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Gamers Rage: Mainstream Media Embarrasses Itself...Again

The minute we think video games have taken a step towards legitimacy and acceptance, the mainstream media holds up its aging hand and with omnipotent authority, proclaims the industry's halt.

We can't get anywhere. The latest instance of this out-of-touch rationalization, where the media desperately attempts to find a scapegoat for society's biggest problems, comes from a CNN editorial by contributor William J. Bennett.

To explain away the decline of male ambition, Bennett decides to point a gnarled finger in the direction of video games. And while we're always open to intelligent, interesting debate considering the possible ills of interactive entertainment (check our chat with Dr. Bartholow concerning violence in games), this is poorly presented.

The subject matter isn't new, nor is it inaccurate. It's certainly true that women appear to be outstripping men these days. A fantastic article on the topic can be found in The Atlantic; one of this year's covers featured a disturbing title- "The End of Men?" It was a well-researched, well-written article - it's what The Atlantic does - and nowhere in that lengthy piece did I see an accusation that involved video games. Why? It's a gigantic issue and one that involves multiple elements in all stages and phases of society and how we develop.

See, I may have only been with newspapers for a couple years, and my degree is in psychology rather than journalism. In point of fact, my creative writing has always been better than my reporting; it's why I could never write for the New York Times. But if there's one thing I know, it's that you don't extrapolate and draw conclusions from statistics when you're entirely unfamiliar with the context. The only thing we can conclude from saying that 18-34-year-old men play more often than 12-17-year-old boys is just that: they play more (if it's even true). The rest is all assumption based on preconceived and false notions of the hobby.

CNN just lets this happen. It's amazing. The "fall of man" has nothing to do with changing roles in society? How we perceive "normalcy?" The rise of alternative lifestyles? The more liberal belief that the family is overrated and marriage is an antiquated notion? And last I checked, it takes two people to get married and have a family. How exactly does all the blame fall on the men's shoulders? So all the women want marriage and children, and all the men are ignoring them and sitting at home, playing video games? Might the woman's rise in the workforce contribute to their declining interest in marriage and kids?

Really, I'm not much of a journalist. But I'm fairly certain that these are the most important questions, and ones that require a great deal of attention and research to even begin to answer. But instead of even attempting that mammoth task, Bennett decides to bypass all the work and simply find a scapegoat. He locates a few statistics that really don't mean much, flat-out ignores other stats (like the fact that women are gaming more than ever; some studies claiming the gaming population is actually 50% female), and draws far-reaching conclusions with virtually no real foundation.

Yes, gaming and gaming journalism has a long way to go. But if that is the competition, we'll catch up faster than everyone thinks.

Tags: gaming, video games, gaming industry, gamers

10/5/2011 11:51:29 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (42 posts)

Highlander
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 12:20:15 PM
Reply

William J Bennet.

American conservative pundit, politician, and political theorist.

Apparently he likes to gamble a bit, despite his family values conservative point of view.

He's also responsible for some incredibly stupid and controversial statements...

Look him up, it's 'fun'.

Last edited by Highlander on 10/5/2011 12:22:35 PM

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Highlander
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 12:22:03 PM

Just in case Ben decides not to let this one through...I'll add it as a reply.

Regarding William J Bennett and his stupid and controversial statements...

Here's a quote;

Addressing a caller's suggestion that the "lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30 years" would be enough to preserve Social Security's solvency, radio host and former Reagan administration Secretary of Education Bill Bennett dismissed such "far-reaching, extensive extrapolations" by declaring that if "you wanted to reduce crime ... if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." Bennett conceded that aborting all African-American babies "would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do," then added again, "but the crime rate would go down."

Here's the link;

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/200509280006

That is all I needed to see to completely discount and ignore the man's comments on video games.

Last edited by Highlander on 10/5/2011 12:26:32 PM

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jimmyhandsome
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 12:35:58 PM

lol

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friction
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 12:41:46 PM

"Look him up, it's 'fun'." i actually laughed at some of the things he's said :)

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Highlander
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 12:45:37 PM

You know when character assassination is fun? When the character does it to them self, and all you need to is quote their own words.

Last edited by Highlander on 10/5/2011 12:47:00 PM

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Deathb4Dishonor
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 12:53:00 PM

He actually said that about black people... That's crazy... So not only is he stupid he is also a racist bastard... i think life would've been better if HE was aborted

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coverton341
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 1:01:41 PM

I really don't even know what to say to the quote you just gave Highlander. I want to pretend that it is made up or misquoted or something, and not believe that a person in any official capacity or that has ever had any official capacity could say something like that but there it is, plain as day in the King's English in an audio file.

