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Local Newspaper Deeply Outraged that City Councilman Enjoys Playing Mafia Wars

Gamers often complain that their hobby is treated with suspicion and contempt by the mainstream media, and maybe they’re right: A central California newspaper recently wrote a sensational article entirely about the fact that a City Councilman and retired police officer enjoys playing Mafia Wars. (Note that this isn’t on-the-job; this is during his private time.)  Apparently, the Mafia Wars alerts that Facebook spams your walls with aren’t just minor annoyances: They are evidence that the player is a sociopath.

Consider these quotes from the article:

  • “In the game “Mafia Wars,” Crabb has many titles. He’s a “cold blooded” killer, a “Street Thug,” a “Master Burglar” and a “robber” in the game.”
  • “Crabb also partakes in “icing” people, and as of June 23, his body count is up to 1,159, according to posts on his Facebook wall.”
  • “The posts on Crabb’s Facebook wall don’t show blood and gore, but some descriptions of game activity are graphic. “Nelson helped Michael Dispose of a Body and wants you to help too,” according to an April 17 post on Crabb’s Facebook wall.”
  • “Other posts even relate to city business. “Nelson is working hard to finish the Shake Down (of) a City Council Member job and is in need of a whole lot of Sets of Illegal Transaction Records from his Mafia!” according to a July 2 post.”
  • “Some posts refer to blackmail. “Nelson is working hard to finish the Blackmail (of) the District Attorney job and is in need of a whole lot of Sets of Blackmail Photos from his Mafia!” according to a post from Tuesday.”

Sadly for the Merced Sun-Star, none of the local government officials contacted by the paper particularly care about their colleague’s scandalous spree of blackmail and “icing.” “What Crabb does with his personal time is his business,” said Assistant City Manager Stan Feathers.

Icing on the cake: According to the online comments, this story actually ran on the front page of the paper.

It’d all be funny (well, more funny) if a) this was an Onion-esque satire and not the product of a “newspaper [that] has become known for its investigative journalism”; b) it didn’t engage in the familiar gamer-bashing trope; and c) it did not constitute a vicious, pseudo-muckraking attack on a retired police officer. In the words of my colleague Glenn Davis: “I wonder if they do writeups like that on every elected official who enjoys The Godfather.”

(Merced Sun-Star via Fark)

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