Quebec Press Council Blatantly Lies To Cover-up Urbania’s #GamerGate Inaccuracies

The Quebec Press Council, usually referred to as the CPQ, is a private organization in charge of defending the freedom of the press, usually against charges of defamation, inaccuracy, libel or journalistic impropriety. The Council is made up of journalists and members of the media. They have no judicial or legislative power, only “moral” authority on the matters of journalistic integrity, as mentioned in their mission statement on their website. They recently issued a defense for an article published on French-Canadian website Urbania on October 23rd, 2014 by the editor-in-chief, Eric Samson. Readers had claimed that the piece was filled with inaccuracies.

The Quebec Press Council review was originally in French but an English translation was overseen, edited and provided by Mug33k, Lunar Archivist and Pets of Warcraft. The full English translation of the review can be read here.

The Council immediately starts off by quickly jumping to the wrong conclusions, defending Mr. Samson in his repeated use of the inaccurate depiction of TheZoePost, in which Samson wrote…

“[…] a guy writes a blog post accusing his former girlfriend, an indie video game developer, of having slept with journalists in the specialist press in exchange for coverage and positive reviews. Allegations which have since been demonstrated to be false

Of course, the positive coverage has not been demonstrated to be false. That’s because writer Nathan Grayson was romantically involved with Zoe Quinn at one time, and wrote three articles mentioning her and Depression Quest, as archived by Deepfreeze.it. Samson does not clarify that Grayson provided coverage of Quinn and her games on multiple occasions without disclosure.

The Council admits they couldn’t find the word “review” in TheZoePost, but still feel Samson is not inaccurate with his writing, stating…

“Upon reading the blog post, the Council notes that the author did not explicitly write that Zoe Quinn had sexual relations with journalists in exchange for coverage or positive reviews.

 

“However, beyond the initial reading of thezoepost, the Council notes that the allegation of an exchange of sex for coverage or positive reviews is firmly present in the subtext.”

The positive coverage is present in the subtext because it actually happened. There is irrefutable proof of that, as linked above. No amount of sophistry can unwash from the internet the stains of corruption that Grayson has left behind, not to mention the fact that he paid Quinn $800 without disclosing financial ties to the subject of one of his articles.

Nevertheless, the Council states…

“It is pertinent here to recall the broad freedom and latitude afforded to opinion-oriented journalists to express their point of view. In exercising this freedom and this latitude, Mr. Samson has, in the Council’s estimation, remained faithful to the facts in reflecting, in his editorial, the subtext undeniably present in the blog post of Eron Gjoni.

 

“For this reason, the grievance of inaccuracy is rejected on this point.”

Except Samson is wrong, and provably so according to the sources on Deepfreeze.it. If Samson is wrong, on account of Grayson’s own admissions to financially supporting Quinn and writing about her several times in coverage for Rock, Paper, Shotgun and Kotaku, without proper disclosure, then this means the Quebec Press Council are actively supporting journalistic corruption, the misuse of information and the misappropriation of facts.

They try to defend this stance by stating that the coverage of Grayson was not “positive”, writing…

“Upon reading these two articles, the Council is of the opinion that neither one can be considered as “positive coverage” or a “positive review”.

Grayson called Depression Quest a “Twine darling” in his January 8th, 2014 piece on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. “Darling” is a noun or adjective relating to “affection”, “love” or something that’s “cherished”. Those qualities are deemed as “positive”. The Council of Quebec has lied in determining that the mention of Quinn or Depression Quest was not positive in Grayson’s coverage.

They go on to state…

“Furthermore, the timeline established by the author of thezoepost himself places the existence of a conflict of interest linked to the relationship between Nathan Grayson and Zoe Quinn before April 1, 2014 in doubt.”

It’s already proven they knew each other as far back as 2012. As reported by The Ralph Retort, Grayson was a beta tester for Quinn’s Depression Quest as far back as February 18th, 2013, something that should have warranted disclosure even apart from the romantic element. This is well before April 1st, 2014.

In fact, Quinn was a major source of the content of Grayson’s coverage of Steam Greenlight games in his September 5th, 2012 piece for Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Her name is mentioned nine times throughout the article. He also stated at the start of January that he would “burn down” the gaming industry if Quinn quit making games.

