President Donald Trump had a closed meeting about the correlation between violent video games and real-life violence Thursday, and the only substantive thing that has emerged is one very gory and entertaining YouTube video.
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The White House posted an unlisted YouTube video Thursday titled “Violence in Video Games” — a montage of violent clips from various video games including Fallout 4, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, The Evil Within, and Wolfenstein: The New Order. The video was shown to attendees at the beginning of the White House’s meeting about violent video games, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Attendees of the meeting included video game developers, members of Congress, representatives from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), and critics of violent video games. Missing from the meeting were any scientists or psychologists that could give an educated assessment of any link between violent video games and violent tendencies.
After showing the above video, an attendee of the meeting told The Washington Post that Trump said: “This is violent, isn’t it?”
Yes it is, Mr. President.
The clips chosen show a myriad of violence being perpetrated against humans in video games, like the X-ray clips of people being shot from the game Sniper Elite 4 or the airport shooting scene from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 known as “No Russian,” which with no context seems like a glorification of mass shootings when in fact it’s the opposite.
Many of the clips seem to be ripped straight from peoples’ YouTube channels — you can see their watermarks and logos in the bottom corners of some of the clips — which is, of course, copyright infringement.
“We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence”
The ESA released a statement after the meeting, which stands by the study-backed notion that there’s no correlation between video games and violence.
“We welcomed the opportunity today to meet with the president and other elected officials at the White House,” The ESA said in a statement. “We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry’s rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices. We appreciate the president’s receptive and comprehensive approach to this discussion.”
The statement paints a pretty positive picture of the meeting, although another attendee, Media Research Council President Brent Bozell told The Washington Post that Trump was clearly uncomfortable with depictions of violence in video games.
“I think he’s deeply disturbed by some of the things you see in these video games that are so darn violent, viciously violent, and clearly inappropriate for children, and I think he’s bothered by that,” Bozell said.
Trump made this position clear in February when he stated that he thought violent movies and video games negatively impact the minds of younger individuals and suggested that we implement a rating system to keep kids from seeing violence in their entertainment. Luckily, both movies and games already have restrictive rating systems.
After the meeting, the president seemed to hold the same mindset, despite contrary evidence.
“The president acknowledged some studies have indicated there is a correlation between video game violence and real violence,” The White House said in a statement. “The conversation centered on whether violent video games, including games that graphically simulate killing, desensitize our community to violence.”
Meanwhile, Florida Senator Marco Rubio contradicted this, telling The Washington Post that he acknowledges there’s no link between video games and violence.
The White House appears to have an agenda that puts the blame of violence and school shootings on video games instead of other, more concrete catalysts like easy access to guns and lax gun control laws and isn’t interested in changing its position.