Friday, April 11, 2008

Burying the Lede, Skewing the Story

Via Feminist Gamers, I learn that some maladjusted abuser has beaten his girlfriend's two-year-old daughter to death.

I wish that hadn't happened.

But I also wish that the media were framing it differently.

Right now, the story is "Man beats toddler to death WITH VIDEO GAME CONTROLLER." This allows everyone to ignore the real problems and go after violence in video games ... again.

The actual story is "MAN BEATS TODDLER TO DEATH with video game controller." If he hadn't had a video game system at hand, he'd have found something else to use, like a hammer, or the telephone, or even just his fists. The controller was just close at hand.

So the media is ignoring the tough questions, like why was he beating a two-year-old? and why didn't the mother do anything?, which might at least open up a discussion on what makes a person abusive and how abusive people control those around them. Instead, we get misleading questions like why do video games make people violent? and how can we protect our children from violent video games?, which all have the presupposition that this horrible incident is all the fault of Sony, Microsoft, and/or Nintendo.

Because, let's face it, this man would have beaten that toddler even if there were no video games around. Domestic violence has existed for centuries, and it will exist for centuries more unless we get some education out there. Asking disingenuous questions, as the media will no doubt quickly begin to do, is not education; it's distraction and derailment of the conversation. I might even go so far as to say that it enables abusers because it blames something else and lets abusers off the hook.


Sherry said...

Good post.

I would like to add an intelligent comment but you pretty much said it.

Falconer said...

Well, thanks. I've been thinking about it a lot since I first read about the ... well, murder last night.