Trump Plays Compilation of Violent Video Games During Meeting With Entertainment Executives

A rising number of scholars question evidence of a link between gaming and aggression

President Trump reportedly showed a compilation of graphic scenes from modern video games to entertainment industry executives during a meeting about the effects of violent media on teenagers.

The Washington Examiner reports that during a closed-door meeting with a number of executives from video game studios, President Trump began the meeting by playing a compilation of “horrendously violent” scenes from video games to the group. Present at the meeting was Melissa Henson of the Parents Television Council, Dave Grossman, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who has long argued that video games cause violence in teens, Mike Gallagher, the CEO of the video game trade association Entertainment Software Association (ESA), video game developer ZeniMax Media CEO Robert Altman, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick, Pat Vance, the President of the Entertainment Software Rating Board, Brent Bozell of the conservative Media Research Center, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., and Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala.

The video that Trump played for the group has been posted to the official White House YouTube page. The Verge listed all of the scenes featured in the clip, they include,

  • The death of Call of Duty: Black Ops character Joseph Bowman (2010)
  • A collection of scenes from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)
  • Clips of kills in horror multiplayer game Dead by Daylight (2016)
  • More scenes from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, this time the infamous “No Russian” mission
  • Killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014)
  • Shootouts in Fallout 4 (2015)
  • The “X-ray kill cam” system in Sniper Elite 4 (2017)
  • A death animation from horror game The Evil Within (2014)

The video can be seen above.

Grossman gave details on the meeting to the Washington Examiner: “President Trump said, ‘Did everyone see that clearly?’” Grossman said. “He played a video of a bunch of horrendously violent slashing games and then he turned to the industry representatives and said, ‘What are you going to say about this?’” The video game executives produced research showing that there was no link between violent video games and violent teens, which Grossman called “bogus.” When he’s not writing about the dangers of fictional video games, Grossman is a self-described “Killologist” who teaches military tactics to police officers and was most recently quoted telling officers “It’s your job to put a piece of steel in your fist and kill those sons of bitches when they come to kill our kids.”

Breitbart Tech has previously debunked the claim that video games cause violence. Recent studies have not shown any link between violent video games and violence in teens. Some studies have claimed that on-screen violence can create a desensitization effect, but so far have failed to show a corresponding drop in personal empathy towards others. A study in Frontiers in Psychology found no link, nor did a similar study in Brain Imaging and Behavior. According to a team of researchers at Oxford, online team-based video games can actually help to improve the sociability of children while in some cases actually reducing aggression.

President Trump reportedly asked each executive, “What do you think needs to be done?” Trump was apparently quite open-minded throughout the interview, “I don’t think he came in with his mind made up…. I think he was gathering information,” said Henson of the Parents Television Council. “He didn’t come in with an opening statement or a closing statement.”

The ESA released a statement on the meeting which states: “We welcomed the opportunity today to meet with the President and other elected officials at the White House. We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry’s rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices. We appreciate the President’s receptive and comprehensive approach to this discussion.”

Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center told the Verge, “I don’t think there should be any government control over it. But there is some programming that contains just absolute mind-boggling violence. We’ve all seen it. Is it appropriate in a civilized world to have that? Or could the industry listen to the better angels of their nature and say, we just don’t want to do it, on a voluntary basis?”

The White House also issued a statement which reads:  “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.”

Breitbart News reporters Allum Bokhari and Charlie Nash wrote in their recent piece that there is no direct correlation between violent media and real-life violence:

Across society, there is no correlation between the rise of on-screen violence. There is considerably more violent media available today than there was in the mid-20th century when movies were tightly censored by the Hays Code, which prohibited gratuitous displays of bloodshed. Video games – violent and otherwise – are a new medium, only gaining traction in the late 70s and 1980s. Yet real-world violence in the developed world has declined across the same period.

The American Psychological Association (APA) categorizes violent video games as a risk factor in causing aggression but found no evidence linking them to acts of real-world criminality or delinquency. Aggression, which is also caused by competitive sports, is not sufficient to lead to real-world violence. In 2017, the Media Psychology and Technology division of the APA has advised public officials and journalists against attempts to link violent media to acts of real-world violence.


Trump 2020 Manager Brad Parscale Warns Big Tech: ‘We Are Watching’

In this Dec. 6, 2016 file photo, Brad Parscale arrives at Trump Tower in New York. Parscale, President Donald Trump’s campaign data and digital director says he will speak with the House intelligence committee later this month as part of its Russia probe. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Brad Parscale, who was recently appointed as campaign manager for Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection bid, has warned Google, Facebook, and Twitter to maintain a “level playing field,” following a month of high-profile revelations of bias at big tech.

