Diane Feinstein Threatens Censorship, Misses Point

It probably shouldn’t come as such a shock to find politicians making baseless claims about the effect video games have on violence. Since the new year began, we’ve seen one Connecticut town organize a public drive to collect and destroy violent video games, Oklahoma consider a tax on games rated T and above, President Obama call for (yet another study) on the effects of video game violence, and a sitting US Senator actually argue that video games are a bigger threat to the public than guns.

But shocked I am by statements made Wednesday by Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein of California, which all but outright assign partial responsibility to the gaming industry for massacres like the one last December at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and openly threatens government censorship.

“[Video Games] play a very negative role for young people, and the industry ought to take note of that,” Feinstein said during a speech on gun violence. She also urged the industry to voluntarily produce games that do not, in her words, ‘glorify’ gun violence, or Congress may be forced to take action on its own. “If the knowledge of these video games [Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza] played doesn’t, then maybe we have to proceed,” she said.

With the tragedy of dozens of children – not to mention the mass shootings that have occurred in the months since Sandy Hook – one would think that someone with Feinstein’s authority would have better solutions to propose. Instead, we have the spectacle of a sitting US Senator openly calling for the censorship of a hugely popular entertainment medium.

It is, of course, highly unlikely congress will be able to successfully censor video gameS. The 2011 Supreme Court verdict in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association closed the door on that line of thought rather decisively. But given recent history – one need only look at laws passed at the height of hysteria over the war on terror, not to mention our drug laws – one can’t help but assume they’ll try. Feinstein’s comments confirm a mindset among at least some of her political class that restricting the behavior of the masses is a reasonable solution to serious societal problems. Her willingness to openly admit it is chilling.

At this point, it feels almost masturbatory to point out that millions of people manage to play incredibly violent video games, watch incredibly violent movies, and read incredibly violent books every day without committing a single violent crime. And having to constantly point out that expert after expert refutes the idea that there’s a link between gaming and violent behavior is a sisyphean nightmare. Earlier this year, our own CJ Miozzi asked if we’ll ever be able to convince people that games aren’t the problem.

Frankly, looks like the answer is ‘no’. At least until young people find some new thing that adults find terrifying.

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20 Comments on Diane Feinstein Threatens Censorship, Misses Point

Zing45

On April 4, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Eh, just goes to show that politicians on both sides of the aisle are morons.

goose2989

On April 4, 2013 at 6:47 pm

One shinning glimmer in all of this is that both Dems and Reps are equally foolish, stupid, or outright frauds. All of these politicians damn well know they’re only using video games as a convenient scapegoat because many of the voters in this country need a villain to latch on to. And giving the people what they want equals votes

Kevin

On April 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm

I honestly think it’s a generational thing.

A lot of the younger congressman/wonks from both parties tend to dismiss this line of thought and tend to be pretty anti-censorship across the board. Think the bipartisan push to stop SOPA with the bipartisanship being mainly the young seeking to torpedo it, or how conservaitves like Derek Khana are forming alliances with tech-savvy people of all persuasions in attempting to bolster transparency and openness.

TheDog

On April 4, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Come on……… We all know this is total BS. It’s masturbation. It just doesn’t make you go blind anymore. It’s turning people into killers. We need it outlawed. Jail time for anybody caught. Problem is old Feinstein would probably be the first to go to jail, cause you know she’s not getting any.

gasmaskangel

On April 4, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Well it certainly is nice to hear that all those other possible contributors to mass shootings and gun violence in general (poor mental health screening, easy access to guns, media sensationalism regarding violence, a desire for infamy through said media sensationalism ect.) have been completely and utterly disproven, apparently in a magical study conducted by spelunkers deep inside Senator Feinstein’s ass.

Can we please invent a new thing to blame all of societies problems on, preferably something that I personally don’t like and thus will feel no compulsion to argue in favor of? How about dubstep? Maybe young adult supernatural romances?

goose2989

On April 4, 2013 at 8:16 pm

@gasmaskangel

I’d be happy blaming dubstep

Chris

On April 4, 2013 at 8:38 pm

It would be nice if these guys would try playing the games they demonize.

But the fact that games like CoD glorify the military moreso than just violence doesn’t registrar which is a shame.

folklore

On April 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm

@gasmaskangel

I vote for blaming the romantics, and the romantic movement in history.

Mike

On April 4, 2013 at 9:42 pm

This doesn’t surprise me whatsoever. The woman has always been a moron who dismisses the Constitution as a mere piece of paper instead of the binding document of our nation. She doesn’t care about your rights, whether they’re tied to the First or the Second Amendments (you know, two of the inalienable rights granted to this nation by God).

Loveless

On April 5, 2013 at 12:01 am

Why are you schocked, because she has a (D) along with her name? Get a clue, political affiliation doesn’t make someone good or rational person. She’s just as much of a moron if not more so than the people who think Obama is born in Kenya. She has absolutely no idea what she is talking about along with the majority of our “Leaders” in washington. (R) or (D) an idiot is an idiot.

Skyanne

On April 5, 2013 at 12:57 am

So the solution to gun violence in America, is not tighter gun control, it’s tighter control of video games? I just don’t understand the kind of logical leaps these people have to go to in order to put two and two together and come up with five.

sep

On April 5, 2013 at 2:02 am

The word is a farce gentlemen.

folklore

On April 5, 2013 at 10:58 am

@loveless
who has posted specifically about blamming the “D” as you put it? Most of the comment’s i have read have called both parties idiots.

R.J.

On April 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Let’s see, the Supreme Court already stated that games get the same Free Speech protection as other forms of entertainment, so any censorship she pushed would likely be struck down as unconstitutional. But as the article points out, such a law could be passed and would have to go to court to be overturned. Also, plenty of companies make games that don’t “glorify” gun violence, so it’s not like that need isn’t bein filled. And even if a company makes a game that includes gun or other violence, they do so because they customers want them. Is it really their fault for making a legal product that customers want? No, that sounds like capitalism at its most basic level to me.

Eugenics is Justifiable

On April 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Stupid, stupid woman.

Ares

On April 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Diane Feinstein needs to just STFU. She has no clue on most the crap she goes after.

Loveless

On April 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm

@Folklore

“But shocked I am by statements made Wednesday by Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein of California”

Main article

folklore

On April 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm

@Loveless
Ah found it.
Thanks.

R-man

On April 6, 2013 at 8:47 pm

@Mike
Thank you. You pretty much said it. lol She’s an idiot. Doesn’t matter whether she claims to be (D) or (R), you can’t mask stupid and that’s the bottom line. The U.S. Constitution is the law of the land for a reason, and it seems a lot of our governors don’t like to understand that this is a land of laws, not men. She can’t violate the second amendment, and now she can’t violate the first amendment. She can try, but it can’t and won’t happen. So good luck Ms. Feinstein. Why don’t you go do something actually productive now?

Ross Lincoln

On April 6, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Loveless, I’m shocked by the brazeness of it, not the party ID. Diane Feinstein is a well known fascist who, were it not for her support of rights, would probably be a neocon. I mentioned her party ID because it’s a factual item I felt was necessary – after all, it helps to know who the enemy is and what party they affiliate with. If you’re a member of that party, for example, you can be reminded of the necessity of replacing her. and if you happen to belong to an opposing party, you can hate her double. It’s win win!

(Yes, I’m a liberal and yes I vote democratic by annoying necessity. No I have not cast a vote for Feinstein and I refuse to on principle. I abstain at that point on on the ballot when she’s up for reelection in the general.)