pfft. I’m off to play Carmageddon. You youngsters wouldn’t know a gaming controversy if it came and skill-shotted you into a rapey basement.

    And as for the ludicrously douchetastically monickered ‘Cliffy B’, I’m sure he’s rubbing his hands together with glee for all the extra money he’ll be receiving soon.

  13. Premium User Badge mR.Waffles says:

    This may backfire on anti-game activists. We may very easily, and rightfully so, dismiss this atrocious Fox News reporting, but at the same time dismiss a valid concern deserving a very important dialogue. Our industry has been correctly condemned as misogynistic and juvenile. Naming skillshots after demeaning sexual acts is not going to help. Dismissing this naming convention just ignores hegemonic masculinity that dominates our media.

    • Premium User Badge The Sombrero Kid says:

      Suggesting that Bulletstorm and Civilisation fit within the same artistic and creative space to the extent that respect for Civilisation is undermined by the existence of Bulletstorm isn’t just dangerous it’s preposterous.

      What you’re suggesting is that the existence of the Twilight Films (which are chauvinistic gender role reinforcing tripe) somehow affects the whole film industry/publshing industry and not just the idiots who made those films/books.

      Most importantly, “topless” and “gang bang” are not gender specific nor demeaning sexual acts.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Or, to say what he said with less words:
      Twilight doesn’t cheapen Citizen Kane, and Bulletstorm is not the same as Civilization.

    • Premium User Badge TheApologist says:

      Hmm…I would tend to defend mR. Waffles a bit here. It might be true to say that Bulletstorm doesn’t cheapen Civ.

      However, in either case that doesn’t invalidate any of his claims that a) the industry has a widespread problem with sexism in its output ; b) that there is too little scrutiny and discussion of sexism as a problem in games when it occurs; c) that the defensiveness generated among gamers by negative media coverage exacerbates the tendency to avoid scrutinising sexism in games; and d) a lack of such criticism means it is likely that the tendency for games to contain sexist content will continue.

      Incidentally, I am not sure Bulletstorm doesn’t cheapen other games in the eyes of people who don’t play games much. Gaming is still less well understood than film, music or books, and people who have little other gaming reference to go on are probably more likely to make generalisations along the lines of Bulletstorm’s problems = problems with games. Of course, that in itself is not an argument against Bulletstorm existing, but rather an argument for better discussion of games.

    • bwion says:

      On the other hand, there are legitimate conversations to be had about Bulletstorm’s content that aren’t a blanket condemnation of the entire games industry, and which shouldn’t be drowned out by hysterical ranting, whatever the agenda behind said ranting.

      At least I hope there are.

    • Premium User Badge TheApologist says:

      @bwion Totally.

      But from my perspective, it seems important to keep this discussion alive too. When Alex and Kieron have raised issues of sexism in games and gaming culture in the past, even RPS comments threads got a bit ugly.

    • Binman88 says:

      TheApologist is right. I’m repeatedly appalled by the sexist portrayal of men in games like Devil May Cry and God of War. Dante’s naked abdominal region, and Kratos’ exaggerated muscular physique and angry, vengeful demeanour have no place in 21st century media. I’m getting my “down with this sort of thing” placard ready right now. Let’s go protest some shit!

    • Nick says:

      If anything cheapens Civ, its Civ V.

    • Kryopsis says:

      “Twilight doesn’t cheapen Citizen Kane, and Bulletstorm is not the same as Civilization.”

      This is a comparison between an established medium with strong artistic merit with a very recent medium with questionable artistic merit. You and the poster above you bring up Citizen Kane. I am sorry but there is no ‘Citizen Kane’ of video games. Before you bring up specific titles, consider the appeal of Citizen Kane, Casablanca… hell, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: these films are accessible to a wide audience and are able to convey their message to most viewers. They are multifaceted, complex works. I am not arguing that the video game medium will never reach that status but none of the “Press B to jump” or “give the girl a pair of shoes and she’ll have awkward, simulated sex with you” games count. Bulletstorm doesn’t cheapen the medium by virtue of its existence but if it gains good review scores from popular video game sites, yes, it would cheapen the medium. Imagine seeing Bulletstorm next to Mass Effect, Heavy Rain, Fallout: New Vegas, Baldur’s Gate II or whatever your favourite game might be and you’ll understand where I am going with this.

    • Premium User Badge mR.Waffles says:

      I never stated that Bulletstorm poses some sort of existential threat to our culture, or that it contains the value of Citizen Kane. I merely pointed out that just because the Fox News piece is meritless, does not make the critics meritless. No rational person could proclaim “Someone will play Bulletstorm and then go and commit a rape,” with a straight face. I will be the first to tell you Bulletstorm will have little value to our culture and is merely a piece of entertainment whose effects should not be overblown by alarmist shrills, but that does not make it irrelevant to the culture that created it. I am arguing the discussion should not be dismissed out of hand due to ignorance in the media. That does not change the fact that Bulletstorm continues the long tradition of hegemonic masculinity and gives validation to the criticism that games are not art. I would never, ever, condone censorship of any kind. If you want a misogynistic, sexist game, that uses “rape” and “facials” as comedic material that completely within your right, just as it is in your right to watch whatever pornography that floats your boat, but be prepared to lose the argument that your medium has artistic value outside of endless male power fantasies. We would dismiss the Southern California pornstar who claimed herself as an artist.

