Being a games news site that unsurprisingly focuses on games, we don’t cover the ‘big topics’ very often. But with the violence and gun-control debate heating up in the US, games are increasingly being singled out as reasons for aggression and killings. FPS games like Call of Duty have been repeatedly used as examples of how games are turning children into walking killing machines. They were also originally created by the Pentagon… according to Alex Jones. Seb and Dan from Daily Reaction discuss the problems with shady sources, misleading facts, energetic presenters, the evil British and how all this confusion is just clouding a very legitimate problem.
Seb: As we’re about to discuss Alex Jones, I’m sure we’ll be branded by some as part of the liberal media. If you read PSLS a lot, you’ll know that we don’t cover politics much, and when we do, it’s more about games taxes and relief – something every party has failed to implement to our liking. Our staff have varied views and come from different regions and countries, some like guns, some don’t. As for our parent company, I’ve never asked what political affiliation they may have, and they’ve never told me – as an entertainment company, I’m sure all they care about is making money. And, as for advertisers, before anyone says that we’re either paid by the NRA, pharmaceutical companies, the Obama administration or Satan, well, we don’t talk to our advertisers, choose them, or have any affiliation with them. The day ads start to affect what we write is the day I quit.
I’m British, or in the words of Alex Jones, a “foreigner, a redcoat”, part of a “communist state”. As you’d expect, I don’t own a gun, although I have fired one, and wouldn’t be averse to owning a small one if I lived in the States. There’s no way I can be utterly objective about any debate, but I’ll try my best, and won’t SHOUT LIKE THIS, BECAUSE THAT MAKES STUFF SOUND MORE LIKE FACTS.
The gun-debate has been ongoing in the US since the move away from the Wild West era to something more ‘civilized’, with the question of amendment rights, self protection and stopping full government control being weighed up against the dangers of having a population of people of varying mental states armed with very deadly weapons.
The problem is, no one really wants to talk about guns. Hell, in this passage here, I’m not really talking about guns, I’m not trying to tell you if I think you should be allowed to own an assault rifle or not. Instead, I’m going to talk about video games. And, sadly, that’s what everyone seems to want to do. Politicians and media figures don’t want to tackle such an incredibly large topic that covers a fundamental amendment and the recent deaths of innocent children. It’s too big, too polarizing, too scary. They don’t want to lose voters or fans. So they sidestep, they blame something else – “oh has anyone thought about it being video games’ fault? What about the increasing number of people eating mangoes? Could it be that?” Anything to move away from the core issue.
That leaves the actual subject to shock-jocks and attention seekers, a dangerous breed of presenters who seek out sensitive subjects to gain notoriety, fame and, inevitably, money. On the one hand you have Piers Morgan, a despicable human being who is far from popular in the UK, speaking out against guns, and on the other hand you have Alex Jones, an over-grown man-baby who is stuck in a perpetual tantrum, always crying because someone might take his candy away.
Alex Jones also likes to attack games, because, as we all know, they’re the government’s fault. Apparently, the Pentagon created the FPS genre to train Americans to be better shooters (via). Oops, looks like they forgot to make it a US-only thing, though, because now everyone plays games so it ended up being rather pointless. Id software should be ashamed of themselves for pretending to have created the first person shooter. I bet they didn’t even make Wolfenstein 3D! Area 51 did.
Also, half of England apparently burned down during the London riots. Sorry, I was there, it didn’t. It also turns out that London is one of the most dangerous cities in the world (I’m guessing it must be above Baghdad, Lahore and Kabul). Except it isn’t. It’s far from peachy, I’ve had people try to mug me several times, but it’s pretty much like any other urbanized area with differing land values and diminishing police numbers. Don’t worry tourists, you don’t need to pack that Glock.
Alex Jones has made a career for himself saying that the majority of the press ignore the facts. I’m sorry, but if you’re going to take that approach, Alex, try fact checking yourself. Might be a good idea.
The problem is, he could be saying some truths – the fact is a lot of the media is biased, is lazy, doesn’t always present the truth, may listen to advertisers. But having an idiot making up other lies isn’t the way to combat that. I’m going to be honest – I haven’t looked in depth into every single one of his claims, so I’m not going to say if they’re true or not, but when I hear other stuff from him that is so outlandishly untrue I’m immediately predisposed to think everything he says is utter bullcrap. He’s not helping things.
If you’re a fan of his agenda, then you shouldn’t be a fan of him. He can’t be taken seriously, and only serves to put his message back. You need someone who is honest, who is respectable, and doesn’t squeal out half-truths and complete lies.
Dan: Exactly, while avoiding the need to go on as long as Sebastian, I will say for the most part I completely “concur” with him. The biggest issue that has been corrupting all forms of media from the beginning is that the majority of the population usually perceives the loudest and most confident speaker as the most knowledgeable. This issue is not something that only afflicts those who are of low IQ or are gullible, but all of us, as the ability to fact check every bit of information you receive is physically impossible. This leaves the question of ‘who are we supposed to listen to?’ Simple, Daily Reaction, of course! Well, sadly, this is only partially true, as much as I would like to justify why we are so trustworthy, and why we are above those we are now pulling apart, truthfully we are just as fallible. The only difference is that we accept the fact that we are only as right as the information we get, and our ability to separate the crap from the truth.
This ability to be open to being wrong helps us avoid being blind to other possibilities, a trait that I feel separates people like Alex Jones from the real journalists who actually try to seek the truth. While the games media is far from breaking news about Watergate or some other world changing event, it is still divided among those who only seek attention and those who seek the truth. Some sites will use every trick to reach the top of aggregate sites like N4G, and others will keep trying to convey as much information as possible while keeping true to their own ethical code. Where we fall as a site is not for me to say, as I don’t think anyone is completely devoid of being biased, nor is it possible to avoid the pitfalls of journalism as a means to make a living. Simply, you as a reader must learn about who is speaking to you, and how much you can trust that person’s ability to call bullshit on those they work with, or even themselves.
When the discussion is so encompassing that the facts are so vague in their ability to have meaning, we as a people start to pull out the information we feel justifies our point and ignore facts beyond our own reason. Throughout time, one of the biggest concerns for everyone has logically been public safety. We are all joined in a public space, that is governed by a set of rules that we all try to justify as a necessity to protect us from each other, yet figuring out where to draw those lines will never be universally agreed upon. Currently, we’re sitting here talking about ‘what do we do about protecting the innocent from armed assailants?’ Do we just make it harder for them to be armed? Or do we arm everyone? Well, this is a games site and we cannot answer that for you, no one can, not even a loud-mouth who loves to spout out factoids he finds/creates to prove his point. I believe in the second amendment, and I feel it is our right to defend ourselves from other people and even our government. Yet, that is my perspective based on my upbringing, and my own thoughts. Do not let anyone, no matter how eloquent or verbose, dictate to you what is right or wrong, those are decisions that you must make.
Where do you stand on the issue? Should we all listen to Alex Jones? How many Platinums has the Pentagon unlocked? Is PSLS part of the New World Order? Share your thoughts in the comments below, while trying to be civil, or let loose by calling us Nazi-sympathisers on Twitter at Seb and Dan.
Be sure to email DR ideas, podcast comments and borderline-racist ‘redcoat’ impressions to [email protected].