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Opinion

Metro's Ignorance Shows

London paper in bizarre association.

We don’t like it when the mainstream press tries to insinuate that anyone who plays video games is a salivating pervert or a violent sociopath. So we like to point it out in an effort to shine light on ignorance and, hopefully, have some small degree of influence over what might be reported in the future. It’s not doing us much good though. In spite of levelling sensible and reasoned debate at the producers of the Alan Titchmarsh show and pointing out the preposterousness of the Daily Star’s recent “GTA: Rothbury” invention, we still see it fairly regularly and it’s still offensive, misguided and bigoted.

Today it’s the turn of The Metro, London’s free paper. Their website is running a story (screengrab below) about a man who admitted attempted rape on a woman who was so drunk as to be almost unconscious. So drunk, in fact, that she was vomiting in the street as the man sexually assaulted her. All of this happened after a Christmas party outside a Hard Rock Cafe in London and today the man was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment.

Now, if I were to run a story like that I might, perhaps, focus on the dangers of women getting so drunk and finding themselves alone and susceptible to criminals. Maybe attempt to influence women to think more about their habits when out drinking and perhaps try to stay with friends, be a little bit safer.

I might run the story as a piece that applauded the Hard Rock Cafe’s staff who quickly phoned the police and got the situation stopped before it could develop into something even more serious. Maybe, if I was feeling particularly rebelious, I might run a story pointing out how utterly ridiculous it is that a man should try to rape a woman in the middle of a busy street and then only be sentenced to two and a half years. He’ll probably be out in under eighteen months.

At some point in my version of the story I might point out the dangers of over-indulging with alcohol and the responsibility that we as a society must shoulder to educate people more adequately against abusing the drug. I might run the story as a piece referencing some of the mountains of firm evidence that alcohol abuse is dangerous to an individual’s health and personal safety, not to mention the damage that the binge drinking culture does to our society as a whole. I could include quotes from people who know far more than I do about the subject and maybe even have a little graph to illustrate instances of violent crime around cultural drinking events like Christmas.

The Metro didn’t choose to focus on any of these points though. Instead, they chose to shoot off an incredibly lazy, narrow-minded and offensively bigoted piece which focused on the fact that this attempted rapist had a job (which he has since been fired from) testing video games. Yes, he sits in a dimly lit room testing those nasty video games about killing and stealing and drinking and rape. That’s bound to have some sort of effect on a person’s psyche isn’t it? Well, no, actually. There has never been an independent and conclusive study which proves any link between simulated video game violence and real-world instances of violence on any level other than anecdotal and extremely rare cases.

Besides, he was testing Sonic the Hedgehog, so unless he was trying to spin attack into mechanical crabs outside the Hard Rock Cafe then The Metro’s allusions are entirely ridiculous.

Not quite so ridiculous though, perhaps, as one or two of the profoundly ignorant comments on the story. One of which states:

Once again video games strike. when will these type of people people learn that you can’t do whatever you want like in Grand Theft Auto or Tekken. There are no laws in video games and it corrupts people  minds. I also see that the man in question was a fan of Death Metal Music. This has a similar effect and message. call me cynical but this combination sounds bad from the start [sic] P. Wiggins, Colchester

Ok Mr. (or Mrs.) Wiggins, you’re cynical. Furthermore, you appear to be an idiot who has pulled his (or her) opinion exclusively from the baseless drivelling of other, slightly more dangerous idiots who have a wider platform from which to spew their ignorance.

I know we highlight this sort of thing quite often here on TheSixthAxis but we really think that it needs to be shown. When a widely-known news source spins a story in such a misguided, misleading and, frankly, offensive way we think it should be seen by as many people as possible. Perhaps by exposing their stupidity we can make them think twice before they launch their next entirely fictitious tirade against a group of human beings simply because they don’t understand their hobby.

This is tantamount to a hate crime, they influence their readership to think badly of a particular group of people based solely on their association with a particular entertainment medium. Replace the insinuous references to gaming in The Metro’s story with references to a religion or a race (or even gender) and see how comfortably it reads.

If anyone at The Metro would like to get in touch and talk to us about their representation of gamers, or even if they’d like to consult with us at TheSixthAxis before they cover the world’s largest grossing entertainment industry in such a negative way again, we’re all ears. We’d like to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

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55 Comments
  1. Doddsy
    Totally Oscar Mike
    Since: Jul 2009

    Oh dear Lord. How do journalists with that level of ignorance and delusion get jobs?

    I mean, they are more talented journos working for nothing across the web.

    I hope some sort of amendment is made

    Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 18:15.
    • Bilbo_bobbins
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      It’s the Metro, says it all to be honest. Crap stories that have already been done, and stuff like this just shows how good that paper is….plop!

      Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 10:11.
  2. beeje13
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    The ‘games tester’ put in the headline was unnecessary and incenting arguements and issues.
    It wouldn’t say ‘film critic jailed’ would it now?
    Some people need to grow up.
    Also the comment about rock is stupid, people have their own tastes, again its like saying people who like crisps are violent people!
    btw i like crisps now and then.

    Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 18:21.
    • Roynaldo
      Member
      Since: Nov 2008

      Its also like saying people who like chocolate are obese lazy wasters.

      Its just unfounded, cynical and insulting to say things like that in a public form.

      Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 18:24.
    • Forrest_01
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      “It wouldn’t say ‘film critic jailed’ would it now?”

      Unfortunately, it probably would – That’s tabloids for you!

      Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 18:29.
  3. Roynaldo
    Member
    Since: Nov 2008

    *sigh* Most gamers i meet are intelligent, sharp minded and witty individuals. Why do we never hear of these type of people when reading articles connected to video gamers?

    Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 18:22.
    • matty
      Member
      Since: Dec 2008

      I know more intelligent people through TSA and gaming than I do in real life. All my mates are idiots :p

      Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 20:42.
      • rht992
        Member
        Since: Apr 2009

        steady on now we have a few idiots around here

        Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 22:12.
  4. solidsteven
    Never heard of him.
    Since: May 2010

    oh for f**K sake just leave us alone media. what have we done to piss you off? seriously someone tell me

    Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 18:25.
    • Uhyve
      Member
      Since: Sep 2008

      I think the media hates us because our generation is going to lead to them being jobless in the very near future. Printed media, ha.

      Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 21:24.
  5. solidsteven
    Never heard of him.
    Since: May 2010

    THIS MEANS WAR lol

    Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 18:27.
  6. YOURMUMANDME
    Member
    Since: Oct 2008

    Wow, it’s like a butterfly effect of blame, ridiculous.
    If only I hadn’t had a pop tart 12 years ago maybe I wouldn’t of stubbed my big toe on the dresser this morning, relevant ?…..no.

    Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 18:32.
  7. haz360
    Member
    Since: Forever

    Wow. Once again the pure ignorance of the mainstream media amazes me. Why anyone who is clearly uneducated on the (unneccasary to begin with) subject of video games is allowed to write an article like this is beyond me. Hopefully most people who read this will see that it’s utter crap. (Although I don’t have high hopes).

    Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 18:46.
  8. DannyFantango
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    Really?
    You’re calling into question the quality of a free paper produced by Northcliffe Media?
    I work for Northcliffe and even design one Metro page a day (it’s a right hand Ents page for the Midlands) and am happy to tell you the paper is crap.

    Maybe you should read a newspaper that values games in the same way it values film and music?

    Also, why do you care if they demonise gamers, if your friends are the reactionary type that believe this drivel then perhaps you need new friends.

    Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 19:10.
    • colossalblue
      Team TSA: Editor
      Since: Forever

      For the same reason I’d be annoyed if they demonised black people or jews or women or people who wear red trousers or people who vote for the Green Party or people who do layout for free papers or people with a missing tooth or people that have green eyes or people that like cats but aren’t that fussy on dogs.
      Why demonise anyone?
      Also, just because a “paper is crap”, that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to see it become a decent paper one day. I’m all for as much quality journalism as I can get.

      Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 19:15.
      • cc_star
        Team TSA: Writer
        Since: Forever

        I’d back the demonising of anyone who likes cats over dogs

        Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 19:29.
      • DannyFantango
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        True but I doubt very much it will become a decent paper, it gets its news from PA and previous local paper listings; probably the reason for this story being given an anti-gamer stance is due to the story not being very fresh (and pandering to the right wing readers that I imagine they want to pay for the Daily Mail).

        I do agree that no one should be demonised, they had a ridiculous piece on chinese food last week that I’m sure got a lot of people foaming at the mouth; and I’m certain it wont be the last time the Metro will make more stupid comments that upset people, but if it gets more people reading and talking about the paper (and doesn’t get them in trouble with the ipcc) then I’m sure they don’t care.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/dec/11/charlie-brooker-i-love-videogames

        Charlie Brooker sums up why ‘old media’ doesn’t share our love affair with games better than I ever could.

        I apologise for all this, in here there may be a coherent message trying to break out!

        Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 19:34.
  9. Mike
    Member
    Since: Oct 2008

    This is a disgraceful piece of ‘journalism’. The link between the sexual assault and video games is so tenuous, it’s rediculous. This comment did have me in stitches though:

    “I’m finding it tricky to remember the bit where Sonic has to neck 16 pints and try to rape Tails.”

    Whoever wrote that comment, I take my hat off to you, sir.

    Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 19:10.
    • DannyFantango
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      haha, brilliant.

      Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 19:15.
  10. rht992
    Member
    Since: Apr 2009

    this is sick. people are ignorant and anyone who actually believes this is the reason behind a drunken rape is an idiot

    Comment posted on 09/08/2010 at 19:25.

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