      The idea that “facial” and “gang bang” are not sexist is a denial of the culture in which we live. Think of pornography. It is “an industry dedicated to maintaining a sex class system in which men believe themselves as sex machines and men believe women are mindless fuck tubes” (John Stoltenberg : How Men Have (a) Sex). A facial is a good example. The entire purpose of the facial is to humiliate the woman and show domination over. Now I am getting off topic.

      Just do not easily dismiss claims of sexism in our video games.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I personally don’t give a flying fuck if games are accepted as a medium. I like them and that’s all that matters to me.

      Sexist books, films, comics, and music exists. So I don’t see how certain games being sexist is even relevant.

  14. Soon says:

    While digging into FoxNews.com which cause rape, I touch each of the contributors quoted in the article. Neither of the two doctors have got back, but Billy Pidgeon of M2 Research responded. And would you believe it – it is striking.

  15. trjp says:

    There’s a man on Fox News who thinks Mars doesn’t have a Sun – why worry about what they do or say?

    They’re a bunch of bigotted, narrow-minded idiots who are trying to stir-up hatred and fear – please don’t feed them…

  16. Anton says:

    Fox News…. that says it all…. it F*cks news =P

  17. Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

    Thanks John. But it’s sad that you have to do their job for them.

    I do wonder what Nick has to say to all this?

    • Auspex says:

      Very little at the moment I wager!

      ahahahaha… I slay me.

      [https://twitter.com/#!/bokkiedog/status/35068930833911809]

    • bokkiedog says:

      I just commented to John how “What should be done about these games?” sounds like one of our Rum Doings “topics”.

    • Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

      Poor Nick. :D

  18. Premium User Badge Oozo says:

    “Clearly no one is surprised that an outlet like Fox News would be writing reactionary, ill-informed rhetoric about their invented controversies du jour. But that isn’t a reason not to unpick these stories, and to highlight the inaccuracies and hypocrisy within.”

    THIS. Thanks John/RPS for your efforts. It might not change much, but change it might.

    • Pijama says:

      Completely agree. IMHO, RPS never failed with journalism in regards to the big, serious subjects of gaming.

  19. bansama says:

    It’s a shame though that the majority of people who read the original article will never read this one. And thus, will remain oblivious to how butchered the responses were.

  20. Artist says:

    Well, time for change! Murdoch for President!?!

  21. frenz0rz says:

    Nice bit of digging there John, good read.

    Its just a shame that, no matter how absurd and offensive such ‘news’ is to any reasonably minded person, there is very little we can actually do about, and the comments of Mr Pidgeon go toward showing that. The man makes an intelligent and well informed argument based on the questions he was asked, and Fox are free to cut and paste whatever they feel supports their inane fearmongering drivel to feed the uninformed, terrified masses as they sit and eat their breakfast.

    Im positive I am not alone here in feeling that, if I could do more about the situation, I would. But the fact is that media organisations such as Fox have got such a tight grip on the world’s popular supply of information and mass media that if they want to make up some shit that will make money, they will, and nobody can do anything about it.

    This reminds me of the Parliament Games Day coverage a few weeks ago, in which it was mentioned that by the time all of the most convincing and well-spoken arguments were given about gaming as a positive medium of entertainment, most of the politicians had already left. The speakers were, in essence, left preaching to the choir. And this is exactly what is happening here. No matter how well we voice our arguments online, such as John’s well researched response here, we will always be preaching to the choir – Fox would do everything in their power to stop anything that contradicts their mindless ramblings hitting the mainstream media.

    If this continues, I cant see gaming ever becoming a respected and valued medium of entertainment alongside film and literature.

  22. Premium User Badge The Sombrero Kid says:

    People seem to not realise that the reason News Corp. has taken such a vested interest in censoring games and the internet, is because they are the mediums that are supplanting their dominance of the media people consume.

  23. Tubby McChubbles says:

    I understand the free press, but don’t organisations such as OFCOM exist to regulate things like this?

    • Risingson says:

      Those are communists! I tell you, communists!

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      As OFCOM is a British agency I don’t really know where you’re going with this.

    • Auspex says:

      But don’t the US have an equivalent of OFCOM? The FCC? I don’t know if they actually perform a similar role, I’m not from the States.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      Auspex -

      The FCC appears to mainly exists to keep rude words off broadcast airways, and to over-see consolidation of broadcasters, these days. The term is ‘regulatory capture’, I believe. The words corporate lick-spittles, lackeys, toadies and sycophants are also appropriate.

    • bob_d says:

      Fox was sued (by its own reporters) over replacing inconvenient truths in news stories with their opposites (I guess we call those “lies”). They won, because First Amendment considerations trump all in the US. Fox argued they had the right to lie to their audience, and they were (legally) correct.

    • Torgen says:

      Backing bob up on this: I live in Tampa, where this happened. Two noted investigative reporters worked for a local station that switched to the Fox network. The reporters did an expose on high level of bovine growth hormone in milk, and the dangers therein. Their new editor told them to drop the story after the corporation that makes (billions of dollars of profit on) the growth complained. The reporters refused. The story was run, changed to EXONERATE the company, and when the reporters complained, they were fired.

