Yes, Internet, this actually happened. Earlier this week, Glenn Beck, the conservative television and radio host, chastised Call of Duty, Watch Dogs, and video games in general in a rant about the perils of technology on the independent Libertarian news network “The Blaze.” Saying that Watch Dogs “is teaching you to hack into whatever is docked in your bedroom,” Beck attacked Ubisoft and the video game industry while failing to address parental responsibility. This is one of those videos you simply have to watch for yourself, as it will likely elicit a bit of rage.
In regards to Watch Dogs, Beck openly criticized society for allowing the game to exist:
The idea here is they are teaching you to hack and then become the ultimate voyeur in other people’s lives, including their bedrooms, by hacking into their phones and everything. What the heck is wrong with us? What are we thinking? We are inviting this into our home and our lives. We are teaching our kids for entertainment purposes.
Beck used the 2011 Norway massacre, for which Anders Behring Breivik claimed to use Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as a training aid, to insinuate that violent video games change the way everyone’s minds work. Beck mentioned that he told his child, “Son, these games rewire your brain.” While individual scientists have suggested that brain chemistry can be altered as a result of video game indulgence, these findings have yet to be replicated to the point where we can take them as absolute fact. All of these findings are correlational, meaning that true, firm causation has yet to be proven.
It’s worth noting that Beck fails to mention parental responsibility, the ESRB rating system, or open dialogue with children about the actual content of mature video games. Perhaps the most shocking quote of all came at the end of the segment, as Beck likened video games to hard drugs:
Yes, it’s really hard to avoid them. Listen to what I said, they’re going to find them anyway. Really hard to avoid, and then once you start it’s really hard to put them down. Yeah, so is crack cocaine.
It seems as though a “video games are evil” story hits the Internet every few months, though it is becoming exceedingly rare to see a full rant of this extreme magnitude out in the public forum.