Editiorial: Tom Brokaw Declares Blogs and Video Games "Cancerous"
Author and retired anchorman Tom Browkaw was recently interviewed on “The Hugh Hewitt Show” – the conservative radio talk show hosted by Hugh Hewitt (radio host and leader of the Center Right Coalition). The end of the interview mainly focuses on the fact that NBC aired Seung-Hui Cho’s tape on national television after the VA Tech shootings, and this is where it starts to relate to gamers.
Hugh Hewitt: All right, last question, and I’ll let you go as long as you want on this. I’m not trying to ambush you.
Tom Brokaw: Of course you are.
HH: No, I’m not. It’s a very interesting question. NBC ran the Virginia Tech killer tape on the day they obtained it. Steve Capus, Brian Williams made that decision. Did they make the right decision?
TB: Yeah, they did.
HH: Do you not think it’s going to incite other people to try to do the same thing?
TB: No, I don’t. I think…to get back to something we were talking about earlier in general thematic terms, I don’t think we’re doing a very good job about talking about violence in this country, either. You know, Virginia Tech went away. We didn’t have any ongoing dialogue in our communities or on the air about the corrosive effect of violence. It was not what he, what people saw of him on the air that will drive them, it’s what they read in blog sites, and what they see in video games. It’s that kind of stuff that I think is cancerous. And I’m a free speech absolutist, but I think that at the same time, we have to have free speech in some kind of a context. And part of that context is a discussion of the possible effects of it.
I put the quote above in bold for a reason, so that I may draw attention to what I am going to rant about. Tom Brokaw is not only a household name around the world, but being a respected journalist and author, one would think that after all of his years as a journalist he would be less ignorant than what this statement conveys. How can he honestly believe that “blogs and video games” would drive people to violence? What about growing up in squalor conditions, being sexually/physically abused, mental heath issues, or living in a septic environment full of gangs, drugs and a liquor store on every corner? Is he so misguided that he honestly believes that bloggers and video games will cause people to feel so misguided and full of rage that they will feel the necessity to go on a shotting rampage?
This sort of thinking on Brokaw’s part is just plain ignorant coming from a man who has spent the majority of his life reporting on world issues and interviewing heads of state. Does he think that the people who mailed him Anthrax were influenced by blogs and video games? Al Qaeda are not influenced by video games or bloggers, they are influenced by extremism and to some extent so are the ones who go on shooting rampages – although the extremism they are exposed to has underlying parental and mental issues we know nothing about.
I understand that violence in video games is a hot button issue with many people, and every politician, media outlet, and special interest group is jumping on the bandwagon. We are all aware of this, and while I can see Brokaw wanting to throw his two cents in on the situation, I cannot understand his hatred of blogs. Maybe it is because people are sick and tired of biased media sources where the owner of the network dictates what angle the reporters should go. You have Fox News, the most conservative news program in the world. It is chock full of conservative Republicans like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes and more of their ilk. MSNBC is the total opposite with a liberal spin on almost every newscast. CNN tries to be balanced, but when you have Larry King and that swamp moose of sensationalism Nancy Grace, CNN becomes nothing better than Inside Addition. Where else can the public turn to for fair unbiased news that some networks refuse to touch because of the fact that they do not lean one way or the other and report on things that would not give “good ratings”? The blogs and Internet news are stealing the big network’s thunder and most people get their news via the internet instead of the newspaper anymore. Granted, I see nothing wrong with actually touching something you read, and the newspaper is wonderful thing – but readers are becoming skeptical of this news outlet as well because even the papers are becoming biased. New York Times anyone?
Most people are intelligent enough to know when a blogger is just spouting nonsense and when they are reporting on a legitimate issue. There are many well received blogs out there, and even network news is trying to compete with them and have started their own. Most blogs are internet diaries full of what the author had for breakfast, Hollywood gossip, who they have a crush on, and what their latest pregnancy test revealed. Are these the blogs Brokaw insists cause violent behavior? If they do, it is only because they are so retarded that they cause the reader to growl in anger over the brain cells they lost while reading them.
Violence in video games, does not cause a teenager to go to a mall and start a shooting rampage. This latest shooting in Nebraska tells the tale of a pitiful youth who had his priorities mixed up. Wanting to “go out with a bang” like he stated, steams more from the movies he watched and the television shows his parents did not monitor more than anything. Parents need to be on the lookout for any signs of suicidal tendencies amongst their children, and take a more hands on approach. To blame video games for promoting violence is just passing the buck, period.
To claim that these two outlets of information and entertainment are to blame for societies woes is not only grossly irresponsible on Brokaw’s part, but for someone who is suppose to be as worldly and intelligent as him – it is just uneducated. Tom Brokaw needs to stick to what he is doing now – historical novels aimed at the Baby Boomers and stay out of the media. That is why he retired – and he needs to stay retired until he can say something intelligent and thought provoking instead of spouting nonsensical incompetent comments on hot topics just to stay in the public eye.