ACMA Finds No Fault In ABC’s Biased #GamerGate Coverage


On two separate counts of alleged journalistic impropriety, the ACMA has found the Australian Broadcasting Corporation faultless. The investigation rendered states that the ABC had the leeway to report only on the harassment that the media fabricated around #GamerGate and that the 7:30 nightly news program was not beholden to publish the whole truth.

The entire investigation results were published over on the ACMA’s website. The two accounts of impropriety put forward by viewers were that the ABC program lacked due impartiality and that it lacked diverse perspectives.

According to the ACMA, the ABC had leeway to not focus on every aspect of #GamerGate and that if they only wanted to present a story centering around fabricated or unsubstantiated information, such as the concocted “harassment campaign”, then they have every right to do so. The ACMA states…

“The complainants have alleged that the segment lacked impartiality through favouring a particular perspective and omitting other views relevant to an understanding of GamerGate. In this view, GamerGate is a consumer revolt concerning ethics in computer games journalism, and not, as per the focus of the segment, a scandal relating to alleged misogyny in video gaming.

 

“Under the ABC Code, the ABC has latitude to explore a particular issue within the context of a complicated and controversial issue such as GamerGate”

Essentially, it’s the same excuse that the CBC has used to dodge responsibility – they also claimed that surmising #GamerGate within the context of being a consumer movement about sending rape and death threats to female developers as an acceptable description. This is what the CBC News Radio program director went on record to say.

I would love to see someone use the same excuse for blatantly misrepresenting national conflicts like the fight over the Gaza strip or the conflict between Russia and Ukraine by summing up said events using biased or inaccurate information. I would also love to see an ethics commission step in and excuse the biased reporting on the grounds that the reporter used a “neutral” tone to dispense misinformation. I wonder how well that would go over with the general public?

Anyway, the ACMA acknowledges that #GamerGate is about ethical concerns in gaming journalism, but that it wasn’t required of the ABC to provide any of the relevant facts concerning those issues, as the whole thing – according to them – could very well center around harassment, and that lying by omission is apparently a very acceptable thing in today’s media. The report states…

“The ACMA accepts that GamerGate also covers ethical concerns about gaming journalism and, relevant to the complainants’ position, that those who hold this view do not necessarily condone threats or harassment against women. Further, insofar as it is relevant, as the use of hashtags to connect themes inherently contains a plurality of voices, users are likely to hold a range of viewpoints.

 

“However, the ACMA has, in previous investigations, noted that programs are entitled to take specific lines of enquiry and there is no requirement in the ABC Code for all facts that are potentially relevant to a program to be presented.

I would wager that not including the facts can vastly change the interpretation of a story. I mean, adding or removing facts like someone was shot in cold blood when in fact they had a gun on them can vastly alter the interpretation of a story, no? Or perhaps a story about a woman killing a man in the bedroom after stabbing him multiple times might look grizzly to most people… although omitting the fact that sexual abuse had occurred could vastly alter the interpretation of that story to the general audience, no?

According to the ACMA report, they state that…

“The ordinary reasonable viewer would have understood that GamerGate covers a range of broad and contentious issues, that the segment focussed on one aspect and that other
viewpoints exist.”

A few lines later they also state the following in regards to follow-up coverage of the issue, stating…

“As noted above, the segment would not have been understood by an ordinary reasonable viewer as being exhaustive reportage of all the perspectives and issues in relation to
GamerGate.

 

“Relevantly, the ABC has submitted that the amount of detail that could be allocated to individual views on GamerGate was driven primarily by the availability of pro-GamerGate interviewees willing to be filmed at the PAX Convention, time constraints and the editorial choice about the relevance of comments to the main focus of the story.“

According to the ACMA, the ABC tried reaching out to 30 individuals at the PAX event on hand but couldn’t find any single individual to go on record, on camera, and offer a counter-view for the segment.

I had asked the reporter previously why they didn’t include Christina Hoff Sommers, who had recently recorded an interview for the ABC on another program just prior to the 7:30 segment, but they had no intentions of including Sommers’ commentary or views in the segment.

The ACMA states that counter views were provided on ABC Radio National, and that the ABC has also covered the topic via their online publications. They conclude the report by stating…

“The ACMA is satisfied that the ABC has presented a diversity of perspectives on the issue, which it acknowledges is a controversial issue, so that, over time, no significant strand of thought or belief within the community has been knowingly excluded or disproportionally represented.”

The ABC failed to mention the Game Journo Pros that was a big story that Breitbart broke back in September. They opted not to include the alleged blacklisting carried out at the hands of the group or their monopolization of media narratives within the gaming news sector, nor did they cover the corruption involving 40,000 people who were hacked and an Australian games journalist working with EA to cover-up the story so he wouldn’t risk his relationship with one of their employees. If any of those people happened to be an investor, that could have been a blatant SEC violation.

