Trump's video game meeting

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Trump's video game meeting

These are several articles about Trump's video game meeting that was held this week.  The EXPERTS and SCIENTISTS these articles are speaking of, are paid for by the gaming companies, much like the "EXPERTS and SCIENTISTS" the cigarette companies hired, to spread the propoganda that smoking was good for you, so they could continue to line their pockets with money from citizens who their cigareets were killing! 

Trump spurns experts for his video game meeting

Mallory Locklear, Engadget March 9, 2018

Today’s discussion about video game violence omits those that study it.

Donald Trump is hosting a meeting today, which, according to a White House spokesperson, has been set "to discuss violent video-game exposure and the correlation to aggression and desensitization in children." CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted the list of attendees earlier today and it includes members of the video game industry as well as outspoken critics of violent video games. However, as Rolling Stone points out, there aren't any scientists included in the meeting -- a glaring omission if you're interested in having a truly representative discussion about video games and real-world violence.

Members of Congress:

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Representative Vickie Hartzler (R-MO)
Representative Martha Roby (R-AL)

External Participants:

Mr. Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two
Interactive (Former Chairman of ESA), CEO of Rockstar Games
Mr. Brent Bozell, Media Research Center
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (Ret.), “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society: Video Games, Aggression, and the Psychology of Killing”
Mrs. Pat Vance, President of Entertainment Software Rating Board
Mr. Mike Gallagher, President and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association
Mr. Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of ZeniMax Media (parent company of Bethesda Softworks)
Melissa Henson, Mother from Parents Television Council

Jake Tapper


Expected attendees at POTUS meeting today to “discuss violent video-game exposure and the correlation to aggression and desensitization in children,” per WH

7:36 AM - Mar 8, 2018


1,477 people are talking about this

Video game industry members attending today's meeting include ESRB President Pat Vance (who is in fact a woman even though the above image lists her as a man), ESA President Mike Gallagher, ZeniMax Media CEO Robert Altman and Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick. Representing Congress are Senator Marco Rubio and Representatives Vicky Hartzler and Martha Roby. The other three attendees are Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell, Parents Television Council spokesperson Melissa Henson and Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society and Assassination Generation: Video Games, Aggression and the Psychology of Killing. All three are critics of violent video games and have spoken out against the video game industry.

The problem here is that research doesn't side with those individuals. Multiple studies have found no connection between video game violence and violence in society -- you can read a more in-depth discussion of that research here. And the fact that no scientists in the field will be involved in today's White House discussion makes it look like the Trump administration is looking for a scapegoat, not a true conversation about the root of the US' gun violence problem. "I'm hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts," Trump said after the Parkland school shooting.

Blaming video games for gun violence has been a hard idea to squash and leaving out relevant research and scientists certainly won't help matters.

Update: The ESA has released its statement on the meeting, which you can read below.

We welcomed the opportunity today to meet with the President and other elected officials at the White House. We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry's rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices. We appreciate the President's receptive and comprehensive approach to this discussion.



President Trump Has Blamed Video Games for School Shootings. Science Isn't So Sure

Jamie Ducharme,Time March 9, 2018

Less than a month after America’s deadliest school shooting in five years, President Donald Trump on Thursday met with members of Congress, video game executives, conservative media watchdog Brent Bozell and a mother from the Parents Television Council to “discuss violent video-game exposure and the correlation to aggression and desensitization in children,” according to a statement from White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters.

The meeting was closed to the press, and the White House has not released any statement, but Trump has blamed video games in recent weeks for making kids more violent, as have some of the guests he invited to the meeting.

“I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts,” he told Florida’s attorney general after the Parkland school shooting — a view he expressed even more strongly in a 2012 tweet.

Donald J. Trump



Video game violence & glorification must be stopped—it is creating monsters!

6:09 PM - Dec 17, 2012


17K people are talking about this

Similar rhetoric has been part of the conversation about mass violence for years. In 2007, for example, an Oregon psychiatrist published a study saying the perpetrators of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting may have been compelled to kill after they were abruptly forbidden from playing the computer games to which they had become addicted. Since then, video games have consistently been blamed for, or at least implicated in, school shootings and other acts of mass violence.

But blaming violence on video games over-simplifies a deeply complicated issue.

“The short answer is there is virtually no research” on whether or not video games cause violent acts like school shootings, says Mark Applebaum, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California San Diego and the chair of a 2015 American Psychological Association Task Force on Violent Media. “There is no scientific evidence that confirms or disconfirms that speculation.”

