#GamerGate: ABC Reporter Admits They Chose Harassment Angle Over Corruption

ABC News

This is no longer an issue of games media being incompetent, inept or bereft of the proper measures of integrity to carry out the news and report on the facts, this is an issue of mainstream media and media at large opting not to maintain integrity or maintain a balanced stance when reporting in the interest of the public. Another major broadcaster has admitted to opting to cover one side of #GamerGate in the interest of time constraints.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation is a major news organization over in the Oceania territory. They’ve been running coverage of #GamerGate since early September of this year. Majority of it has been ill-informed and negative save for a blog post by Tim Dean, which actually goes into great detail (at great lengths) about all of #GamerGate, surveying both sides of the event to inform instead of instigate.

One of the most recent pieces by ABC.net.au was a six-and-a-half-minute piece on the 7:30 program that basically reiterated the agenda-driven line that’s been pushed by most of mainstream media.

The piece depicts phrases about Zoe Quinn being accused of sleeping with someone for “good reviews”, even though it’s already been clarified that Nathan Grayson, a game journalist, did write two favorable pieces about Quinn without disclosing his relationship with her before #GamerGate kicked off.

The video rolls out all the standard talking points and misconstrued spin that we’ve come to expect from the media regarding #GamerGate.

I reached out to ABC reporter Monique Schafter of the 7:30 program and questioned if they would be running any further pieces on #GamerGate to discuss the opposite side of the harassment angle and speak with other females who support #GamerGate and why they support it.

According to Schafter…

“At this stage there aren't any plans to do another GamerGate story.”

“We used this as a springboard to look at the representation of women in games and in the games community, and sought a variety of perspectives on this.”

But what about The Fine Young Capitalists who were harassed and doxxed by the people opposed to #GamerGate and how #GamerGate had to fund their pro-feminist IndieGoGo campaign to bring more women into the gaming industry? Or how about Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers who recently appeared on an ABC.net.au program to talk about third-wave feminism – and happens to also be an avid supporter of #GamerGate?

I mentioned Dr. Sommers appearing on ABC’s Counterpoint and asked why her views regarding #GamerGate weren’t used in the continued coverage of the event on other channels of ABC. According to Schafter…

“Occasionally content from radio and TV is appropriated for news online, if the news editors are interested. The producer of Counterpoint would have more of an idea about that.”

(Update:) Back on October 29th, 2014 a reader provided Schafter with a list of articles and information about #GamerGate, including the harassment squad tracking down and outing Anita Sarkeesian’s harasser, who happened to be a Brazilian journalist. According to Schafter…

"Thanks [Redacted]. Not just looking at harassment – I’m interested in how the internet has lost its shit about this and attempting to break it down."

So what happened to fair and balanced news? What happened to reporting all the facts? This is shades of the CBC all over again.

Well, if you look through the ABC.net.au editorial standards and policy guide, you’ll see that the 7:30 piece is just one of many that the media organization has run that crosses the line when it comes to upholding their own ethics and standards policy.

For instance, section 2, page 4 of the Editorial Policy for the principles and standards of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, it’s stated that…

“The ABC should make reasonable efforts, appropriate in the context, to signal to audiences gradations in accuracy, for example by querying interviewees, qualifying bald assertions, supplementing the partly right and correcting the plainly wrong.”

This would be clarifying that #GamerGate actually kicked off over the appearance of conflicting interests by game journalists and the developers they cover.

The reason the hashtag has stayed around for so long is because of the perpetual surfacing of implicit and complicit corruption from the media. It’s even starting to seep into moderate media sites and open up the eyes of those who are neutral in all of this.

When “bald assertions” from individuals stating that “#GamerGate is about harassing women” surface, it would seem only relevant to ask real women who use the hashtag why they are part of a consumer revolt that’s supposedly about harassing women and outline to viewers why sub-movements such as #NotYourShield exist.

