Mark Kern, the founder of Mek Entertainment, recently made a petition to help bridge the rift between gamers, games media and game developers. Various video game journalists responded to the petition; some of the responses included light threats against developers who want to support #GamerGate in reforming ethics in the media arena.
One has to question, what kind media ring attacks developers for wanting to root out corruption in the industry?
Anyway, Kern’s Petition, which has more than 1,500 signatures, and seeks out the support of developers, states…
“On Feb. 11, Law and Order SVU aired an episode about video games called “Intimidation Game” that is being called the “Reefer Madness” of our times. It was a relentless and histrionic parade of slander against video games and gamers. It has helped set back the public image of the video games by years if not decades. It made absolutely nobody happy in the gaming industry.
“This result, this episode, shown to millions of non-gamers worldwide is the inevitable result of months of gaming press coverage on the rift between gamers that currently plagues our hobby. A rift that the gaming press are accountable for conflagrating through a slew of articles that only served to fan the flames, celebrate the extremists on both sides, magnify the rift and sensationalize the issue. There is a term for this, called yellow journalism, and it has started wars before. It has no place in a gaming press that is supposed to support our industry and gamers in particular, of all walks.”
Kern calls for Kotaku and Polygon to help reform the landscape they helped scorch. This all started because Gawker and Kotaku refused to take responsibility for Nathan Grayson’s indiscretions that kickstarted #GamerGate. To this day, Grayson has not been reprimanded for damaging the gaming industry in the way that he has by not providing proper disclosure in the first place and attempting to defend his impropriety, part of a string of corruption that Grayson is known for, as documented in this article about the Game Journo Pros and their nepotistic behavior.
Patrick Garratt from the gaming website VG 24/7, published an article attacking Kern for making the petition and supporting aspects of #GamerGate to reform the ethics in the media ring.
According to Garratt…
“Kern is saying that the reason the “rift” has made it into the non-gamer sphere is because of Kotaku and Polygon’s reporting. While it’s never clear in his document if there are any specific articles he particularly blames, or if it’s just the entire body of Kotaku and Polygon’s Gamergate coverage which is at fault, the “help” he’s asking for appears to be in terms of stopping their reporting in relation to this story. I’m guessing: Kern never says what he’s actually asking for.”
Kern is referring to articles like the “Gamers Are Dead” pieces that purposefully ignored facts in order to push an agenda. Both Kotaku and Polygon were involved in the yellow journalism present in those pieces.
Garratt further states…
“Also, and this is incredible, Kern seems to be saying that Kotaku and Polygon are wholly responsible for the making of the Law & Order SVU’s Intimidation Game episode (he’s even changed the wording at, of course, the request of the public, to be less “civil” towards the sites). You can read an overview of the episode here if you haven’t seen it, but it basically riffs on the real incident of someone threatening to commit a mass murder if feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian made good on a speaking commitment at Utah State University.”
Kotaku, Polygon and many other major media outlets were responsible for being the core platforms in which the information for the episode was inspired. Most of all the information from those websites have already been debunked as false, including proper citations on why they’re false, as detailed in this article pointing out their factual inaccuracies that were inspired for the Law & Order episode.
If your name is listed in that article with multiple “Citations needed” in there, then it means you may have helped contribute to spreading false information. That’s yellow journalism.
— Speed Weed (@RealSpeedWeed) December 11, 2014
Garratt finishes the article saying…
“I’m going to finish this article with a call to developers thinking of jumping on this particular bandwagon. Please don’t. You’ll only make yourself look foolish to anyone other than the people that really are to blame for the negativity recently, and rightly, placed on “gamers” by the mainstream media over misogyny.
[…] As was made blatantly obvious by Gamergate, the last thing the gaming community needs at the moment is more ill-informed bigots getting angry on the internet. Think before you sign. It may be very difficult to erase the ink.”
Bolded parts added for emphasis.
Basically, Garratt is telling developers not to sign Mark Kern’s petition. He’s advocating that somehow it’ll be bad for developers to want a fair and representative gaming press that isn’t corrupt, cronyistic or ethically challenged.
Garratt is not alone.