That’s because ethical standards prevent researchers from carrying out the kind of experiments that could, in theory, show cause-and-effect relationships between video games and violence, explains Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at the Ohio State University and one of the authors of a 2017 Pediatrics paper that analyzed 60 years’ worth of research around screen violence and aggressive behavior.

“You can’t randomly assign people to play a violent or non-violent game in the lab, give them a gun and see what they do with the gun,” Bushman says. As a result, “you can’t say it’s the cause, or the most important cause,” of criminal actions.

What researchers have done is look for links between violent media, like video games, and traits connected to violent behavior. Here, they’ve found plenty. Decades of research has found that playing violent video games can cause an increase in aggressive thoughts and actions, a decrease in empathy and desensitization to violence. Some research, like that from a widely cited 2010 meta-analysis published in Psychological Bulletin, has also suggested there may be a link between violent video games and heightened physiological arousal, which may also be a precursor to aggressive behavior.

Part of the explanation for those links, Bushman says, may be the visceral experience of playing modern video games, especially those in which the user takes on the perspective of the shooter.

“Think about if you wanted to fly an airplane. What would be the best thing to do: read a book about it, watch a TV program about it or play a flight simulator video game?” Bushman says. “We know that when people are actively involved, they learn much better than when they’re just passive. The best way to learn something is to actually do it. And in the video game, what you learn how to do is kill others.” Video games also often reward the player for doing so, through points, game advancement or verbal affirmations.

“There are fairly consistent effects that show an increase in aggressive thoughts and ideations, as a function of having played these first-person shooter games,” Applebaum says. “There is also a decrease in empathy.” But what we don’t know is whether those changes are permanent, cumulative or different for people who play more or less frequently, he says.

There’s also a big leap between having aggressive thoughts and committing criminally violent acts. Many things can qualify as aggressive thoughts for the purposes of psychological studies, Applebaum says, including something as simple as writing an “I” instead of an “A” when presented with a blank between the letters “H” and “T” — thus forming the word “hit” instead of “hat.”

Researchers also don’t know much about how video game exposure affects young children, specifically. Applebaum says most research on the topic has been conducted among college-age people, in part because it’s practical — researchers are often professors with easy access to undergraduates — and in part because it’s ethically dubious to expose small kids to something potentially damaging.

With so many ethical hurdles in the way, researchers may never be able to say for sure whether video games cause violent acts, even as evidence supporting associations between violent media and violent behavior piles up. But that likely won’t stop lawmakers and armchair psychologists from making that claim.

“People would be really happy if we knew the cause of these actions,” Applebaum says. The problem, of course, is there is no simple explanation for something like a mass shooting. Many factors — societal, individual and environmental — are at play in each incident.

“If I could create a parallel world, and in that parallel world no one had thought up the idea of a first-person shooter game…would I expect there to be any major difference in the number of these kind of shooting incidents?” Applebaum asks. The answer, he says, is “no.”

But even without definitively proving cause and effect, Bushman says the amount and quality of research on the impact of violent video games is too vast to ignore.

“I can think of no theory that would say it’s harmful for children to be exposed to violence in their home, in their neighborhood or in their school,” Bushman says, “but that it doesn’t really matter if they’re exposed to violence in the media.”


Video-Game Companies Are Meeting With Trump. His Brother Is on One’s Board


Justin Sink and Christopher Palmeri

March 7, 2018, 7:53 PM EST

When President Donald Trump meets with video-game manufacturers Thursday to discuss gun violence, one participant might seem familiar to the nation’s chief executive -- ZeniMax Media Inc.

His younger brother Robert Trump has been on the board of the Bethesda, Maryland-based producer of games like Doom, Rage and Fallout since at least 2007. The board also includes Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer, CBS Chairman Les Moonves and former baseball great Cal Ripken Jr., according to its website.

The White House called the meeting in the aftermath of the Florida high school shooting where 17 people were killed. President Trump has said that while he supports limited new gun controls, including raising the minimum age to purchase certain weapons, he also wants to examine depictions of violence in media and improve mental-health services.

Video-game representatives expected to attend the meeting include Robert Altman, chief executive officer of ZeniMax Media, and Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., which makes the Grand Theft Auto series, the Washington Post reported. Michael Gallagher of the Entertainment Software Association, the industry’s Washington-focused lobbying group, is also supposed to attend.

