Glenn Beck: Grand Theft Morality

Talking Heads: Glenn Beck

Air Date: May 2, 2008

Reason Why It's Dumb: Implying video games were originally developed by the military

Nobody can dispute that games like Grand Theft Auto showcase behaviour that should not be emulated, but Glenn Beck's rationale as to why violent video games are so obviously connected to the (non-existent) spike in violent criminal activity is by far one of the most ridiculous. While his explanation of the American army's efforts to condition soldiers to be more ready and willing to kill oncoming attackers may be true, his connecting it to the modern video game makes no sense.

The big problem with his argument is that while desensitization does play a role in conditioning people to be more capable at killing, the case he presents deals exclusively with a war scenario where the soldiers' lives are immediately threatened and the conditioning helps them react. Even if we assume that video games can condition children in the same way as these military training exercises, at best this means that kids are only more capable of defending themselves. After all, WWII-era soldiers didn't go on civilian-killing rampages before or after their (far more intense) training so the logic doesn't stand.