Nathan Grayson, the indiscretionate journalist employed by Kotaku who has yet to apologize for the damage he’s caused, also spoke out against the petition, saying on Twitter…
“…everyone is being really silly today. the argument du jour shouldn’t even be an argument” …
“a) it’s important that the games press covers unfortunate bullshit–even if it reflects poorly on portions of the gaming community and shit, 90 percent of the time our coverage is literally, “look at how cool this thing gamers are doing is.” that is the whole point” … “the only reason this sticks out so much is bc it deviates from that gamers are human. sometimes they’re cool, other times they’re fuckers. we report on all of it.”
“b) the enthusiast games press doesn’t have the reach or influence to single-handedly birth an episode of svu. that assertion is beyond silly… there are so many other factors that fed into that svu episode, which itself was sloppy garbage. as we pointed out”
Grayson is right, the games press is too insignificant to influence the birth of that Law & Order: SVU episode. However, enough of the whining and childish, factually inaccurate temper tantrums from the inept and cognitively challenged games press affected the mainstream media, in which case they then picked up on the shoddily reported news and did their own negative, factually inaccurate spin.
It was the mainstream media’s yellow journalism that helped make that SVU episode possible, but it was the childish, drunken, incestuously collusive gaming press that got the yellow journalists from The Guardian, The Washington Post and The Daily Telegraph involved.
Speaking of the Daily Telegraph, Peter Oborne recently resigned over their very own yellow journalism regarding the HSBC coverage, as reported by Order-Order and the BBC, the latter of which was found to have spun a narrative on #GamerGate [via Sargon of Akkad], just like the yellow journalists at The Daily Telegraph. A thief reporting on a scoundrel’s antics… how novel.
Nevertheless, those whom are seated at a table for swine, eating the bread of iniquity and preaching with a childish tongue of lies, have continued to defend VG 24/7’s stance and belittle Kern for attempting to make piece with the war-mongers of the written word.
Polygon’s Ben Kuchera made the following comments about bridging the gap and closing the breach that those of his ilk have created, stating on Twitter…
Co-founder of The Escapist, Alexander Macris, had a rather welcoming quip as a retort to Kuchera’s outburst against the people who put food on the table and keep this industry alive, saying…
— Alexander Macris (@archon) February 17, 2015
The Guardian and Rock, Paper, Shotgun contributor, Cara Ellison, also dropped into the conversation on Twitter to state…
“We sit there and do not do actual reporting because the consumer does not want to hear about people in pain. Games press.” … “I hope videogames are worth it because we are all tired of trying to smile at our abusers and write something they like”
That’s fine and dandy, but when your fellow cohorts are found to have blacklisted fellow journalists as well as industry professionals, are consumers and developers supposed to shrug and allow that kind of mafioso-style monopolization continue?
Thankfully, some developers are finally seeing reality and stepping up and stepping out from the shadows to do right by the industry that loves and supports them. The iron-fisted abusers that rule the promotional ring in the realm of daily textual updates and mundane press-release news are no longer holding sway over the creators and the consumers in the way they once thought.
As spotted by Kotaku in Action, creative director Adrian Chmielarz from The Astronauts, the developers behind The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, spoke up against the VG 24/7 piece, stating…
Up-and-coming indie developer Danielle Maiorino, the bright mind behind the upcoming Afterlife Empire, mentioned in a recent interview regarding the potential blacklisting for having been supported by #GamerGate that…
“I won’t lie and say it doesn’t worry me a bit. But honestly, if people are going to blacklist me for how my game was funded without taking the time to talk to me about it, then I don’t know if I’d want to work with them to begin with. My views haven’t changed because I’m being helped by people whose own views I may disagree with, and being friends with someone doesn’t mean that you share the same beliefs or ideas.”
Mark Kern also had a few words of wisdom for the journalists threatening blacklisting (an activity they are not averse to employing), saying…
Also, journos should not become the news themselves. Threatening to blacklist devs is about as smart as blacklisting customers.
— Mark Kern (@Grummz) February 17, 2015
If more developers begin to speak up and speak out against the corrupt media ring, there could be a turn in the tide of the current battlefield that has done nothing but scorch the earth of the interactive entertainment industry. Hopefully, all the gatekeepers of old will be left in the dust from a war they created out of their own impropriety and peddling of fear-mongering.
In the meantime, #GamerGate will not stop. False narratives, national news spinning and poorly veiled threats by those with a ticking timer on their jobs will not slow down the locomotive of ethics reform.