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60 Minutes: Can A Video Game Lead to Murder

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Posted by Allison on June 20, 2005 12:47 PM
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Apparently there's not enough going on in the world today. Instead of opting for, oh, I don't know, anything about something our troops are facing in Iraq, 60 Minutes opted to re-air the craptacular piece they put together last March entitled, "Can a Video Game Lead to Murder?". I examined this piece extensively after it originally aired, and it's more than clear that 60 Minutes, yet again, opted to ignore my criticisms. Clearly they don't understand the power of the Bean. Sheesh.


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Anyway, I suggest you read my initial reaction to the program. Keep in mind that I have no desire to defend violent video games, and I don't think kids should be playing them. However, I am so incredibly annoyed that people are picking on these games as if they are to blame for all of society's ills.

The story 60 Minutes focused on was that of a foster kid who had been abused and tossed from home to home, and, truthfully, did go on a killing spree reminiscent of a mission in GTA: Vice City. However,his foster status was quickly pushed aside. It was the game, it was the game, it was the game, according to their interview of choice, attorney Jack Thompson, who is leading the suit against the makers of GTA and Sony (for providing the hardware). Once again, 60 Minutes failed to let the audience know about Thompson's odd little history (go here and scroll down for links), which, I believe, is important when presenting a news story to an audience. Not to mention, it would make the story more interesting. Not only is Thompson obsessed with Batman (it must have been a big weeked for him, with the new Batman movie being release, AND a re-air of his 60 Minutes show), but he reportedly believes God, "chose him to be the savior of widows and orphans". OK, Jack. This kid was a foster child whom society failed. If you're the savior of orphans, why not sue the government, which clearly failed this kid? Or, is that where you draw the line of personal responsibility? These are the questions that needed to have been asked, and I would have, honestly, been interested in his answers, because, as it stands, the only answer I can see is, "Suing the government isn't as profitable as suing Take Two and Sony".

Finally, after I finish my current book, I'm going to begin reading Steven Johnson's new book, Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter. Once I finish it, I'll report back. I'm going to be careful to look at it critically, as I hate people who blindly seek out information that only backs up their own views, but I find this kind of stuff to be fascinating. I saw Johnson on The Daily Show last week, and he made an excellent point, which I will leave you with: Yes, video games do desensitize people to violence, but where's the evidence that that is acually a bad thing?

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Read my initial reaction to the 60 Minutes piece

Read the transcript of the 60 Minutes piece









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