We’ve barely had time to try and process Friday’s tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut and UK tabloids are up to their usual tricks.
Rupert Murdoch’s wholly above reproach UK tabloid newspaper The Sun today has a headline story skirting around the idea that Adam Lanza’s rampage is somehow connected to his ‘obsession’ with Activision’s “Call of Duty” FPS franchise.
You know the kind of thing before you read it – no real evidence to speak of, a few splashy pull-quotes and amateur psychology aplenty conspire to deliver the kind of schlock, predictable, cynically hand-wringing story we usually see after a tragedy like Newtown, all the while trying to inspire an emotional, “Won’t Somebody Think About The Children?” type reaction in the kinds of parents who are (whisper it quietly) probably buying “Black Ops 2” as a Christmas present for their kids (if they’re not already playing it themselves).
If he did play video games, why does it automatically follow that he was being somehow desensitized or made more susceptible to violent power fantasies? I’ve played “Call of Duty” instalments in the past and all that I can point to is an increasing lack of desire to engage with that franchise. Am I somehow miraculously unaffected by the otherwise corrupting, pernicious influence of these games? Is it down to my living in a different country without easy access to guns? Am I too old and set in my ways to buy into such shock and awe pyrotechnics?
Just as a matter of curiosity – is the “Call of Duty” game series being raked over the coals by The Sun today any relation to the “Call of Duty” game lauded in breathless prose in a story tied to the launch of “Black Ops 2”? Or in this feature about how ‘SAS hero (TM)’ Andy McNab believes that the game teaches morality to kids? Or is that a different series of blockbuster action FPS titles from Activision, Infinity Ward and Treyarch?
When it’s going to sell copies or connect The Sun in a positive way with a blockbuster, generation-defining pop culture entertainment brand loved by their demographic, the paper will happily get into bed with Activision in a mutually beneficial relationship. When there’s a sliver-thin line of particularly smelly, easy answer bullshit to peddle, that partnership gets swiftly forgotten about in the rush to sell papers or get page impressions.
Hypocrisy? Surely not. Not on Rupert’s watch.
- Cenk on Rupert Murdoch’s gun control hypocrisy: ‘You might want to watch your own terrible, crappy network’ (current.com)
- Michael Pachter Says Call of Duty is a Failure (escapistmagazine.com)
- ‘Black Ops II’ crosses $1 billion sales mark (variety.com)