Nathan Grayson on Twitter

@ZoeQuinnzel I hope not. If it is, I will burn down the gaming industry.

Nevertheless, the Council states that there’s nothing wrong with Samson’s erroneous line that positive coverage was never granted to Quinn by Grayson, stating…

“In this context, it is the Council’s estimation that Mr. Éric Samson remained faithful to reality in writing that the allegations of an exchange of sex between Zoe Quinn and Nathan Grayson for coverage or a positive review “have since been demonstrated to be false”.

 

“For this reason, the grievance of inaccuracy is rejected on this point.”

They later try to defend Samson when he mentioned that nude photos of Quinn were spread around during the height of the controversy. The Council equivocally argues that Zoe Quinn’s pornographic photos from back when she was a softcore porn model were used to “intimidate” and “denigrate”, stating…

“The Council, like the complainant, has duly noted that the photos which were circulated on 4chan were identified by logos as belonging to erotic websites that Ms. Quinn had posed for in the past.

 

“Nevertheless, it is the judgement of the Council that it would be obtuse to conclude that these photos cannot be considered personal simply because of the fact that they were originally created for the purposes of publication on erotic websites. In light of the situation, an a fortiori argument can be made that these nude photos of Ms. Quinn were misappropriated from their original purpose and put into circulation for the purpose of intimidating and denigrating her.”

Actually, Quinn has stated that she’s proud of her pornographic photos and stands by them. Unless they can provide a written or documented statement from Quinn stating otherwise about her pornographic career, their statement about the photos being “intimidating” and “denigrating” are categorically false.

They further argue that since the photos are of Quinn and that since she is a person, the liberal use of “personal” in Samson’s article does not make his statements inaccurate. They state…

“ In that spirit, the Council is of the opinion that Mr. Éric Samson, while using the latitude afforded to him in his work as an editorialist, did not distort reality by stating that “personal” photos of Ms. Quinn were published.”

However, they should note that the photos were not published, unless they count a decade ago on a professionally run website as “published”.

The photos are available on Google just by typing it into the search engine. Porn outlets Deviant Nation and Broken Dollz continue to circulate the images, which are available right now. In fact, Quinn’s old profile, under the pseudonym “Locke”, is still up on Broken Dollz (the link is Not Safe For Work).

The photos are copyrighted to Broken Dollz and Deviant Nation and have been available since 2006. Samson and the Council of Quebec are both inaccurate in stating that anyone other than the porn sites have published the photos for public viewing. Claiming otherwise is a lie.

Further into the review, the Council states…

“Inaccuracy in the passage [states]: “Some seized upon the opportunity to imagine a great media conspiracy where everyone was sleeping with everyone else in exchange for visibility.”

 

“The Council does not deny the existence of allegations on the subject of GameJournoPros and the collaboration in the field of the gaming press. However, while the complainant is filtering both the passage in question as well as the entire editorial of Mr. Samson through the lens of his extensive knowledge of GamerGate and the positions purportedly defended by this movement, the Council believes that the passage in question must be interpreted more broadly and for what it really is.

 

“To establish if the journalist committed an error of inaccuracy, it is sufficient to ask oneself if it is wrong to say that “some” Internet users, in the wake of the GamerGate movement, actually imagined that a conspiracy in the form of systematic bartering of sex in exchange for positive coverage existed in the world of video game journalism.

 

“In light of the research that it has done, the Council responds in the affirmative: It is indeed reasonable to claim that, among the hordes of comments, blog posts, or articles that came out in the wake of thezoepost, such generalizations were made.”

 

“For all of these reasons, the Council is of the opinion that Mr. Éric Samson has not committed the error of inaccuracy in the passage referred to by the complainant.

 

“For this reason, the grievance of inaccuracy is rejected on this point.”

These weren’t conspiracies, these were facts. Samson tries to diminish the value of #GamerGate by denying that relationships and conflicts of interest are as prominent as some believe them to be, but that is erroneous and feeding into complicity of covering up the corruption within the media industry.

In fact, journalists were not only caught engaged in conflicts of interest and journalistic impropriety, some even came forward and provided proof of such.