      They sued, and Fox sent corporate lawyers to defend the local station, winning by arguing there was no law requiring them to tell the truth in their NEWS programs. (not “opinion” programs, NEWS programs.)

      Then Fox counter-sued and won, financially ruining the two reporters.

  24. ix says:

    I do think what Pidgeon said did not seem that astonishingly different. Without the summary sentence (defenders of …) it would read far more like it was intended in the original mail. Perhaps that was the point you were getting at.

    This slanting of the truth is of course the sort of bias Fox regularly accuse their competitors of.

  25. Brumisator says:

    Years ago, when I was first confronted with a fox news story, I thought it was a parody of some sorts.
    Then, years after that, when I first saw the Onion news network, I thought it was real for a second.

    Fox news has broken my brain just by existing.

  26. Premium User Badge Colthor says:

    I’m genuinely surprised and impressed at the effort you’re willing to go to to show up a daft story from a daft news site about a daft game.

  27. Nick Ahlhelm says:

    So you’ve presented two not news stories here:

    1. Video games don’t make people crazy.
    2. Media outlets selectively quote to make their story work. And please, stop pretending it’s just Fox News. Ok, thanks.

  28. Joe Maley says:

    I come here to read about video games, not politics.
    You seem to be discrediting the entire station based on a single report.
    They have time to fill, and they’re not experts on video games.

    Media is media, news is news.
    Every single news outlet quote-mines and twists the truth.
    Fox news is no worse than CNN or MSNBC.

    “Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see.”

    All politics aside, there is little chance that this helped or hurt sales.
    The demographic most interested in this game was probably not/does not watch Fox. If anything it would deter some soccer-moms from getting the game for their elementary schoolers – like they would play that over halo or call of duty, though.

    • sigma83 says:

      “You seem to be discrediting the entire station based on a single report.”

      The rest of the station is doing its own discrediting just fine.

    • Fitzmogwai says:

      “You seem to be discrediting the entire station based on a single report.”

      Considering that report is utterly indicative of the quality of Fox News’ output, I think it’s a perfectly sensible conclusion to reach.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      “I come here to read about video games, not politics.”

      And this article exemplifies wonderfully how they’re not mutually exclusive.

      “You seem to be discrediting the entire station based on a single report.”

      Like sigma83 just said, everything else this “news” station does is doing that all on its own.

      “They have time to fill, and they’re not experts on video games.”

      Oh, poor them. How can they possibly fill 24 hours worth of non-garbage news? We should sympathize with them about how they have to work so hard to do their job, and we should totally excuse their deplorable behavior simply because “they don’t know any better”.

      Here’s an idea, if they don’t know what they’re talking about, maybe they shouldn’t talk about it. I know, crazy!

      Media is media, news is news.
      Every single news outlet quote-mines and twists the truth.
      Fox news is no worse than CNN or MSNBC.

      Ah, the strawman “but everyone does it!” mentality. Haven’t heard those words of wisdom since my preteen days.

      All politics aside, there is little chance that this helped or hurt sales.
      The demographic most interested in this game was probably not/does not watch Fox. If anything it would deter some soccer-moms from getting the game for their elementary schoolers – like they would play that over halo or call of duty, though.”

      It’s not just about “hurting or helping sales”, it’s about using abysmal, sensationalist journalism to further incredibly ignorant and biased viewpoints on something they have absolutely no idea about, projecting that ignorance into millions of Americans’ homes. It’s this kind of “reporting” that’s preventing the medium from achieving any kind of legitimacy.

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      The rest of the station is doing its own discrediting just fine.

      Yup.

    • Joe Maley says:

      “And this article exemplifies wonderfully how they’re not mutually exclusive.”
      So if a news station reports on the flavors of icecream, it is now political? No.

      “Like sigma83 just said, everything else this “news” station does is doing that all on its own.”
      You act like it is the only news that puts their bias into their reports.

      “Here’s an idea, if they don’t know what they’re talking about, maybe they shouldn’t talk about it. I know, crazy!”
      Then we should have shut down the political media years ago.

      “Ah, the strawman “but everyone does it!” mentality. Haven’t heard those words of wisdom since my preteen days.”
      I’m glad you learned your high school rhetoric, but that’s not really what I said.
      The notion that you people make is that Fox News is the only one who constantly reports half-truths. I’m not approving, the bulletstorm report is ridiculous.

      “It’s not just about “hurting or helping sales”, it’s about using abysmal, sensationalist journalism to further incredibly ignorant and biased viewpoints on something they have absolutely no idea about, projecting that ignorance into millions of Americans’ homes. It’s this kind of “reporting” that’s preventing the medium from achieving any kind of legitimacy.”
      I think them putting their opinions into a report doesn’t make it any less legitimate.
      There is no such thing as a media outlet that will only report the facts.

    • DiamondDog says:

      You’re right, some news media with obvious political leanings will put their own spin on things, but they can’t ignore evidence completely. They have to have something on which to base their opinion. In this case, Fox distorted things to fit their opinion.

