I guess those who complain about how biased the media is might have a point. The big news in videogames is, of course, the Jack Thompson Grand Theft Auto is a Murder Simulator, Devin Moore Video Game Violence Made Me Do It Case of Strickland vs. Sony. I’ve already covered 60 Minutes‘s horrible story about the case. In that story, I noted that Ed Bradley hadn’t even bothered to put Thompson’s name into google to find out about Thompson’s “colorful” history. Now, we have an even more egregious example of the portrayal of videogames in media.
Game Politics has been doing a great job of covering the case and they link to Tuscaloosa News who has two articles covering the case, “Attorney is subject in ‘video game’ case” and “Lawyer pushes to have standing in video game lawsuit” (stupid registration required, unless you head over to BugMeNot). The second story also links to a short videoclip of a local televison channel’s coverage, which they call, “Lawsuit Against Video Game Makers Continuing In Fayette.” All of these stories are mainly concerned with what is currently going on in the lawsuit, which is a challenge over Thompson’s ability to try the case. He is a member of the Florida Bar, and since the trial is taking place in Alabama, he has to get special permission to try the case there. So because of his numerous inflammatory press releases and hijinx with Penny Arcade, the defense is trying to get him removed from his case.
The story has been picked up by the Associated Press and is called, “Judge Asked to Dismiss Video Game Civil Suit and is said to be based on “information from: The Tuscaloosa News.” The funny thing is, nowhere in the AP story is it mentioned that the case is currently centered on Thompson himself. Oddly, the AP story does include an anti-videogame quote from Thompson.
Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal. The AP edits down stories all the time. In this case, however, the AP has completely changed the message of the story, distorting it so that they are only concerned with the dismissal of the case, and not the question of Thompson, himself. Someone said, “No, we don’t care that this guy is being accused of being sensationalist and unfit to be involved in this case, we just want to get a quote:
“These Grand Theft Auto games are unique,” lawyer Jack Thompson of Miami argued on behalf of the victims’ families. “They are murder simulators. The only thought they convey is how to murder people and how to enjoy killing.”
So now I ask you, if videogames can’t even be fairly represented in a story that was originally about how a guy is sensationalistically misrepresenting videogames, then what hope is there?