Psychologist Clarifies Bulletstorm Comments To Fox News

Psychologist Clarifies Bulletstorm Comments To Fox News

One of the two experts quoted in Fox News’ notorious hit-piece on Bulletstorm has clarified his remarks, and while he stands by them, says their presentation lacks context – and that he enjoys playing Mature-rated shooters in his free time as well.

To recap, Dr. Jerry Weichman, as quoted by Fox News, said:

If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm’s explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant. Violent video games like Bulletstorm have the potential to send the message that violence and insults with sexual innuendos are the way to handle disputes and problems.

In comments to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Weichman didn’t disown the statement but indicated he felt it was presented in a reduced form:

My opinion, as stated in my quote, is that there is potential to do harm, but certainly this is not the outcome for 100 percent of the game’s users. And obviously the folks at ESRB agree, since it’s rated M for Mature and was not designed for young audiences.

Weichman went on to say that while he hasn’t played the game, he has seen videos of it – but more importantly, is himself a gamer who plays titles in the Halo and Call of Duty series. Of course Bulletstorm is inappropriate for kids – and the ESRB has recognised that and rated it as such. “My work with teens leads me to put the bulk of the responsibility on the parent,” Weichman added, “and I wish that the article had given parents more information or tips on ways they can monitor their child’s gaming activities to insure that they are playing games which contain content appropriate for the individual child’s maturity level.”

That’s one of the two experts quoted; certainly Dr. Carol Lieberman is the one who made the infamous claim that Bulletstorm’s imagery will be indirectly responsible for a rise in sexual violence. But if Fox trimmed Weichman’s comments to present a more forceful or sensational point then who’s to say it didn’t do the same with Lieberman’s.

Psychologist Jerry Weichman Clarifies Bulletstorm Comments [Game Politics]


  • ” But if Fox trimmed Weichman’s comments to present a more forceful or sensational point then who’s to say it didn’t do the same with Lieberman’s.”

    didn’t you kinda prove she meant what fox news shows from your earlier interview with her where she couldn’t actually prove anything? claiming that she had to look up on the internet or in a hardcopy of her works?

  • Weichman’s comments (especially his clarified statements) seem reasonable. Definitely less hysterical than ‘Bulletstorm may cause a rise in sexual violence.’

    Younger kids certainly aren’t meant to play Bulletstorm anyway, so parents who are worried about their kids being exposed to it only need to ensure they don’t buy the game.

    It would be interesting to see if Lieberman’s comments were similarly edited or taken out of context – though looking at her website, it sounds like the sort of argument she uses regularly in mass media.

  • Rock Paper Shotgun broke apart the whole report.

    They’ve done an excellent job on it.
    They interviewed everyone from the story, including getting full transcripts of their actual statements to fox… and presented it all to Fox with a please explain.

    With the exception of the Lieberman, everyone was misquoted or blatantly out of context… including one guy whos position was the reverse of the reports.

  • Violence and insults ARE the way to solve problems, at least if your problems happen to involve bloodthirsty maniacs and giant alien monsters trying to kill you. I certainly don’t want my son growing up thinking that he could resolve these sorts of situations by sitting down with a cup of tea and having a frank and honest discussion.

  • This type of crap is an overreaction, anyway. I played Duke Nukem 3D when I was 13, and again played deathmatch while AT high school(Tech Education was basically a free-for-all), and the only end result was that I had finally found a way to connect with peers who were otherwise unwilling to even consider being friends.

    The only unrealistic expectations the experience gave me was that FPS wouldn’t degenerate into 12 year olds teabagging eachother.

    What I wouldn’t give to go back to the days where online gaming was a cultural niche limited to those who were clever enough to get it running at all.

  • I thought I read somewhere that Lieberman was misquoted or, more rather, edited and taken out of context. I believe that, according to the article (that I can’t remember where it was) she held basically the same views as Weichman does here.

    In any case, Weichman is completely right. Games, in a similar fashion to films, TV shows, books, music etc most likely can cause damage in either the young or mentally impaired. Why not? We’ve all heard of kids deciding to pretend to be Superman and jumping off things. Same thing. As such, the age ratings are there and parents are the ones who should do the parenting.

    Those who say “well I’ve been playing GTA since I was twelve” or something like that are missing the point. No, these games haven’t affected you, at least in a measurable way. Chances are you’re not “mentally vulnerable” and need protecting. But some people are and do.

  • Dr. Carol Lieberman is a wonderful woman who knows what she’s talking about…….

    Actually….no. The fact that she stated that Bulletstorms’ imagery would be responsible for an increase in ‘rape’ amongst players just screams of a deliberate attempt to incite polarisation within the less-informed masses.

    Grrr… As a medical professional, she should be practicing objectivity, logical thought and levelheaded rationality, but has managed to fail epically on all fronts….

    The saddest thing is that she’s playing on peoples’ insecurities and fears to drum up publicity….

    Prehaps she needs to play more Bulletstorm to unwind?

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