      Your defence that “everybody does this” is a bit hollow. The original story involves Fox, so that is what is discussed. At no point in John’s article does he state Fox News is the worst at this sort of thing. Here in the UK we know newspapers are quite capable of similar tactics displayed by Fox News.

      Still, I’m not sure why you fail to grasp the purpose of the article. Fox News published a story about videogames that turned out to be built on nothing and John has called them on it. You’re arguing over a point that has no relevance.

    • Koozer says:

      It took me a while to work out where “Tune-eesha” was in that video…

    • JackShandy says:

      ““And this article exemplifies wonderfully how they’re not mutually exclusive.”
      So if a news station reports on the flavors of icecream, it is now political? No.”

      It’s a news report about video games, sir. It is, as such, relevant to the stuff this site talks about. If this blog was all about ice-cream it would be perfectly fine for it to talk about a news report on the subject.

      RPS isn’t attempting to discredit the news source as a whole, because I don’t think either of the articles have gone into attacking fox news beyond the way they researched that single story. And the reason they’re not attacking other news outlets for being as bad as fox is that it was fox that published this article. They’re only talking about a single article- not attack the mainstream media as a whole.

  29. Dreamhacker says:

    Can’t we all just, you know, sue them for libel?

    • NikRichards says:

      You certainly have a point. Does anyone with a greater understanding of the american legal system know if this would count a libel?

    • Premium User Badge dhex says:

      libel? no.

      the inflammatory stuff is being passed on from carol lieberman (sp?). libel in the us is rather restrictive, and in this case who is being libeled? the entire games industry? you can’t libel an entire industry. or maybe you can, but good luck proving it.

      plus there’s absolutely nothing to be gained for even an industry lobby group to try and press some kind of defamation suit against her – she’d get a lot more press and it’d just look like (and ultimately be) a slapp suit.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SLAPP

    • mkultra says:

      No, it wouldn’t. And, unfortunately, the people who know the most about libel (legally and in practice) are Fox News.

    • NikRichards says:

      I was mainly thinking about:

      “Carol Lieberman, a psychologist and book author, told FoxNews.com that sexual situations and acts in video games — highlighted so well in Bulletstorm — have led to real-world sexual violence.”

      This is clearly a claim by Carol Lieberman that playing Bulletstorm will cause some people to make sexual assualts. Now in this case, could Epic sue Carol Leberman for libel? And if so, wouldn’t this be a good idea?

      I know it’s not directly addressing the issue of Fox’s reporting, but they would find themselves hard pressed to find ‘experts’ willing to make baseless claims if they were later called to prove them in court.

    • Premium User Badge dhex says:

      “Carol Lieberman, a psychologist and book author, told FoxNews.com that sexual situations and acts in video games — highlighted so well in Bulletstorm — have led to real-world sexual violence.”

      This is clearly a claim by Carol Lieberman that playing Bulletstorm will cause some people to make sexual assualts. Now in this case, could Epic sue Carol Leberman for libel? And if so, wouldn’t this be a good idea?

      I know it’s not directly addressing the issue of Fox’s reporting, but they would find themselves hard pressed to find ‘experts’ willing to make baseless claims if they were later called to prove them in court.

      except that’s not what it says at all: it’s acts in games like bulletstorm. no one is saying “bulletstorm will cause a rise in rapes” but rather “these types of acts in games like bulletstorm will have real-world effects”. if this was a libelous action, tipper gore and bill cosby and [insert favorite/least favorite media scold here] would be crushed by an avalanche of suits.

      as for that last bit, pretend it’s not fox news that you’re dealing with, but any other cultural critic – particularly one you agree with. now imagine their critics suing them for making generalizations you believe to be true. what the hell kind of world would that be?

      hell, the idea that the mediasphere reinforces dominant ideology and behavior is reflected in pretty much every non-dominant belief system you can find, from marxism to orthodox catholicism.

      libel is a special tool, and is specifically narrower in america than in many other places. now, i think this is a very, very good thing, for some of the reasons listed above.

      but i definitely think anyone who considers “i want someone to sue media outlet xyz for being irresponsible” a reasonable response (to what is ultimately a meaningless soundbite against a billion dollar industry quite capable of defending itself) may want to reconsider their position.

    • Dozer says:

      @dhex:
      if this was a libelous action, tipper gore and bill cosby and [insert favorite/least favorite media scold here] would be crushed by an avalanche of suits.
      Yeah, like Neo at the end of Matrix 3!

  30. Outsider says:

    Excellent followup, Mr. Walker.

    If people think this same exact thing does not happen every single other news organization though, they’ve been in the dark. People with opinions and agendas report the news in every country, and often they let those two things influence it when they shouldn’t. The only reason this is getting any focus at all is because the claims were outrageous and offensive to us as gamers. Had they misreported in favor of games, I doubt anyone would be leveling any scrutiny.

    That’s not to call it hypocrisy at all, simply to say a less ridiculous or favorable (but still largely agenda-driven) story would likely have not triggered the bullshit nerve normal folks like us have prompting the look into the reporting.

