Thursday, July 23, 2009
The latest update in the CTA's decision to ban certain game ads is the ESA announcing they've filed a lawsuit against the CTA over the matter. The CTA has responded saying that the ban coincides with their ban on tobacco and alcohol products.
So a couple of things here. Let's remember that this all started when Fox News got into a tizzy and decided to kick up a fight about it. I live here in Chicago and there certainly isn't any public outcrying about the ads. The backstory here is that there was a week of violence which made the press and the ads were a convenient way for Fox to get a little more filler.
Chicago has a problem with violence. A GTA IV ad here or there isn't going to change that. It does, to a certain extent, make city officials defensive though, so while I think the CTA is very clearly in the wrong here - I also don't want to make it sound like they're unfounded. There's real cause for concern, especially in some communities, and steps should be taken. This just isn't one of them.
First and foremost we need to remember that the CTA is an organization with deep financial troubles. They've gone through periods essentially threatening riders with "Doomsday" ads about shutting down services if they don't get more cash. To complain to the public about not having any cash and then going down a route which probably not only reduce ad revenues but will probably cost taxpayers thousands in legal fees is simply idiotic. It's feel-good politics, but bad governance.
The claim that the ban is inline with banning tobacco and alcohol ads not only defies logic in general, it won't hold up in court. It's the same distinction that the state tried for limiting the sale of mature rated games to minors and the state got their teeth kicked in for it. And let's not forget that CTA allows R rated movie ads, like the kid friendly Dark Knight with all its animated puppies and whatnot. Oh no wait, that was Bolt, Dark Knight stabbed a guy in the eye with a pencil.
Eventually lawmakers, Fox News, and self-righteous nutjobs like Thompson will realize that while video games might make for a decent scapegoat culturally - they suck as scapegoats financially. Sadly, they probably won't realize this until a couple more increases to some lawyers' bank accounts are made.