Cooper Lawrence appears disgusted when Geoff Keighley asks if she has played Mass Effect
Electronic Arts calls out Fox News reporting as hitting "a new level of recklessness"

When it comes to reporting, cable news has a certain reputation of sensationalizing its subjects. Perhaps the mantra of the station is to make its news as entertaining as some of its fictional shows on the network.

Mainstream media making a mountain out of molehill about video game is nothing new to me. I rarely care anymore after years of seeing Jack Thompson run his mouth about Rockstar’s games.

I don’t get my news from TV anymore, so I only became aware of this when the gaming community furiously exploded at the gross negligence for the truth as demonstrated by Fox News.

Fox News during one of its evening Live Desk programs aired feature headlined “’SE’XBOX? MICROSOFT: CLAIMS ARE INACCURATE & MISLEADING” which targeted the apparent crimes committed on today’s use through BioWare’s Mass Effect.

More specifically, the television channel positioned game’s brief sexual encounter as some sort of grossly graphic abomination of modern day morality in a “think of the children” tone. Problem is, Fox News gets it all wrong. While I don’t expect all audiences to understand what an RPG is, let alone Mass Effect, Fox News appears so clueless that its staff isn’t even aware that ESRB game ratings also appear on the front of the game box.

Radio talk show host and author Cooper Lawrence was called on by Fox News to give her take on the outrageously damaging effects that games such as Mass Effect have on the world. Of course, she has never played Mass Effect. Long-time video game media member Geoff Keighley tries his best to provide calm and sensible rebuttals, but Fox News appears uninterested in his logic and instead turns it over to a panel that continues to comment on the horrors of Mass Effect.

I could go on and on about the inaccuracies presented by Fox News that night, but it’s probably easiest if you just viewed the video clip here.

Electronic Arts, now the owners of BioWare, responded to Fox News via a letter written by EA’s VP of communications, Jeff Brown. “The resulting coverage was insulting to the men and women who spent years creating a game which is acclaimed by critics for its high creative standards,” he wrote. “As video games continue to take audiences away from television, we expect to see more TV news stories warning parents about the corrupting influence of interactive entertainment. But this represents a new level of recklessness.”

Brown lists factual errors committed by the program during its brief airtime, such as a Fox News voice-over reporter saying: “You'll see full digital nudity and the ability for players to engage in graphic sex.”

“Do you watch the Fox Network? Do you watch Family Guy? Have you ever seen The OC?” Brown questioned. “Do you think the sexual situations in Mass Effect are any more graphic than scenes routinely aired on those shows? Do you honestly believe that young people have more exposure to Mass Effect than to those prime time shows?”

Brown then concluded, “This isn't a legal threat; it's an appeal to your sense of fairness. We're asking FNC to correct the record on Mass Effect.”

Meanwhile, members of the online community enraged by Cooper Lawrence’s misinformed take on Mass Effect have given their own opinions on the author’s book. Amazon has since removed the user reviews.

What Fox News has done is disheartening. As much as the Nintendo Wii and DS have done to brought the mainstream market into video games, complex, intellectual and mature games such as Mass Effect will be continually misunderstood by those who can’t get past that video games are now much more than just Pac-Man and Pong.

At one point, one of the panelists on Fox News says, “This made me feel old, watching this. What happened to Atari, and pinball, and Pac-Man?”

Sadly, video gaming will not get its fair shake and coverage until the a certain generation of so-called reporters – such as those at Fox News – die off and are replaced by those who grew up with games such as Mass Effect.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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