By ANTHONY VIGNA
Gamers were outraged when they heard Fox News blamed last week’s mass shooting in Washington DC on violent video games last week.
Aaron Alexis, Navy contractor and reservist, reported “hearing voices” before shooting 12 people and being shot by police, according to Reuters. While some are looking into his mental stability, Fox News is looking into his history with violent video games.
Jose Baez, 21-year old computer science major, said he finds their reporting laughable for not focusing on the real problem of the tragedy.
“Violent video games didn’t give a mentally unstable man a gun,” he said. “Instead of demonizing gamers, they should focus on those that need mental help.”
A lot of news organizations, like Fox News, often connect mass killings to violent video game habits. Fox News formed an argument that violent video game cause mass killings by using Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Seung Hui Cho, Jared Loughner, Anders Breivik, James Holmes, and Adam Lanza as previous examples of people that were linked to both mass killings and violent video games in the media.
Video games, which is still a relatively new concept to some people, is often interpreted as being worse than other mediums for having violence due to the medium’s interactivity. Baez, a gamer himself, said that there isn’t much to differentiate between the violence in gaming and the violence in other media.
“I don’t bat an eye to violent video games,” he said. “But movies like ‘Hostel’ and ‘Human Centipede’ make me cringe.”
There are many studies that go against the theory that violent video games turn gamers into killers, and barely any evidence to prove that Fox New’s claim is true. For example, a children’s research publication called Journal of Youth and Adolescence released a study last month that discovered that there is no evidence to support that violent video games cause aggression, and even have a calming effect when played. Tens of millions of people play violent games on a daily basis, and they are good citizens. Despite that, news organizations like Fox News persist in making these assumptions with little to no basis for their claims.
Baez said that those that do not take the time to understand video games do not really understand the impact games actually have on society.
“Some people have a false ideal of what gaming is due to their ignorance and their indifference to actually learning anything about the medium itself,” he said. “They still hold on to the negative notions about video games, like that it ruins your brain or something.”
Fox News suggested that gamers should be monitored for playing violent video games. Many gamers, such as 19-year old communications major Matt Gilbert, have expressed their disagreement on this subject.
“Part of me was furious that video games were being thrown under the bus again, another part wasn’t surprised in the slightest, and a third part was appreciating the irony that Fox News was promoting government regulations against video games when the exact same argument could be made for guns,” he said.
Gilbert said that he thinks that Fox News made this report intentionally, fully aware that gaming is not as evil as they would like people to think they do.
“They’ll say whatever to increase viewership of people who actually have these opinions and anger the opposition,” he said. “As fun as it is to poke fun at Fox News and call them moronic, I find it extremely hard to believe they’re on TV and actually this ignorant.”
Gilbert said that violent video games have never had a profound negative effect on his life at all.
“Most of the games I own would probably be described by somebody as ‘violent’,” he said. “The only negative effect I can say has ever come from it is when I’m playing it at three in the morning and I have a half-finished paper due at eight.”