Glenn Beck Claims Watch Dogs Is Teaching Children How To Hack The Public For Realz

from the no-it-isn't dept

You know how fads are. They just get boring so fast. Take violence, for instance. Blaming video games for real-world violence is so yesterday. We need a forward-thinker, some kind of super-genius who can bring us into a new era of blaming video games for something way more hip than just blowing stuff up. You know, a real bullshit artist of the highest caliber.

My hero! Yes, Glenn Beck, upstanding journalist of freedom and ‘Merica, has decided to expound on the dangers of video games in a way so completely backward and ill-informed, it sort of makes you wonder how everyone in whatever studio compound he tapes this drivel in didn’t drown out the sound mics in laughter. Should you be unable to view the video, or simply don’t want to waste the time and brain cells doing so, here’s the relevant part of this illogical rollercoaster.

  1. We start off with Beck quoting the coroner in that dumb story I just wrote about, with his shoot-from-the-hip remarks on how Call of Duty somehow made four teenagers kill themselves. He actually quotes the coroner fully, which is sort of nice for me, but bad for him, since the coroner helpfully noted that he had no actual evidence for anything he was saying.
  2. He then goes on to note that Breivik, the Norway killer who murdered 77 people, trained to do so on Call of Duty, and apparently just decides to take the psycho’s word for it and assume that this video game is every bit the murder simulator a real-life assassin needs.
  3. We start the Watch Dogs portion of this discussion with Beck wondering why we always need an anti-hero. He asks why we can’t have a Superman in our entertainment. I mean, it’s been almost an entire year since Man of Steel came out. What the hell, people?
  4. And then Beck gets to the culmination of this stupid screed, holding up his iPad and informing his listeners that Watch Dogs is training children how to hack into his tablet while he sleeps next to it.

Whoo-boy. Okay, let me make this simple, since I’ve actually, you know, played Watch Dogs: if the game teaches children how to hack people’s tablets then someone is going to have to show me where the square-button is on my phone, because I can’t find it. Hacking devices in the game is that simple. You push a button. Sometimes you actually have to solve a little navigation puzzle, too. That, I’m fairly certain, isn’t hacking.

I’ve said this before: don’t watch anything remotely resembling any cable news network or their talking mouthpieces. Beck isn’t the only slinger of stupid out there and it’s especially bad when it comes to video games. If people want to have a frank and open discussion on the impact of gaming on the lives of children and society as a whole, fine, let’s do that. But the children have to shut up while we’re having that discussion, because their wailing lies are getting in the way.

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Comments on “Glenn Beck Claims Watch Dogs Is Teaching Children How To Hack The Public For Realz”

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PaulT (profile) says:

“Okay, let me make this simple, since I’ve actually, you know, played Watch Dogs”

First rule of being an asshole trying to create a moral panic among other morons: you don’t need to have actually played/read/heard/seen what you’re trying to attack. Just make some crap up based on false assumptions and the people dumb enough to believe you probably won’t take any notice if you’re forced to retract your claims.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Beck is right.

heh, I was gonna comment if he has ever seen the movie hackers that actually used known hacks in the movie.

I don’t remember hackers ever showing “real hacks” but I can’t think of anyone I work with which didn’t go giddy when they saw Trinity using nmap on a movie that was somehow related to the movie Matrix (which some people refer to as Matrix 2.)

All I can remember about Hackers, other than a young Angelina Jolie, is a graphical operating system that looked like Tron 2.0 (and amazingly similar to the “It’s Unix…I know Unix” operating system on Jurassic Park) and a collapsible skateboard.

John (profile) says:

In his defense

In his Defense… he might still be perturbed about Ben Affleck playing Batman in the upcoming Batman/Superman crossover movie…

Yah…I actually listen to Glenn Beck and I agree with some of the things he says… but let’s face it… much like lawmakers and judges… if you don’t know the technology, please don’t comment on it and especially don’t pass judgement on it.

Are video games desensitizing people to violence? Probably. But so is TV, books, magazines, youtube, THE NEWS, etc. At this point, it’s inescapable… but given the number of violent games vs the number of violent incidents, you’re more likely to find a connection between eating sugary sweets than to video games.