Nevertheless, this episode has taught us that the truth, facts and presenting the whole story is not on the media’s agenda.

Some of those who filed complaints with the ACMA plan to do a follow-up. You can learn more by visiting the official ACMA’s website.



About

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

  • Hawk Hopper

    What do we have here? More journalists only picking and choosing what they want a story to be about? More journalists going for emotions and not facts? More overseers of journalism seeing nothing wrong with what journalists are doing, so they can cover their own butts? Well, if I were a cynic, I would think something’s awfully fishy about all of this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWdD206eSv0

    • That clip never gets old.

      https://i.imgur.com/zaj6Lnf.jpg

      • Hawk Hopper

        Yep. It’s probably one of my favorite clips.

        He might be the dumbest cartoon rabbit.

    • TheGreatGamerGod

      I’d never seen that clip before but it really made me laugh!

  • This is why #GamerGate is here. Unethical journalism. Do we really have to extend it beyond “just” gaming jornalism or what!? By presenting false and biased information as a journalist, it means you’re being UNETHICAL. And when new correct info is presented to you, you just straight out refuse to present it to the public. Which part of this unethical behavior ABC doesn’t understand!?

    • TheGreatGamerGod

      I think trying to get ‘normal’ journalism to be fixed is nigh impossible. It’s been that way for at least a hundred years in most places, whoever owned the press outlet, spun the news to their own agenda like Murdoch. Heck even Citizen Kane covered it. SJWs simply aligned to company owners of that ilk. (Destructoid, Kotaku, Rock-Paper-Shotgun, etc.)

  • llewdrac

    Australian television has been dying for years. “Journalism” like this is probably one of the reasons why.

  • Ricardo Lima

    We should never accept the lie that is the Narrative , Most of GG did nothing wrong and they buried their corruption, on a defamation campaign. Truth shall set us free.

  • GuitarAnthony

    Of course, if someone had done a story on the CBC showing them only in a negative light, oh the crying that we would hear from them.

  • Inquiring

    Can’t claim too much surprise, not only is the press going to take their own side, but it also being Australia and an issue about games means no way the reporting will be called out for its biases.

    Have a better chance of getting a sweet deal on a bridge than non-authoritarian behavior over games in Australia.

  • DirkBelig

    This is SOP for the corrupt media everywhere. Look at how CNN deliberately fomented the false “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” narrative in Ferguson, MO, successfully whipping up riots, looting and arson for ratings and to assist in Obama’s divisive racial manipulation. A high thug who robbed a store and then attacked a cop was remade by the media machine into a “gentle giant” who was gunned down randomly by a racist white cop because of course, so BURN THIS MUTHA DOWN! As bad as it is for GamerGate to be libeled by the media with their biased reporting, I think the dishonest media trying to spark violent race war is a wee bit worse.

  • Meittimies

    “there is no requirement in the ABC Code for all facts that are potentially relevant to a program to be presented.”

    In other words: “Theres nothing wrong with news deliberately twisting the truth and outright lying to its viewers!”. How very disappointing, ACMA.

    • TheGreatGamerGod

      It reminds me of the X-files episode of The Simpsons.

      “Hello. I’m Leonard Nimoy. The following tale of alien encounters is
      true. And by true, I mean false. It’s all lies. But they’re entertaining
      lies. And in the end, isn’t that the real truth? The answer is: No.”

  • T-6000

    The only way the Mainstream Media can be forced to tell the truth is if people just turn off the station, or better yet turn to an independent source. Even as far back as the very early 2000s I watched CNN and FOX, then learned how big liars the Corporate Media can be be they Liberal or Conservative. So I went with the more independent news sources such as DemocracyNow and never went back to those corporate assclowns. Well, seeing John Stewart rip on them is funny but that is the extent I’m wiling to stomach them. Hell, even the “Videogames are evil” moral panic they tried to start in the mid 2000s, the memories are still fresh in my mind. Especially when some of the people at Fox News accused Mass Effect of having strong sex scenes (and I think even X-Rated Stuff). It’s really a waste of time to expect the Government to police the Mainstream Media (especially here in the U.S.), so the best way is to expose the liars and show people more truthful alternatives.

    • iplaygamezztooez

      Tell it like it iz GAMUERRR. Seriously you are what maybe a couple of thousand idiots online that NO ONE is taking seriously. Even the big media outlets. Blacklist everyone, whitelist everyone

      • A Real Libertarian

        You’re really not too bright, you know that?

  • Gamer

    Well, this is disappointing. No accountability.

    On the bright side, they admitted that Gamergate is about ethics. They also admitted ABC omitted facts and only presented a cherry picked narrative.

    All we should have to do is point out this report, and it should stand for itself. Even though we didn’t get what we wanted, the ACMA still proved us “right”. It’s just they also feel lying by omission is ok.

    How would the ACMA feel if a news report omitted facts about that cop that was caught on camera shooting an unarmed fleeing black man 6 times in the back at the park? The story could be spun to make the cop look like a hero if facts are taken out.