Brad Parscale’s comment came on the same day as the results of primaries for the Texas senatorial race in November were released. Google and Facebook both have the ability to significantly influence elections. Facebook has previously boosted voter registration and turnout by significant margins, while research on search engine manipulation shows that services like Google Search have the potential to change the preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more.

Brad Parscale, current campaign manager for the president’s 2020 re-election bid, previously managed Trump’s digital campaign in 2016. In public interviews, Parscale has argued that social media, not traditional media, was the key to Trump’s victory in 2016, and identified Facebook as particularly critical to the president’s success. His selection suggests that the digital campaigning will be given even greater emphasis in 2020.

His comment follows weeks of high-profile revelations about Silicon Valley openly limiting the reach of conservatives. Last week, we reported that algorithm changes at Facebook have caused the President’s engagement on the platform to fall by 45 percent. The same change has hit engagement on the pages of conservative news websites, while leaving the mainstream media’s pages virtually unchanged.

During the same week, YouTube launched a massive crackdown against conservatives and alternative media channels, taking down videos and banning channels. The channel for Alex Jones’ InfoWars, which interviewed the President during his 2016 election campaign, is now one strike away from a permanent ban on the platform.

Twitter also continues to be caught up in bias scandals: we recently reported that the platform is hiding tweets from President Trump and Donald Trump Jr. The platform also conducted a recent mass-lockout of Trump supporters, and has refused to apply their terms of service evenly, allowing a campaign of harassment against Pamela Geller’s daughters while banning right-wingers for stating facts.


Breitbart Leaps Washington Post, HuffPo to Become 54th Most Popular U.S. Website


Breitbart News has beaten competitors including the Washington Post and the Huffington Post in U.S. Alexa rankings.

The newest figures from Amazon-owned website ranking system Alexa have shown that Breitbart News has beaten competitors the Washington Post and the Huffington Post in popularity in the U.S. According to Alexa, Breitbart News is now the 54th most popularwebsite in the United States. The Washington Post, by comparison, sits as the 61st most popular website, while the Huffington Post is the 78th most popular.

Breitbart News has reviewed the websites metrics from 2017, finding that on nearly all fronts on the digital landscape, Breitbart has seen record numbers of traffic and social media engagement. Last year, Breitbart News broke previous company page view records of 2.2 billion, ending 2017 with a total number of page views of 2.4 billion according to Google analytics.

Breitbart also boasts the 13th-most popular Facebook page in the world according to Newswhip and was ranked number one for the most shared Facebook content on the day of third presidential debate. In June, Axios stated that Breitbart News had the “most engaging right-leaning” Facebook page since President Trump’s election. Breitbart News also earned the top Facebook post of any major U.S. publication following President Trump’s remarks on the NFL national anthem protests.

Breitbart News has also achieved success on other social media platforms, including Instagram. Breitbart has the highest engagement among political publishers on the platform according to Newswhip. Breitbart News’ closest competitor was YoungCons, with an engagement score of  5.50, surpassed by Breitbart News’ score of 8.69. Breitbart also beat out other top political pages ATTN and Occupy Democrats in the rankings.


EXCLUSIVE: Trump’s Facebook Engagement Declined By 45 Percent Following Algorithm Change

Engagement on Donald Trump’s Facebook posts has dropped by approximately 45 percent since the platform introduced a new algorithm change, following a year of pressure from left-wing employees and the mainstream media for “allowing” the President to win the 2016 general election.

In January, Facebook introduced a major change to its newsfeed algorithm. In a post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed that the change aimed to give greater emphasis to posts from “friends, family and groups” and less to “businesses, brands and media.” The change was followed by a promise to promote what Facebook calls “broadly trusted” news sources on the platform.

In the month following the algorithm change, engagement on Donald Trump’s Facebook posts dropped sharply. Total engagement dropped by approximately 45 percent, according to data from leading social media analytics firm NewsWhip. In an email to Breitbart News, a representative of Newswhip confirmed that Breitbart’s reading of the data was accurate.

Average engagement on Trump’s Facebook posts following the algorithm change also dropped significantly, by approximately 38 percent.

