The White House meeting with representatives of the videogame industry is set to take place today, and thanks to a tweet from CNN's chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper, we now know who's attending.
"External participants" from the videogame industry include Strauss Zelnick, chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive; Robert Altman, chairman and CEO of ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks; Patricia Vance, president of the Entertainment Software Rating Board; and Mike Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association.
The rest of the guest list is stacked, and not on the pro-game side, starting with a trio of prominent critics of videogame violence:
- Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, whose "sole mission is to expose and neutralize the propaganda arm of the Left: the national news media."
- Melissa Henson from the Parents Television Council, a "responsible entertainment" advocacy that was also founded by Bozell, whose 2017 special report "We're Not In Kansas Anymore" criticized The Muppets for featuring "profanity, depictions and references to alcohol and drug use, and multiple references to sex."
- Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of books including Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence, and Assassination Generation: Video Games, Aggression, and the Psychology of Killing, who has argued that playing violent games trains children to use weapons and hardens them against the emotional impact of killing.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), and Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) will also be in attendance. All three are Republicans, and Hartzler has previously spoken out against games as well.
"Unproven and emotionally driven gun control legislation is a common and simplistic response to gun-related tragedies," she wrote in Politico in 2013. "We must have a meaningful conversation about mental health issues and other possible cultural and societal contributors to violent behavior, such as violence in videogames."
While the Supreme Court's 2011 ruling in Brown vs EMA, which declared that videogames are protected by the First Amendment in the same way as other media, should offer the industry some protection against regulatory incursions, the list of attendees suggests that the White House has already has its position staked out.
The meeting is scheduled to take place at 11 am PT/2 pm ET. We'll let you know how it goes.
Update: According to David Nakamura of the Washington Post, we'll have to wait for post-meeting releases to get a handle on it.
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