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Games Industry Accused of 'Buying Political Clout' 101

Posted by Zonk
from the because-nobody-else-does-it dept.
A parent's group is lambasting the Electronic Software Association for announcing its intention to curry political favour in Washington DC. The games industry, for most of its life a much-maligned business sector, has just begun to work towards changing its image with US lawmakers. The Parents Television Council views this as attempting to 'buy influence in Congress', and views the ESA's plans harshly: "'The videogame industry continues to fight meaningful accountability for selling inappropriate material to children. The industry has been exposed repeatedly for its reprehensible behavior and now they are looking for ways to buy friends in the government,' said PTC President Tim Winter. 'Let me be clear of our intentions: Any public servant who cashes a check from the videogame industry will be exposed by the PTC as taking a stand against families, and his or her actions will be communicated to constituents in his or her congressional district.'" I wonder how they feel about lobbying by conservative 'pro-family' groups?
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Games Industry Accused of 'Buying Political Clout'

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  • Welcom to the club (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Boronx (228853) <evonreis@mohr-enginee r i ng.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:36PM (#22144366) Homepage Journal
    I wonder how they feel about lobbying by conservative 'pro-family' groups?

    Or every other business sector that has felt the weight of legislative attention.
  • Oh bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yppupcinataS.> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:38PM (#22144404) Journal
    What, so it's only a bad thing when the gaming industry does it, and not when every other lobby in the universe does it?

    Screw it. They tried to do it the right way, using reason, and compromise, and common sense, and it didn't work. So now, screw it, they're going to play the game, and it turns out that gaming is a fricking huge industry, and they can blow a ton of money on legislation that is favorable to them.

    So now all the "Think of the Children" politicos are going to have to decide whether they want to keep pretending that they actually care, or whether they want money. Pretty much a no brainer.
  • Duh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:39PM (#22144424) Journal
    Everyone buys political clout, that's how the system works. Lobbying = legalized bribery. So I wonder, how much has the Parent's Television Council donated to various congresspeople?
  • by Cathoderoytube (1088737) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:44PM (#22144494)
    The PTC has every right to be upset. An industry they're bullying has decided it's had enough and is fighting back. Once the gaming industry gets political PTC will have to find somebody else to pick on.
  • Re:Oh bullshit. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:46PM (#22144540)
    Thank god we can always rely on politicians being drawn towards money more than anything else.
  • by Malevolent Tester (1201209) * on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:46PM (#22144542) Journal
    'The videogame industry continues to fight meaningful accountability for selling inappropriate material to children.

    Can people stop using the word conservative to describe these groups? One of the cornerstones of conservatism is the belief in personal responsibility, and that includes taking responsibility as a parent, not sitting back and blaming the entertainment industry like some junkie approportioning the blame for his actions onto society.
    If you can't be bothered to make the effort to learn what your children are doing, and enforce whatever rules you consider appropriate for your house, then you have no business complaining. A console/TV/computer is not a surrogate parent, and the games industry is not to blame if you've given your children a TV and Xbox360 in their room to shut them up.
  • by KevMar (471257) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:52PM (#22144692) Homepage Journal
    Where is the public out cry against the RIAA?

    The RIAA pulls people in to court instead of generating income. They attack our children and grandparents and threaten to take away our childrens college assistance. Yet the public dont care. Us slashdotters understand it, but the people that should care don't.
  • Logical Fallacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:01PM (#22144846) Journal

    I notice how everyone is suddenly becoming defensive and apologetic. "Everyone else does it too" is not an excuse. You already know this -- it's almost cliche now -- and yet we still find people who will excuse the behavior of any corporation with "Meh. It's a corporation. That's what corporations do."

    But that's not why I'm posting. Actually, I find a sense of gratification -- one could even call it glee -- that for once, I'm on the side of the corporations, who are lobbying for something I want, rather than being the "little guy" screaming at the top of his lungs, wishing desperately that he was relevant.

    And that's not why I'm posting, either. I am posting because of this outright fallacy quoted in the summary:

    Let me be clear of our intentions: Any public servant who cashes a check from the videogame industry will be exposed by the PTC as taking a stand against families, and his or her actions will be communicated to constituents in his or her congressional district.