The decline in engagement on Trump’s Facebook cannot be attributed to a drop in posting frequency on the part of Trump. In the 13 days prior to Facebook’s algorithm change (28 Dec – 10 Jan), Trump made 67 posts, with no significant drop in engagement. After the change, Trump posted at roughly the same rate – between 59 and 67 posts in each 13-day period, but was still met with the dramatic decline in engagement seen above.

When compared to high-profile Democratic political figures, Trump’s engagement appears to have been hit particularly badly. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders do not appear to have suffered a comparable decline in Facebook engagement.

Even if they did face a similar decline, it would not be comparable in terms of impact. As the graph above shows, they are far less successful on Facebook than President Trump, which means they have far less to lose. Currently, any change that reduces the reach or engagement of public figures on Facebook will disproportionately affect Trump when compared to public figures with much lower engagement.

In a comment to Breitbart News, Facebook appeared to acknowledge that their algorithm change might have caused Trump’s engagement numbers to fall. A Facebook representative highlighted the following section of their post announcing the algorithm change:

Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it.

Facebook’s algorithm change came after a year of pressure from the mediapoliticians, and employees inside Facebook following the election of Donald Trump. Facebook was accused of helping Trump win the election, spreading Russian propaganda and fake news, and creating partisan echo chambers.

In a piece entitled “Inside Facebook’s Two Years of Hell,” Wired highlighted the threat from legislators with a foreboding quote from Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. “You’ve created these platforms, and now they’re being misused, and you have to be the ones to do something about it … or we will.”

Mark Zuckerberg drew curiosity from the media when he said recent changes to the platform would cause users to spend less time on Facebook — and that this was intentional. Why would any social media company want users to spend less time on their platform? At the time, Slate suggested that the company had been so battered by a year of public scrutiny over its political influence that it was now choosing to abdicate that influence by making the platform less lucrative for political figures.

There’s only one snag – punishing public figures across their platform will disproportionately affect those who rely on it the most. In an environment where the mainstream media is stacked against their movements, that is usually going to be populist candidates like Donald Trump.

Facebook can expect scrutiny given Donald Trump’s appointment of Brad Parscale as his 2020 election campaign chief. Parscale was the Trump campaign’s digital guru in 2016, and credited Facebook as the crucial factor in Trump’s victory. If Trump’s reach and engagement are being disproportionately cut back on the world’s biggest social network, it’s unlikely to escape his notice.


Roku Won’t Drop NRATV: ‘We Do Not Curate or Censor Based on Viewpoint’

Popular streaming device manufacturer Roku has refused to censor NRATV, following mob pressure and protests from Moms Demand Action.

“NRATV promotes dangerous conspiracy theories, racially charged rhetoric, and violent demonization of the NRA’s political opponents,” claimed pressure group Moms Demand Action on Twitter, Saturday. “Tell Apple, Google, Roku and Amazon to #DumpNRATV.”

In response, Roku refused to censor NRATV’s content, noting that they hadn’t broken any of Roku’s rules.

“We share deep sadness about the recent tragedy that occurred in Florida. Our streaming platform allows our customers to choose from thousands of entertainment, news and special interest channels, representing a wide range of topics and viewpoints,” Roku declared. “Customers choose and control which channels they download or watch, and parents can set a pin to prevent channels from being downloaded. While the vast majority of all streaming on our platform is mainstream entertainment, voices on all sides of an issue or cause are free to operate a channel. We do not curate or censor based on viewpoint.”

“We are not promoting or being paid to distribute NRA TV. We do not and have not ever had a commercial relationship with the NRA,” they continued. “Their channel is free to consumers with no ads. We welcome Moms Demand Action and other important groups to use our platform to share their messages too.”

Roku then added, “While open to many voices, we have policies that prohibit the publication of content that is unlawful, incites illegal activities or violates third-party rights, among other things. If we determine a channel violates these policies, it will be removed. To our knowledge, NRA TV is not currently in violation of these content policies.”

This week, FedEx also refused to sever their relationship with the NRA, expressing that it supports the “constitutional right of citizens to own firearms.”

Following their refusal to bend to mob pressure, pop-rock band Blink-182, and many others, called for a boycott of the company.

Over a dozen companies have severed their relationships with the NRA following pressure, including First National Bank of Omaha, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Symantec, Metlife, Delta Airlines, Best Western, United, Alamo Rent a Car, Avis, Allied Van Lines, Budget, Chubb Insurance, Hertz, North American Van Lines, Paramount Rx, SimpliSafe, and TrueCar.

