The following letter has been e-mailed to Mr. Beck directly, and is being re-posted on Law of the Game for my readers to enjoy.
First, let me say I am a fan, and listen to your radio show every day during my commute. However, over the weekend I caught your show from Thursday with the magic of TiVo, and I have to say the ‘Grand Theft Morality’ segment was a real disservice to the public at large. First, your panel was exceedingly one sided and biased. It was the equivalent of discussing global warming with Al Gore and Ted Turner. Given that you have had the authors of ‘Grand Theft Childhood’ on the show, I would have expected a more balanced guest list. Second, it is irresponsible for anyone to bring Jack Thompson on the air anymore. He has been sanctioned in
Here are some undisputed facts:
1. There is NO LINK between factual statistics on ‘cop killing’ and the release of Grand Theft Auto games. (http://gamepolitics.com/2008/04/29/fbi-stats-dont-support-claims-of-gta-series-as-cop-killing-simulation/)
2. There is no link between the violent crime rate and video game violence. (http://gamepolitics.com/2008/04/12/comparing-violent-crime-to-violent-game-releases/)
3. There are many studies showing that games don’t have the impact on behavior that people like Mr. Thompson espouse as fact. (http://gamepolitics.com/2008/04/02/new-study-game-violence-makes-players-less-angry/ and http://content.apa.org/journals/emo/8/1/114, among others)
4. In fact, studies show that it is a dysfunctional family that generally creates violence. (http://gamepolitics.com/2008/03/25/study-games-dont-spark-violence-but-dysfunctional-families-do/)
I have actually played Grand Theft Auto IV, which I assume neither you nor your guests have. For the first nearly full hour of the game, you quite literally drive people around, go on a date to a bowling alley (no sex in the entire sequence), and then get into a schoolyard fist fight with some thugs who are beating up your cousin. In terms of the actual storyline, it’s no more violent or sexual than a Martin Scorsese movie. All of the worst things you cite as part of the ‘experience’ are completely optional. Those films garner an ‘R’ rating, and this game has similarly garnered an ‘M’ rating, the game equivalent to ‘R.’
I find it troubling that someone like you would be perfectly fine with Jack Thompson’s government-imposed controls on content while decrying government interference and the ‘nanny-state’ on so many other fronts. No other packaged media (books, DVDs, CDs, etc.) in
Glenn, we’re not talking about placing this game deliberately in the hands of kids. Many stores do actually require ID to purchase games and movies that are rated M and R respectively. Ultimately, though, it should be the responsibility of the parents to monitor their child’s media consumption. The rating systems on TV, movies, and games make it much easier for a parent to do so, and if the point of your piece was simply to make parents aware, then your method of doing so was exceptionally overbroad. Telling your viewers to be careful if their husbands are playing this game was just absurdity. I have been playing video games for decades. I haven’t murdered anyone yet, and I have no plans to murder anyone in the immediate future. When any new form of media has been released, the public has always been quick to blame all of society’s ills on it until, eventually, people realize that it is not the media causing the problem, rather some other aspect of society. Putting on segments that only serve to increase the fear and unfounded hate of not only the games but those who play them has no benefit to the public at large. I hope that future segments dealing with the issue of video games would at a minimum include more credible anti-gaming guests, if not guests on both sides of the issue.
The content of this blog is not legal advice.
It only constitutes commentary on legal issues,
and is for educational and informational purposes only.
Reading this blog, replying to its posts, or any other
interaction on this site does not create an
attorney-client privilege between you and the author.
The opinions expressed on this site are the opinions of the author only and not of any other person or entity.