According to the Editorial Policy, however, they do note that not all views may be represented in the coverage, stating…

“Impartiality does not require that every perspective receives equal time, nor that every facet of every argument is presented.”

“Assessing the impartiality due in given circumstances requires consideration in context of all relevant factors including […] the timeframe within which it would be appropriate for the ABC to provide opportunities for the principal relevant perspectives to be expressed, having regard to the public importance of the matter of contention and the extent to which it is the subject of current debate.”

Schafter does mention that due to the limited time of the segment the details relating to #GamerGate could not be covered, stating…

“Due to the time constraints of our program, we are not able to go deep into every thread of an issue, so need to make an editorial call on what is most relevant and important to our viewers.”

However, if a cultural backlash relating to the inaccurate portrayal of social topics within media is being misconstrued by media, then doesn’t that in itself justify the existence of #GamerGate?

And this leads to section 4.5 under the “Standards” category of the Editorial Policy, which blatantly states…

“Do not unduly favour one perspective over another.“

This has happened and not just in the 7:30 piece on ABC.net.au, but also in a piece by Jeff Sparrow on September 4th, 2014 who wrote in an editorial

“This resentment of change and sense of persecution perhaps explains another commonality of such groups here and in the US: a conviction that they are being repressed and censored.

“These are mobilisations of the privileged - but those involved don't think of themselves in that way. On the contrary, they feel distinctly oppressed, though in ways that they can't quite articulate.”

I asked Jeff Sparrow if he had any plans to do a follow up and include a mention about The Fine Young Capitalists, but he simply responded on Twitter saying “Nup.” The intention was to find out if counterpoints or alternative views to avoid the broad sweeping labels against gamers would be rectified by the ABC, but it doesn’t appear as if that’s on the agenda.

(Update:) One reader wrote in to the corporate affairs office about Sparrow and Dean’s opinion pieces and received a response from the ABC Corporate Affairs decision, stating that…

"Both the articles you have referred to are opinion pieces commissioned from non-ABC staff. The opinions they provide are their own and are not those of the ABC. The ABC’s editorial policies do not require impartiality from external contributors if it is clear they are expressing their views."

"The intention of both articles was to provide readers who were not familiar with Gamergate some background and to stimulate debate and discussion among those who were. Both were followed by lengthy online discussions that provided a wide range of opinions and perspectives on the issues raised.

"Accordingly, while noting your concerns, Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied the articles were in keeping with the ABC’s editorial standards for impartiality."

It was helped even less by the fact that ABC’s technology editor Nick Ross mostly dismissed a reader on Twitter who voiced concerns about the news organization’s one-sided approach to the subject matter.

Nevertheless, in section 7.7 of the Editorial Policy for ABC, it’s firmly stated that…

“Avoid the unjustified use of stereotypes or discriminatory content that could reasonably be interpreted as condoning or encouraging prejudice.”

Please watch this #NotYourShield video and determine on your own if these are the voices of the privileged, white male.

While that particular video may have been released on November 12th, 2014, the #NotYourShield hashtag was underway since September 2nd, 2014 and was – and has been – a trending Twitter topic used alongside #GamerGate.

#NotYourShield is especially relevant in light of Pat McGrath’s editorial on October 23rd, 2014, which quotes PhD student Jessamy Gleeson from Swinburne University, saying…

"Certain sectors of the gaming community have been threatened, or their idea of what games are have been threatened or critiqued by people that they don't see as belonging to their community.

"So women or people of different colours or genders have been standing up and saying we want more diversity in games, or we want women to take more of an active role in games, or we see sexism in games, and they see that as threatening what they view to be as their form of games."

The video and articles above about #NotYourShield kind of disrupts Gleeson’s viewpoint, but opposing views wasn’t on the agenda at ABC, especially on their The World Today interview featuring Pat McGrath and a female game critic going by the pseudonym of “Sarah”, which further drives home the harassment angle.

In section 9.5 relating to Public Access and Information in the Editorial Policy, it’s stated that…

“Do not knowingly mislead audiences about the nature of the content.”

