Article in the Sydney Morning Herald

Australian Journalism has outshone itself by publishing one of the WORST stroies on gaming to date.

This biased, skewed piece of sensationalist crap was published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

They equate the Video Games industry to the Tobacco industry, and say that brains will damage your brain.

It is an example of the WORST journalism in this country.

The article is [url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/technology/dark-side-of-the-screen/2006/05/12...HERE[/url]

Please read it, and then respond it a mature and intelligent manner via [url=http://www.smh.com.au/contacts/readerlink/]HERE[/url]

J I Styles's picture

heh, it's really so sensationalist that it actually doesn't bug me. Reminds me more of the whole "your child is a satanic worshipper for listening to KISS! Knights in service of satan!" So a critic is wanting to bite at nintendo for giving someone that criticized games for their lack of mental stimulation the opportunity to make a game that increases brain activity? and then use that as a point of "corruption"? That's just pathetic.
I like the use of the picture of the new onimusha game with the tag "Incorruptible ? Japanese video games companies seduce their critics". Besides making absolutely no sense in context of the article, it shows how little journalistic investigation has gone into the piece. It's laughable at best.

I think the whole issue is a hypocritical sensationalist piece of crap anyway. I've seen real life people decapitated, tortured, burnt alive, mutilated, fall to their death, and gunned down in papers and "news" stories yet I never see a single "journalistic report" on that, or any research reported on about it.

pb's picture

quote:Originally posted by funkyj

Australian Journalism has outshone itself by publishing one of the WORST stroies on gaming to date.

This biased, skewed piece of sensationalist crap was published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

They equate the Video Games industry to the Tobacco industry, and say that brains will damage your brain.

It is an example of the WORST journalism in this country.

Actually they quote some guy who reckons that the games industry uses similar tactics to the tobacco industry (so its neither equating the two nor even endorsing that view) and another guy who said that his research found that when people play games they have reduced activity in part of their brain (while they play, he never claimed it resulted in "brain damage"), and then he decided he needed to do more research and was critised for changing his mind because Nintendo gave him money.

All a bit silly, but get a grip, just about everything you see on MediaWatch is sillier.. Biased, sure, but not especially sensational, not compared to, oh, every single episode of ACA or Today Tonight...

pb

flyingdoormat's picture

I put a piece up on my SMH blog [url]http://blogs.smh.com.au/screenplay/archives/view_from_the_hill/004558.ht... about this, would love to have you add your comments so the editor of the paper can read what a ridiculous piece it was.

Cheers,

Jason

Maitrek's picture

It would take hours for me to respond to every piece of ill-informed illogical bollocks in that article. I just don't have the time.

It is pure trash ... I struggle to find one solid objective argument in the entire piece. That 'journalist' (if you could call her that) should be banished from holding a pen/pencil/keyboard.

souri's picture

I read about this article first over at [url="http://www.kotaku.com/gaming/australia/video-games-rot-yer-brain-says-au..."]Kotaku[/url], who seem to be pretty much amused over it.

Such an unbalanced article which seems hell bent on trashing the games industry. The aforementioned tobacco / game industry comparisons, some sort of movement by the games industry to attack research linking games to violence whilst buddying up with influential figures, and the GTA remark by lawyer nutjob, Jack Thompson, are just icing on the cake.

C'mon, if you want to quote a credible professional, you shouldn't be looking to [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Thompson_(attorney)"]a dead-beat lawyer[/url] who's been investigated by the practise in his own state, [url="http://www.sumea.com.au/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3310"]renegs on his challenge[/url] to game developers, [url="http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=12259"]blasted by pro family groups[/url] and being [url="http://www.wired.com/news/games/0,2101,69404,00.html"]a total moron in general[/url]. Heck, I'm sure he was booted from that GTA case which the comment in that article was likely about.

