Richard Blumenthal Grandstands Over Violent Video Game Ban, While Publicly Displaying Ignorance Of Facts
from the your-next-senator? dept
We’ve seen all sorts of grandstanding state attorneys general seeking higher office, but Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal (running for the Senate) seems to work hard, not just at picking up on ridiculous anti-technology and anti-innovation topics to grandstand over, but he seems to do so with amazing cluelessness both about the law and whatever it is he’s talking about. His latest is that he’s filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the case about California’s failed attempt to ban the sale of violent video games. As noted, more than 10 states have enacted such laws, and every single one of them has been struck down. You might think that an attorney general in charge of upholding the law would recognize that.
But, as Ben Kuchera at Ars Technica notes, Blumenthal seems to have announced this particular grandstanding campaign with a rather stunning number of factual errors that demonstrate an immense level of ignorance about what he’s sounding off about.
Blumenthal also seems sadly ignorant of the state of video games and retail. “In the face of continued industry inaction–enabling unattended children to buy such games–states must preserve their critical right to protect children,” he stated.
The problem with Blumenthal’s argument is that the industry has not been in a state of inaction, as the ESRB has long assigned ratings to games, giving an accurate idea of the content included in them, and has made serious efforts when it comes to community and parental outreach to make sure the ratings are both understood and used. Chains such as GameStop and even Walmart actively check the ID of customers buying M-rated games.
Then there’s the claim that video games should “follow the leadership of the motion picture industry” in its system to prevent children from viewing certain content. What he seems to be missing is that video games already have a very similar system, and have for years, and, in some ways, it’s even more restrictive than the movie industry’s.
And, of course, none of this notes that the research seems to show that violent video games aren’t actually harmful to kids after all. But, you know, when you have a Senate campaign to run, “think of the children” just plays so well with the ignorant masses…