It reminds me of the Dungeons and Dragons scare tactics and movies that came out in the 80’s… about how people couldn’t separate their lives and went on to join cults…

I’ve been playing role playing games since the 80’s… and while some of the players WERE a bit “different”, I have yet to meet a single person who couldn’t distinguish reality and I met a handful of Wiccans… but no cultists….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: In his defense

Roger Ebert said it best…

“Let me tell you a story. The day after Columbine, I was interviewed for the Tom Brokaw news program. The reporter had been assigned a theory and was seeking sound bites to support it. Wouldn’t you say, she asked, that killings like this are influenced by violent movies? No, I said, I wouldn’t say that. But what about ‘Basketball Diaries’? She asked. Doesn’t that have a scene of a boy walking into a school with a machine gun? The obscure 1995 Leonardo Di Caprio movie did indeed have a brief fantasy scene of that nature, I said, but the movie failed at the box office, and it’s unlikely the Columbine killers saw it. The reporter looked disappointed, so I offered her my theory. Events like this, I said, if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. When an unbalanced kid walks into a school and starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. Cable news drops ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. The story is assigned a logo and a theme song; These two kids were packaged as the Trench Coat Mafia. The message is clear to other disturbed kids around the country: If I shoot up my school, I can be famous. The TV will talk about nothing else but me. Experts will try to figure out what I was thinking. The kids and teachers at school will see they shouldn’t have messed with me. I’ll go out in a blaze of glory.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: In his defense

But I had to poke her face! Lady Gaga told me to!
Seriously, though, you don’t see fans of artists like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Britney Spears, Selena Gomez and the like going nuts and shooting, stabbing, and otherwise killing and harming people. Why do you think that is?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Beck…just a friendly tip before you go shooting your mouth off about video games. Look up on Youtube the Sexbox Mass Effect scandal. This was a number of years ago, where another person made claims that the game Mass Effect was a full blown pornographic simulator, only to be revealed to have made up the whole thing and to have never played the title in question.
Just like what you did.

Spencer Gardner (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I disagree. I contend that Beck is explaining how Watch Dogs is teaching players to circumvent laws, hack into personal devices, and become voyeurs into the private lives of private citizens. This concerns him as a parent and what effects it may have on his children.

He hasn’t called for any censorship of the game, though.

Michael (profile) says:

Breivik, the Norway killer who murdered 77 people, trained to do so on Call of Duty

Just another example of US military waste. Seriously, why do we spend billions of dollars training soldiers the old-fashioned way when they could buy a handful of second-hand xBox 360’s and have their entire force trained up in a matter of weeks? Think of how much money we could save on training ammunition alone if our soldiers trained in a virtual world where they can never run out.

Let’s move on this.

JP Jones says:

Re: Re:

I think Call of Duty is the PERFECT murder trainer. We can convince potential murderers that real combat involves weapons that they can hold up to their face indefinitely, automatically track targets, magically zoom into people, and where you can avoid enemy fire by running around and jumping up and down, and that they can take ten rounds to the chest without losing hardly any accuracy?

I’d love to see how that works out for them when they face a police force that knows how actual combat works. Call of Duty represents real combat like the Madden games represent real football. Maybe we should have the NFL get rid of coaches and practices and just give their team some game consoles. I’m certain they’ll win the Superbowl no problem!

JP Jones says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’ve done so-called “Virtual Training” where we all played a stripped down version of “America’s Army” and pretended to do convoy ops. It’s effective for teaching the larger strategy (within limits) but not for teaching weapons handling or movement, and is an extremely limited form of interaction.

To use the above Madden example, a football game can teach you many different plays, what those plays look like, and even general strategy for when to use certain plays as well as the rules of the game. It is not, however, going to allow you to go out and play quarterback or defensive tackle, because you don’t have any of the core skills (throwing, tackling, etc.).

And there is a HUGE difference between a gallery shooter like Call of Duty and a simulation game like Arma. And even Arma is only going to teach you the “History Channel” version of tactics; real life is inherently different from a video game, and everyone who plays games knows it.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Need to update my resume

I really need to update my resume.

I played the Thief series, and other various stealth games. I must be a master lockpicker/locksmith.

I played the Battlefield series. I must be an expert explosive ordnance technician disarming bombs, and an expert in all kinds of weapon systems, able to pilot jets and helicopters, tanks and APCs.

