Bamboozled by the Big Idea
A few weeks ago, ad-guru turned chat show host Donny Deutsch invited John Davidson, editor of the gaming website 1up.com, onto his CNBC show The Big Idea, ostensibly to represent "the gaming media" in a discussion on everything from "the future of videogames" to "online clans and community." Davidson was told that the conversation might drift into "the violence thing," but that he should feel free to say "that's been done to death, it's boring," and move on.
Here is how Davidson recounts his Big Idea experience:
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.
Things did indeed deteriorate. Just in case Deutsch's evidence-free (and blatantly wrong) insistence that "[a]ll games are violent" left some audience members unpersuaded, the show's producers made certain to book a former student at Columbine–where more people died than watch CNBC–to drive the point home.
Incidentally, the student–who in fact wanted to defend violence in games and who had been promised that his "history with Columbine wouldn't be beaten to death"–later complained to Davidson that "[t]hey actually edited the show's content so my points weren't let in." Imagine: a show that seeks to prove a presupposed conclusion and makes sickening use of the Columbine massacre in lieu of data would stoop so low as to tamper with its guests' statements.