A Pennsylvania congressman who said that Grand Theft Auto was more likely to be a bad influence on ghetto children than their suburban counterparts feels he has been mistreated by Jon Stewart and The Daily Show.
As reported by GamePolitics, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) was roasted by Stewart on the June 22nd episode of The Daily Show.
An article in today's Chester Daily Local reports that Pitts contends his remarks at the June 14th hearing of the House Subcomittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection were mis-portrayed by Stewart.
During the subcommittee's period of opening remarks on June 14th, Pitts said, "It's safe to say that a wealthy kid from the suburbs can play 'Grand Theft Auto' without turning to a life of crime, but a poor kid who lives in a neighborhood where people really do shoot cops and steal cars and deal drugs might not be so fortunate. There's almost certainly a child somewhere in the America who is going to be hurt by this game. Maybe his dad is in jail or his big brother is already down on the corner dealing drugs."
After Rep. Pitts' remarks were aired on The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart commented, "Seriously, the House of Representatives is filled with insane jackasses."
In a statement, Pitts responded, "I regret that Comedy Central's 'Daily Show' portrayed my words the way they did. I believe that gratuitously violent video games are inappropriate for all children. However hard it may be to prove their effect in any given instance, tragedies like the killings at Columbine High School and more recent events closer to home clearly show that children from every neighborhood and income level can and do get into trouble - sometimes quite seriously."
Democrat Lois Herr, who is running against Pitts in November, expressed her own concerns about video game violence, but, through an intermediary, called Pitts' subcommittee remarks "an embarrassment."
"Lois agrees that we need to be concerned about the effect of violent video games on our children," said her press director. "However, we must be careful not to stereotype people by their economic class or place of residence. She is, frankly, embarrassed for the 16th District that Rep. Pitts' statements at a public hearing seemed to do just that... he has apparently lost touch with his constituency."
GP: It's unfair for Rep. Joe Pitts to blame the host of The Daily Show for any embarrassment Pitts' own words caused himself - and his re-election campaign. Stewart certainly didn't misquote Pitts; the Comedy Central show host simply let the video tape roll.
Readers can view the Daily Show episode in question here.
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