Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumer Association --a consumer advocacy group for computer and video game players-- issued an open statement to Fox News after the network aired a misleading debate segment about the Xbox 360 RPG Mass Effect last week. Both news anchor Teri Van Horn and guest Cooper Lawrence claimed that Mass Effect featured ponographic content and that the game was being marketed towards young boys.
Halpin's full statement on the issue:
"On behalf of the [ECA], the national non-profit organization representing American video game consumers, I urge you to correct and repudiate the misstatements leveled by Fox News’ Live Desk regarding the story and character interactions in Mass Effect.
Your show’s reporting was irresponsible and incorrect. Your own “expert” Cooper Lawrence has subsequently disclaimed her misstatements… In the future, we ask that you book real gamer and industry experts on your show…
ECA’s members are disturbed by your news organization’s apparent disregard of the truth in this instance. We represent a diverse group that cuts across all ages, with the weightiest portion in the coveted 18 - 45 age group, and with women accounting for 38% of gamers. Over the past week, our members have mobilized to speak out and set the record straight on Mass Effect, and we ask the same of you."
X-Play contacted Halpin for further comment regarding the controversy.
Halpin today responded in defense of the legitimacy of the video game medium:
“We believe that there is a clear disparity between the way in which games, as a medium, are treated and respected, and that of parallel forms of entertainment. And that lacking fundamental respect is due to a generational divide. Generations X and Y grew up with games as a part of their broader entertainment diet - along with music and movies. We ingest them in similar ways and appreciate them for the type of media they are. Whereas the Baby boomers - your parents or grandparents - watched their kids or grandkids play games. They saw them as toys for children. That fundamental difference in perspective is what leads the mass media, largely controlled by the over-40 crowd (and certainly placating that demographic), to jump to incorrect conclusions and make unfounded assumptions. This is nothing new to us, but it is both unfair and inaccurate, and as news media, we believe that falsehoods should be corrected. FOX has an editorial responsibility to correct the story, and it is our hope that they do so in a timely manner."
Halpin is not the only party requesting Fox correct the story; earlier in the week Electronic Arts, owners of Mass Effect developer BioWare, laid the smackdown when they also asked the channel to correct its inaccuracies.
So far no retraction has been issued by Fox News.
X-Play's Adam Sessler also jumped into the fray with an on-air editorial about the situation, which you can watch here.