Misleading audiences only comes from knowingly having information, access to information and knowledge of the facts while purposefully ignoring them or misusing them to push an agenda. This was made evident by the Game Journo Pros in the leaked e-mails, opting not to print facts or the whole story in order to continue their narrative.

According to Schafter, they were aware of the other side of things but chose against using that narrative, or rather, telling the whole story. Schafter stated…

“I understand there are other elements to the GamerGate conversation, but 7.30 felt that the most important news angle for our program was focusing on the online attacks, particularly towards women, which form part of the gamergate controversy.”

Even if the different elements of the #GamerGate scandal beyond harassment were absent from ABC’s coverage, another policy that stands against their motivations is section 1.6 of Australia’s regional Professional Conduct Policy, which states…

“Journalists should not rely on only one source. Be careful not to recycle an error from one reference source to another”

When 7:30 referenced Brianna Wu’s death threat sender, there’s no mention that the anonymous individual who sent the threats had no relation to #GamerGate or had any factual signs of being associated with gaming. In fact, you can check the tweets from the suspended account of Chatterwhiteman to see for yourself. Ultimately, there has been no second source or enforcement agency to prove that this had anything to do with #GamerGate. So why is it referenced as a correlative fact of motivation for the consumer revolt?

Under section 1.10 of the “Accuracy” section in the Professional Conduct Policy, it’s stated that…

“Information sourced from social media must be verified and checked for accuracy before publication on any platform”

#GamerGate is taking place on social media; verifying that it’s a harassment campaign would mean fact-checking that the majority of those using the hashtag are engaging in harassment. However, according to a Newsweek article, approximately 90-95% of the tweets under the hashtag are engaging in neutral communications. This is never clarified in any of the ABC pieces, either written or in their video broadcasts published after October 25th, 2014… this includes the 7:30 piece.

For those who find that ABC has breached their own policies and ethics regarding reporting and journalistic integrity, be sure to file a complaint using the following ABC complaint page or the Media Watch tips page.

(Main image courtesy of The Loop)


Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Contact.

  • The Papist

    I guess they didn’t have time to be proper journalists then, seems peoples tax money now just funds propaganda.

  • benjamin hardy

    well i hate to say this but it may be time to contact the murdoch media, as they hate the ABC and have been actively trying to subvert the ABC for a while.

    i suggest you send this article to murdoch publications, they will eat it up

    • Nusstopher

      As much as i dislike the Murdoch empire, this is an interesting idea and will probably work!

      • benjamin hardy

        yeah, murdoch has been trying to get ABC funding cut for a while now, and they could take this and run with it as a way to achieve that goal.

        https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/help/storytips i sent them this article saying the story was ABC breaching its own policy

        maybe i should start an 8chan OP?

      • Joel Nova

        Yes, go!

      • bans

        Murdochs empire is at the heart of the corruption. Heavily involved in hacking and police corruption, hardly a paragon of virtue.

      • Elilla Shadowheart

        The enemy of my enemy, is my friend. That’s not to say, if people do it not to proceed without caution.

        I’ve seen people recommend the same in KiA with regards to the CBC and Sun News(owned by National Post in Canada). Sun though is right-libertarian, and not owned by murdoch, rather by Post Media a publicly traded company.

      • Sock Pupet 1984

        The Enemy of my Enemy is just and only that, they are not my friend and may be my enemy now or in the future, you do not want to hand ammunition to News Corp, the ABC might be wrong now but they are one of the few media sources left in Australia and this region in Asia Pacific that act with a modicom of Ballance (Maybe with left leanings but hat might just be a contrast to the rest of our media…), another common saying is don’t throw out the baby with the bath water… Try a direct complaint to the ABC or one to the ACMA or even ABC’s own Media Watch. Don’t get in bed with NewsCorp…

      • Elilla Shadowheart

        Someone skipped reading the art of war.

