Report: "Games Worse Than Smoking" Group Funded By Atkinson

South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, the man who fears gamers more than outlaw bikers, has given "tens of thousands of dollars in funding" to the group who this week said that videogames were more dangerous than smoking.

In a Channel Ten news report that attempted to link youth violence and videogames, Dr Wayne Warburton from the Australian Council on Children and the Media described the alleged link as "much greater than the effect of smoking on lung cancer."

Now, as reported by News.com.au, it comes to light that the ACCM has received considerable funding from the office of Michael Atkinson, the censorship minister who opposes the introduction of an R18+ rating for videogames.

The ACCM's website is the same website Mr Atkinson last year directed readers of his open letter towards to find out more about Professor Craig Anderson, the sole academic who research supports the minister's position.

And it is Professor Anderson's research who the Australian Christian Lobby referred to in their claims this week that the games industry "mirrors" the tobacco industry in its denial of the effects of violent videogames.

Remarkably, some of the money donated by Atkinson was spent on a brochure entitled Know Before You Go, in which the authors offered classification advice to parents on a range of films and TV shows aimed at children. Quite why the Attorney-General responsible for classification is funding the production of alternative classification advice is an issue for you to speculate upon in the comments below.

Video game 'cancer' group funded by Atkinson [News.com.au]


Comments

    wow... he is getting desperate

    Nothing more than a tyrant with a god complex.

    Australia has spoken and we don't subscribe to his fear-mongering anti-logic.

    Step down you lunatic, you're done.

      I hate to break it to you, but South Australia doesn't speak until the 20th.

      I'm pretty sure the speach is going to be: "You're better than the other guy; welcome back."

      Atkinson isn't going anywhere... his seat is too damn safe, and his party isn't unpopular enough to get voted out.
      Within his own party, he's seen to be doing a good job. Attourneys General aren't responsible for just classification; and Atkinson does a good job enforcing the parties draconian line on drugs, crime, prostitution and bikies.

        I was talking more or less directly about the 55,000 or so submissions to the discussion paper.

        I'm well aware he's not going to lose his seat in an election, which is more or less why im telling him to step down.

        What you have is a polly who's broken the cardinal rule of actually making a stand on something, if public support on an issue comes down on the other side to what he chose then he becomes a liability.

        But yeah, I can get why my cranky little post could have been misunderstood.

          i know he is silly and all..

          But at least he stands for something, and doesnt dawdle. at least he says what he thinks you know..

            Hitler stood for something, and he didn't dawdle. He said what he thought.

            I'm not saying that Michael Atkinson is comparable to Hitler, but you get my point. Conviction is not intrinsically admirable.

    Disgusting.
    Atkinson's temerity and blatant bias never ceases to amaze me.
    Using public funds to support what is purely a personal crusade.
    Funnelling money into this ACCM organisation is in no way "in the public interest" and once again makes clear the fact that this man is abusing his power.
    It just burns me that I am a resident of NSW and can't vote against him in the upcoming elections (viva Gamers4Croyden!).

    There's just not much you can say any more about him. He's just getting more and more desperate and dirty. Just a big collective sigh.

      I know!
      It's a horrible, dirty plot...
      Hypocritical, too.
      Coming from the man who said "I assume the Gamers4Croydon campaign will involve criminal activities and dirty tricks, which is what I’ve come to expect from gamers".

    Awesome guys, you've done even better research than I did on this exact story. I still can't believe the journalistic nightmare that was the Ten news report...

      You should of checked out sunrise, they had the same school principal who said games were the spawn of satan, and their tech guru.

      Its always one sided on the news, the sunrise website didnt put up a comment box for their latest segment due to all the Pro18+ people pointing out flaws in their news reporting and the bias of their interviewees.

    Another of the council's projects, "Choosing Fright-Free Fight-Free Viewing: An intervention for parents of under sevens", warns parents to approach the show Bananas in Pyjamas with caution because it contains slapstick comedy.

    An accompanying booklet states: "Slapstick comedy can make them think that things don't actually hurt when in real life they do."

    They have got to be kidding!!!

    And AAARGH!!! Theres that photo again!

    Apologies for the second post in a row but I had to quote something from the news.com.au article referenced above:

    "Another of the council's (ACCM) projects, "Choosing Fright-Free Fight-Free Viewing: An intervention for parents of under sevens", warns parents to approach the show Bananas in Pyjamas with caution because it contains slapstick comedy.

    An accompanying booklet states: "Slapstick comedy can make them think that things don't actually hurt when in real life they do."

    If it wasn't so sad I'd be wetting myself with hilarity as I sit here in my office.

    I guess that means he's definitely not supporting it at the next Attorneys-General meeting.

    Numerous authorities, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission and numerous courts have thoroughly and critically examined the social science research and found that it does not establish any causal link between violent content and violent behavior.
    Most recently in 2008, Drs. Cheryl K. Olson and Lawrence Kutner, co-founders and directors of the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media, conducted a study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice on the effects of video games on young teenagers. In contrast to previous research, they studied real children and families in real situations. In their authoritative analysis, Grand Theft Childhood, they found that 'the strong link between video game violence and real world violence, and the conclusion that video games lead to social isolation and poor interpersonal skills, are drawn from bad or irrelevant research, muddleheaded thinking and unfounded, simplistic news reports.'

