Following a private meeting this afternoon in which President Donald Trump discussed violence in video games with a number of stakeholders, the White House published a video on its official YouTube channel meant to illustrate just how violent games can be.
The compilation — which appears to consist of game footage lifted from various YouTube channels, watermarks and all — runs for under a minute and a half, but packs as much violence as possible into that span. Highlighted games include multiple Call of Duty titles, with a lengthy segment dedicated to the infamous “No Russian” mission from 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, as well as Wolfenstein: The New Order, Dead by Daylight, Fallout 4 and Sniper Elite 4.
Attendees at today’s meeting included game industry officials — the administration invited Entertainment Software Association president Michael Gallagher, ESRB president Patricia Vance, and publisher executives such as Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick — as well as media critics and legislators. However, for the latter two groups, the White House only invited individuals from the right side of the political spectrum: conservative critics such as Media Research Council president Brent Bozell and Republican lawmakers like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
‘This is violent, isn’t it?’
Trump reportedly opened the meeting by playing the video, asking, “This is violent, isn’t it?” There’s no denying that much of the footage is gruesome, with multiple instances of people’s heads exploding into gibs. One of the last clips is a slow-motion kill shot from Sniper Elite 4 — a hallmark of the franchise — in which a sniper’s bullet breaks open a skull seen in X-ray vision. (This is even the thumbnail for the video.)
Here’s how the White House characterized today’s meeting in a statement it released afterward: “The President acknowledged some studies have indicated there is a correlation between video game violence and real violence. The conversation centered on whether violent video games, including games that graphically simulate killing, desensitize our community to violence.”
It’s clear that the White House was trying to portray video games in the most negative light possible, as it pertains to violence. However, Trump reportedly seemed open-minded in his approach to the discussion. The session was one of multiple meetings about gun violence and school safety that the Trump administration has held following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed.
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