Liana Kerzner and Society of Professional Journalism President-elect Lynn Walsh Talk Ethics in Games Journalism

I know I’ve shared a few of these, but this discussion series has been great and absolutely needs more attention than it’s getting.

 

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Media’s Go-Tos for Horrific Crimes: Gun Owners and now #Gamergate

“This was not a war zone. Journalists were doing a perfectly safe story all local TV stations do. Yet they get shot, on air. This is America.” – Ram Ramgopal, CNN Editor.

“Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15… What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them… Alison made racist comments… I filmed the shooting see Facebook.” – Vester Flanagan, Murderer

Yep, this is America. Already we’re seeing this terrifying and tragic story being turned into part of the existing anti-gun narrative. No, it has absolutely nothing to do with a perfect storm of crazy and a race obsessed media.  But that’s not the only angle now.

Look out, Puppies, I know you’ve been accused of some bad stuff, but apparently you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.

Nevermind that the murderer gave us his exact reasons, it’s already being blamed on #gamergate.

In a virulent reaction to powerful, strong women who have gained opportunities following the emergence of the Feminist Movement in America, it has become common for failed men to turn their anger, fear, and vitriol at themselves onto women. Often, like Bryce Williams, onto women who are more successful and competent than they are.

Women working in the video gaming industry who had the nerve to speak out against the macho culture and over-sexualization of women in the gaming industry were met with threats of rape and murder. The trolls of #gamergate pounced with threats of rape and murder trying to intimidate these women into shutting up. (emphasis mine)

Fuck. Me.

Minor update: Comment section has been repeatedly scrubbed down to one “herp derp, you’re so right!” comment. Archived comments can be seen here: https://archive.is/qrQ6N  https://archive.is/kGi2M

#Gamergate SPJ

Articles on the SPJ Gamergate Airplay Bomb-threat justify SPJ Gamergate Airplay.

“Bomb threats closed down a debate on the controversial topic of women’s representation in video games at a Society of Professional Journalists event in Miami on Saturday.” – Rise Miami News

(Also, Gamergate is one word, guys.)

So, Gamergate had its day, Koretzky Koretzkyed, and the thing ended with the bomb threat which we feared but all knew might happen. Fortunately, the event was NOT totally shut down, and some of our voices were heard. I say some, of course, because not only did several people that we would have loved to hear speak dropped out, either for personal reasons or because they were so offput and alienated by Koretzky that they refused to go, but even if everyone had gone, there’s no way that everyone would hear their concerns voiced.

I’m sure that anyone who cares about this story has already seen Milo & Christina’s remarks, but here are the links anyway.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/08/15/what-you-missed-this-afternoon-at-spj-airplay-from-christina-hoff-sommers/

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/08/15/what-i-meant-to-say-before-that-bomb-threat/

What struck me was Ren, one of the journalists on the panel who were all “Derp why are you concerned about ethics & Gawker? We all know Gawker’s unethical, lolz! It’s readers fault for not knowing Gawker is Gawker.” Seriously? Journalistic victim blaming. Dude who stood up and said Gawker destroys lives? Kudos to him! Totally sent Ren all “Well, I’m not saying blah blah, i’ll shut up now…”

If more Journalists were like Lynn Walsh, there would not have been a Gamergate. To paraphrase, she said ‘If someone was involved in some way with a story, I would not even let them touch the story: writing, notes, meetings, anything. And to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, because there might be ‘shop talk’ going on, I would note in the story that an employee who did not work on the story had ties to the story.’

GG side of the morning panel was super-pro; I just wish they’d been able to talk about more examples than vague generalities that the Journalist panel steered things toward. I didn’t know anything about Mark, but he handled himself really well and I was impressed. I wish Ashe spoke as well as she wrote, but I was happy to have her there because she does know her stuff. One thing that she touched on was journalists in politics being in relationships with politicians, staffers and consultants, but, unlike what Ashe says, it DOES happen in real journalism. To me, the biggest disappointment about gamergate is that it remained so focused on gaming journalism that gamers did not take the next logical steps to say “Not only are the people covering Ubisoft sleeping with the PR heads of Ubisoft, the people covering Washington are sleeping with staffers and political consultants!”

I haven’t had a chance to catch up on all of it, but I hear that Ollie DID end up filling in on the panel after Milo and Christina left following the bomb threat. He looks like Blade.