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Excelsior1
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 1:07:25 PM

my god the things bennet said were awful. i knew he was a hypocrite and about his gambling problems but man what he said about aborting black babies is awful. rush would probably agree with him if you gave him enough oxycontin. rush preached a real hardline policy when it came to drugs while sending his housekeeper out for 1000's of pills. no problem, though. he checked himself into an expensive rehab center for 30 days and all is well. a rehab center that your average person with a drug problem could never afford by the way. oh, well. nobody is perfect and there are hypocrites on both sides.

maybe males would have more ambition if they knew it could lead somewhere. dare i say the american dream is over. the economy is not like it used to be.

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Highlander
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 1:18:02 PM

@Coverton,

I know what you mean. Even after I checked the veracity of the comment, I hesitated to post it, juts in case. But as you say, there it is, plain as day...

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sawao_yamanaka
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 2:25:47 PM

Yea that's what I was gonna post about him. He really seems very ignorant about the going-ons in life. Not everybody wants to be tied down and married. I have a good job and game when I can, it is not my main focus in life.

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Gordo
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 5:14:24 PM

To be honest, to say aborting all black babies will reduce crime is statistically correct.

Though then again, aborting all white babies would reduce the crime levels as well...

Not good for the tax base though! You'd have thought a fiscal conservative might have known this!!!

Makes Stalin look all cuddly!

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Underdog15
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 2:24:08 PM

@Gordo

lol, after I read your first line, I looked away from my screen and picked up my pitchfork.

Then I read your second line and said, "Oh... I get it now... False alarm everyone! False alarm!"

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slugga_status
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 12:33:18 PM
Reply

William Bennett is racist and take nothing he comments about seriously let alone not even with a grain of salt.

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friction
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 12:35:32 PM
Reply

Great article, as I can see from your response he's hit a nerve with you as with me.
I would expect to find his editorial on a network like fox, oppressing women with his stats which state men should be outdoing women because we are "better" and then to blame video games as the downfall.

I really thought I could count on cnn as they rarely take opposing political sides or views, but for them to still have this man employed who is CLEARLY not in touch with today's society is just a horrible move on their part, and alas I lose faith in another news organization...

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79transam
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 12:45:56 PM
Reply

The problem with CNN these days is they have gone from a reputable reporting agency to paying all these contributors to voice their opinions and they pass it off as news.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 12:51:49 PM
Reply

Eh, I'm tired anyway, I say we let women run the world for a while anyway.

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Highlander
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 12:59:04 PM

You mean they don't already?

Last edited by Highlander on 10/5/2011 12:59:13 PM

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TheAgingHipster
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 3:08:07 PM

Could've fooled me!

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TrophyHunter
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 4:43:36 PM

lol @ World

You're talking in double sense right??

Last edited by TrophyHunter on 10/5/2011 4:43:47 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 5:40:57 PM

that sounds good too.

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FxTales
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 8:15:32 PM

"I was talking to my girlfriend the other day that if a woman were president, we'd nuke a country every 28 days!" - (GTA: Vice City DJ)

This.

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Draguss
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 1:12:30 PM

Women have ruled the world for thousands of years, they're just better paid and less subtle about it lately

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BigStack007
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 1:53:55 PM
Reply

Good article Ben. I have a wife of 8 years who accepts my gaming hobby. Our kid likes gaming too. We make 6 figures and are active in our childs school and our community. All in all we live very normal and productive lives. She does girl things and i do guy things. And together we do family and community things. According to CNN we don't exist? OK. Next time i decide to watch the news i'll pretend that CNN doesn't exist.

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clockwyzebkny
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 2:04:00 PM
Reply

"It's amazing. The "fall of man" has nothing to do with changing roles in society? How we perceive "normalcy?" The rise of alternative lifestyles? The more liberal belief that the family is overrated and marriage is an antiquated notion? And last I checked, it takes twopeople to get married and have a family. How exactly does all the blame fall on the men's shoulders? So allthe women want marriage and children, and allthe men are ignoring them and sitting at home, playing video games? Might the woman's rise in the workforce contribute to theirdeclining interest in marriage and kids?"

You took the words right out of my mouth. It's ridiculous how ignorant people make erroneous claims and try to pass it off as fact. How can you blame the decline of male ambition on video games? Ignorant idiots like this guy should realise that like writing or reading, gaming is a hobby, something you do on leisure time and in some cases - a job. It's a lifestyle for some. And while some people may become addicted to it like gambling, *ahem* for most, it's a way to pass the time.