    • DukeMagus

      do it, but be wary. a news site posting something favourable to us doesn’t make them innocent of any previous bad thing they’d done. Never lose your critical eye. We must be impartial, as we want our news sources to be

  • Ms_Fortune

    I’d like to be surprised but I’m not, journalism in general is just a huge joke.

  • CakeDeath


  • Jake Martinez

    I recommend that people who are exceptionally upset about this write their local MP and try to contact their office with the press dossier that is located https://press.gamergate.me/

    Provide a high level summary and express your dismay about the ABC turning an issue of corruption in the media into a tabloid hit piece.

  • Sonja Newcombe

    Yep, send it to ACMA, our media mob.

    • CakeDeath


    • Generaallucas .


      • NoGoodNamesLeft

        There’s a lot of snakes between my computer and the ACMA so it’ll take some time to get there. Also my hats are in the laundry and I can’t go out without putting clean hats on my feet and a shoe on my head.

      • Jono Colwell

        I sent out my complaint to the ABC as soon as I heard the piece.
        You’ve got to wait for eiher a reply or sixty days to pass before you can do shit about it legally.
        See also, there’s snakes.

    • davblayn

      ACMA does not handle complaints about the ABC or SBS, under their respective charters they are responsible for handling their own complaints.

  • Nick_Soapdish

    I watched a biased piece on that poor excuse for a comedy news show they try to do on ABC2 (I think) a while ago. This was about 2 months ago I think. The ABC is a publicly funded broadcaster and it fails to contain its bias repeatedly. Hm… I wonder if it’s easy to contact Malcolm Turnbull.

    • Mr Shane

      No point contacting Turnbull. He’s the most left of our Conservative politicians and a “Friend of the ABC”. The ABC loves him because he’s a wolf in sheep’s, clothing inside the Liberal Party and he sides with the ABC on practically everything.

  • Suriel

    Actually I don’t think we should write to some complaint page. I think we should issue law suits for our human rights at the EU court in Strassbourg and at the UN, because we have been slandered by Mainstream media all over the globe. This can have very real consequences for our good names and we are associated with terrible deeds we have never done.

  • MojoNono

    “When 7:30 referenced Brianna Wu’s death threat sender, there’s no
    mention that the anonymous individual who sent the threats had no
    relation to #GamerGate or had any factual signs of being associated with

    Interesting to see later that same night on ABC1 during “The Agony of Modern Manners”, BWu’s accounts of social media threats being repeated almost verbatim by the interviewees who are all TV and Radio personalities in Australia.These are standard issue social media troll threats aimed at anybody who gains some level of fame or notoriety and not tied to any particular demographic. And while none of them were happy being harassed on twitter, they didn’t seem to be cultivating a victim complex about it, treating it more as a reality of being a celebrity in this day and age and understanding that trolls are just shit-stirrers.

    I think most people understand this, and it’s certainly the position taken when a gamergater gets threatened, but whenever it’s one of these core “LW’s” the MSM suddenly develops a blindspot.

  • ThePete

    Even the abc radio program ‘Hack’ on TripleJ was unusually one-sided in its representation of gamergate. Normally they are pretty good. They had a feminist lecturer and a games journalist with the only acknowledgement of corruption etc dismissed in the same sentence.

    I noticed later that day the lecturer tweeting sympathetically at Zoe Quinn.

    No mention of #notyourshiled or TFYC.

    • Melmike

      Hack really sunk for me that day. Such a bitter disappointment.

    • Aaron Styles

      Earlier in that day, the lecturer posted on twitter that she was going to be on Hack. Knew then it would be a hit piece.

      She is the main instigator in the Melbourne Indie Dev Scene going full SJW.

  • Burn Ender

    Now you guys are starting to realize just how far the rabbit hole goes. This is much bigger than gaming journalism, it is big media outlets.

    Every single outlet that ran one sided pieces or segment needs to be looked at and investigated.

    • …dat rabbit hole…


      • Madbrainbox

        That rabbit hole leads into a rat’s nest.

