ECA's Hal Halpin Calls on Fox News to Retract Mass Effect Story

January 28, 2008 -
Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), has weighed in on the Mass Effect episode, calling on Fox News to correct its smear of the popular Xbox 360 game.

In a letter issued this afternoon to Fox News' Teri Van Horn, producer of last Monday's offensive Live Desk segment, Halpin wrote:
On behalf of the [ECA], the national non-profit organization representing American video game consumers, I urge you to correct and repudiate the misstatements leveled by Fox News’ Live Desk regarding the story and character interactions in Mass Effect.

Your show’s reporting was irresponsible and incorrect.  Your own “expert” Cooper Lawrence has subsequently disclaimed her misstatements... In the future, we ask that you book real gamer and industry experts on your show...

ECA’s members are disturbed by your news organization’s apparent disregard of the truth in this instance.  We represent a diverse group that cuts across all ages, with the weightiest portion in the coveted 18 - 45 age group, and with women accounting for 38% of gamers. Over the past week, our members have mobilized to speak out and set the record straight on Mass Effect, and we ask the same of you.

Full Disclosure Dept: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

Comments

Here here!

"I do wonder how many high profile companies and organizations it will take to get Fox News to retract their segment."

Zachary, unless some of these companies threaten to pull their ads off of Fox channels, Fox News will not retract anything. They live for this shit.

Huzza! Right on!

I just noticed that Hal Halpin looks a lot like that guy, Lindsey (Christian Kane), from the TV.

Anyway, it's good to see so many people finally coming together and standing up against these sorts of bald face lies. It's actually shocking that even Jack Thompson stood up for Mass Effect in a way.

@Internet Hate Machine

Apparently Jack Thompson belives Cooper Lawrence is a guy, but in some emails to someone at Kotaku, he said that "The guy who shot his mouth off about it had no idea what the Hell he was talking about." (referring to Lawrence), and that "This contrived controversy is absolutely ridiculous."

http://kotaku.com/349423/jack-thompson-defends-mass-effect

Steve! I thought you were going somewhere with your post, until I read this in relation to FOX news: "because it is rare that they are demonstratively wrong and oblivious to reality."
Then I quit reading cause clearly this guy knows nothing!

J/K Great post, and it's like Colonel Finn has said, this even has come and gone now.

@ Marc

Of course. It's not Take Two, Counter Strike, The Sims, or Halo. He has no beef against Mass Effect yet.

@ Mad_Scientist

To Thompson's quote: “The guy who shot his mouth off about it had no idea what the Hell he was talking about.” (referring to Lawrence). Man, there are so many ironic points that can be made about this I don't even know where to start...

Even if they do correct themselves, it will just be like all the other corrections in papers and other news network, it will be very small and put in some place people will not notice.

Ugh, she's back now on CNN.

Just as an aside, does anyone else find it kind of ironic that this man derides people for attacking a game that has been released, but none of the detractors have played, at the same time as threatening to attack a game that hasn't even been released yet and no-one outside the writers have any idea of its contents?

Huzza!

Cool... now... where is the ESA?

I think it's time the ESA stands up and defends the industry that they're supposed to represent.

Wow, this is exactly the reason I joined the ECA. I fully agree and am glad to see Hal go to work for us. Not that I'm holding my breath for a retraction . . .

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

Why didn't he ask to be a guest on the show? Why not go for the jugular?

It is about time!!! Err.... Umm.... Its Legion time! =]

I agree with vellocet: why isn't the ESA getting involved with this? You'd think an incident of this nature would be right down their alley.

In the words of General Pepper:
Good Luck!

Bit surprised he didn't do this sooner. No matter. ECA FTW.

wow, I would join, but I am kinda strapped for cash right now, besides I am british (wait does that even matter?)

You know, I can smeell change on the wind, things are looking up for gaming as a serious medium, we just need to keep pushing that envelope.


or maybe my nostrils have finally gotten rid of thomspon's stink after all the months of silence.

@ IHM

It takes some time for these things to be written. you don't want to be too hasty, as that can cloud your judgement. But there is also the idea that he had to wait for a certain level of outrage from the organization members.

Regardless I am glad to see the ECA standing up on this issue.

I do wonder how many high profile companies and organizations it will take to get Fox News to retract their segment. So far, we have a multitude of gamers, EA, Bioware and the ECA. Cooper has retracted her statements. So we are waiting for ESA and Microsoft.

Any others I am forgetting?

I am glad to read this; I generally think Hal is one of our stronger proponents, and someone I would happily have at my back in a confrontation of this nature.

That said, I have my doubts that this will even be acknowledged by Fox.

Power to the people! Rise up Comrades!

So, should we sing the International or the Super Mario Brothers Theme?

@ EZK

I suppose the EMA might shuffle over to our side of the line, though I doubt it. Also, I'd maybe put the New York Times under "our" column, at least tentatively, since they posted the correction.

Woot!

You tell 'em, Hal. I love how he notes that their own "expert" has already backpedaled. I suppose it's too much to hope for Fox to do the right thing here, but even if they simply run a new segment with real industry reps that may be a moral victory in itself.

Next thing you know they will get JT be their 'sexpert' in the matter.

Hmmmm.... maybe their should be a Goodwin's for JT. What to call it? Jack's Law? Jack-ass's Law? Jack Vader's Law? Any ideas?

@jds

not a good ide.a They control the studio, so accidentally cutting his mic would be an issue.

now all we need is MS... come on bill pleeeeease! don't be a worthles douche all your life! make a difference!

Good effort. Short of Microsoft actually jumping in, I don't think there is much of a chance for correction though. EA and the ECA are not Fox News advertisers, and not really their target market. EA could threaten to pull all Fox advertising, but that's pretty extreme. I think they'd get that bluff called. There is no way EA isn't going to run Madden, NBA, MLB, and NHL commercials during all the games Fox sports carries.

