Katie Couric’s Risky, Misguided Beef With Video Game Violence

COMMENTARY | Former CBS journalist Katie Couric is investigating the link between violence in real life and violent video games (there isn’t one, but we’ll get to that), and a recent report on her program Katie incensed the gaming community for being way too one-sided about the issue.

Couric then extended her olive branch to gamers on Twitter, tweeting:

“Passionate gamers upset [with conversation about] whether violent video games can contribute to [violent] behavior. Tweet the positive side of violent [violent] games? Thanx!”

She also vaguely promised to use the tweets on an upcoming episode of her show.

The original report, which aired Monday, was titled “Are Video Games Ruining Your Life?” and featured individuals with no personal responsibility for whom violent video games had done just that.

It was mostly a testimonial program (you can check it out here) with a few experts on hand to confirm the program’s pre-determined conclusions.

Couric’s Twitter feed pretty clearly shows what the gaming community thought of her report.

.@katiecouric I’d take your piece under deeper consideration if it wasn’t done in May sweeps and didn’t prey on people’s fears.

— Chelsea Stark (@chelseabot) May 3, 2013

And that’s pretty much what got gamers really going about Couric’s report. A great rebuttal written by Britton Peele over at the Dallas Newssummarizes it well:

“What this episode of Katie did, unfortunately, was go in with a clear villain in mind (video games), and stuck to that gun throughout the discussion, only briefly touching on other factors and only offhandedly mentioning that video games aren’t the only cause of tragedy.”

The media narrative against violent video games is indeed strange, especially when there’s no real link between violence in video games and violence in real life (I promised we’d get back to it).

The funny thing is, unlike Couric, those in the video game industry are very willing to have a rigorous and scientific debate on the issue.

For that, you can check out this piece at Kotaku, or watch the Gamespot video below on the supposed links between real-life and video game violence. But let us know what you think: Do you agree with Katie Couric, that violent video games are a problem, or is there not a persuasive link?

[Image via: PeterPhoto123, Shutterstock.com]