Moms Demand Action and student-turned-media personality David Hogg are currently pressuring tech companies to censor the NRA on their platforms, while far-left filmmaker Michael Moore claimed the NRA is as bad as ISIS.

In response to the companies that severed their relationships, the NRA branded the public relations stunts “a shameful display of political and civic cowardice.”

“In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve,” the NRA proclaimed in a statement to Breitbart News. “Let it be absolutely clear. The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world.”


Facebook Ads VP Backtracks on Russian Interference Comments


Facebook’s VP of Advertising has backtracked on comments he made recently relating to the use of Facebook by Russian operatives to sow discord amongst Americans.

WIRED reports that Rob Goldman, Facebook’s vice president of advertising, has backtracked on recent comments he made relating to Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian operatives for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election via social media.

Mueller’s indictment document was 37 pages long, 35 of which mentioned Facebook specifically, putting the social media website right at the center of the political debate. Mueller’s document claimed that Russian operatives used platforms such as Facebook to promote memes, plan rallies, create fake accounts and generally pit American citizens on the left and right against each other in order to create chaos within the country.

Only hours after the indictment was released, Rob Goldman took to Twitter to clarify some of the issues raised in Mueller’s document. Goldman made a number of claims including one that was retweeted by President Trump himself. Goldman tweeted, “I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.”

Goldman clarified what he believed the Russians aimed to achieve with their use of Facebook tweeting that they were attempting to divide America and that so far it seems to be working,

Initially, it seemed that other executives at Facebook approved of Goldman’s string of tweets with a Facebook VP named Andrew Bosworth even retweeting Goldman’s thread. But shortly after President Trump’s notice of the tweets, it seems that Facebook suddenly took issue with Goldman’s messaging. Facebook VP of Global Public Policy Joel Kaplan released an official statement on Goldman’s tweets saying “Nothing we found contradicts the Special Counsel’s indictments. Any suggestion otherwise is wrong.”

WIRED talked to a Facebook executive about what they believed Russia’s aim was with their social media misinformation campaign. The executive replied, “I don’t think anyone at Facebook can say definitely one way or another.” They continued, “We are a tech company. Why would we have the answer? I wouldn’t trust us if we said we did.” Goldman himself then took to Facebook’s internal communication network to explain his tweets to his colleagues saying:

I wanted to apologize for having tweeted my own view about Russian interference without having it reviewed by anyone internally. The tweets were my own personal view and not Facebook’s. I conveyed my view poorly. The Special Counsel has far more information about what happened [than] I do—so seeming to contradict his statements was a serious mistake on my part.

To those of you who have reached out this weekend to offer your support, thank you. It means more than you know. And to all of you who have worked so hard over the last six months to demonstrate that we understand our responsibility to prevent abuse on Facebook — and are working hard to do better in the future — my deepest apologies.

It seems that Facebook and Goldman are now in full damage control as Mueller’s investigation focuses further on the social media platform. How Facebook will continue to deal with Mueller’s investigation remains to be seen.


Russian Husband and Wife ‘Troll Team’ Indicted by FBI for Fake Political Posts

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, pictured in this August 8, 2013 file photo, charged 13 Russians for an alleged conspiracy to defraud the United States

A Russian husband and wife “troll team” was indicted by U.S. authorities on Friday for their involvement in an online effort to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Husband and wife team Robert and Maria Bovda were indicted on Friday as a part of the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s attempts to subvert the 2016 election. According to the indictment, Maria served as head of the project, which utilized social media to influence the 2016 presidential election in the United States.

Both Robert and Maria are accused of “creating false US personas” and utilizing fake accounts that had large U.S. audiences. The Bovdas were two of the 13 Russians that were indicted in Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

According to the indictment, Robert and Maria worked specifically on spreading propaganda to “the U.S. population.” Additionally, they “conducted operations on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.”

As a part of the investigation’s findings, Mueller cited an account a Russian-controlled Instagram account called “Woke Blacks.”

“[A] particular hype and hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary,” a post on the page read. “We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’d surely be better off without voting AT ALL.”

Another post from a Russian account targeted Muslim voters on the day before the election.
“American Muslims [are] boycotting elections today, most of the American Muslim voters refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton because she wants to continue the war on Muslims in the middle east and voted yes for invading Iraq,” the post read.

Despite the indictments, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov brushed off allegations of Russian mingling in the 2016 elections.

‘I have no response. You can publish anything, and we see those indictments multiplying, the statements multiplying,’ Lavrov said. ‘Until we see the facts, everything else is just blabber.’