I'd put the chances of a correction somewhere between slim and none. I wouldn't mind being made a fool of on that, though.

@jds

Because if he did, he would be arguing under Fox's terms. He would not get as much time to make his case and set the record straight as other "experts" would to bash Mass Effect, it's developers, and the videogame industry and community. How about Teri Van Horn, Geoff Keighley, ande Hal Halpin go on G4's Attack of the Show where everyone might actually get a fair chance to make their arguments.

While this may be an issue for us, consider for a moment the sheer immeasurable volume of blatant lies and untruths that that television channel produces by the thousand on a daily basis. They must receive complaints from every corner of existence every moment of every day. They have all the legitimacy of a supermarket tabloid, and none of the knowing humor. Just because this ONE story mis-characterizes OUR group, does anybody honestly think they'll actually admit to their broad sensationalist journalism or scare-mongering attitudes?

Message for Hal Halpin:

EA called. They said the bandwagon for their well timed retraction call just left the station, but another should be along soon.

@William

Of all the things I don't like about G4, their debates are one thing I do like, among others.

@GryphonOsiris

Check Kotaku.com. You can find a post in there about how one of the admins was in touch with JT and he actually had no particular objection with Mass Effect. I'll try to find the exact link at some point.

@ Trails

The "band wagon" is still very much waiting for occupants. This is not one of those fly by night operations. This is something that must be battled for years ahead.

So don't diss Hal.

Unaffiliated Anonymous has a very good point.

I know they do get a lot of complaints. Even sadder, if you wander around the political blogosphere, is that people aren't really mad about inaccuracies. They are mad that they aren't innacurately skewed to a given ideology.

Fox News' premise was to make a right wing news channel because others were left wing. Thier whole purpose wasn't to be more accurate than those they thought had it wrong, they just want to be inaccurate the other way.

News has become a niche business. They all "fit" the news to target their target demographic. Things like accuracy, credibility, and integrity have been long lost.

It's disgusting, and it's great to see any of them slapped around a bit. This is a particularly good one to do it with, because it is rare that they are demonstratively wrong and oblivious to reality.

There is no case to be made that the game is pron, that it exploits women, that it is marketed to 15 year olds, or that there is anything explicit in it. Those aren't opinions, those are simply easily verified as false statements.

Since the smear on Mass Effect, or offense to it, doesn't fall strictly along ideological lines, those that would normally offer knee-jerk defense of Fox News don't feel as compelled to. They have made themselves a soft target for criticism with this story.

Will Fox detract their story? No.

There would have to be some horrible backlash against their sponsers and advertisers in order for that to happen. Considering their viewer base, won't happen.

Personally I feel it doesn't matter. The real story was told in the New York Times which has much more clout and a larger reader base.

@ECA

Awesome response! It's nice to see such a well written response to Fox's dribble. Kudos!

To those who wish Fox to burn for this, just let it go. They'll simply blame Cooper Lawrence and say she's the one who misled them rather than the other way around.

For miss Lawrence she had learned a hard lesson about the cost of spouting lies and misinformation against a group that may not have a face, but definitely has a force and is intelligent enough to rally for a cause greater than their own individuality.

Good news, it just made my day :).

Great to read about.

However, Fixed News will never retract falsehoods nor apologize for false reporting.

Its nice that Hal and the ECA is speaking up about this (how about doing so next time JT is lying?).

However, the question remains as to why the ESA is still silent on the whole thing- its their business and creative merit being dragged in the mud here.

It almost seems like the ESA is just as spineless as it was under Dough Lowenstein!

we are powerful and we will strike

Seriously, even everyone's favorite soon to be disbarred lawyer is defending Mass Effect now (which should be covered, shouldn't it?), a definate sign that fox needs to retract their statement.

Its funny, dealing with fox is a lose / lose relationship. You go on the air and give them the precious segment, that would get lots of views from gamers + the normal crowd, or you don't and let them say it their way (hell if they're going to retract their statement.

My best solution for this? The ECA and EA should make arrangements on a different station to bash Fox's coverage of Mass Effect. You hit them in both the wallet (viewership watching another channel) and the ego.

Surely another station would be willing to give them 'Fair and Balanced' coverage?

sadly I feel we`re now just flogging a dead horse. The moment in time has passed. Game over.

@ EZK

Fair enough.

@ The Ninth Doctor

What?!?

Fox News is unlikely to apologize-they typically don't, and I can't think of an example when they actually did, not that I watch them when I do see television...

@NovaBlack
Please, shut the fuck up. Even an intelligent person who hates windows has to admit that bill gates has done a huge amount of good through charity. Only a stupid fucktard is able to blame every problem in the computer world on bill gates. Please, just shut the fuck up about a man you obviously can't be bothered to know anything about.


Back on topic

@vellocet

So all those videogame laws put themselves through the courts and had themselves over turned.



Has anyone considered that possibly that EA may have asked the ESA to not jump on this? You know maybe? Or is bashing the ESA without wondering why they might not do something the popular thing to do on gamepolitics?

As others have said, you have to be very careful when dealing with the news media. You have to word things carefully and not leave openings.
Its not surprising the ECA has a response sooner than the ESA. The ESA has a large number of members with a lot of money.

The ECA is a consumer group.

Well said Mr. Halpin, though sadly I see Fox News ignoring this since it was ruled they are allowed to lie to their viewers. I would be surprised if they did a retraction on the story or even a follow up since Cooper Lawrence said she was mistaken about Mass Effect.

Whatever happened to those T-shirts that we had a competition about? I still wanna buy the "Contrary to popular opinion" one...


Oh, and I completely agree with Hal
 
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