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Fox News and "Green" Games: Defining the Issue

Feature; Sep. 20, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Tyrone M. Cato
Subtypes: Opinion
It's easy to lose sight of the root of the problem

If there's one step that should not be taken in this instance, it's to write-off Fox News as a bunch of idiots.

Saying the corporation and its workers are dumb because of this broadcast (in which Clayton Morris of Fox News and online radio host T.J. McCormack talk about the liberal agenda behind environmental games) is similar to calling America an imperialist entity (stay with me for a bit; this will tie back into video games at some point).

Fox News

At about the turn of the 20th century, the U.S. government had expanded as far westward as it could. Because it was a part of the country's goal to further assert its power, the United States went on to open up trade with other countries. America went as far as to help Cuba liberate itself from Spain's colonial rule. The United States would export and import goods to/with Cuba, but it also would try to spread American influence (which it would do more successfully elsewhere). 

Rather than conquer countries outright like European countries had been doing, the United States indirectly imposed its influence around the world. In some ways, it was the same as colonization; the end result was the spread of American-style government and religion. So, it's understandable for someone to just write off the (1900s) United States as imperialist.

However ... just looking at the situation at face value ignores America's reasoning. It should be taken into consideration that the American government believed spreading democracy to previously monarchical places was for the greater good. Whether that was ultimately right can be discussed ad nauseum, yet only after the country's intentions are weighed. In no way does this mean America is blameless, but it deserves deliberation, as does everything and everyone else.

So, Fox News.

Just as with many other companies and corporations that put out some kind of publication/broadcast, Fox News caters/panders to its audience to a degree. All content from anywhere has a particular slant with which the targeted reader/viewer agrees, regardless of what's being said. The average Fox News viewer wants to see that those they disagree with as being desperate or using practices that put them in a bad light. Fox News shows its viewers that.

There is a possibility that those at Fox News do believe in what they say (there's no way to be certain). Yeah, in this broadcast, McCormack makes it seem like all these games are for 5-year-olds. Yeah, both men talk about video games having messages as if that's something new. Yeah, they pretty much ignore the fact that parents shouldn't just hand stuff over to their kids without knowing what's in the game (or at least knowing some are adult-themed).

All of this is ridiculous to people familiar with gaming, yet there are those who truly believe "video game = for children." The median age for Fox News viewers is greater than 60, meaning by the time those people were adults when video games first showed up on the scene, they were aimed at children and hardly dealt with complicated or adult themes (Custer's Revenge for Atari 2600 isn't being counted in this instance). To them, this broadcast is reasonable.

Making the assumption that Fox News is dumb allows one to believe this story (and others like it) is no threat. 

There are Fox News viewers of all ages. If they simply don't see or read about this issue from a perspective other than that put forth by the Rupert Murdoch-owned station, then they'll live by what they know. Those people can then go forth and become parents, legislators -- anything. Their future decisions will be affected by their opinions, and if those opinions remain narrow-minded, those decisions could end up undercutting/insulting/preventing games such as Flower (which appeared in the broadcast) because they don't understand the enlightenment (or just pure entertainment) a video game can inspire.

The next time someone attacks video games in any way, the attacker's reasoning must be pinpointed so that supporters of video games may understand the negative position. From there, effort from those gaming supporters can be put forth in order to get the dissenters of gaming to understand a different position as well.

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