    • How would the ACMA feel if a news report omitted facts about that cop that was caught on camera shooting an unarmed fleeing black man 6 times in the back at the park? The story could be spun to make the cop look like a hero if facts are taken out.

      Yep, exactly. I’m sure this has happened quite a bit. If these corrupt media outlets can’t publish the facts about simple issues in games journalism, I don’t think we can trust that they would be adept at publishing all the facts for more important issues.

  • For fucks sake. I hope some electorates hear about this and the ABC gets further funding cuts or the entire board is replaced by people competent.

  • Erthwjim

    Does the ACMA have a vested interest in ABC?

    • Tom Raft

      Hard to quantify that, don’t know who is involved in the organisation. Looking at their track history with the ABC…

      https://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/ACMAi/Investigation-reports/Television-investigations/television-operationsabc-tv-investigations

      They haven’t ruled against them in anything other than minor breaches, the ABC is notorious for being left-biased even in news and current affairs and the ACMA refused to apply journalistic standards to the news and current affairs.

      I plan to escalate my complaint to the ombudsman, who better give a reason why they should ignore journalistic ethics when it is in the code of practice.

      I will also plan to write the communication minister, the government in power is right-wing and is sick to death of the ABC and want to stop funding them, any political pressure I can get on the ombudsman, the better.

      I am going to wait until after AirPlay, where the media will probably get a scathing brow-beating for breaching journalistic ethics, will use that as my punch line for them to do something about our unethical media.

      • Erthwjim

        So it sounds like ABC and ACMA are both government run? I’d say they should hire a third party company to audit them rather than using another government agency. Government investigating government never comes up with much (unless it’s a party thing, but in this case it sounds like it isn’t).

      • Tom Raft

        The problem with bureaucrats is that it doesn’t matter if the government comes into power is left, right or centre, they all draw employees for the public sector from the same pool, who tends to be heavily left wing so there isn’t a whole lot a right wing government can do, other than what it does and that is go on a mass firing spree whenever they come into power.

        They often do bring in external consultants to bring in much needed expertise from the private sector, but for something like handling complaints about the media, after a period of time even if it began as a third party, it would just morph into another semi-government body in which their resources and talent pool would eventually go back the same pool of people that they draw from currently.

        Anyway, we will see how the ombudsman goes, the existing ombudsman is being moved on next month so we get some fresh meat to bring our complaint to, I think it is imperative that the government in power is fully aware that if they allow the left wing media and academia dominate the gaming industry, they will use it as a political indoctrination tool for the youth, if they let it happen, they will sign the death warrant of their political party within the space of two generations, we will just have the left and the radical left parties in the future.

  • Philip Weigel

    The only news you can seemingly trust is the weather and sports these days.

    …And only if they’re reporting on what happened at the game for sports. Everything else is just gossip.

  • C G Saturation

    Australian “news” is a joke. Just the other day, one news program did a segment on the “gender wage gap”, whining that women taking maternity leave are discriminated against. How is that discrimination when men can’t get pregnant?

    Fact is, businesses are assholes who won’t hesitate to replace employees, unless the employee is very special. This applies to both men and women, it’s not gender discrimination. If the average man took paid leave for a long time, I’m sure most businesses would get rid of him. People don’t seem to understand that in such a large population, nearly everyone is seen as expendable.

    But of course, that doesn’t fit into the agenda, so the news intentionally does not report on other sides of the issue. The same thing applies here. There is clearly the intent to always report one side, because they want viewers to believe a false narrative.

    Contrary to popular belief, that’s what most “news” is designed to achieve. I think people tend to deny this, because it destroys their faith in the system and their country.

    Bottom line: don’t expect the news to report the facts, because that’s the opposite of their true purpose. Easiest way to tell if they’re bullshit: ask yourself if they’re reporting multiple sides or only one. For example, One Angry Gamer often tries to reach out to all parties.

  • Avaloner Kitty

    That is to be expected considering the ABC has long since pushed a left-wing/feminist agenda. I find all of the Australian TV stations much the same except maybe channel 9 which I can’t stand either. In all honesty I don’t trust much of what the so called main steam media or alternative media says anymore. They sell wars, consumerism, phony political dichotomies (left/right) that do nothing but enslave people more to the status Quo and those in truly in power, the oligarchs.

    I hope no one was surprised by this.

  • Gamer

    New development posted by William himself over on reddit:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/3cijea/producer_admission_reveals_abc_lied_to_acma/

    Usher’s TLDR:

    The ABC just got caught in a royal funk-up. A producer
    admitted they interviewed someone for the #GamerGate segment but didn’t
    air it. ABC claimed to the ACMA they had no interviews to run that were
    neutral/pro-GG. You can contact your MP to let them know the ABC is
    purposefully slanting the news.

    Oh boy, I can’t wait until this pans out. We may have hope still.

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