    Oh, I get it. You're with us, or you're with the terrorists.

    Look, am I the only one who sees more possibilities here? If I was trying to get ahead politically, why wouldn't I cash a check from anyone? It's not as if the money itself is tainted. The MPAA could pay me all they want, and I would still legislate against them, not for them. They can threaten to pull funding -- fine, I'll use the last of their own money to buy some ads, exposing how they essentially tried to bribe/blackmail me into writing legislation for them. A message of "I'm doing the right thing, even if it costs me money" should serve to get me re-elected, right?

    It would be much more relevant to ask what that check was for, and to actually look at what that particular public servant does. People who cash checks from the MPAA do tend to write stuff like the DMCA. Are people cashing checks from the videogame industry any more or less likely to write censorship legislation?

  • pro family? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rucs_hack (784150) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:17PM (#22145186)
    Is Pro family another word for 'don't do anything that would make baby jesus cry' or something?
    Good grief. I have a family, I'm reasonably sure I'm pro it, and I like games as they are. If somethings too violent I just don't buy it, end of problem. Do I need someone esle to tell me? Nope, I have a brain.

    Remember when Hollywood started to think that any decent film had to have sex scenes in it? I mean the eighties and early nineties. They weren't legislated into stopping it, although there were the same pressure groups doing the rounds. It was a bums on seats problem. People weren't interested, so they didn't pay for the film, so they dropped the sex thing. There's only been one scene with sex scenes in it that I've enjoyed in recent years, and that's 'Free Enterprise'. There wasn't exactly much in that either. Ok Clerks 2 as well, but that was a donkey....um, bad example...

    If people don't buy enough of the violent games, they'll stop making them, its simple business economics. If they keep on buying them, there's obviously a market, and it will be supplied, no matter what die hard 'pro family' bods say.
  • Re:Oh bullshit. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OldeTimeGeek (725417) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:22PM (#22145268)
    As little as people may like it, the only way that the games industry can get a "positive" message in edgewise is through paid lobbyists. As it is, the only message that most politicians are likely to hear is "games are evil" because the groups that are pushing that message are very well organized.
  • by 7Prime (871679) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:42PM (#22145588) Homepage Journal
    The fact that PTC isn't actually what they say they are. They're not a "child friendly" group trying to work with the game industry to get concensus on gaming... they're an anti-video game lobby group who thinks that video games are evil and are out to destroy the industry. They remind me of religious pro-abstinance groups who masquerade as birth-control education.

    I'm personally fairly opposed to video game violence, as I am with TV and cinema... I don't think it's healthy for our culture in general (regardless of age, actually). But I'm also in favor of consensus building, and different interests working together toward the common good. The PTC has shown that they are not trying to build a better game industry, they are trying to tear it apart completely.

    Basically, this gesture says "We can lobby, but they can't, because they're inherently evil". At that point, no reasoning or compromise can be made, we're now in the realm of idiology and theology. Basically, PTC has just declared financial holy war on the game industry.

    I consider myself a pacifist... but in this case, let the war begin.
  • "Family" (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @07:14PM (#22146082)
    "Family" is one of the codewords, yes. The flag that it raises for me, at least, is usually "conservative Christian," although I'll admit that's not always the case. My own anecdotal experience has been that every "family" bookstore, for instance, is basically using a politically friendly (i.e. secular) term for "Jesus." I make the mental substituation that in these contexts "family" is referring to the relationship between God and Jesus.

    There are other codewords, too.
    "Responsibility" usually means "blame-shifting."
    "Value" anywhere near "consumer" usually means "screwing the customer."
    "Morals" usually means "religious book learnings."
    "Sportsman" usually means "gun enthusiast/nut."
  • by KillerCow (213458) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @07:23PM (#22146230)

    The Parents Television Council views this as attempting to 'buy influence in Congress'


    As apposed to what they do...
  • Re:Oh bullshit. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @10:54AM (#22153116) Homepage

    An honest politician is one who stays bought. Frankly, it's about time the games industry started using its money to bribe the Congresscritters. The Uptight Christians Brigade [cc.org] has been doing it for years, and getting in the way of everybody who just wants to kick back and enjoy the only life any of us are going to get.

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