    • Acorino says:

      I’m sure you feel so level headed and moderate with your opinion, right?
      Who says here, even implicitly, that everyone else is perfect?
      And why does it makes the actions of Fox News any better because other news outlets may also show bias in their reporting? What does your insight change about that?

      I’m sick of people acting all clever, pointing out that news reporting from other sources can be just as bad. Should we all just shut up? Does this make all the accusations unnecessary? Right, better do nothing because the whole world is rotten? Honestly, I’m sick of it!

      Fox News is unique in its constant aggressiveness, disregard for any facts and total bias while claiming they’re fair and balanced. Sure there are similar examples in print (like the Daily Mail), but on TV?

    • Outsider says:

      Acorino,

      {{I’m sure you feel so level headed and moderate with your opinion, right?}}

      I don’t feel anything, I’m making a deliberate effort to find some balance and was actually just making an observation. You seem to have a problem with that, and that’s your perogative, even if it’s hard to understand why.

      {{I’m sick of people acting all clever, pointing out that news reporting from other sources can be just as bad. Should we all just shut up? Does this make all the accusations unnecessary? Right, better do nothing because the whole world is rotten? Honestly, I’m sick of it!}}

      Nothing clever about it – I was looking at the issue as a whole rather than attacking everyone’s favorite villain again, which is a tired and dreary exercise bereft of both thought and effort.
      For the record, I have no problem in pointing out wrong where there is wrong, it should and must be done. I didn’t say, and certainly wasn’t aiming to infer that one cannot be held accountable for wrongdoing if they’re not the only guilty party, and I had nothing negative to say about John Walker and either of his posts on the subject.

      {{Fox News is unique in its constant aggressiveness, disregard for any facts and total bias while claiming they’re fair and balanced. Sure there are similar examples in print (like the Daily Mail), but on TV?}}

      No, they are not unique, they’re only unique in the aspect that they’re right wing. MSNBC is equally if not more aggressive in pushing the left wing progressive agenda while they claim completely otherwise and the rest of the major networks hover at varying degrees of leftward lean.

      I’ve watched my share of both networks and really don’t care for either of them. I do appreciate your response, though I’m moving on to another thread now that isn’t quite as rife with conflict as this one. :)

  31. Premium User Badge phuzz says:

    “games that include highly objectionable violent or sexual content — often pump up the level of this kind of content to gain media attention”

    Well that worked.

  32. cocoleche says:

    Schwarzenegger vs EMA? What’s that? Can’t rememember reading about it.

  33. cpeninja says:

    I like Fox News over the other news outlets, but you have to look over some of their stories with a discerning eye – luckily they don’t make it hard. To be fair, this story isn’t so much FN as it is the one guy who likes to yell ‘for the children’ every once in a while. Keep in mind this is the same website that has a ‘sex’ feature that can get pretty personal with its advice.

    Still, better than MSNBC or CNN – at least Fox doesn’t hide its true intentions.

  34. sigma83 says:

    @Mr Waffles I wasn’t aware there was any such thing as a demeaning sex act.

    • Premium User Badge mR.Waffles says:

      This probably isn’t the place to engage in that particular discussion but if you look above I made a point about how “facials” can be perceived of as a demeaning sex act. Not to mention the entire role pornography plays in our societies expectations and the like.

    • Grape says:

      Please be quiet, Waffles.

    • Premium User Badge Devan says:

      Please be constructive, Grape.
      Waffles’ arguments seem valid and reasonable; what exactly is your problem with them?

  35. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    We can look forward to articles like this appearing on Sky news soon, if/when the government cave and let Murdoch buy up the rest of the shares in Sky.

    • Outsider says:

      All it takes is an ideology that gets in the way of reporting. You already have that, it just hasn’t showed up all over RPS. It’s not Murdoch’s fault or Soros’ fault, it’s the fault of people of any political leaning deciding they need to shape the narrative rather than report facts.

    • Scatterbrainpaul says:

      And you don’t think Murdoch lets his political leaning and ideology dictate the shape of narrative on Fox News?

    • deejayem says:

      Outsider, Murdoch is a special case, if you like, because he has by his own admission a long-held ambition to do away with the delicate balance of self-regulation that keeps reportage in the UK even vaguely balanced. He is well known for exercising rigid editorial control over his media holdings, ruthless in backing whichever side in political debate he believes will most benefit his business concerns, and unashamedly uses his media influence to blackmail politicians into giving him concessions. He is, basically, a profoundly undemocratic force.

      Or to put it another way, you’re right, but Murdoch is one of the people who most egregiously shapes narrative rather than reporting facts.

      Edit: Sorry, Scatterbrainpaul got in before me.

    • Torgen says:

      @Outsider: Soros? Really? You want to equate Soros with someone that uses his global media empire to push his ideological agenda? “Soros as boogeyman” is a Fox talking point, propagated to stoke fear while the Koch brothers’ bankrolling the Tea Party movement is hushed up on Murdoch media outlets.

      It’s the old “Accuse your opponents of doing what you are doing yourself, to discredit any attacks on your side.” Similar to right-wing closeted gays pushing anti-gay political agendas in an attempt to deflect suspicion.