Ollie

It’ll take me ages to catch up on all of the post SPJ news, but I’m starting with my two favorite sources combined into one: Veemonro & Sargon did a stream of the whole thing. Check it here.

The next big clusterfuck this month will be Worldcon. No matter what happens, nothing will be fixed, there will still be wailing and gnashing of teeth, and the ordeal will go on. Unlike Airplay, I don’t know that there will be as much to celebrate about because of the event’s nature. Sasquan isn’t going to vindicate either side, and follow-up stories will be either “Sexist, racist homophobes sweep Hugos, destroy science fiction!” or “Sexist, racist homophobes defeated in bid to destroy science fiction!”

Update: Kudos to Rise: Miami News for issuing a (rather poor) correct, but especially for offering the opportunity for people who were there to weigh in.  Even if they did manage to give us a really bad example of “Cowboy Bebop at His Computer“.

The following is an opinion piece penned after multiple bomb threats shut down a Miami based discussion on ethics in video game journalism, also known by the shorthand- GamerGate.”

Update 2: God, the second half of SPJ is like a retread of the Fox debate; supposed moderator doing all of the talking. Even Derek Smart called Koretzky out on trying to derail.  Also, the whole “Well, gee, what if we’d talked to one of those e-celebs like Sargon of Akkad for his opinion?” “That would’ve been a great start.”

Update 3: Lynn Walsh is probably going to be Gamergate’s new waifu, at least for the next couple of weeks.

Entertainment Weekly Publishes Gross Libel Against Larry Correia & Other Authors Promoting Sad Puppies Slate; Quickly Retracts After Possible Legal Threat

UPDATE CORRECTION!: The original article which published the libel ACTUALLY LINKED TO THE PAGE THAT DISPROVED THE INITIAL CLAIM!  SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE HELL!?

Update 2: Isabella Biedenharn’s twitter account has been deleted.  After Larry Correia tweeted his outrage about the original article, Isabella tweeted him offering to “hear his side”.  Note that standard journalistic practice is to contact the subject of an article for comment prior to publication.

In one of the most disgusting bits of Journalistic failure of the “Did Not Even Google It Right” variety I’ve seen, Entertainment Weekly wrote:

The Hugo Awards have fallen victim to a campaign in which misogynist groups lobbied to nominate only white males for the science fiction book awards. These groups, Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies (both of which are affiliated with last year’s GamerGate scandal), urged sci-fi fans to become members of the Hugo Awards’ voting body, World Science Fiction Convention, in order to cast votes against female writers and writers of color. Membership only costs $40, and allows members to vote for the 2016 nominations as well as the 2015 nominations, which were just released.

Firstly, these “misogynistic” groups include a number of women writers.  Second, the person who initially wrote the article didn’t even bother to look at the slate.  Third, other than Vox Day (who is himself a game developer), none of the SP/RP authors involved in promoting the slates are particularly outspoken Gamergate supporters, and even Vox Day is not particularly well known within Gamergate community.  Fourthly, “urging fans…to cast votes against female writers and writers of color”?  Seriously?  The guy who started SP is Portuguese*, and WHY DIDN’T YOU GOOGLE THE LIST YOU WROTE AN ARTICLE ABOUT!?

In the correction, Entertainment Weekly acknowledges that:

…Brad Torgerson explained to EW, the slate includes both women and non-caucasian writers, including Rajnar Vajra, Larry Correia, Annie Bellet, Kary English, Toni Weisskopf, Ann Sowards, Megan Gray, Sheila Gilbert, Jennifer Brozek, Cedar Sanderson, and Amanda Green.

But why did it take Brad Torgerson explaining that to you?  YOU’D HAVE KNOWN IF YOU GOOGLED THE FREAKING LIST YOU WROTE YOUR ARTICLE ABOUT!

Even with the published correction, ISABELLA BIEDENHARN needs to lose her job.   I do not call for people’s jobs lightly, and this may have been the first time I have ever done so on Cirsova, but you DO NOT need to be anywhere in the journalistic profession, even writing for a rag as tepid and worthless as Entertainment Weekly if you CANNOT EVEN SUCCESSFULLY GOOGLE THE SUBJECT OF YOUR ARTICLE.

