This morning, American broadcast network Fox brought its "fair and balanced" reporting to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The headline? "A game that lets you play as a terrorist?"
That was followed with this pre-commercial quip: "Is the game going too far? We're going to have a fair and balance debate to find out."
Jon Christensen of website Slash Gamer and Common Sense media CEO Jim Steyer discussed the issue with the Fox host. Reader Ryan transcribed the conversation from his television set. It follows:
Fox Host: Jim, you got some problems with this game?
Jim: It's mainly for adults and a well made game, but there's no doubt there's a link between violent video games and kids.
Fox Host: Jon, you essentially get to be a terrorist and kill people and it's very realistic.
Jon: You're not actually a terrorist. You're a CIA undercover agent. You are infiltrating a terrorist organisation and the game specifically says, when you go into, uh when you work with this terrorist organisation. You are um... (Jon loses his train of thought, awkward moment) You are a a a uh a a a CIA operative. (chuckles) I'm sorry.
Fox Host: Jim at what age is this game appropriate or is it ever appropriate?
Jim: The main issue with violent video games, including very well made made games like COD. There's no question there's colouration between violent games and kids blah blah*. It's up to the parent to decide whether they buy the game for their son or daughter blah blah*. You need to use common sense. *blah blah blah added by reader Ryan
Fox Host: I'll give you the final word, Jon.
Jon: Kids can definitely pick up the game. If parents buy it for them. I have a buddy who's a manager of a store. Little kids came in to buy the game and he asked if they were over 17. They said no, so he didn't sell them the game. Retailers are doing a good job. It's been proven time and time again.
Fox Host: You bring a violent game into a house with an eight-year-old, nothing to stop that kid from playing it and becoming a terrorist... on a video game.
Jon: That's ridiculous! You're not a terrorist! It's pixelated violence! You're not a terrorist!
Fox Host: It's violence.
Jon: (closing his eyes) It's not real. It's not real.
Fox Host: Jon and Jim. The debate goes on.
Not nearly as exciting as Fox's take on Mass Effect!
And yes, we'll post the actual show clip when it pops up online.