  36. Outsider says:

    I’m sure he has an overarching idea about where he wants Fox to fit in (i.e. right of the largely left media), but I have a hard time imagining Murdoch personally shaping the narrative of all of the reporting that goes on. When reporters or columnists drop the ball on ANY news station or paper I cannot see that blaming the CEO personally for it is sensible.

    edit: Missed deejayem’s response. Murdoch is a powerful man, and he uses his power and influence to forward his personal ideas. This is not in any way, shape or form unique to him or his ideology, there are many a person of differing or opposite ideologies that do the same. This doesn’t make me excited about it, but it is how people work and how people will always work. It has nothing to do with being democratic, he is a media magnate, not a government.

    But, the original point was if Murdoch took a majority share in Sky news, I highly doubt Sky would then start hiring reporters that did a bad job like the one that is the center of the story above. She didn’t do a bad job because she works for Fox, she did a bad job because she’s a bad reporter.

    • deejayem says:

      Murdoch genuinely does – that’s precisely why he’s so unpopular. Google “murdoch editorial control” for a quick selection, or simply look at the volte-face the Sun and Times performed in supporting the Conservative party at the last election.

      It’s pretty well known that Murdoch regards himself as an “old-fashioned proprietor” with the right to shape the way his outlets report the news. That’s not to say he’s involved in every single story, but he sets the agenda and he is ruthless about enforcing it when necessary.

    • Torgen says:

      Murdoch dictates to Ailes, Ailes dictates to the senior editors, who dictate to the producers and reporters what to say, and what NOT to say, with swift consequences to anyone who lets the facts trump the message. There are reams of data documenting this, from scores of people who were fired for not toeing the party line.

      Fox is a propaganda machine, and run with the same strictness as any other one. This has been publicly acknowledged by Republican officials.

    • Scatterbrainpaul says:

      All you have to do is look at his large financial contributions to the republican party and the coverage Fox News gives them around election time.

      http://www.janrainwater.com/htdocs/conspiracy-unravel.htm

      We need our major news channels to stay politically independent in England. If Murdoch starts shaping television news in the UK for his own financial benefit and in order to enhance his empire, we’re all fucked.

    • Outsider says:

      Torgen, is it not that you disagree with the idea that ideology shapes news reporting, but the brand of ideology that you object to? I’d double check that your ‘reams of data’ don’t come from someone else with a political or monetary axe to grind. Fox does not have a monopoly on ideological reporting, it’s just the only one that isn’t unabashedly leftwing. I don’t want right or left telling me what to think in the guise of news, I want some facts. When I want to know what someone personally thinks, I read an opinion column.

      If it’s comforting to set up Fox or Murdoch or Ailes or whoever as some evil facist puppetmaster that painstakingly filters every word that goes out the door at News Corp so casting off your own ideologically motivated ills is an easy and targeted exercise, so be it.

      My overall point is that Murdoch isn’t doctor evil, and he doesn’t make shoddy journalists, those make themselves.

    • deejayem says:

      Man, lots of things to say here and I’m supposed to be working. Ok, quickies:

      “This doesn’t make me excited about it, but it is how people work and how people will always work.”

      I always get depressed by this “it’s just people” argument. Yes, it’s how some people work, which makes it all the more important that the rest of us make a stand – particularly when, as we do in the UK at the moment, we have a chance to do something about it. As I said in the other thread, Murdoch’s Sky takeover is currently undergoing government scrutiny here in the UK, and it’s vital that the public demand the process be transparent and genuine by contacting their MPs and putting pressure on the Hulture Secretary (yes, I will keep making that joke*) who is currently trying to conduct negotiations behind closed doors. That’s democracy, man.

      “It has nothing to do with being democratic, he is a media magnate, not a government.”

      Anything that interferes with the relationship between elected representatives and the people that elect them is undemocratic, in my view. I know there’s a lot of forces that do that, but Murdoch seems to believe he has the *right* to do it, which I for one find repugnant.

      “She didn’t do a bad job because she works for Fox, she did a bad job because she’s a bad reporter.”

      That may be true in this case, but with News Corp and other Murdoch holdings it’s hard to know, as the symptoms of bad journalism and partisan misreporting (which is, again, very much a part of Murdoch policy) are very similar: presenting a selection of facts while failing to give the full story.

      Edit: I should add that this is not, for me at least, a left-wing/right-wing thing – I’d be equally opposed to this kind of strong-arm, cynical media manipulation by a left-wing establishment.

    • Outsider says:

      {{We need our major news channels to stay politically independent in England.}}

      Then you might want to look into achieving that. BBC has admitted themselves that they have been quite, quite left wing, and I’m not sure if anyone has noticed any difference in the Guardian, Daily Mail or Telegraph. As I’ve said, nearly every outlet is ideologically motivated, the only question is to what degree – THAT is the problem, and THAT is what is perpetuating bad reporting not the brand of ideology.

