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CNN host tries and fails to link videogames to violence

12:00 PM on 02.01.2013 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

Erin Burnett wants psychologist to say things he doesn't believe

CNN's Erin Burnett last night tried desperately to make a psychologist blame videogames for gun violence, attempting to coerce him into agreeing with her that "violent" games make people more likely to kill. 

"There's a saying that guns don't kill people, videogames do," began Burnett, before she invited William Pollack onto the show to try and make him confirm it. 

Pollack, for his part, was quick to label M-rated games as "heinous" and said he believed fantasy violence ought to be controlled by the government. However, his qualifying sentiment that videogames alone can't turn a person into a killer seemed to aggravate Burnett, who continued to push him into saying otherwise. 

When Pollack mentioned assault rifles, and implied gun control was important, Burnett brought up Norway shooter Anders Breivik, subscribing to the murderer's claims that he was able to train himself to shoot a real gun playing Call of Duty. In response, Pollack again restated his belief that games are a problem, but not the problem, prompting Burnett to expose the real motive behind her interview. 

If you watch the video above, you'll see at the 5:34 mark where Burnett cuts to the chase, rudely cutting into Pollack as he says controlling fantasy violence won't solve all of our problems, to ask again, "Does it cause violence?" She then completely steamrolls over whatever he was about to say to bring up Grand Theft Auto. It's painfully clear how irritated she is that this guy isn't just blindly nodding to every engineered opinion she presents. 

"You kill a prostitute, and that's a big thing, you get to win points," lied Burnett. "I find that offensive. But does that mean that those people who play that game are more likely to kill people?"

Pollack's answer? No. He said there was absolutely no evidence, though admitted gamers may be less willing to break up fights and may engage in domestic violence. As questionable and alarmist as even that is, it clearly wasn't the answer the CNN reporter had hoped for. 

As the interview concludes, I urge you to take a moment to observe Erin Burnett, stuttering, dejected, and visibly disappointed -- a far cry from the look of petulant smugness she begins the interview wearing. She wanted a psychologist to say violent videogames cause killers, and got one who said they don't. She wanted her assumptions to be backed up, and was told there no evidence supported her opinion. The sorrow on her face says it all. 

Naturally, Erin and her sordid ilk will continue to bang on the same drum, and can find any number of alleged psychologists who will say anything they want. With that in mind, it's a small comfort, but it is nice to see a panic-mongering hack squirm after utterly failing to get the story she so pitifully and obviously tried to claw for herself.



Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

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