ZeniMax didn’t respond to a request for comment after normal business hours, nor did Robert Trump’s Brooklyn office.

Role of Games

In a meeting with law enforcement officials last month, Trump called video-game violence “incredible” and said it was “hard to believe that at least for a percentage of children” that media violence had no negative impact. Trump also recommended implementing new ratings systems “for terror” so parents would know what their children were exposed to.

Accused Parkland, Florida, shooter Nikolas Cruz played violent video games as much as 15 hours a day, a neighbor told the Miami Herald. “It was kill, kill, kill, blow up something, and kill some more, all day,” said the neighbor, Paul Gold.

Video games carry content ratings that suggest the appropriate age for players. Boxed versions also include rating summaries providing detailed descriptions of the content, including different types of violent or sexual material.

So-called first person shooter games have provided a boost for the industry, with revenue streams that extend beyond their initial sale to online updates with new action. The titles have spawned contests in which thousands of fans watch professionals play online and in arenas. Activision Blizzard Inc., the largest U.S. video game company, has sold franchises for its new esports league tied to Overwatch, another hit shooting game.

The Entertainment Software Association has defended the industry’s business practices. Games with mature themes are given ratings that discourage parents from buying them, the association’s spokesman, Dan Hewitt, said in an email.

“Video games are enjoyed around the world and numerous authorities and reputable scientific studies have found no connection between games and real-life violence,” the association said in a statement.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement the president hoped to “discuss violent video-game exposure and the correlation to aggression and desensitization in children.” She said the meeting would be the “first of many” with industry leaders.

— With assistance by Mark Gurman


Trump's video game meeting may not lead to any further action

But critics sure are blaming violent titles for school shootings. Again.

David Lumb, @OutOnALumb

March 9, 2018

Early this week, Trump at last announced that he would meet with leaders of the video game industry. Not to discuss the rising frustration with loot boxes, but to rehash the exhausted and research-debunked notion that playing games causes people to become more violent. Predictably, Trump invited zero scientists or respected researchers to the summit, instead stacking it with outspoken video game critics and a trio of Republican lawmakers. And surprising nobody, the hour-long meeting produced very few actionable results.

Trump opened the meeting with a highlight reel of clips from the last decade of gaming, ranging from goofy to excessively bloody violence. Some attendees didn't expect any significant resolution, Glixel reported, and saw the meeting as an opening foray into a larger conversation...on gun violence in America. Critics of the industry called for regulations that would make it difficult for youths to buy violent games, and some asked Trump to widen the discussion to include violent movies and TV shows. But beyond sharing opinions during the closed-door summit, there was no commitment from attendees or the White House on concrete action.

Instead, it seemed a stage to reframe the post-Parkland debate around video games' influence on school shootings. Which, again, is zero: Only one-eighth of the 41 school shooters surveyed by the US Secret Service in a 2004 review were interested in violent video games (twice as many liked violent movies or books, which was still only a quarter of that sample). More studies disproving the faulty link between violence and games can be found in Engadget's long write-up on the topic here. Yet, the unsupported-by-science narrative prevailed at the summit:

"Today's meeting was an opportunity to learn and hear from different sides about concerns and possible solutions to violence in schools," Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) said in a prepared statement following the meeting, according to Glixel. According to reports (no press were allowed), Trump went around the table listening to various concerns from critics of the industry and opinions from video game company CEOs. The pro-industry Entertainment Software Association (ESA), also in attendance, released a statement after the meeting defending video games and politely denouncing the meeting's premise:

"We welcomed the opportunity today to meet with the President and other elected officials at the White House. We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry's rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices. We appreciate the President's receptive and comprehensive approach to this discussion."

This meeting rehashed the moral panic around video games that plagued the industry after the Columbine shootings in 1999 and, before that, in Congressional hearings back in 1994. That was when the ESA formed the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) to disclose objectionable material on game packaging, which forestalled Congressional calls for the government to regulate the video game industry.

Melissa Henson of the Parents Television Council said that yesterday's summit was "respectful but contentious," she told The Washington Post, and that her side of the debate emphasized that the "steady diet of media violence is having a corrosive effect on our culture." Similarly, president of the Media Research Council Brent Bozell told Trump that the video game industry should have much tougher regulation, and that violent games "needed to be given the same kind of thought as tobacco and liquor," he remarked to The Washington Post.

Liz Woolley