Why Does the Media Never Focus On the Good Gamers Do?
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It's unfortunate but not unusual to see people concealing their shortcomings by partaking in blame games. Where influential persons and media personalities get involved, things can quickly snowball into yet another scandal. I almost see no point in arguing with someone who thinks that video games are one of the causes of violence because I strongly believe that no rational person could think that way. However, it is slightly disappointing to note that the so-called “free media” has largely refrained from saying anything positive about gamers even where it was warranted. The only exception to this, of course, are sites and publications dedicated to video games.

Recently, political analyst, Jon Keller from Keller At Large (CBS Global), called for a boycott of "violent" games, stating that there are "61" games "that depict the killing of children." These absurd remarks came in light of the Sandy Hook massacre despite the fact that an in-depth report on the tragedy did not fault video games. Keller’s argument is that an "obsession" with these games is the cause of "homicidal behavior". I’d really like to ask Mr Keller what he thinks of all those gamers in Portland, Oregon, who raised 37,500 pounds of food in a food drive in November 2013. Perhaps his employer decided against giving the event proper coverage because it wouldn’t attract as many bored and angry people as a television show slandering video games would. I went a step ahead and conducted a quick search on Google to see if Mr Keller himself has ever taken such an initiative or communicated with gamers to hear their point of view, and as expected, I found zilch.

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When Reverend Franklin Graham proposed a “sin tax” on violent video games and it was endorsed by Vice President Joe Biden, I was dumbfounded. If the ever-so-philanthropic Reverend and his friends in the government were really that serious about helping people, they could come up with something a little more creative like the Humble Bundle. While they were busy coming up with asinine proposals, the folks behind Humble Bundle managed to save thousands of Ethiopians by providing them with clean drinking water. On the other hand, the Gaming for Good organization managed to raise over $10 million for Save the Children. If I was you, Reverend, I’d keep my religion and political views away from video games.

Media groups usually target specific audiences so we shouldn't be surprised if they spice things up a bit just for the sake of selling news, but using someone else's research in an incorrect way just for the sake of promoting a certain agenda is abhorrent. Fox News did exactly that when it incorrectly cited a 2010 study by Ohio State University professor, Brad Bushman, and used it to link teen killers and violent video games. I can't find a single report on Fox about studies that find no link between violence and video games, but I guess it would kill to not mislead the general public for once.

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Back in October last year, I was reading an article on CNN about gamers playing video games to raise funds for charity. I was very happy to see something positive about gamers finally being reported on by the mainstream media, but one particular paragraph stood out to me. The writer claims, "The argument could be made that some gamers might be signing up so they finally have an excuse to spend a whole day playing without the guilt that they're wasting time." I'm not sure what to make of this. The belief that such an argument could be made in the first place is absolutely ridiculous. People can "waste time" in plenty of ways other than playing video games. I'm not fully denying that people have the tendency of signing up for a little bit of fun, but I can also argue the same for people who turn up to run marathons for cancer. I can't fathom saying that anyone who decides to run a marathon to raise funds for charity is probably doing it for some exercise.

A sub-heading in the aforementioned CNN article poses the question, "are gamers really the giving type?" I can't help but want to come up with a sarcastic response to that. A significant portion of those working for the media give the impression that they don't think gamers are regular human beings. It's almost as if they're a strange species with bizarre behavior patterns. And should they do anything which remotely suggests that they might be human, like playing for charity, it's either swept under the rug or treated as something completely out of the ordinary. I can only hope that we can change this mindset soon.

Zarmena Khan
Zarmena Khan
@Zarmena

Contributing Writer
Date: 01/23/2014

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