I played a bunch of war-sims, set in the Roman empire, medieval Europe, pre-western Japan, and the first half of 1900 Europe and the Pacific. I must be a master general and strategic planner.

I played SimCity (the decent ones) and other city builders. Sign me up for urban planning and budgeting.

I should be making way more money than I am now. (And that’s just from the stuff that actually exists in real life. I could be casting magic or flying spaceships too)

saulgoode (profile) says:

Get off of my lawn!

And who do you think Mr Beck turns to when he needs to find out how to access his email, print a document for his producer, or take a photo with his phone? Dollars to dumplings it’s his son.

Defying all logic, these darn kids somehow seem to be learning something from these infernal gadgets beyond how to plan mass killing sprees — they may even know of a means to get around the insuperable problem of searching an ebook for a particular passage without the benefit of “tactile memory”.

mcinsand (profile) says:

time to reinstate voting tests

I know that tests were perverted to discriminate early on based on race, but we really need to weed some people out. If we had a test, we might actually get higher turnouts as voting starts to be associated with an ability to think. Initial screening would be easy. If a potential voter takes Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olberman, James Carville, or Paul Krugman seriously, then that person needs to just leave voting to others.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Man, what a hatefest

I think that training programs for mass shooters (aka shooting games) might be a step in the right direction.

Why stop there? Let’s ban sticks too. Every young boy I’ve ever known has picked one up to play Cowboys & Indians or G.I. Joe at sometime or another. Ban all TV and movies too, since they contain a lot of violence too. What the hell, let’s keep all of our children in hermetically sealed boxes until they’re 21.


We could, oh I don’t know, actually talk to our children and provide them the skills and confidence to become well adjusted, productive members of our society.

Anonymous Coward says:

I went to the bank the other day, my plan was to steal a million dollars from them. I took my trusty tool, xbox controller, and sat at the entrance and held my button down for hours, no money 🙁

I thought watch dogs was going to teach me how to hack, i spent my entire life savings buying this game.I thought it would pay off, but the industry lied to me and now im broke and have a stupid game that didn’t teach me anything.

Spencer Gardner (profile) says:

Problems in the Article

Reading through the article, then listening to what Beck had to say in the source video, it’s clear to me the author isn’t being completely honest with the words he claims Beck said:

4. And then Beck gets to the culmination of this stupid screed, holding up his iPad and informing his listeners that Watch Dogs is training children how to hack into his tablet while he sleeps next to it.

No where in the video sourced does Glenn Beck say that Watch Dogs is training children how to hack into his tablet, nor doing so as he is sleeping next to it.

When confronted about this false premise over Twitter, the author stated:

he specifically talked about his iPad being next to him and his sleeping wife. WTF are you talking about?

Now, I’m still unable to find in the video where Glenn Beck mentions his wife. Perhaps the author can clarify?

Doyl (profile) says:

Attack Dogs Bite the Hand that Feeds them Information

Everybody is so eager to tell somebody off & call them morons, that they COMPLETELY MISS the point. Beck is NOT saying the game teaches a kid the technical how to of hacking. What it teaches is WORSE. It teaches them that is OK and even GOOD to hack! once you get them past the moral restrictions of right and wrong the detail of how to is easy enough for them to find on the internet on their own. And since they have been convinced its heroic to do so, they have motivation to figure out how. Ever heard the saying, “Where theres a will, theres a way”?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Attack Dogs Bite the Hand that Feeds them Information

“Everybody is so eager to tell somebody off & call them morons, that they COMPLETELY MISS the point.”

Because you are morons. RIGHT NOW, gangs of criminals from China and Eastern Europe are profiteering from hacking systems. Most of them are doing so because the people using those systems are so scared about the fantasy world of hacking that they can’t even work out how to use and secure their own computers. Not because someone made a game about it that doesn’t even start to tell people how to achieve any such thing in the real world.

Watch_Dogs is rated as M for Mature and thus not suitable for anyone under 17. If the parents of those kids actually parented, and perhaps learned how to secure their own computers, they’d stop crapping their pants and listening to morons like Beck. Most of the biggest tech giants today, from Apple to Google, were originally started by “hackers” anyway, so there’s not necessarily anything to worry about even if what you say is true (which it’s not).

How about you let the adults enjoy the entertainment they want, and leave the moral outrage for actual criminals and real problems in the world rather than paranoid fantasies, OK?

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