I know many fellow male and female gamers and many of them are very ambitious. I'll be honest sometimes my career driven ambition prevents me from gaming as much as I want to but it doesn't just affect my gaming. It affects all the fun relaxing things I like to do like writing poetry and reading books. It's wrong to blame the gaming culture for the decline of male ambition. But it's an easy scapegoat.

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BIGRED15
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 2:58:17 PM
Reply

This guy has ABSOLUTELY no leg to stand on. he's claiming that gaming is correlated to a mans inability to socialize or or create success. At least when bortholow studied the effects of games on violence, he went far enough into his research for his studies to at least b considered correlational. This guys just trying to bash a mans treasured hobby he doesnt even deserve a response from the gaming community because he didn't give us enough respect to back up these outlandish claims.

I'll have u know I'm an individual who has a secure job full time job, I go to college, and when I'm not gaming I'm furthering my skills to become an automotive/ graphic designer. I have skills people like this would kill for. This guy needs to pull his head out of his arse because no one is gonna give a damn a bout ur claims unless u can provide some kind of reasoning. Case in point I think this entire community proves this guy is entirely out of line.

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TheAgingHipster
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 3:15:26 PM
Reply

On behalf of all male gamers with jobs, degrees, families, and bills, I would like to raise a mighty middle finger to CNN and Mr. William J. Bennett for publishing such an ignorant and blatently inflammatory article.

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TrophyHunter
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 4:45:30 PM

I thumb you up and then I rise my two middle fingers to Mr. Will

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Darwin1967
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 3:45:32 PM
Reply

Mr. Bennet excels in smoke and mirrors...blame the gamer, ignore wall street. Incite anger and throw up chad in the hopes that people don't see the underlying truths. Happily, as wall street, greece, etc. is finding out, you can only keep the masses quelled for so long. Wonder how many of those guys hanging on wall street played COD...because their camping skills ROCK!

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Russell Burrows
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 3:55:22 PM
Reply

http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/01/one-up-gamers-help-scientists-solve-molecular-puzzle-that-could-lead-to-aids-vaccine/

One Up: Gamers Help Scientists Solve Molecular Puzzle That Could Lead To AIDS Vaccine

So, this isn’t exactly breaking news, but it’s so awesome that it’s worth sharing again in case you missed it. HIV/AIDS has killed some 25 million people worldwide and scientists have been working diligently since the virus was discovered in 1981 to find a cure. While a cure still eludes researchers, several protease inhibitors have been developed to slow its progress. But last week, HIV/AIDS research took a huge leap forward, thanks to the work of gamers. Yes, gamers.

About three years ago, a team of researchers at the University of Washington created a game called FoldIt to allow gamers to contribute to scientific research by playing with the shape and structure of proteins. Why proteins? Well, there are more than 100,000 kinds of protein in the human body, and understanding the structure and makeup of these proteins is key to understanding how they work and as well as to designing drugs that target them.

As proteins are found in the majority of diseases we suffer from, they are also key to developing cures, and so FoldIt enables gamers to design new proteins and fold known proteins into their most workable forms in an effort to contribute to disease prevention.

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Clamedeus
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 6:38:37 PM

I seen that, I'm glad we are able to help the scientists. Mr Bennett at CNN can shove it.

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maxpontiac
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 5:51:53 PM
Reply

Well. I am probably going to be far to transparent here but I really feel that editorial by CNN did nothing but show callousness on the authors part.

From personal experience, I will admit that when the recession affected me at the end of 2007, I was devastated. My entire investment portfolio, bank account and 20 years of hard work had evaporated.

During 2008-2009, and the early parts of 2010 I was depressed, and I turned to video games as an outlet to escape. Was I lacking motivation? Yes, of course I was, losing nearly everything can do that to a person. Was I not "being a man"? No. Now while I allowed myself to mope around, I was not failing in my responsibilities to my family. Could I have done more? Of course I could have, but sometimes life's bitter pills are tough to move past.

Now while 2011 was a prosperous year for me as compared to 2008-2010, the future of the housing industry where I am located looks grim. Based on what I learned over the past four years, I am better prepared as husband, father and man to handle the situation should things worsen.

It's rather disheartening to me to see someone such as William J. Bennett embark on crusade against men when his article shows little sympathy to those who have been so negatively influenced by their surroundings in the past few years. Do I believe some of what he said was true? Sure do. Plenty of men out there aren't doing what they are supposed to, but there is more to this story then a Playstation controller.

I believe Mr. Bennett had a golden opportunity with the chance he was given with this article, and needless to say, he dropped the ball.

