How to connect violence to games without anyone noticing – except the Internet

Tom Chick at Fidgit spots some naughty editorial word games. In a Newsday report on some teenage thugs, the lede claims that they were "inspired" by GTA 4, but when we get to the actual attributed quote from Det. Sgt. Anthony Repalone, a Nassau police spokesman, it's just not the same: "They were emulating the character in that Grand Theft Auto game."

A subtle distinction? Not really: inspiration concerns the cause of a crime, while emulation concerns the manner in which it is conducted. The quote's vanished in an update to the piece, however, replaced by a nearly identical one ("emulating the popular fictional character Niko Bellic") – attributed to a different official!

That Newsday appended the word said to suspiciously coordinated and obviously written statements from public officials is par for the course. Setting out to improve such quotes, however, never looks good.

Attention mothers: If you're concerned about the effects of video games on children, and wonder why nothing ever actually happens to benefit your side, this is why: it's because journalists and politicians exploit your fears so ham-fistedly that no-one really takes them seriously.

Grand Theft Auto IV "inspires" criminals [Fidgit]

Published by Rob Beschizza

Follow Rob @beschizza on Twitter.

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4 Comments

  1. I have been passed in traffic a few times by people in run down old cars that swerve into oncoming traffic, run red lights, pass in the shoulder and generally drive like they are playing GTA4.

    I didn’t stop them and ask for their inspiration, but it seems safe to say what they were emulating.

    There reaason for doing it is likely worlds more complicated then, “because I saw it in a video Game.”

    That said, I would never agree to the limiting of freedom of every one to reduce the risk posed by disenfranchised, highly suggestible, crazy people. Free exchange of ideas, spreads both good and Bad ideas. Mothers all over the world need to accept that, and raise smart children rather then just obedient ones.

  2. i wonder how many kids who got the “kill mamma” tickle-me-elmo actually went out and killed their mothers? i’m sure the number is large, though. how can the poor brainwashed toddlers resist?

  3. So people are acting a little like Niko Bellic, accent and all, how is this any worse than people doing Joe Pesci Godfather impressions, or Deniro Taxi Driver impressions?

    “Hey YOU looking at ME?” is now “Life is complicated, I killed people, smuggled people, sold people, perhaps here, things will be different.”

  4. We need to ban that awful “Godfather” movie, lest young thugs begin beating each other with garbage can lids and machine-gunning each other on the causeway in attempts to emulate popular fictional character Santino Corleone.

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