One journalist outed a couple at an outlet where a journalist refused to report on 40,000 people being hacked that were playing an Electronic Arts mobile game made by Fire Monkey called Real Racing 3, because he didn’t want to ruin his relationship with an EA press representative that he was dating.

In the case of AusGamers, editor Steve Farrelly reviewed an Electronic Arts game, SimCity, in which his wife works for the company. After the conflict of interest was pointed out, AusGamers deleted the review from the site as an attempt to cover up traces of impropriety.

PC Gamer’s executive editor, Tyler Wilde, was romantically involved with a Ubisoft communications representative all while covering games for Ubisoft. After this conflict of interest was made apparent, PC Gamer issued an apology and noted they would offer more appropriate disclosures and recusal.

Another issue popped up with a former content producer at the Escapist, Andrea Rene, and the current PlayStation director of portfolio strategy, John T. Drake, who were romantically involved and no disclosures were made while Rene covered some of the products Drake was promoting.

There have been regular occurrences of relationships and conflicts of interests between game developers, press representatives for publishers and game journalists, many of which were uncovered during #GamerGate. It’s neither a misconstrued generalization nor an inaccurate assessment to say that the game journalism arena has multiple infractions of journalistic impropriety regarding disclosures and conflicts of interest. These instances also include infractions by Kotaku’s Nathan Grayson, Polygon’s Ben Kuchera, the collusion to blacklist individuals using the Game Journo Pros list, and many, many more. These instances of corruption are all detailed on Deepfreeze.it.

The Press Council of Quebec has either deliberately lied or failed in their own journalistic duties to fact check the inaccuracies committed and displayed by Urbania’s editor-in-chief, Éric Samson.

The Council further defends attributing false accusations without evidence to the individuals using the #GamerGate hashtag, in regards to the bomb threats that were made regarding a speaking engagement involving Anita Sarkeesian at the Utah State University, stating…

“The Council notes that the letter sent to the USU and published by a daily newspaper in Utah, the Standard Examiner, does not mention the GamerGate movement.

 

“One would have to be blind or operating in bad faith to not view the incident at the USU, which occurred while GamerGate was at its peak, as a result of the dramatic excesses of the movement, regardless of what the complainant may think. […]

 

“For this reason, the grievance of inaccuracy is rejected on this point.”

Citation needed.

If there is no proof that #GamerGate was involved with the threat; if the individual who sent the threat does not mention #Gamergate and there is no link between the two, then this is a blatant case of guilt by association and an obvious act of the Quebec Press Council unapologetically lying that the threat came from #GamerGate with no evidence.

Presuming guilt without proving guilt is a gross display of misconduct by the Council and is one of the highest orders of institutional malfeasance regarding journalistic integrity.

They also defend that Samson linking to the factually inaccurate Wikipedia entry was also fine considering that he was not aware of the credibility issues happening behind the scene. They state…

“The Council has acknowledged the existence of certain published statements on Twitter, in September and October of 2014, calling into question the reliability of the Wikipedia page dedicated to GamerGate. However, these exchanges do not constitute evidence worthy of seriously calling into question the credibility of the Wikipedia page at the time of the publication of Mr. Éric Samson’s text.

 

“For this reason, the Council is of the opinion that Mr. Samson could not have been aware of a problem with the credibility of the Wikipedia page since this problem was not formally recognized at the time of the publication of his editorial. The information that he delivered was thus complete given the facts available.”

While we could give Samson the benefit of the doubt about not having been aware of those credibility  issues at the time of the writing of his article, it’s still due diligence on the part of the journalist to remove or correct links pointing to false information. Not only is the Council advocating the usage of inaccurate sourcing, but they deny enforcement that a correction be made to Urbania’s article. In result, the Council appears as if they are advocating the use of maintaining citations that are both inaccurate and defamatory in nature.

It should always be within the best interest of ethical outlets to post corrections and updates regarding poor sourcing. The fact that the Quebec Press Council would defend an unethical stance speaks volumes on how they neither value nor adhere to proper ethical standards.

The only positive part of the review is that the Council admonished Urbania for not even offering to respond to the review of their factually inaccurate editorial. While people can say that it’s just an editorial, spreading misinformation, defamation and hearsay in a matter-of-fact way is just as bad as a news piece that does the same.

