Trump condemns "gruesome" video games following US mass shootings - Hillary Clinton responds - Dexerto
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Trump condemns “gruesome” video games following US mass shootings – Hillary Clinton responds

Published: 5/Aug/2019 16:30 Updated: 6/Aug/2019 2:29

by David Purcell

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President Donald Trump has claimed that the United States of America must stop the “glorification” of violence in the video game industry, following a shooting in El Paso, Texas that saw 21 people killed. 

The businessman turned politician suggested that the violence in video games is a problem that must be reduced in the future, during a speech on August 5. 

These suggestions come just days after a 21 year-old white male was arrested at the scene of an attack in El Paso, near the US-Mexico border, where the gunman opened fire on a number of civilians in Walmart on August 3. There was also another attack a day later in Dayton, Ohio where nine people were shot dead in the Oregon District. 

PixabayFortnite Battle Royale is just one of many games that have faced scrutiny since the shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” the President said in his speech. “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.” 

He added: “It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves in a culture that celebrates violence. We should stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately.” 

Now facing a potential death penalty, the attacker has been charged with capital murder and claims their actions were a response to the “the Hispanic invasion of Texas” – according to quotes from the BBC. 

Trump is not the only one to have turned their focus towards issues of video game violence since the news unfolded, though, with former FBI agent Maureen O’Connell claiming that perhaps popular games such as Fortnite Battle Royale could be part of the problem during an appearance on FOX News. 

Epic GamesFortnite Battle Royale was brought into the debate by O’Connell on Fox News.

She said: “If I were a betting man, I’d say that he probably logs six to eight hours a day playing one of those, you know, Fortnite or one of those video game where you’re doing nothing but dehumanising people by blowing their heads off one after another, after another.”

However, in response to these claims, esports consultant Rod Breslau took to Twitter to respond. “Fox News, others in the media, and politicians are already blaming specifically video games and FPS games including Fortnite of all things for yet another awful multiple mass shootings here in America,” he tweeted. “Video game guns don’t kill people, real guns do.”

This sentiment was also echoed by the 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who refused to accept Donald Trump’s comments following the shootings and instead appeared to identify guns as the problem. 

“People suffer from mental illness in every other country on earth; people play video games in virtually every other country on earth,” she tweeted. “The difference is the guns.”

Opinion

AOC’s Twitch stream is the 2020 version of shaking hands & kissing babies

Published: 21/Oct/2020 16:15 Updated: 21/Oct/2020 16:31

by Chris Stokel-Walker

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A first-time Twitch streamer managing to hit the top five most engaged Twitch streams of all time is news in any instance, but when the streamer is Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, it’s even more newsworthy.

At its peak, AOC’s stream of Among Us, which also featured Pokimane and Dr Lupo, had 439,000 viewers. The broadcast was seen 4.6 million times in the eight hours after it ended. These are huge numbers, and indicate AOC’s tech literacy – something few politicians seem to possess. But it’s also an indication of how in this strange, ‘new-normal’ world, political campaigning in 2020 is less about going out and meeting people, and more about presenting yourself online.

The 2020 US presidential election is mere weeks away, and while the incumbent President has been crisscrossing the country, holding mass physical events, the Democrats have chosen a more low-key, digital campaign trail.

Presidential candidate Joe Biden has hosted virtual town halls and live streams, which have given him the ability to connect to digitally-engaged audiences. But those often lack the personal touch.

AOC Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Instagram
Instagram: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
AOC’s broadcast was seen 4.6 million times in the eight hours after it ended

What AOC’s stream does is plug that relatability gap. Political campaigns are won on hearts and minds as much as policies. Part of the reason politicians head out on arduous journeys is to meet as many people as possible and convince them to visit polling stations on election day. They often do that less by drilling down into the nitty-gritty of specific policies they want to enact if elected, but instead by convincing voters that they are relatable human beings who can be trusted with power.

A 2014 academic study identified that first impressions matter when it comes to politicians, and so AOC’s stream – where she played Among Us while chatting to those congregated on her stream – works so well. It’s a method she’s used elsewhere online, too, hosting Instagram Lives while preparing meals and talking about her life, slipping in political policy stances to win over voters.

Her Twitch stream is the 2020 pandemic equivalent of “walking the rope line” – the minutes before and after set-piece speeches, where politicians shake voters’ hands and kiss their babies. It allows people a glimpse into her life, and the ability to consider politicians, many of whom have spent their lives trying to ascend to positions of power, as ordinary human beings. It unbuttons the shirt collar and starched suits of Washington DC and instead reminds people that they’re voting for individuals with lives and interests outside of who’s winning and who’s losing in the political horse race.

Which is why it’s so successful. Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have previously joined Twitch, but most of the content they posted there was simply live streams of in-person campaign events. What AOC is doing is different: it’s accessible, always on, and intensely personal.

“You can’t hide authenticity when streaming on Twitch,” says Steven Buckley, associate lecturer at the University of the West of England, where he studies politics, language, and digital culture.

“It’s not like a traditional TV interview where a politician can prepare answers in advance via focus group testing,” he adds. “You have to be able to react in the moment and AOC is currently one of the most authentic and natural communicators in US politics.”

It’s also an extension of the idea of politicians as influencers, following in the footsteps of Indonesian president Joko Widodo, who has 2.35 million subscribers on YouTube, where he posts behind-the-scenes videos of his political campaign events.

We know that young people are increasingly important in the political calculations made by campaigns and that digital outreach is increasingly vital in an ever-more important election. Up until now, social media’s impact on elections has proven relatively limited, despite pretty much every major election in the 21st century being called the “first true social media campaign”.

But this is a major election being held under the shadow of the coronavirus, and one of the first where one of the campaigns vowed to limit their physical campaigning. That Twitch stream could inject the personality and the humanity that helps sway undecided voters to back one side over the other – and if nothing else, it’s a reminder that politicians, despite what we all say, are human too.