      Also, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to go digging through conspiracy theories posited by the “World Socialist Website.” I’m not aiming to get into greater political discussions or start posting links to other ideologically motivated websites to try to prove anything and am certainly not looking to do so in the RPS comment section. So thanks for the discussion thus far, it has been engaging and enlightening. :)

    • deejayem says:

      I don’t think it’s controversial to say there’s a qualitative difference in the kind of reporting provided by Fox News and that produced by the bulk of British media, which currently has a duty of impartiality. That duty is only enforced by the very fragile powers of Ofcom (which can, if it’s really cross, impose a small fine) and the PCC (a largely toothless self-regulatory body run by newspaper owners). There’s not much more than a gentlemen’s agreement keeping these forces in balance, which is as it should be, if we’re to have a free press. The trouble is, a free press means one free from business interests as well as from political ones.

      Murdoch has a publicly expressed desire to upset that balance. He’s not alone in this (Richard Desmond has just withdrawn his papers from the PCC) but he is the most powerful player, and the one with the darkest history of selectively reporting the truth for his own ends. Many of us here believe that would be a bad thing. This isn’t really an ideological point. Murdoch doesn’t really have an ideology, as far as I can tell, beyond a sort of post-Thatcherite view that anything is permissible if it expands his business interests. His papers famously supported Labour in the 1997 election and the Conservatives in 2010. It’s not his politics that are at issue here but the damage he seems willing to do to the freedom of the press in this country.

      None of this is buried particularly deeply and none of it is conspiracy theory – as I say, it doesn’t take much Googling to find quotes from the horse’s mouth. You can deny it’s important, but you can’t really deny it’s happening.

      Anyway, thanks likewise for an interesting discussion.

    • Tacroy says:

      I’m sure he has an overarching idea about where he wants Fox to fit in (i.e. right of the largely left media)…

      [citation needed]

      If you’ve found a “largely left” American news channel besides NPR, please let me know. CNN and NBC are center-right, ABC and CBS news barely even exist, the BBC is center-left but doesn’t focus on American news, and… that’s about it really, besides local newspapers that nobody reads any more.

      The thing is, Fox is so far out in extreme crazy right-wing land that they make everyone else look liberal by comparison.

    • Acorino says:

      You may find there’s a distinction between reporting from the point of view of your own political beliefs (so you may more focus on the faults of the political opposition then of your own party) without, you know, twisting the facts, and the Fox News approach of not letting any facts get in the way, demonizing the enemy, trumpeting your own alleged moral superiority, creating an atmosphere of fear,…
      I feel the difference is not too subtle.

      I don’t know of any “left-wing” news organization that’s as devilish as Fox News and that’s not because I’m blind, that’s not because I belief I’m better for my differing political beliefs. I like to be challenged in my beliefs anyway. It’s just because that’s how it is.

      Some American ones try to up their game and go head to head with Fox, but you can’t trump them, and anyway, Fox has already their audience, so they fail (like MSNBC).

  37. Premium User Badge daphne says:

    What’s even more infuriating about all these news is that it’s all ideological. Despite decades having passed, video games are still treated as the new terror threatening the welfare of families, parents, and hapless children of those well-meaning, sinless parents everywhere. Because, you know, every good American will tell you the American family is the most pristine entity ever. That’s how it’s been for about thirty years now. Take away the family and the society breaks down. Right. So they’d believe.

    God damn, sometimes I wish some greater “offending” medium would show up just to take away the spotlight from videogames’ “obscenity”. That’s the only way these guys will move on. I’m also worried that videogames won’t survive the process unscathed: I’d hate to see even mainstream gaming go the way of Hollywood.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Rather than waiting for a new medium to arise, I’m personally just waiting for this generation of ignorants to die from old age and make way for the people who don’t have an irrational hatred for this medium.

      Back in the ancient days, people feared books. BOOKS. Needless to say, those old cronies died, people took the new medium’s intrinsic advantages at face value, and the medium was given the legitimacy it deserved.

      See also: Radio, Television

    • Grape says:

      I can only agree with Daphne, here. Pretty much exactly what I was going to say.

  38. bildo says:

    I’ll be watching Fox New tonight, because it’s the best 24 news channel in America. Not like that’s saying much, but it is.

  39. Premium User Badge shoptroll says:

    Sounds like someone hasn’t been exposed to the facepalm that is Fox News. You guys are lucky over there in Europe!

    Actually, I’m surprised at the quality of the questions they’re asking, they’re a lot better than I expected. Which makes it even worse that they’d butcher the living hell out of the response. Really shameful.

    I hope this is the end of the coverage on this “story”. It really sucks they’re doing this sort of coverage, but it’s pretty much par for the course with Fox News. Probably worth watching Outfoxed if you want more information on them.

    EDIT: Not knocking the followup and initial news post, but I firmly believe continued coverage of Fox News’ antics gives them attention they don’t deserve.

    • John Walker says:

      I’ve own Outfoxed on DVD for many years – it’s a fantastic piece of work.

    • Acorino says:

      Fox News sadly already gets much more attention every singly day then they deserve. :(
      So we can’t change that. But the least we can do is to point out some of the egregious errors in their reporting.

  40. chiroho says:

    Fox have obviously blown this all out of proportion for their own purposes, but the bigger problem here is that regardless of ratings, kids get games they shouldn’t have.

    For example, my son is in 3rd grade. He’s 8. Yet he has friends who have CoDMW and CoDMW2 for the XBox, and who play it regularly. I wouldn’t let him anywhere near those games. So even if the claim is that kids won’t be able to buy those games without ID, they do get hold of them.

