I should know better than to get riled up by Fox News’ coverage of video games. The network has an awful reputation for sounding the alarm on anything remotely controversial, always with the refrain of how parents should be very, very afraid.
But this time, I can’t resist.
In a recent segment that appeared on Fox & Friends, T.J. McCormack, a conservative talk radio host, decries video games with eco-friendly messages. (The focus is mainly on Sim City Societies, a four year-old title that encourages players to develop green energy sources like wind power and soy farms.) Host Clayton Morris, meanwhile, wonders whether some video games are a form of “liberal fear-mongering” and “indoctrination.”
It’s a maddening television segment for a long list of reasons…
- McCormack and Morris assume that only children play video games. Yet one of the games they criticize, Molleindustria’s McDonald’s Videogame, was designed for the high-brow crowd that wants to explore serious messages in games. It’s on the museum circuit. (The message is that fast food is a troubled business that requires moral compromise at every turn.)
- Morris says that “at the end of the day, parents don’t really know what’s in these video games, so they send them to play Sim City and they’re learning these lessons that might not be something that parents want their kids to learn.” And whose fault would that be?
- There’s nothing inherently wrong with having an agenda. The fact that Fox News commentators think otherwise is the height of irony.
- I’d argue that present-day shooters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare push a conservative agenda — or at least a hawkish one. Perhaps Fox News was too busy fretting about the level of violence in those games to notice.
- Is McCormack seriously rolling his eyes at the idea of encouraging children not to kill polar bears? What the heck?
- At the end of the segment, McCormack categorically dismisses these games–despite the variety in genre and play style among the titles mentioned–as “boring.” Hey, at least the problem solves itself!