On the January 14th episode ABC’s late-night news program Nightline, yet another poorly-researched television segment was aired bashing GamerGate. It holds Anita Sarkeesian up as an icon against misogyny while lazily stereotyping gamers and uses the same ridiculous and illogical arguments against Grand Theft Auto V that Australian feminists used to convince Target and K-Mart to pull it from their shelves. ABC was also kind enough to post the content to YouTube, and at the time this was written, that video has garnered less than 700 likes and over 13,000 dislikes, despite heavy moderation of dissenting opinions.
Factual inaccuracy in less than ten seconds!
The video, if you have not seen it already, begins with the following monologue from ABC anchor Bryon Pitts:
Violent depictions of women being beaten, raped and run over by cars! It’s not the movies, it’s video games.
Please note that none of the video games they cite for their report have any depiction of rape, violent or otherwise. Outside of RapeLay, which was released in 2006 and banned in several countries, I can’t seem to locate a single other game in which women are raped.
It seems the video game industry is much safer rape-wise than the movie industry, where rape scenes abound in such critically-acclaimed movies as Boys Don’t Cry (won Golden Globe/Oscar), American History X (nominated Oscar), and most recently, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (nominated Golden Globe/Oscar). The award nominations previously mentioned are for the victims of rape portrayed in those movies, and unlike video games, you actually need actors and actresses present, on set and performing in those scenes. But let’s attack video games, right?
Grand Theft Auto V also receives significant air time, with in-game footage shown of a player picking up a prostitute, shooting her, and then running over another prostitute. The segment conveniently leaves out violence against men (including the storyline-required torture scene), does not state that you are not required to perform any violence against women or utilize the prostitutes, and is generally as bad as the misinformation used to convince the mothers of Australia to sign a petition which lead to GTA V being pulled from Target and K-Mart.
Continuing, the video does the standard video interview (puff piece) of Anita Sarkeesian being portrayed as a victim for attending paid speaking engagements via police escort. The video also parrots Ms. Sarkeesian’s widely debunked Feminist Frequency videos, in which she cherry-picks scenarios where women are victims but ignores the other 99% of those games where men are being killed.
The video also depicts #GamerGate as “a small but hardcore group of gamers resistant to change.” It continues to tell us that “#GamerGate doesn’t just affect boys playing in a basement,” as if such a clarification were necessary for their viewership. This is typical of the media’s portrayal of “gamers.” Like ESPN before them, ABC seems to also not have heard of #NotYourShield and is blissfully unaware that some of the most prominent proponents of the hashtag on Twitter are women (@icze4r, @JennofHardwire) or minorities (@oliverbcampbell, @SladeVillena).
As mentioned above, ABC also posted the content for viewing on YouTube. While I rarely use trigger warnings, be warned: the thoughtless, under-researched and illogical ideas pushed in the propaganda video linked above may cause you to quit the Internet for a short period of time.
As you may have gathered from a video with almost 19 times as many dislikes as likes, the viewers were not by and large not convinced, and voiced their opinions in the YouTube comments. Some of those comments gained many more likes than the video itself. Clearly that was an issue for ABC, because they began deleting the dissenting opinions, including very popular comments from personalities such as TotalBiscuit (who was recently the recipient of death threats for retweeting a charity livestream) , Sargon of Akkad, and even female YouTuber shoe0nhead, whose default video lampoons Anita Sarkeesian fairly accurately.
Upon finding that his comments were deleted, TotalBiscuit tweeted the following:
Shoe0nHead, when finding out her original comment was deleted, had this to add (from the YouTube video comments, until they ultimately delete it):
Disappointment with ABC
Even with the ESPN piece, which was really just a lazy segue from talking about eSports, I hoped for something more from a mainstream media source. Perhaps something that shows both sides, instead of just one. Perhaps a segment in which it’s not obvious that the producer was looking to fill air time and did almost no research whatsoever. But perhaps it’s emblematic of ABC’s overall decline, placing third among the Big Three (with NBC and CBS) in ratings at a time when the Big Three commands lower ratings than ever due to competition from Fox and other networks.
ABC’s decline could be seen as the network falling out of touch with their viewers—if so, their mishandling of #GamerGate news is no surprise. SJW’s are largely out of touch with reality, as Jon McIntosh demonstrated with his tweet against #JeSuisCharlie. Hopefully the dislikes can serve as a wake-up call to the network.