    As expected.

    Apparently, Atkinson is suing an internet commenter who called him a 'crook'. For something like $20,000. So...

    Hello Michael Atkinson,

    You are a reprehensible, juvenile human being who has completely lost all sight of what it means to be a politician in this country. You are consistently abusing your position as Attorney General/MP for your own baffling personal vendetta against games which is always accompanied by zero evidence and insane statements with no basis in reality to try to support your claims. I am slightly ashamed of Australia because you are in it.

    Thank you.

    P.S. You've got 15 days left.

      Really?

      Is it me?

      Because I called him that.

      I even did so in a direct letter to him which was also published on G4C website and my own website.

        Unless your name is Dean McQuillan and posted your allegation on the Advertiser web site, no:

        http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s2833558.htm

      We could always get a group of people together dressed in chicken outfits outside his office going "crook crook crook crook crook"

      I will say it then, Attorney-General Michael Atkinson is a complete idiot, a screwball, clueless moron who has no concept for anything other than cute girly computer games.

    It frustrates me that conservative groups can make some generic statement espousing outdated misinformation about gaming and get mainstream media coverage.

    Yet a group like Gamers4Croyden provide genuinely logical and intellectual discussion, and struggle for attention.

      That’s because the media only care about buzzwords that get them ratings, they don’t care if you use statistics that were practically pulled out your arse. The fact is that a well argued point is never as great as someone saying that games are worse than cancer.

      The media exists on soundbytes and hyperbole. Simplifying a complex issue into a single sentence, preferrably one that implies that your children are about to die a horrible death, is how they work

      TV news practically invented the concept of TL:DR

      if the journalist had taken 5 seconds to do a search in google they would of found g4c to approach them for comment, but aparently that might have been too much work for them, so now we are stuck with the rubbish being sprouted from two fronts.

      That because the mainstream media dont want logical and intellectual discussion.

      Those dont provide sales or ratings, however extreme broad over-reaching statements that have no basis and cause some controversy are ratings/sales gold.

        Perhaps Chris Prior should just say something ridiculously controversial like "Playing Left 4 Dead 2 for 4 hours straight cures homosexuality."

        Maybe then G4C will gain some favour with the Australian Christian Lobby...

          Lol, it Australia, it causes homosexuality imo, no violence ftl.

    As we get closer to the fateful day, people round the world will say;
    "Who was that man that opposed the R18 rating, with his nonsensical debating?"
    But we shall not repeat his name, he, opposed to R-rated games
    His time is up, the war is won. His seat non-existent in Croydon.

    Was this tax-payer money?

    How is that even legal? Can MPs just give tax-payer money to whomever they like?

    After reading the article:

    "We don't have much of a promotional budget (but) when people discover us they say they wish they'd discovered us sooner because they wouldn't have taken their child to see Finding Nemo, for example."

    What kind of parents don't want their kids to see "Finding Nemo"? It reminds of the Flanders family on The Simpsons where they have sattelite TV but every channel is locked out.

    Ned: Is this all he watches?
    Maude: Well, he used to watch Davey and Goliath, but he thought the idea of a talking dog was blasphemous.

    "The comparison between video games and smoking seems to have first been made by the Australian Christian Lobby."

    I don't understand why, in this day and age, Religious groups have any say or influence whatsoever in the governing of this nation.

    This whole games debate is getting more and more ridiculous. I can't believe it has even come to this point.

      w0rd up my japanese friend!

      this guy is a douche and organised religion is worse than cancer.

        And yet our public schools still provide 'religious education', where a volunteer comes in to teach the kids how to worship God correctly. You can opt out of it, of course... If you know about it before hand. They are not compelled to tell parents when it's happening, we only found out because the teacher is a good one, and because we're friends with the Muslim family in class. They are, understandably, even more pissed than us atheists are.

    Video games don't cause violence. A lack of moral base does. A child is never going to commit a violent act influenced by a video game unless he or she is already so amoral that they accept sociopathic behavior as the norm.

    I have never seen a case of a child's moral understanding being changed by video games, only children who already show amoral behaviors and use video games as an excuse to justify their crimes.

    The sooner people like Atkinson and Warburton get off the bandwagon, the sooner we can stop blaming games as the cause of violence and start blaming the real causes.

      Agreed, the only time a child would ever actually lash out because of a violent or dark video game, imo, would be if that child was already violent, had some sort of mental problem, or if they were on drugs.
      More than likely a child would just have a nightmare after playing a violent game.

    The worst thing about this is Craig Anderson's research doesn't even conclude the claims they're spouting!

    Nowhere in any of the studies he has done has he claimed that the correllation between videogames and violence is the same as scientists have found between passive smoking and lung cancer.

