THE BUZZ: CNN’s iReport website contained the following headline: “Boy Severs Arms After Playing Video Game.” Luckily for gaming advocates everywhere this turned out to be a joke, which CNN didn’t realize until it was too late.
iReport allows normal people to report news which they find in their daily lives, but occasionally things like this slip through the net and with the CNN name, reflect badly on the company. The report in question appears to come from website, The Global Daily, and reports that 16 year-old Ryan Dunham had a friend try to hack his arms off after playing to Katawa Shoujo, a dating sim where NPCs suffer from various disabilities. The report reads:
Dunham’s friend (name withheld by request) used a large woodcutting axe to deliver the blows and intended to sever both arms but panicked and called an ambulance after nearly severing Ryan’s right arm. Ryan had knocked himself out by consuming a large quantity of alcohol earlier in the night, but he left a message on his computer explaining the reasons behind his choice and telling his parents that his friend was not to blame. The message was also posted on social networking websites Reddit and 4chan. Several Reddit users tried to raise the alarm and alert authorities but it was too late. Paramedics rushed Dunham to Brantford General Hospital but were unable to re-attach the partially severed arm and were forced to amputate it. A local police spokesperson said they are looking into the incident but does not expect they will file charges.
EGM’s TAKE: Anyone who takes five minutes to look over the site can see that this report is indeed fake, and even if you didn’t common sense would dictate that this is unbelievable. It’s not like he was playing Manhunt after all. The worst blowback is for those who campaign tirelessly for video games, when a story like this breaks it reflects badly on the whole industry. Even if it is fake, it still generates negative press. CNN has since pulled the piece from iReport, but let’s hope that they’ve learnt a lesson now and will screen a little more rigidly to prevent this happening again. On the plus side it brightened up our mornings.