The San Francisco Chronicle’s Peter Hartlaub writes that there was a lot of confusion and/or misinformation regarding whether the shooter had played video games. Hartlaub goes on to note that Chris Matthews was one of the few who was skeptical about the video game angle…
Dr. Phil McGraw went on “Larry King Live” on that Monday evening, also before a suspect was identified, and gave his own anti-video game speech. And a year ago, Thompson was telling the same cable news anchors that the Rockstar video game Bully was a “Columbine simulator,” even though the lawyer had never seen the game. When Bully was released in October with a Teen rating, the most formidable weapon was a slingshot, and the body count in the game (zero) was lower than several G-rated Disney films.
How does this happen? Unfortunately, I have some insight. In a previous life as a news reporter covering courts, I remember the strong temptation to go to lawyer Gloria Allred for quotes. Sure, half of what she said sounded like blathering nonsense, but she was so easy to get on the phone before deadline.
But the Thompson situation is infinitely worse, because his misinformation mostly goes unquestioned by anchors who clearly know nothing about video games. Most just nod their heads gravely or don’t seem to understand what he’s saying. And while Allred is one of many lawyers who offer opinions on legal issues, when it comes to video games, Thompson’s seems to be the solitary number in the mainstream media’s massacre-coverage Rolodex.