FoxNews Fear Mongering: Online Games May KILL You!

from the sensationalism-at-work dept

In a piece that with just a few tweaks could easily be from The Onion, FoxNews has written up a fear mongering article about online game players. It selectively picks out a few extreme cases where people who met via online worlds ended up doing something bad, and broadens that to suggest that online games like World of Warcraft are a threat that’s only going to get worse. To be fair, the article does squeeze a few quick quotes in the middle from folks who point out that the premise is highly exaggerated, but it brushes them off and quickly goes back to fear mongering. It includes typical fear-inducing sensationalist statements like: “But some hook-ups have had deadly consequences” (you can practically hear the scary voiceover voice saying it). The article offers nothing in the way of proof that anything described in the article is a common occurrence, instead just offers scary words and conjecture not supported by facts: “You’re going to see a lot more of these stories, unfortunately.” Oh really? Then how come as these games have become more popular, violence has been dropping? How soon until we see Congress start looking into laws regulating online games?

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Comments on “FoxNews Fear Mongering: Online Games May KILL You!”

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TheDock22 says:


The article offers nothing in the way of proof that anything described in the article is a common occurrence, instead just offers scary words and conjecture not supported by facts: “You’re going to see a lot more of these stories, unfortunately.”

Well it IS “Fox News” after all, which is an oxymoron. They want to entertain you without those silly facts getting in the way.

B says:

Great Job Fox 'News'

Although I don’t like World of Warcraft, I’m going to have to defend it in this case.
There are, what, 8 million+ people playing WoW? And of those 8 million people they found a few cases of violence. If you take a sample of people 8 million large of course you’re going to find rapists, killers, pedophiles, and other strange people. And that’s only counting the WoW fanbase, not all the other MMOs they added to the mix.
It would be like finding someone with AIDs who is a murderer and then claim that AIDs makes people vicious murderers.
Oh, and I like how they through a MySpace incident in the mix just to boil blood.

DontDisMyGame says:

Masnick is the Sensationalizer

I would be the first to jump on this bandwagon, but I read the article and I just don’t agree. I think the author of the post has an axe to grind regarding games getting blamed for violence, and jumped a little too soon to lump this article in with others that really do blame gaming for the ills of the world. I only see here an article attempting to point out the fact that online communities do tend to lull people into letting their guard down, and in the end that can lead to tragedy. We just need to be aware (and make our families aware) that you can’t trust someone you meet in an online community.

SH says:

Axes and grinding

Sounds like the folks responding here are the ones with axes to grind. The article being referenced is a popcorn piece. You can find them on ANY news service, not just Fox. The reporter put some minor cooincidences together and created this article. It’s not fearmongering, it’s just a ‘Hmmm, wonder where this is going’ kind of thing. It never gives solid stats nor implies a growing trend. Some of the comments of the persons in the article are interesting and purely opinion, presented as such. All in all, this is just popcorn and reacting to it shows me more about the responders than the article does about any threat of MMORPG gamers.

FYI, I play WoW regularly, but not compulsively. I also have a life so I can see both sides of it. I agree with the jist of the article, it bears watching but no serious scrutiny at this time. It’s not prevalent enough. Lets see if the same is true 5-10 years from now.

Just Me says:

Fear Mongering?

I’m all for jumping on the band wagon to attack Fox News, and I am a WoW player so I was a little riled-up when I saw the headline…but I gotta say – this looks a little on the tumpred up side.

Yes the Fox article is sensationalism, but that’s getting to be expected everywhere.
And to be honest the title of *this* article looks pretty sensationalist in itself.
Fox = Online Game Meetings Sometimes End Tragically, but Phenomenon Remains Rare
Techdirt = FoxNews Fear Mongering: Online Games May KILL You!

I didn;t really get that message from the Fox article. They were *somewhat* suggestive, but I think I have to side with #16. Not much of a story here.

byte^me says:

Here we go again.....

First, I have to disagree with all the people slamming Fox News. This is the era of tabloid news. It seems just about everybody who does news goes for whatever is sensational and will get people’s attention. Fox News, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, even PBS, they all pull the same crap. Hard serious news doesn’t matter.

It’s just the the recent shootings. You can’t read anything about the shootings in Colorado without them making a connection to the incident in Omaha, eventhough there is no real connection between them. (Other than people were killed by those EVIL guns! Sheesh…..)

That being said, this is just like back in the 80’s when everyone was having a fit over people who played Dungeons and Dragons. Because a few people lost touch with reality and did bad things, the *GAME* was evil. Give me a break. It’s just a game and so is WoW and EverQuest.

Now go away and leave us alone or I might have to get medieval on your ass……

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: Please read TFM!

To all the people trying to protect Fox

“A 2-year-old girl nicknamed “Baby Grace” by detectives was found dead in October in a locked box in Texas — allegedly the victim of a beating murder at the hands of her stepfather and teenaged mother, who met playing the online fantasy game “World of Warcraft.””

Read the F’n article. This is all out fear mongering. I’m not saying Fox is the only one, but I am saying that they are.

BTR1701 (profile) says:


I particularly enjoyed the slight of hand that Fox News played regarding the couple that killed their infant baby. First they state that these two degenerates met each other playing World of Warcraft, then they describe how they killed the kid, implying that the online game had something to do with the killing, when in fact the killing happened months later and had nothing to do with the video game or the internet. But since they met each other online, I guess that makes the internet responsible for their actions.

I suppose that means if you meet someone online, then the internet is responsible for everything you do with that person for the rest of your life.

Suckers says:

Ppl are stupid, I'm just lazy..

Fox is neutral; it’s the obvious liberal bias from other networks that skew reasoning.

Which brings about the ridiculous comment by Anonymous Coward and snowballs to a misinformed clusterfudge which every liberal thereafter tries to keep alive in hopes that their misguided opinions aren’t proven equally ridiculous..

Derek (profile) says:

It's obvious

News reports radical stuff = people read = reporters keep their jobs

How many of you read this because it labeled “World of Warcraft”? If it had not said that, a lot of people would not read it, cause its the same old bad news we get every day, and we cant read it all.

By reading the article, you are playing into their hands and assuring that more articles like this are published.

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