    Now I wouldn’t buy Bulletstorm unless it was a fun game, but an 8 year old gets hold of the game, that’s a much bigger problem than if I (or anyone over 17) do.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Sadly, at this point it’s more about educating the parents rather than the kids. Yeah, yeah, the kids play all them bad vidya gaems, it’s the parents who buy it for them and it’s the parents who allow other kids to play those games. They’re the ones who do the most harm to their kids.

      Assuming your child is playing the games you object to:

      What you should do is talk to the parents of your child’s friends and tell them you object to such-and-such game, and would like it if they didn’t allow the kids to play that game when your child comes over. Simple, reasonable request. If they deny such request, I suggest having your child look for new friends. It might seem “dictatorial” at a glance, but you have every right to raise your kids however you want.

    • Premium User Badge Napalm Sushi says:

      Pointless Puppies hits the nail on the head.

      I have a friend who is a primary school teacher. She recently recieved a complaint from a parent about a piece of homework she set, in which she asked her pupils to read a book with their parents. The complaint?

      “Isn’t this your job?”

      The issue of parental responsibility is a very, very serious one which runs far deeper and wider than kids getting hold of mature games, which is merely a symptom. Spending resources to clamp down on this symptom would be like responding to an arson attack by banning matches.

    • tomnullpointer says:

      Yeah,
      Ive seen this loads of times, when the kid wants to buy it in a shop the parents call the game industry pacman, when the kids are telling their firends later about shooting prostitutes the parents call the games industry satan. join the dots people!
      To be fair, retailers are loads better at making ratings clear to purchasers than they used to be. But you still cant stop a parent buying a game if they insist.
      Ive got 2 young kids and I lve playing stuff like lego star wars, zelda etc, even burnout with them. But Id never play Fallout3 or Far cry2 in front of them. Its easy to thikn that if it doesnt upset of offend you then it must be the same for everyone. I know a fair few adults that Id steer away from certain games, never mind kids :)

  41. Fumarole says:

    WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?!

    I say we take off and nuke Fox News from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  42. Jumwa says:

    As I suspected when I read the mans Fox-ified quote in the original article. Sadly, I see this sort of thing happen on about a weekly basis so I’ve come to expect it. Someone intelligent asked for their opinion on a specific subject, they give a thoughtful and well-crafted statement, the question giver than chops it up and twists it about to make it sound like something completely different.

  43. Mister_Inveigler says:

    *GASP* “He can’t give intelligent, informed decisions! Can’t he see that we’re reporting at an angle here? Where’s my cutting tool? Ahha!”

    Well at least the full story was released in the end.
    The funny thing is that some people actually believe that news stations like Fox are quality stations for News.
    Go figure.

  44. tomnullpointer says:

    I am in total agreement with Johns points and repeatedly annoyed by the blatant shockmongering (is that a word?) of FOX (and many press outlets). But it still makes me really sad that games try to sell themselves by peppering their content with exactly the sort of immature sexism and nob gags that the mainstream press will pick up on. I mean come on guys , grow up.. If i thought we were in danger of games getting too conceptually lofty or deep then ok theres always room for a bt of crass humor, but seriously..

    Imagine a day when the news covers a game because it is notable for a controversial, thought provoking depiction of the human condition….

    ah well back to the PEW PEW

  45. Shazbut says:

    Bloody corrupt journos. Christ, even The Wire didn’t manage to make Templeton a sympathetic character. I had more compassion for Marlo and that guy was born from the blood of Satan.

    A fitting end would’ve been for him to be beaten to death with his own empty notebook and then have his epitaph written by another hack who didn’t know him and was too lazy to discover his first name.

    • Premium User Badge Thirith says:

      I don’t think The Wire was trying to make Templeton sympathetic. He was basically a figure worthy of derision only. Gotta love the scene where McNulty figures out his game.

  46. Maykael says:

    Thanks, John! You’ve done a wonderful thing. RPS is king!

  47. Navagon says:

    Well we all knew Fox News is full of bullshit. But it’s always impressive to see just how big that mound of bullshit truly is.

    They did get one thing right in recognising Billy Pidgeon as a credible source though. The guy knows exactly what he’s talking about.

  48. Dominic White says:

    I’m genuinely worried by the handful of people here actually defending Fox. Why on earth would you make any effort to defend a ‘news’ agency that actually fought a legal battle for their right to lie to you? It’s like Stockholm Syndrome, but for news. Given the amount of times they’ve bent the truth, misquoted and outright lied (and this has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt), how on earth could you support that?

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      See: Goebbels, Josef and Smith, Winston

    • Arglebargle says:

      Stockholm Syndrome for Journalism…nice! Here’s an appropriate comment; except for the part about not being heard of. Nowadays, they don’t even require that.

      The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in Democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. Our minds are molded, our tastes are formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.

      – Edward Bernays (1891-1995) “Father” of modern public relations (PR) and director of the U.S. Committee on Public Information during World War I, on government propaganda

  49. hdiandrew says:

    And I never could find a copy of Mass Effect with the rape that Fox promised us …

  50. bascule42 says:

    I know, lets send Fox a mock up of GTA Tuscon.