    • GamerGateUnite!!!

      I knew how deep the rabbit hole was… I wished we wouldn’t be forced to stand our ground, but achieve things through dialogue… Oh well, the rabbit hole is a bottomless pit…

    • Elilla Shadowheart

      Anyone who’s been involved in politics knew that there was a rabbit hole. Americans will probably be the first to agree with that statement. Canadians too have seen a shift and a rabbit hole starting. Strangely it seems to be more or less kept under control by bloggers here.

  • Ryu Planeswalker

    “Impartiality does not require that every perspective receives equal time, nor that every facet of every argument is presented.”

    You know, unless they are trying to force the Fairness Doctorate onto Right Wing Talk Radio.

    • Gregg Braddoch

      It’s always the same with radicals (from the left or the right) – You don’t have to be fair to ANYONE, except those who agree with these crazies.

      • Ryu Planeswalker

        Well in my opinion, these things are not a Left or Right issue, This is the other axis of power held by a few small elites, vs power held by the average person.

      • Gregg Braddoch

        Agreed, although lately the left-leaning crazies have been pushing for more power.

  • SecretX

    I’ve been saying this from the start.
    The media only cares about one story and is the one that gives them ratings in television.

  • JackDandy

    Man, this is the 90’s all over again.
    Showing off “those scary video gamers” is more important to mainstream news media, that shit will never go out of style.

  • Ruu

    I would like to help out. Can anyone give us a dot point summary of the things we should mention in a letter? I want to stay on point.

  • Red Lagoon

    And that ladies and gentlemen is why I never felt guilty of downloading The Walking Dead from some bay I know. Supporting this networks is the worst. I also read an article about the defamation of WikiLeaks founder, who looked very similar to the methods of shaming and defamation they are using against GG supporters.

    • DukeMagus

      Not a good argument. gamergate doesn’t condone piracy as far as i know. Buy it secondhand if you have to, but own it legally: no one will be able to use it against you that way

  • Jono Colwell

    ABC reporter chose to not interview anyone do the other side.
    She blew off the people I lined up for her.
    If you want the text logs and smslogs William feel free to hit me up in twitter.
    @adroitmanouvers send me a DM and I’ll due them to you.

  • LogunOne

    How do we trust anything on the news anymore CBC did the same thing here in Canada, the only thing missing from the evning news is a laugh track playing in the background

    • Bill Paxton

      I stopped trusting the news a few months after I started following the men’s rights movement.

  • Condorito Jones

    They know all about GG but ignore it and push the harassment angle because that’s their agenda. I’m sure they believe they’re doing the right thing too. “Let’s throw tens of thousands of people under the bus because we can save helpless fragile women!”

  • Sasha

    Hell yeah. I wrote a long, impassioned, and detail filled letter to the ABC complaining about this. It sounds like the message got through. Thanks for coming clean folks 🙂

  • Sasha

    I’ll remember this the next time funding for ABC is in the political discussion.

    • davblayn

      Cutting funding to the ABC won’t fix a damn thing.

  • Of course the media chose harassment over corruption. They know what sells. They know that this topic is popular and want to take full advantage of it.

    That’s what the media does, and it’s deplorable. I knew it would happen as soon as SpaceKatGal was doxxed. This is how opponents are defeated by the media.

    • davblayn

      The ABC is not a commercial outfit, so they don’t actually depend on ratings for funding. This was probably an editorial slip-up that’ll be resolved if a complaint is filed.

      • Chris Wedge

        And if it’s not, which from my experience and the experience of the MHRM in general, it won’t be. But who can tell until it’s done?

        My money is still on the “feminism is behind the SoJus push, so mainstream media’ll fall in line too” version of events, for the time being at least.

      • davblayn

        My money is on “The ABC is the most respected media outlet in the country if not the Asia-Pacific area, and they’ll work as hard as they can to resolve any issues of bias that lies withing the company”.