(Main image courtesy of Madhatter Himself)

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

24 thoughts on “Quebec Press Council Blatantly Lies To Cover-up Urbania’s #GamerGate Inaccuracies

    1. I find it a bit more sad that the press and even the media watchdogs are seemingly this far gone. If GamerGate is “just” about gaming journalism and the media has presented such a deliberately skewed and even falsified view of it, what does that say about their ability to cover more important issues?

      1. Well, that’s kind of the point. The issues, as someone once put it, isn’t “GamerGate’s unimportant! Who cares if we don’t get it right?” but more “You can’t even get something like Gamergate right. How the hell should we trust you for more important things?”

      2. I actually find that to some degree, positive.
        If those institutions have no chance of fixing themselves then the best case scenario is for them to get as bad as they can be so people leave.

      3. They’ve always been that far gone. People are only just realizing that now. I’ve known for years and years and years, but any time I brought it up, people dismissed me as being crazy.

        People only believe what they want to believe.
        They leave themselves wide open for corruption to set deeper.

    2. No its good. It shows that they’re still afraid of us. If they still feel that they have to actually work on smearing GG it only shows that they still consider us a threat

      Complete media silence would be a sign of them not caring about GG anymore – and they could all just have ignored all the bitching and moaning from GG – but they didn’t… and haven’t stopped for almost 2 years now

  1. Goal one of GamerGate; point at and address systemic corruption and collusion within gaming press – still doing that beautifully.

    Goal two; point at and address systemic corruption and collusion within the general press and their collaborators – still doing that beautifully.

    Goal three; get back to gaming – still working on the first two, sorry production houses, I promise we’ll get back to buying games once we’ve sorted out this massive problem with a lack of integrity and lack of ethics within the general media outlets which should be reporting to us and not writing paid for reviews or shilling ideologues which have nothing to do with games.

  2. Quebec is the most corrupt jurisdiction in North America anyway. Nothing from that province can be trusted. Their former lieutenant-governor, Lise Thibault, just started her prison sentence yesterday. the only good things that come from there are hockey players and strippers.

    1. Two of the members of the Quebec Press Council also stepped down a while back in relation to corruption charges. It appears the watchers of the watchmen are as corrupt as the watchmen that they watch.

      1. Well, considering that they allegedly receive 60% of their funding from the media, that’s not much of a surprise.

        Kind of makes you wonder where the other 40% comes from…and how unfortunate it would be if something happened to it. 🙂

  3. Too many journalists have printed too many lies about GamerGate, intentional or not.

    That’s why they’ll never back down on the narrative even as it burns down around them. Misplaced solidarity and fear for their own jobs.

    1. Well, they have the choice of putting the fire our or letting it burn to the ground. I have no problem accelerating things.

      1. They’ve spent the better part of two years stoking that fire. It’s come to the point where there’s nothing left to stamp out.

        Two years ago, they could have apologized and moved on, instead they painted themselves into the corner of the burning building they’re currently sitting in. If anyone were to break rank, people would be out on their arse.

      2. Sad thing is, this COULD be the start of a new story: outlets which didn’t fall for the bad info. It’s a far larger UVA Rape Hoax story.

        Then again, look how quickly they got past THAT story. In no time there were even serious pieces claiming that it’s good to lie about rape.

      3. See this is why Trump going after journalists sprouting libel can’t be all that bad. Lives are literally ruined by bad journalism and it will follow some of these people until their grave. Journalists NEED to be held accountable for spouting off this kind of libel. I just wish it was someone a bit more responsible talking about taking journalists to task.

  4. “Nevertheless, it is the judgement of the Council that it would be obtuse to conclude that these photos cannot be considered personal simply because of the fact that they were originally created for the purposes of publication on erotic websites.”

    Mind. Fucking. Blown.

  5. Auto correct got you. “Twin darling” instead of “Twine darling”.

    Solid article as always. Damn shame what we’re continuing to see happen.

  6. If I were to submit something as poorly-researched as Mr. Sampson’s work to TechRaptor, it would be summarily returned to me with a “fix this mess” by our editorial staff. Shamefully substandard work.

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