On January 4th 2015 at 8:00am, a weekly 30 minute ESPN show called “Outside The Line,” which has been on the air since May 1990, aired a big episode. It wasn’t an investigative report on sports betting collusion or the medical injuries sports players face, but about online e-sports at Robert Morris University in Chicago that degraded into a non-factual discussion on Gamergate.
The episode spent around 15 minutes talking about the Robert Morris University and its progressive position on funding and fostering e-sports, which was well-researched and produced. The host then segued to the topic of Gamergate.
The first minute or two is “sexist” video game cut-scenes with the host talking about misogyny. It then switches over to two girl gamers who were in the previous 15 minute piece about Esports. They mostly spoke about getting harassed on the internet. One of the girls believes that Anonymous online culture is responsible. These girls had nothing to do with gamergate whatsoever—they weren’t prominently pro or against it but just wanted online harassment to stop. The ending had the host of the show using Skype without the watermark to call his buddy (Chris Suellentrop). The buddy of course being a New York Times video-game critic.
Check out the video above to see the true meaning of laziness.
They had 15 minutes of a well produced piece on Esports and needed to fill out the episode. The whole special conflated online misogyny to the wider consumer revolt of Gamergate. It wouldn’t be as offensive if the shows production at least tried to produce an actual technically respectable piece.
ESPN, with it’s 9 channels and 9 figure deals to get professional sports contracts, surely could have done a better job. The headquarters of ESPN is so big that the company itself refers to it as a campus. That surely beats our head honcho’s headquarters (a mid-sized apartment in Eastern Europe.). They have the resources to fly people in. They even have the capability of doing satellite up-link calls across the world.
In television series/anime, when your budget is tight or you have time constraints, you use clips from previous episodes with a smidgin of new content to make a new episode. ESPN pulled that on gamergate and the saddest part of it all is that they bragged on Twitter about the piece before it aired. If you’re going to shove rehashed trash as “journalism” and be proud enough to advertise it as new, you might as well call yourself Buzzfeed sports.
Gamergate and even anti-Gamergate have nothing to worry about this piece. It’s not going to change the landscape of the debate—it’s not even going to be awesomely bad like “The Room”. This was just a lazy appeal to stretch out the show to meet broadcast requirements. Anybody who praises this ESPN piece as it was presented is an ideologue propagandist. This only embarrassed ESPN and the producers on “Outside The Line”. It turns out that a multi-billion dollar corporation is lazier than David Pakman Show, or even Feminist Frequency.