A bit of context is probably required, especially for non-UK readers. The Daily Mail is a shitty tabloid rag which somehow seems to believe it’s something other than a shitty tabloid rag. Imagine a furious middle-class family spitting vitriol at an oppressed minority. That’s the Daily Mail.
When they’re not attacking immigrants, or women, or the poor, The Daily Mail has been known to talk about this whole video game problem they’ve heard about from a friend of a friend. Here are four instances of awful games journalism courtesy of The Daily Fucking Mail.
4) GAMES DEFINITELY CAUSE AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR, SAYS REPORT THAT’S FAR MORE LEVEL-HEADED THAN OUR HEADLINE SUGGESTS
This is prime Daily Mail. Scan through an academic paper, wilfully ignoring all the boring stuff like the entire context and pick out the scariest phrases. Happily for them, they found a paper that put a link between video games and aggression. Unfortunately, that same paper also states that “no single risk factor consistently leads a person to act aggressively or violently” which the Mail does, in all fairness, repeat. Not in the headline obviously, but it is at least there.
It does, however, contain the utterly brilliant sentence “Experts who conducted the review stopped short of saying that violent games such as Call Of Duty and Grand Theft Auto led directly to criminal acts, however, citing a lack of evidence.” You can just taste the editor’s seething resentment, so disgusted are they that researchers wouldn’t provide a better headline just because of a trifling matter of there being no evidence.
Obviously, they don’t link to the original paper.
3) WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!
How do we best instil the fear of death into people who know nothing about video games? How do we incite hatred most effectively? Easy! We assert that children are at risk, cite instances of violence in video games, and then cite cases of violence in real life, leaving the reader to come to the plainly obvious (and directed) conclusion. Look at these two pictures:
Oh yeah, I remember when games weren’t so violent. The good old days of 2009 when New Super Mario Bros on the Wii – the game quite clearly pictured here – was released. Also, you’re using Mario as your prime example of video game pacifism? A game in which you crush enemies to death with your legs, an act far more gruesome than any you’ll see in an FPS, before drowning the antagonist in lava?
Naturally, they don’t link to the original paper.
2) LONER HACKER WEIRDO LIKES VIDEO GAMES, NEED WE SAY ANY MORE?
The Daily Mail asserts that the child was ‘addicted to video games.’ They back this up by citing his blog which states: “I’m a 14-year-old gamer who one day wants to be a professional Call Of Duty player.” That’s right, wanting to be professional in a certain field always betrays a fundamental addiction. Want to own a cake shop? Pastry addict. Want to be a gardener? Chlorophyll addict. Want to play video games for a living? Games addict.
Still, let’s not dismiss this out of hand. Maybe there is some form of link between professional game playing and addiction! I wouldn’t know because, of course, they don’t link to the original paper.
1) THAT TIME THE DAILY MAIL PUBLISHED SOMETHING WHILST IN THE MIDST OF A CLIMAX OF PURITANICAL OUTRAGE
Here, The Daily Mail uses all the usual suspects to try and paint the most negative picture of video games possible. You’ve got Grand Theft Auto V, the massive release intended for adults which therefore has adult themes; Manhunt, a game whose lifespan is now entirely dependent on outraged think pieces, and finally… Spiderman 2.
Oh, so it all makes sense! No wonder video games are spawning juvenile delinquents when parents are wantonly letting their kids play Spiderman 2, of all things! All of the drinking, smoking, and unprotected sex that The Daily Mail is so genuinely deeply concerned about (because, of course, they’d have no ulterior motive other than helping the disenfranchised youth) can all be traced back to Spiderman 2, in all its subversive wonder.
And no, I haven’t linked to any of the original articles. If they’re not willing to put in that level of effort, then neither am I.