How to tell a lie

Jody Michael

Do you know what the National Endowment for the Arts is? It’s a federal agency that funds artistic projects – but not just any and all art. With a mostly fixed amount of funding each year, the NEA can only support the most exemplary art projects.

Beginning next year, however, the NEA will rearrange its budget so it can start accepting submissions for grants from a wider array of arts, including media like multi-part webisodes, short films and even video games.

Ask anyone who really knows video games and you’ll find this pleases them. Sure, the most well-known games anymore are shooters like Call of Duty and Halo, but some developers really are making video games with true artistic or educational value.

Fox News decided this was worth reporting. So one day, “Fox & Friends” had a debate between two guests: Brian Ambrozy, editor-in-chief of video game website Icrontic, and Neal Asbury, a conservative radio host who knows absolutely nothing about video games.

Fox started the lies immediately, using video clips of extremely violent video games – you know, the ones private publishers are more than happy to fund and therefore would never ever get federal funding.

As Ambrozy wrote on Icrontic afterwards, “When the host said ‘Should the video game ‘Call of Duty’ get federal funding?’ I knew immediately that my course was set. There would be no intelligent discourse. There would be no valid discussion, or valid points. They opened with a complete and utter falsehood right from the top.”

Asbury started by saying “maybe we should start giving taxpayer money to ping pong players because some people might think that ping pong is an art,” which is atrociously inaccurate logic. He later said President Obama is raising taxes to pay for video games, which isn’t true; the NEA is getting no extra funding.

If that wasn’t enough to make the debate meaningless, it was once the reason Asbury doesn’t think video games deserve NEA funding was obviously because he doesn’t think the NEA should exist at all, which isn’t even what the debate is about because it’s an entirely different issue.

To recap, this is the actual story: the NEA can now allocate some of its money to give grants for video games that are unable to find big-name publishers willing to fund their development.

This is what the story was if you saw it on Fox News: the government is raising taxes by tens of billions of dollars so it can create Call of Duty sequels and other violent video games.

None of the latter is true, and yet it had five minutes of airtime on the nation’s most-watched cable news network.

In closing, I’ll just say this: Fox News, CNN and MSNBC aren’t perfect, but I dare you to show me a time the other two networks completely invented a false story like this.

Jody Michael is a junior news major. Contact him at [email protected].