Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Journalistic Integrity ... What's That?

Fucking rrre... ssseriously!?

I mentioned yesterday that it was with great displeasure that I'd be covering a view of the media on gamers. I wasn't just making a throwaway reference there, and while I am still unbelievably sick and tired of having to call people out for this kind of crap over and over, I'll still continue to do so (even though I'll be the first to admit that I haven't much clout to throw around). I also figure that by making this the first story of the New Year that there will be nowhere to go from here but up, please, please, please let me be right about this.

It honestly happens so often that gamers as a whole have gotten somewhat used to it. Aside from being horrified at what happened in Sandy Hook I think it shows how utterly jaded I've become when one of the first other things that popped into my mind was "gee, wonder how long it will take before some news station blames video games for this?" and I wasn't proven wrong in that regard. Still, by this point it was to be expected, right? Just something to be ignored and glossed over in the long run, and something that shouldn't be taking airtime away from the victims and their families -- people who I still maintain are the only ones that should be given the media spotlight in these sorts of situations, not the killer, not finger pointing "experts", just the people actually affected by the event -- I posted a link to a video I thought made some good points and planned for that to be that.

Then this happened.

I am well aware that the Huffington Post isn't exactly a bastion of journalistic integrity itself if some of the accusations that have been levelled in the past are any indication. Still, assuming that Mr. Perreault hasn't simply made this up, the conversation that follows is damning nonetheless regardless of the source.

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."

Again, this is running on the assumption that Perreault hasn't simply made this up. Without a name to attach to the other party -- something which I fully believe that Perreault should have divulged although I'll get to that more in depth a little later on -- there can ultimately be no guarantee aside from the ethics of the divulging party. I would like to err on the side of trusting the word of someone with a half decent CV like Perreault, but again no assurance can be absolute in this case.

I really almost wish that this could be proven as a hoax, at least then perhaps some of my faith in what meagre thing we call modern day journalism could be restored. When you consider that this is pretty much an open admission on the part of the unnamed journalist, that they aren't in it for the truth, rather just to get someone who agrees with the way they're spinning events, the ramifications are pretty disgusting.

That's why I fully believe that Perreault should have named the second party. I don't believe with one fibre of my being that anyone who would undertake this approach, either under their own power or at the behest of a higher authority, deserves to have the gift of anonymity granted to them in this situation. What's being displayed here is an absolute void of journalistic integrity, one that I think is going unpunished without reason or merit.

I'll admit that this is somewhat of a touchy subject for me, but seeing this honestly made me sick, it continues to make me sick, and if it ever gets to a point where this doesn't then the person speaking to you right now fears for what he would become.

Like I said before, I can only hope that by covering this now we've started the New Year at the absolute nadir of the kind of bullshit that happens both in and around these industries. I hope to god I'm right.


  1. When the NRA made their speech about Sandy Hook the one giving it, who I believe is the Vice President of the NRA said video games do cause these type of things to happen.

  2. I fully believe that if that even if that exchange was false that one exactly the same occurred at another place and at a not so different time. Its called "balanced" journalism/punditry - we need one guy saying its not okay and one saying it is, it doesn't matter who and how many people they represent or how factual they are.

    PS: Beer + cars kills more people than guns... but people don't seem to be rushing to make sacrificial lambs for them. People are irresponsible hypocrites.


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