1-UP's John Davison confirms a theory of mine about those CNNesque news shows in which panelists debate video game violence: the whole thing is rigged. Davison has written about how he was invited to speak on CNBC's The Big Idea about the future of video games and online gaming communities. When he sat down on the set to speak, however, he discovered that the show was actually about video game violence.
I sat down in front of the camera and soon learned that the entire show was about violence. It kicked off with Donny holding up a copy of Computer Games magazine declaring that there wasn't a single game in there that wasn't violent, and they then immediately cut to scenes of CJ stamping on a girl until she bled over the pavement in San Andreas. I was introduced as pretty much the bad guy who thinks this doesn't have an effect on kids, and...well...things just deteriorated from there.
I'm really at a loss on how the video game community can defend itself from empty talking heads such as CNBC's Donny Deutsch who manipulate issues for TV ratings. Gaming enthusiasts will not have a chance to speak out in favor of video games on these kinds of "news" shows. Davison walked off the set in disgust, and while I can certainly understand his decision to do so and probably would have done the same thing had I been in his position, I think we need someone to put the talking heads in their place and knock the hot air out of their biased arguments, preferably on a live appearance so it cannot be edited out later.
The media's obsession with violence in videogames is getting old, but what's more interesting about this turn of events is that the debate itself wasn't seen as important. In this case, Deutsch and CNBC were manufacturing an exchange that would be what was, in their minds, "good television." Through judicious editing and a pre-determined agenda they manipulated the comments made by guests on their show (who were manipulated into being there in the first place) and glossed over observations that could spark further much more interesting debate.