I don’t normally talk politics on Twitter. That’s not why people follow me, and arguing with strangers on the internet, 240 characters at a time, is an exercise in insanity. However…

Redirection is a powerful public relations tool. If you control the narrative, you control the outcome. Everyone does it (or at least tries to) – every political party, every industry/interest group, etcetera. It’s part of the basic toolkit because it’s effective. But that doesn’t mean that it has to work every time; it’s important to recognize when it’s happening, and not let yourself and the people you talk to get distracted.

There was a school shooting. In the aftermath, a lot of the conversation was about gun control. Now, a few weeks later, a lot of the conversation is about violent video games. This is absolutely not an accident. People that don’t want the conversation to be about gun control have successfully shifted the conversation to video games. They’ve done it before, and they will continue to do it in the future because it’s proven successful multiple times.

As an aside, many forms of media went through similar periods where people painted them as the cause for the social ills of the time – superhero comics, television, and many, many different genres of music – this has all happened before. In a few decades, video games will get their reprieve and a new form of media will be the target of redirection instead.

Until then though, it’s important to recognize the redirection when it happens. Regardless of your stance on gun control or your broader political views, when someone starts talking about video games as a possible cause of school shootings, don’t fall into the trap of arguing that point – either don’t engage with the conversation, or call the redirection out.

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