With the recent publication that GamerGate has cost Gawker seven-figures in advertising, and the egg that has gotten on the faces of all the people who were so central to the conflict, it is clear that the war that GamerGate was fighting has been won. This is a great thing, but now there is another problem that comes to the forefront. See, the war has been won. Now the fighting has to turn to something else – rebuilding. This is maybe the hardest part. I think that this is what inevitably got to Internet Aristocrat. He is a soldier who didn’t want to stop the fight. But the war had to end, eventually. With a new year upon us, there is a chance to make things better. And you know what – it’s on all of us to make that happen. Does this mean that we shouldn’t watch when the SJW Puritan feminist crowd decides to fuck with our hobby? No. And they seem to be moving on to other niche crowds like heavy metal. I guess they think that they will get less resistance there or something. Good luck with that. But we can take the broken ruins of their pathetic journalistic “integrity” and forge it into something new. Maybe we can help fix the Fifth Estate. Who knows? So, let me talk about what we need to do.
Here’s where we start – by realizing that modern media is all built on a flaw. See, all media nowadays is a narrative. It’s a narrative because you want clicks. You want clicks, so you can get money. You want money so you can keep your business running. Do you see where I’m going with this? Instead of reporting on events, all media, from the MSNBC and Fox News to the Kotaku, Polygon and Rock, Paper, Shotgun are controlling the events narrative. This is something that we have to change. There is no easy way to do this. It has to be done with dedication. It had to be done with an understanding that you may not get a mass market the way the rest do. That’s hard. It’s hard to understand that you are the underdog in any fight. But if we are going to reshape gaming journalism, it has to start there.
Reporting fact just isn’t that fun to read. I admit, I love to read an article here someone rips into some asshole who does something stupid or is a complete piece of shit, like the bulk of Congress. But there are ways to make it so that news can be both informative and worth listening to. Perhaps taking a few cues from Christina Sommers approach. Or my favorite news program, Frontline. Talk about something and show that you did your research. Show that you are not just coming at this by appealing to pathos. John Oliver is the master of this, on his new show on HBO. He has made the news both funny and incredibly informative. He is beating Jon Stewart at his own game. Nothing against him, but hey, Stewart, Oliver’s got you whipped. The trick for all these examples is that they go out of their way to show that they have got a ton of information about this and that it matters. That’s good journalism. It’s the kind of journalism that the glorified bloggers at Kotaku could never hope to do.
We also need to recognize that the people who say things like, “who hasn’t slept with a PR person or a dev, amirite?” don’t think that they did anything wrong, and that needs to change. We’ve got to recognize where the boundaries of ethical and unethical journalism are. There is a fine line on how cozy one can get to a group they are covering before it becomes unethical. Sometimes that line is hard to know. After all, any journalism student (and this comes from a grad with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and Public Communication) is told that they have to cultivate sources and that you want your sources to feel good talking to you. But we have to get gaming journalists to actually have a standard that they are held up to. Kotaku and Gawker flaunt how little they care. Look what it’s done for them. All it takes is for one person to blow the whistle and then you have people like the guy who put out the “bring back bullying” Tweet becoming a public joke. You think his career isn’t going to suffer because of that? When he ha to polish up that resume, it’s going to come back on him big-time. These people think it’s fine. We have to be better than that.
Another thing we need to recognize is that the politicization that many in GamerGate have been against comes from a group of people who feel superior to everyone else, and think that their opinion means more because of whatever reason they feel that way. This kind of thinking is easy to fall into. I catch myself doing it from time to time. When you look at all the stupid shit that so many people do and think to yourself – is this how retarded our species is? it’s easy to just take that thought process as gospel. What the journalism industry needs is some humility. Humility is a good way to not just get sucked into an echo chamber, but be willing to at least hear the other side out. Name me an SJW who actually does that. For real, I have NEVER see Anita Sarkeesian defend her points. Nor Brianna Wu or anyone like that. The conversation just breaks down into, “I get threats, I’m a victim, therefore I’m right.” Good journalism has to press the issue. Look at the UVA/Rolling Stone debacle. This industry needs people who have passion, but want to learn more. That’s why they used to have conversations in editing rooms about topics, where they would get people who wanted to talk about stuff, instead of just saying, “you – write about this!”
Lastly – do NOT let your site have a narrative. If someone is going to have a narrative in their writing, then you take that person to task. But one of the big things that came up from GamerGate was how people who were part of Gamejournopros were having their careers threatened if they didn’t tow the line. If your organization has a narrative that they are willing to threaten your career over, then you are not a good publication, and not worth anyone’s time reading.
So, can this be done in the current framework of website? No. Kotaku will never get better. They have been scarred and beaten and I bet are just singing now that the worst is done. They were beaten like a bad dog and now are eager to get back to pandering the same bullshit that they always do. We need a new group of sites that are willing to actually put good reporting and passionate writing ahead of site narrative. I write for one such publication now. It’s called Gambitcon, and I recommend checking it out. Especially my stuff, because I’m just awesome like that. Like this story here (click it!)
I don’t know if journalism can ever really be fixed. Maybe it is just the way it is and there is nothing to be done about it. However, the war is over, and it’s time for GamerGate to become Milo Yiannopoulos’ book and for all of us who fought to move to trying to make things better. We won. Now let’s capitalize on it. The soldiers can go home. A pity America can’t learn to do that, since we’re STILL in the Middle East.
Until next time, a quote,
“Old soldiers never die. They just fade away.” -Gen. Douglas MacArthur