Here, let me Google that for you:

sp google

Oh, look!  A link to a list of all misogynist white male only authors(NOT!) is the first thing that comes up!  Seriously, Entertainment Weekly, you should fire any of your journalists who don’t know how to Google things and print libel because it’s easier.

Judging by his twitter feed, Larry Correia could very well be serious about taking legal action for Libel.  As I’ve shown, not only is the initial paragraph of EW’s article complete bunk, its claims are verifiably – BY THE FIRST RESULT ON GOOGLE – false and slanderous to all of the authors included on the slate and the writers who fought to get them nominated.  This isn’t “Oh, we got a source’s quote wrong”, this is damn near UVA “made the whole thing up” up wrong.

ISABELLA BIEDENHARN, get out of the industry, hide yourself in shame! You are a discredit to your profession.

Actually it’s about ethics in Sci-Fi Journalism

 

After some time to think about things… (some swearing)

So, like the one thing that no one is talking about with the Zoe Quinn thing is what this says to female game developers about how to get noticed.

There are a lot of shitty people involved in this whole thing, and just because some of those shitty people are gross sexists doesn’t make Zoe Quinn not a shitty person. Just because her ex-boyfriend (also shitty) is the sort of psycho who’d publicly air all of the dirty laundry about his failed relationship doesn’t make Zoe Quinn or the industry people she was sleeping with not shitty people.  Even KNOWING about it makes me feel like a shitty person.  The people hailing Zoe as some martyred saint are less shitty than the people sending threats, but they’re still shitty if they don’t point out what a terrible thing for women in gaming that has been uncovered by the whole disgusting thing.

Sexual quid pro quo in any industry is NOT A GOOD THING. The fact is, male gaming journalists may have given preferential treatment and coverage to a female developer because of sexual relationships with her or the prospect of sexual relationships with her. What does that say to female indie developers who are trying to make a name for themselves in a highly competitive industry that is, as we’re so often reminded, male dominated and male targeted? If you have sex with men they will like you and say nice things about you and your game.

Zoe Quinn is NOT the only woman in gaming, but if you’ve read any articles about her, you’d think that she was the most important woman in gaming until she was destroyed by a roving army of misogynists. Frankly, I had never heard of her until after dozens of blogs and gaming news sites had rushed to her defense (and their own, by proxy). I keep seeing all of these comparisons between Zoe & Anita Sarkeesian. The difference in my mind is that Anita Sarkeesian is only guilty of putting out a lazy product with work she took from other people while being hella slow to release content that her investors paid for ages ago (though in fairness, no one ever to my knowledge threatened to rape James Maliziziziziwhatever when Dwimmermount tanked).  To my knowledge, she’s not been actively involved in dangerous or corrupt behavior to the detriment of other women in the industry.  What disturbs me most about Zoe’s alleged actions is the game jam that she was raising funds for, along with the help of several sites and individuals she had relationships with, professional or otherwise, directing traffic that way, that looks as though was never going to happen in the first place.

I’d say that my hope is that someday gaming journalism will not be so corrupt that reviews and content plugs are based on who is sleeping with who, but I know that will never happen. Especially considering the number of non-gaming journalists who are LITERALLY in bed with staffers, bureaucrats, chairs, politicians, etc. and the revolving door for politicos who land cushy jobs as correspondents at news networks and vice-versa.

Lastly, I’d like to throw in this comment from cephalopodlovesong out there, because it’s so spot on

one of the huge problems this “culture” has is taking the experiences of one person and expanding them to the entire gender.

“Zoe Quinn cheated on her boyfriend, but claims she’s a feminist/sjw. ALL WOMEN WHO IDENTIFY AS FEMINISTS/SJWS ARE TERRIBLE PEOPLE. OMG LOOK AT THIS.”

“Anita Sarkeesian is not as well educated on games as she could be and makes some sweeping generalizations under the guise of ‘research’. ALL WOMEN ARE DUMB CUNTS WHO WANT TO RUIN OUR GAMES.”

if people were able to say “wow, this is a sort of shitty thing that this one person did. I’m personally not going to support that person anymore, but realize that one person’s behaviors are not the behaviors of an entire group of people.” I feel like this wouldn’t be as bad. however, all the fucking doxxing to get people’s information is RIDICULOUS.