The BBC rushed to report the other day about the newly-released video game from the NRA, which encourages children to learn about target shooting.
One can tell the perspective of the Beeboid who wrote this up right away from the opening lines. They tell you that the game has been approved for children as young as four right up front, as opposed to mentioning it later on after explaining what the game actually is, and the NRA’s goals for it, figuring this provides maximum shock value. It’s more important, apparently, than the fact that the NRA joined the chorus of those condemning violent video games. Which the BBC censored from the report even though they spent nearly half of it discussing the issue of violent video games. It’s the whole reason the NRA created the game in the first place. I mean, the BBC could have at least used this as an opportunity for an irony alert, right?
Oh, and this isn’t actually a new game rushed out in response to the tragedy of Sandy Hook, either. This is only a mobile/tablet app game, and is basically another version of a game the NRA put out for consoles and PC in 2006. I won’t say the BBC censored this information because I’m pretty sure they didn’t even know about it, and didn’t bother to do any research other than reading the Left-wing blogs and news reports where they usually get their ideas on how to report US issues.
The promotional blurb for the original game pretty much sums up the NRA’s reasoning for the new version:
Join the National Rifle Association for a different take on the first-person shooter. Members of the NRA gun club will wield more than 100 firearms, ranging from consumer guns to specialty and military firearms. But the difference is they’ll use ‘em without any blood or violence.
The BBC left out the part where the whole point of this is to separate violence and killing from learning respect for the tools. That’s because the BBC sees this as a horrible brainwashing technique to encourage children to love guns. Two different perspectives, you say? Well, yes. That’s the point. The BBC is reporting from one perspective, and doesn’t allow other viewpoints to interfere with their angle. They even leave out key context which may distract from the story they want to tell. The fact that I don’t like the perspective they’re reporting is beside the point if they don’t provide balance. I want them to feature both sides, not just one. It’s a point lost on defenders of the indefensible (or they simply refuse to accept it), but I’m stating it nevertheless.
Interesting side note: the original game was rated “E-10″ (everyone over age 10) by the industry’s rating board, while the current game was given the “4+” rating – by Apple. It’s an Apple app at the moment, not a regular video game release, so the ESRB isn’t involved. The BBC’s darling Apple says this is good for the kiddies, not the NRA. Instead of directing your hatred towards the NRA, you might instead want to condemn Apple for selling such a thing. The BBC doesn’t want to distract you from their agenda, though, so they leave out more key background context.
Personally, I don’t accept that games cause violence. There have been plenty of studies done over the years, and as a long-time gamer myself, I’ve never seen any evidence of it, either. Other than WWII games where there’s no choice, I prefer my violent video games to involve killing aliens, mutants, or zombies, but that’s just me. The NRA is just trying to find another excuse besides blaming guns for these mass murderers. But that doesn’t make it right for the BBC to censor key context, nor does it mean it’s okay for the BBC to report from only a single perspective. It may very well be mainstream British opinion on gun control, but then it’s biased reporting. If you want your opinion reflected in the BBC’s reporting, then fine. Just don’t claim the BBC is impartial and balanced.
Half the news brief is taken up with the defense of video games in general. One might interpret this as defending the NRA’s game. It’s really just part of the whole debate about government control over people’s behavior. VP Biden tried to put pressure on the video game industry, so the voices the BBC provides in defense of the industry concern that part of the story, and are not meant to be interpreted as the BBC providing a line of defense for the NRA’s game. In fact, the inclusion of the debate about violent video games can actually be seen as more evidence of opposition to it.
Both the original game and this new app are non-violent. No living thing is harmed, or even remotely threatened. It’s all target shooting – inanimate objects. The whole deal of violent video games is about actual physical violence against other living (or undead) things, not sterile target practice. I mean, as far as I can tell, the NRA game doesn’t even have human-shaped targets like some real-life ranges do. It’s no more violent than the archery target-shooting game in the Wii Sports package that little kids play. By following the brief, not quite whole, story of the game’s release with the noise about violent video games, the BBC is framing the game in the context of violence. The Beeboid who wrote this up sees it as violence. Again, that’s a perspective informed by their personal opinion on guns.
This is just one in a series of BBC reports on the gun control issue, and the bias is only going to get worse from here.