Anyway, it just doesn't seem to be worth a rational argument over any of the points in there. It's like when Jack Thompson makes yet another news headline - you realise that people can be just as passionate against games and they're going to keep making these kind of outlandish claims to push whatever agenda they have. And occasionaly some journalist will lump it all together to make one big steaming pile of poop, just like the one we're talking about.

flyingdoormat's picture

Unfortunately guys, if you don't take the time to write a letter to the editor or a quick post on my blog, the editor of the paper will never know that the article was ignorant rubbish. It was written by the paper's Tokyo correspondent, and she should have done a lot more research or put it on the opinion pages, not dress it up like it was fact.

Maitrek's picture

Man if computer games were really that bad for you, then i might've been the next Einstein had I never gone near those horrible things. If only I had got into party drugs and eckies as a 10 year old instead of those cursed interactive entertainment media.

Caroo's picture

The video game mascots tell me to burn things.... BURN IT ALL!!!!!!

pb's picture

Now you guys are getting as ridiculous as the article. Why shouldn't they quote Jack Thompson? He's a prominent figure in the anti-game movement and he's the lawyer representing someone trying to stay out of prison by attempting to argue some of the stuff in the article in court. Seems to me like the only reason you don't want to see him quoted is because you don't like what he's saying.

And I'm really unsure why people take offense at the suggestion that the games industry attacks "research" linking games to violence? Do biologists get offended when someone points out that they attack creationist "science"? No, they say "right on, that's exactly what we do, donate some money and we'll attack them some more"...

pb

Maitrek's picture

There's a massive difference between taking a quote from some 'professional' (which occurs in the article) and then paraphrase the statement later in the article presenting it as if it were fact (which also occurs in the article). This is why it's always frustrating to see Mr Thompson quoted because it is a warning sign that the writer of the article has gone out looking for a quote that displays a particular viewpoint - rather than looking at a topic objectively and getting a balanced well argued perspective.

In my opinion, Jack Thompson is only trying to make money out of the debate, and I feel sorry for the people who he defends and those who he represents because he's just feeding them crap that they want to hear and then profiting from their ignorance of both the legal system, and the actual academic reality of the 'effects' of computer games on the individual.

souri's picture

quote:Originally posted by pb

Now you guys are getting as ridiculous as the article. Why shouldn't they quote Jack Thompson? He's a prominent figure in the anti-game movement and he's the lawyer representing someone trying to stay out of prison by attempting to argue some of the stuff in the article in court. Seems to me like the only reason you don't want to see him quoted is because you don't like what he's saying.

I just gave a list of why he doesn't deserve any credibility, and yeh, I don't like what he's saying, but that's mainly due to him putting his bandwagon-hopping sensationalised spin on it or just being plain incorrect. I think that's why he's such a prominent figure in the anti-game movement. I have no problem with Jack being quoted, but I think to quote Jack is just scraping the absolute bottom of the barrel.

quote:And I'm really unsure why people take offense at the suggestion that the games industry attacks "research" linking games to violence? Do biologists get offended when someone points out that they attack creationist "science"? No, they say "right on, that's exactly what we do, donate some money and we'll attack them some more"...

pb

I don't think anyone took offense to that? But the suggestion that there's some industry wide conspiracy akin to a Tobacco coverup seems a bit of hog-wash.

pb's picture

But he's not quoted as some objective professional who's credibility is played up, he's described as "the victims' lawyer" (ie he's an interested party, he's going to give you his biased opinion and you've been told). It doesn't matter whether you like what he's saying.

