Look, we understand local, small-market TV journalists have a hard time. The gig pays slightly less than games journalism (which is right above “fry cook” on the pay scale) and offers advancement only to a select few. Thankfully for these intrepid reporters, you can always generate fear and fill airtime by ginning up controversy about video games. After all, if you fear-monger hard enough and long enough, you could even achieve the coveted status of local celebrity. However, when your “hard-hitting exposé” is this inane, you deserve to be ridiculed mercilessly.
Above: These news stories would make Ron Burgundy cry
Example 1: The DS will attract pedophiles to your children
The DS is nothing more than a gateway for child molesters to come into your home, and Nintendo wants them to. That's the message of the above piece from FOX affiliate, FOX 6. (As an aside, we couldn't help but notice most of these pieces came from FOX affiliates. It's like local news is where opportunistic hack journalists are groomed before they can join the hack journalism pros at FOX News.)
Where do we even begin with this piece? It's like every sentence has a bit of false or misleading information. Let's start with the PictoChat sequence. While the reporter is downstairs, he sends the girls upstairs, and they talk on PictoChat. His narration implies that he asked them the sort of probing questions that a child molester would ask. They then highlight this as a major problem. But here’s the thing: The girls knew who they were talking to, and they were told to cooperate. There's nothing sinister or suspicious about that situation. Of course, the reporter tells the audience that the whole thing was orchestrated, but still claims it's dangerous because the girls just met him. That's a problem with the reporter and the childrens' parents, not the DS.
The worst part of the piece comes when the narrator says that a child molester driving on the road could see a child with a DS and communicate with that kid. Never mind that your kid would have to be in PictoChat instead of playing a game, and the hypothetical pedophile would have to PictoChat while driving. Of course this is all part of Nintendo's evil plot, because they include warnings about such situations in the DS manual. But who reads manuals? Damn it Nintendo, why aren't you taking care of Americas children? Do you actually expect their own parents to watch out for them?
Example 2: PlayStation Porn-ABLE
Hey! It's another FOX affiliate doing an atrocity...err, story, on games. Maybe if they do enough of these, one of their reporters might make it to the big time, and be able to lie to the entire country instead of just Philadelphia.
The thrust of the story is that since the PSP has wi-fi capability, it gives your children access to porn. The story centers around a kid who took his PSP to school, logged onto the school's wi-fi, and started looked at pictures of naked women. This doesn't really raise questions about the PSP, but it should make viewers question whether the school is doing their job.
In the United States, wi-fi capable devices, and most electronics regardless of connectivity, become sexual harassment suits waiting to happen when put into the hands of children on school grounds. If a kid shows a provocative picture to the wrong student and their parents don't like it, bam, sexual harassment suit. If a kid plays a racy song to another with more delicate sensibilities, bam, sexual harassment suit (possibly with racism thrown in as well). Why the hell would the school not have a blanket policy banning use of such devices during school hours? If they can't be bothered to protect themselves, how are they doing with kids?
On top of that, how was the child in question able to get onto the school's wi-fi? Is there really no password? Even if we look past that, according to federal law, there should have been server side software blocking access to pornographic content. Now that's a headline: Local School Ignores Federal Law, Gives Kids Access to Porn. Damn it, if you're going to drum up controversy, do it right!
As if the piece wasn't misinformed enough, the narrator then tells the audience, “Fortunately, without credit cards most hardcore porn is out of kids' reach.” Has anyone at this station ever been on the internet?
Without missing a beat, the story transforms from one about internet connections and porn to one about video game violence. Then, just as quickly, it turns around and brings out the child predator boogeyman. Just think - people get paid to scare parents like this.