Yet-Another Caricature of #GamerGate (A response to Al Jazeera)

Part of me is getting a little tired of this.  It’s one thing when you see a bunch of sites like Kotaku, Polygon and Rock, Paper Shotgun showing their journalistic sloth.  They are just glorified blogs that get WAY more respect than they deserve.  In the wake of all the dealings and cozy relationships that have been uncovered by people like Internet Aristocrat and others, it is clear that the Fifth Estate is broken.  But when you see news groups like Al Jazeera, who are lauded for their impartiality, weighing on something by showing a clear lack of research, then it just makes a case for all news being broken, and that nothing in the media is trustworthy.

For those who didn’t know, a few days ago, the news group Al Jazeera joined the pantheon of left-leaning news networks who have decided to condemn GamerGate, with a zeal for single-sided journalism that can only be matched by Fox News.  I’ll have the video of their piece, so you can see it all and have context, and instead of picking apart statements, I’ll be a little more broad.

First, it’s interesting that you have Brianna Wu on as your trusted source.  Did she tell you about the time she used the death of a woman named Amber Lynn Schraw as a way to sell her victimhood?  Yeah, a woman not even slightly connected to GamerGate is brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend, and Wu sells it as proof that she is also in danger.  I guess that your background check didn’t bring that up.  In fact, what kind of background did you do on this topic?  I didn’t see much.

Like, here’s a point that I have been trying to make forever – online threats are not a refutation of points.  I am going to try and explain this the best I can.  You go on for some time about Brianna Wu and Anita Sarkeesian getting death and rape threats.  I could tell you that online threats are a dime a dozen and everyone who has any name recognition (myself included) has gotten them.  I could tell you that if someone actually meant her harm, the chances of them sending a message to her beforehand is astronomically small.  I could tell you that I didn’t hear a SINGLE defense of her position, other than – I get death and rape threats.  I could point out that I didn’t hear a single thing about the death threats Jack Thompson got.  But the truth is, it all boils down to this – that isn’t a refutation.  It really isn’t.  I will never condone such behavior, but if you are going to ask a person to defend their statements about the people involved with GamerGate being nothing but misogynists, then doesn’t it behoove you, the journalists, to ask for something a little more concrete than – I get death threats!

You all go on and on about the “sexism” in gaming, but what evidence did you have?  Oh, right, the whole, “women are sexualized” thing.  You begin your video by saying that 52% of women are gamers now.  I guess you didn’t watch Christina Sommers’ video where she debunks that.  That would have required actual research on your part, and this whole video has shown that you are just as lazy as Fox and MSNBC.  The truth is that the hardcore games, the ones who are big into competitive and online gaming, are mostly men.  And AAA gaming companies don’t just assume this.  They have tons of PR people who do research, because they want to gauge their demographic, so their game sells.  There are so many easy ways that you could have improved the quality of journalism if your piece, but instead, you chose to take the easy and lazy route, by having Brianna Wu talk about her problems and you just nodding your heads and going, “You got rape and death threats!” like that makes her points right.

Here are a few questions that I, and this is coming from a college grad who just got a degree in journalism, would have asked –

If you don’t like these kinds of games so much, why do you play them?
Why don’t you make your own games?  With the cost of development so small, I would think that that would be an easy alternative to playing games that offend you.
If the gaming medium is so oppressive and awful, why stay?  After all, people who watch Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel don’t complain about it not having enough action movies.
How do you explain the cozy relationships between game devs like yourself and journalists like Nathan Grayson?
Why not start your own studio, if you want a certain kind of game made?  Bioware was started by three guys, after all.  With all the people who want to make games looking for work, I would think that you would jump at the chance to do that.
Doesn’t it seem a bit hypocritical that you want other publishers and developers to do work, while your side simply complains?
Do you believe that you are ‘feeding the trolls’ by making the death threats you get public knowledge, when police say that you should not openly talk about any threats that you deem credible?

Any of those questions would have been a lot better than the ones that you had spoon-fed to you by Wu, so she can look like the damsel in distress.

Then you have these gamers that you picked to represent the medium that you are caricaturing.  Well, that’s nice.  Although, if you are talking about GamerGate, wouldn’t it be nice if you had some people who are tied into it?  Like Milo Yiannopoulos.  He’s the journalist star who has been covering this issue, and his articles have been very extensive.  I would think that you would want to get a balanced approach to this story.  That’s fair reporting, after all.  Why talk to three people who seem to know very little about the issue, like when YOU say that they say that GamerGate is about PC culture in gaming.  Which isn’t true, by the way.  While that is a factor in it, GamerGate is about the corruption in games journalism.  This is why it would have helped you to talk about the issue with someone more knowledgeable.  You went out of the way to get Brianna Wu as your source for the anti-GG side.  Why just three randies for ours?  Could it be a bias on your part?  Could it be laziness that you just didn’t care to correct?  The possibilities are limitless.

Al Jazeera, you are just as biased and ignorant as the rest.  You are pandering a party line for the exact same reason that MSNBC, Democracy Now and PBS did.  Hell, even The Colbert Report pandered.  You all want to appear ‘progressive,’ so you don’t lose that audience.  But the truth is, you’re no better than the other side.  You just pander to different people.  All those claims of ‘journalistic ethics’ are for nothing when it is blatantly obvious how pathetically lazy your reporting is.  I hope you’re proud.  When you don’t question people like Brianna Wu’s lies, how can you claim otherwise?

Until next time, a quote,

“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”  -H.L. Mencken

Peace out,

Maverci

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