On a side note, there's an interesting aspect to this idea of the victim's families suing some 3rd party they decided to blame. When some nut bar went on a killing spree aftering being "inspired" by Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers the victim's families sued him. He won, but it leads to an interesting question: if he had lost that would mean that he's at least partially responsible for the murders? If thats true, then the real murderers, who are sitting in prison, now have grounds for legal action against him (not to mention appeals etc), since afterall it would follow that their prison problems are a result of his movie. Its only a matter of time before the actual murderers start suing... It would also put the "moral outrage" crowd in a dilemma - on the one hand they argue for personal responsiblity and not "blaming society", "being abused as a child" etc, on the other they're now going to have to defend something they seem to hate so much...

pb

J I Styles's picture

To argure that from another side, in regards to Jack Thompson. This article is written in May 2006, and that quote is from a case from 2005 which he was forcibly removed from (with his right to practice in that state taken away) for violating his gag order, threatening other attorneys, and acting in a completely immoral and unethical way. With this knowledge, and presenting it in a "the victims lawyer" manner, is that really a good source for an opinion to write a fair article? Hell no - it's harvesting the most negative and sensationalist message you can, even if it's from a person ejected from the case you're giving them credit for. That is simply bad journalism thinly masking vested interest in the most sensationalist article that someone can write - at this point I'm not even talking about the game issue. This article is just bad - research you can pull up within an hour on the web, no footwork in finding out anything or talking to anyone, writing a whole heap of things in a factual way that are questionable at best, and getting things simply wrong multiple times over. To me this just seems like a rush job to satisfy an editor/deadline and try to get a bit o' cash.

pb's picture

quote:Originally posted by J.I. Styles

To me this just seems like a rush job to satisfy an editor/deadline and try to get a bit o' cash.

Exactly, the way people carry on sometimes you'd think there's some deliberate consipiracy to "get us" when in fact its so much more mundane.

pb

Maitrek's picture

prepare for MONSTAH POST!!!!

The reason that some people (and not really me in particular, I hope) 'carry on' is because if we don't make a fuss when a poorly researched viewpoint is perpetuated in the community then we might find ourselves even MORE restricted in what we can make and get classified in Australia than we already are. Especially considering that for alot of non-gamers the only source of information about the effects of computer games, that they would consider 'independent', is in the newspaper, and furthermore they are likely to assume any positive message purported by a gaming magazine is probably going to be skewed in favour of a pro-gaming agenda. We are screwed if we don't get positive messages about games in a so-called 'independent' agenda-less popular information medium and it is in our best interest to objectively criticise any poorly researched and - even worse - totally incorrect message.

Sure - it doesn't make us look good to criticise the profession of journalism (but they certainly make it easy sometimes) so that's why i'd stress that any criticism should be 'objective' as well as justified. By 'justified' of course i mean that instead of criticising the journalist themselves we should be criticising their work and finding ways to ensure they have the right information at-hand (rather than forcing them to do a 30minute google search for 'anti-gaming propaganda') from that point onwards.

So not only should we be ensuring that we restrain ourselves and only criticise objectively and justifiably, but we should also seek to use those information media as best as we can and constantly give them updates and more accurate information about gaming and any effect is has on modern life. i.e. make sure new research and texts published by academics that you think they might like to reference is known to them, and that any press releases are forwarded on to them rather than just letting them sit in the domain of 'pro-gaming' media (such as gaming websites, gaming magazines etc).

grantregan's picture

Woah, what an absolute hatchet job.

As she states the Japanese market is one of the largest in the world and yet the Japanese have some of the lowest rates of violence in the developed world, not to mention the fact that Ms Cameron conveniently ignores, that while video game sales increase in countries such as Australia and the US, youth violence is on the decrease.

Trash journalism

-grant

baboon's picture

There is also the beautiful point that parents are blaming us, the game makers, for the cause of violence in their kids and yet they let them sit in front of their 300 inch TVs filling their faces with chemicals disguised as "food", playing video games and watching TV for hours and hours each day without a single rational thought that they are the ones that should control what their little darlings are doing. Can you say "nanny state" people? Take some responsibility for your kids for god sake. I accept that if you spend your entire waking life playing violent video games then your perception of the world will becomes seriously bent, but the same can be said of someone that spends their entire waking life watching horror/slasher movies or gangster films, (or even the news, which of course has a propensity towards war, death and destruction...). Saying agressive video games cause violent behaviour is like saying junk food will kill you. Well, yes of course it will, but only if you eat it everyday at more or less every meal.