Saturday, December 08, 2007

Easy targets

Just marginally picking up on the topic of aims in talkshows/courtshows again. Here is a YouTube video (German) that points out the false statements the media makes on ego shooters (usually in relation to shootings at schools). Ego shooters are such a nice scapegoat, and TV viewers who don't go hunting for more information by themselves are usually let in the dark about really significant details.
We talked in one of my courses about the media coverage of the shooting at Erfurt. As the video says, they guy who did it didn't play Counterstrike, even though the media keeps repeating it endlessly, and continuously states that it helped him practice his aim and plan the shooting. What the media doesn't say is that he was member of his local shooting association where he had access to real guns (not the ones controlled by a computer mouse) and practice (and from what I remember of the discussion the course, he also was allowed to use a pump gun because he had a "proven need to shoot" or something like that).
So why mention Counterstrike and not the shooting association? The media debate that followed the shooting resulted in stricter laws in Germany concerning computer games to protect the youth - even though, clearly, even if these laws had been in action before the shooting, they wouldn't have changed what happened.
According to my lecturer, the shooting association was not mentioned because playing ego shooters happens in private, so it is easier to stigmatise it (in the worst case people hide and don't admit to playing the games), while being part of an association is far more in the public domain, so it's more obviously damaging. In the end, though, it probably wasn't mentioned because the German government wanted to get that law approved.
I used to think the media targets ego shooters because they're an easy and accessible scapegoat, so people don't have to blame themselves for raising their children poorly or being socially incompetent by ignoring bullying. But maybe there's a more complex agenda behind these media reports.
Ah well. Just another reminder that not all that's in the news is always even remotely true.


More experimenting with techniques. I think I'm slowly getting where I want to be.


Anonymous said...

Well, most of the facts in the news are true I think. But it is not the whole story they tell. You can manipulate the reality easily just by not mentioning some other facts - as you wrote. So the unknown persons who really control the media can make you think what they want you to. It is important to check the facts in other - perhaps international - media which are not controlled by the same people...

And: Of course everyone has a different perception of the reality as Roland Barthes wrote in Critique et vérité. ;-)

It would also be imaginable that German shooting associations have so much influence on the media not to be mentioned in this connection...

Greetinx, CwB

Manuela said...

Hmm, yes, it could be the shooting association's influence, not the government's. I didn't think of that (Dang, it seems I'm already part of the government-bashing-trend without having noticed it). Makes me wonder; if (hypothetically) shooting associations have that much influence, how much more influence soccer associations have, since they get so much money and prestige.

I'm not sure if international media are that much more reliable. Often they just use what the national media writes and translate it. I remember one case in which a tabloid wrote a bogus story and nobody bothered to check, so eventually the serious newspapers caught up with it and published the story as well, adding more weight to it, then other papers copied from them, etc.
I guess you just need to be very aware of the background of the media you're consuming ... knowing their political position and target group, reading actively and reflecting on what they write. And, yes, double- and triple-checking with other sources. Very time-consuming, but in the end you probably have a really good background knowledge on all sorts of stuff.