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No, Glenn Beck Did Not Say Watch Dogs Teaches You How to Hack in Real Life

No matter how much I wish he had.

Glenn Beck has said a lot of completely bonkers stuff over the years, and this segment on how bad video games and technology are for us is no different. Unfortunately, a bunch of really silly arguments aren’t enough for people, and they want to invent some other silly things for him to say. No, he didn’t say Watch Dogs teaches you how to hack in real life.

To be very clear, I did not wake up this morning expecting to defend Glenn Beck. If my alarm goes off in a few minutes and this all turns out to be a weird dream, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised. I’m also not surprised that people who disagree with someone want to put words in their mouth.

Throughout this segment, starting around the 3:30 mark, Beck repeatedly says that Watch Dogs teaches you to hack into other people’s devices and steal their information for your own use. However, at no point does he say that the game teaches you how to hack. That one word is a very important distinction.

If he said that the game teaches you how to hack, I’d be rolling with laughter and cracking jokes about how my X button doesn’t seem to hack things when I step outside of my apartment. That the game’s “press a button to hack” system gives a player the skills to hack into real technology would be an incredibly silly assertion, but that’s not what I think he’s saying.

Since this whole segment is about the morality that video games teach and the effect they have on the way we think, I take his “it teaches you to hack into other people’s stuff” statements to mean that it’s teaching kids that it’s OK to do that—not how to do it. Whether or not he’s right that what kids will take away from this game is that it’s OK to invade the privacy of others is unknown, but it’s not an absurd point to make.

Of course, I can’t prove that he didn’t mean that kids could learn how to hack real devices from the game, but he never explicitly said it. If we—as gamers—want to make pundits and lawmakers understand that we know the difference between reality and fiction, let’s stick to that and not start adding our own fiction to reality.

(He said plenty of other silly things you can tell jokes about, anyway.)

(via Polygon, image via Alexandre Dulaunoy)

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Dan is many things, including a game developer, animator, martial artist, and at least semi-professional pancake chef. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (his dog), both of whom are the best, and he will never stop reminding The Last Jedi's detractors that Luke Skywalker's pivotal moment in Return of the Jedi was literally throwing his lightsaber away and refusing to fight.