        When the mainstream media jumped on the bandwagon of attacking Julia Gillard (our former PM), they didn’t “fall in line”, and I doubt they will with respect to most issues.

        They are required *under law* to follow their charter, and their charter states that they need to be balanced in their reporting.

        Just to put this into perspective, the only institution that is trusted more in Australia than the ABC is the High Court https://essentialvision.com.au/trust-in-institutions-4

      • Chris Wedge

        Laws as-written are worth the value of the paper they’re written on. Jim Crow wasn’t racist, as race was never a factor. It was merely built by racists to do racist things – by being filled with non-racial factors that were nevertheless divided by racial lines.

        Laws as-enforced are the law. Court prescedents, bias within those who enforce, political pressures from their superiors. You know, historical corruption.

        Being the most-respected institution requires following these laws. If the law (as enforced, so don’t read the books, read the cases) says “never question feminism or SJWs” – that’s what they’ll do.

      • davblayn

        I don’t think you understand how the ABC operates, or the standards that they are required to operate under. They aren’t a commercial network, so they aren’t beholden to advertisers. What they are beholden to is the ABC Charter, which sets clear standards on how they cover the news and current affairs.

      • Bond

        You’re living in a fantasy world!

      • davblayn

        Sorry, but I think someone who lives in Australia would have a better understanding about how the corporation works than someone who probably mistook it for the American Broadcasting Corporation. You have no clue what you’re talking about.

  • Brit Bong

    As a non australian, is there anything I can do?

    • davblayn

      You can file a complaint with the ABC.

    • Bond

      No. Australians can’t do anything about the utterly corrupt and biased ABC that they are forced to pay for thru their unjust and unfair government extortion system. The only thing you can do is switch them off. Which I recommend you do immeadiately.

      • davblayn

        You’re on a little hit parade, aren’t you?

        Go home Mr Bolt, you’re drunk.

  • Sock Pupet1984

    GoodGames pussed the same angle in their Game News… pretty much the only Gamer relevant show on Australian TV, I might also be worth pushing it to Media Watch, a program on the ABC that focuses on Media Integrity, and they have Targeted the ABC before.

    • Sock Pupet1984


      • davblayn

        I heard back from Media Watch today. They want to know what the ABC’s response was to my complaint.

  • Ben ~LinkageAX~ Webb

    Don’t complain to the ABC, they’ll ignore it. Write to local members about cutting funding.

    • davblayn

      Do you seriously think that cutting funding to the ABC will fix this? The ABC handles complaints very seriously, I have no doubt that they’ll work to have this resolved. They’re required to respond to their complaints, and have them resolved under the ABC Charter.

      • Ben ~LinkageAX~ Webb

        They’re also required to follow their ethics policy. Obviously they do that.

      • Bond

        Wow! Really? Please disclose to whom you are related to at the ABC?

      • davblayn

        If I was related to anyone working at the ABC, I would have disclosed it.

  • davblayn

    I sent an email over to Media Watch (ironically, an ABC show), and they got back to me today. They asked me to provide them with details of the ABC’s response to my complaint once I get one.

    • TheDevilsTowelboy

      Also send to FactCheck – see what kind of spine they have.

  • davblayn

    I should point out that the ABC is without a doubt Australia’s most prestigious broadcaster and news organisation. I have no doubt that they will work to have this issue resolved.

    • Bond

      Your’e joking right? Don’t believe this person you all non-aussies reading this.The ABC is a cesspool of the most rancid corruption, nepotism and pseudo-socialist political agenderism that any government institutuion in a democracy can get away with, anywhere in the world. YOU sir, are hilarious!

      • davblayn

        Run on back to the Andrew Bolt comment section, and let the big boys discuss this stuff, eh.

  • Andrew_M_Swallow

    If the big danger of the #GamerGate story being reported as corruption is that the auditors may choose to triple check the journalists expense accounts.

    Unethical activities includes bribery. Warning signals include reviewer staying in an expensive hotel and using call girls without submitting an expenses claim for the business trip.

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