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Snaaaake
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 5:59:50 PM
Reply

He's right, we male gamers should be ashamed of ourselves......................................IS WHAT I'D SAY IF THE SCREW IN MY HEAD IS LOOSE!!!!!!
Sheesh, and as Highlander suggested, this guy has garnered some bad attentions to himself before.
Especially being a racist, givng racist comments and not feeling bad about it.

Sorry, even if this guy tells me something good, I'd rather ignore it.

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wenezz
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 9:28:48 PM
Reply

i could care less what William J. what ever his fu**ing name is has to say......

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johnld
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 1:03:56 AM
Reply

look, i'll say this. i'm not jobless because i want to. i'm jobless because there isnt any jobs out there in the field that i studied in that requires less than 5 years work experience. i spent all that time in money on an education that basically doesnt matter anymore. do you know how bad it feels to see my bachelors degree in mechanical engineering and looking for retail jobs?

Last edited by johnld on 10/6/2011 1:05:23 AM

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Underdog15
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 1:01:36 PM

Mechanical engineering is doing decent in Canada John. Maybe you should apply in southwestern ontario? It's essentially the US in that part of Canada, anyways. Just as far south (or further) than 30%+ of the US, too.

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Fane1024
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 1:36:45 AM
Reply

I have no ambition, but that was true LONG before I started playing video games.
:P

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bissomitch
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 11:38:16 AM
Reply

For so many "gamers" to read that entire article and come away thinking it is primarily a rant against video games is a great example of the decline of reading comprehension in our society. Did any of you actually *read* the whole article?

Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with the author's premise nor his preaching, but to say the article is targeted especially against gamers simply because he mentions video games twice is reading more into it than is there.

The paragraph that starts off with, "For boys to become men, they need to be guided through advice, habit, instruction, example and correction. It is true in all ages." is pretty solid, in my opinion. Otherwise, the article is little more than a thinly-veiled attempt to preach marriage/family/religion, the so-called family values that must be protected from change at all costs.

Rubbish.

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Underdog15
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 12:59:23 PM

I don't recall anyone saying it was primarily a rant against gamers.

However, the article does list gaming as a major factor. And since this is a gaming site, which factor in the article do you suppose is most likely to be up for discussion?

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ChloeAngelCat
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 7:20:16 PM
Reply

Wow what moron any by chane he friends with Jack Thompson.

To male gamers of all race don't mind William Bennet he doesn't have a clue to what he talking about...

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saintaqua
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 11:13:18 AM
Reply

Yes. If we didn't have those darned video games taking up so much of our time maybe we could do something worthwhile with our time like....gambling or saying stupid things on the news?

By the way, I do blame it more on the ideas that men have been under attack, made to look like stupid buffoons, etc. and the fact that there aren't a lot of real families.
Too many boys are raising themselves or are learning how to be "men" from the wrong sources
the anti sexism people are some of the most sexist people alive and have been trying to stamp out masculinity.

Last edited by saintaqua on 10/7/2011 11:17:56 AM

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PharaohJR
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 6:44:14 PM
Reply

you know ben you touched on something in this post i noticed for sometime.... when u typed "Might the woman's rise in the workforce contribute to their declining interest in marriage and kids?"

last year i did research about america males & females & i checked the statistics of marriage threw each era. in the 60s era marriage was at the highest for both white & blacks. 95% of white folks were married & 89% of blacks were these percentages also represented the number of families with both mother & father present. when the 70s came the percentages began declining & divorce rates increased. when u look at the events that took place in the 70s you will see in 1972 the official woman rights got passed..... now holon ladies im not blaming yal for the decline in family structure but we must acknowledge the truth.....

ya see.... in majority of females that define thereselves with feminin features yall posses the caring & loving characteristics that keep the household all happy & lovey dovey. us men that define ourselves with masculine features not walking all tough & etc but going out & making ends meet for our woman & being the discipline, strength etc has been something in our nature for the longest. when 1970 came about american females began entering the work force so this would be the last generation woman would depend on men & create financial indepenence. also in the 70s hard drugs such as cocaine & heroine came about which ended up in black folks communities all through ought the U.S.

the 60s & 70s era would be the last era of generation in U.S. that would pass principals & morals on to the next. fast forward today & you see the lifestyle of our youth & older folks that they choose... it takes a mother & father to raise a youngin & if either is lacked while growing the child will look for identification evrywhere not paying attention to the benefits & consequences.

i just thought i should share this since this post & previous touches on males today. gives you a aspect of why things are what it is today.

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sylnzz
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 @ 9:11:20 PM
Reply

I can somewhat agree that games leave men and women with no ambition. But so does television, facebook, movies, sports, drugs, drinking..I don't need to go on.

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