    What he has said is this:
    (from http://www.youngmedia.org.au/mediachildren/05_07_violence_anderson.htm)
    The medical research community knew that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer long before the general public came to hold such beliefs... The tobacco industry was quite effective keeping the public confused regarding the true causal effect of tobacco on lung cancer. Among other tactics, they promoted “experts” who claimed that the research was badly done, or was inconsistent, or was largely irrelevant... The media industries have been doing much the same thing, seeking out, promoting, and supporting “experts” willing to bash media violence research...

    One big difference between the tobacco industry case and the violent media case is that the main sources of information to the public (e.g., TV news shows, newspapers, magazines) are now largely owned by conglomerates that have a vested interest in denying the validity of any research suggesting that there might be harmful effects of repeated exposure to media violence. The tobacco industry certainly had some influence on the media, because of their advertising revenues, but the violent media industries are essentially a part of the same companies that own and control the news media. Thus, it is likely to be much more difficult for the general public to get an accurate portrayal of the scientific state of knowledge about media violence effects than it was to get an accurate portrayal of the tobacco/lung cancer state of scientific knowledge. Given that it took 30-some years for the public to learn and accept the tobacco/lung cancer findings, it seems unlikely that we’ll soon see a major shift in the public’s understanding of media violence effects.

    Which is hardly scientific investigation.

      Wait... so he claims that the media bury all of his "truthful" research, and bring out "experts" that claim otherwise, and yet all I see being reported in the media is "games make kids more violent" and I have to look to non-mainstream media to debunk that. Clearly everyone should watch the same news Anderson does, because then they might actually get the truth

        Agreed its hardly scientific, but this research is the sort paid for by people who don't believe in science or good dentistry!

    Hopefully this sort of publicity will add weight to the part in my submission suggestgin that he NOT be allowed to participate further in the consultation process due to his obvious bias and numerous times he has stated he will not support an R18+ classification for games. If the consultation process falls over because he says no with a smug expression on his face, then it's just a waste of time!

    That channel 10 video is almost laughable in its bias against gamers. They talk about youth becoming violent because of video games then cut to a shot of some blood from a fight in kings cross, then to a shot of that rugby player that kicked another player in the head and was banned for life from playing.

    Both of these events had nothing to do with violet video games, It’s just generic stock “crazy youth” footage from the vault. It’s typical stigmatising by the news, I remember just a few years ago when the news assumed just because I’m a 18 year old p plate driver I must be constantly speeding and going down to race my car and generally endangering lives, It’s the exact same deal right here.

    # of 'video game related violence' incidents vs. # of smoking / lung cancer related deaths and illnesses = ???

    I'd estimate somewhere in the vicinity of 1:10,000

      Not even close.. smoking has over 100-200 years head start on video gaming which only appeared within the last 30-40 years or so..

      Smoking would have affected 3-4 generations as opposed to the 1-2 Gaming has now.

    Wow. I think a lot of my extra curricular activities would be on AG Atkinson's shit list. I play games, I smoke tobacco and maybe a little weed on special occasions. I dont mind a couple of beers with mates AND sometimes it happens when we're playing video games too. Dont mind a bit of pre-marital sex either just to top it off.

    Religious zealots and Cult of Personalities like Atkinson (Senator Conroyis another one) should not have any degree of authority or political power. Not saying people like me should either, but there has to be a happy medium.

      heathen!!!

    This is just disgusting, how can he still be in power, Using tax payers money to lauch a personal war against video games. It can't be legal can it?

    However saying that violent video games cause violent people is just ridiculous. I have play games most my life, listen to rap music and watched action movies and have i ever hurt a single person? no i havn't there is no solid connection between games and violence.
    What does make me angry enough to kill people is idiots like this. People who think they know what is best for me and have no idea who i am and how i interact with the world. However i can't voice my thoughts and concerns because if i do, and get heated argument, they will just blame gaming as the cause of my anger, because they simple minded "crooks" that call themselves politicians and have no idea what is best for their people.

    I to wish i could vote this moron out, he is abusing his power and is no better then criminals that he trys to protect us from. He has no idea what his doing to this country and how he is causing more illegal problems then he is stopping. Due to him and his views i have to pirate a good 60% of my games because i wish to recive the full game not some watered down POS.

    Still with all the games i play im still not a violent person and never will be, all that games do is give weak people a excuse, it wasn't the cause it was a excuse, and normal from parents who dont want to believe their kids are messed idiots normally due to bad parenting or some other sort of influence, or crooks like mister Atkinson using gaming to blame crimes because it looks good for their career.

    This makes me sick and i hope the loser is kicked out and we get the R rating on video games. However because its something that will actually help this country it wont happen, this country is going down and idiots like mister Atkinson are the cause.

    Now Sunrise is on the 'videogames=violence' wagon.
    http://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunrise/video/play/-/6890638/video-game-warning/

      At least they showed how to use parent locks for the non-tech parents that would be watching. At least that's something they got right.

        and the whole time they were doing it they had the tagline: Video Games make kids violent under it.

        And they never once named the study.

          Don't forget it's in the best interests of the television networks to have people playing less games, because they'll use that time to watch more TV instead.

    I hereby decree that Atkinson be the new synonym for juvenile.

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