Since it’s earliest days, the GamerGate movement has been slandered and maligned by it’s opponents in the interest of pushing a false narrative which paints themselves as terrorised victims of a cruel minority. They have taken the actions of a few random trolls and presented them as the spirit of the many, and accused all and sundry of the same crimes which they themselves perpetuate.
For too long this narrative has dominated the media, coloring outsiders’ perceptions of us, and intentionally preventing anyone from considering our arguments. When someone is demonized before they can be heard, no one bothers to listen.
Recently, national board member of the Society for Professional Journalism Michael Koretzky blogged about his first experience hearing about GamerGate and experiencing the influence that the narrative has on so many otherwise neutral parties.
I’m an SPJ board member, so I urged us to talk about [Gamergate] — not to take sides, but to discuss the ethics of both sides. SPJ leaders said no way. When I offered to write something on my SPJ blog, they urged me not to. When I asked for an official statement about our reluctance, they refused.
Dissent In The Ranks
Koretzky took the high road and independently posted online about the matter, addressing many of the common tactics used by SJWs to shut down their opposition. His stance was that everyone should be given a fair hearing, no matter what the popular perception of them might be.
I believe SPJ should obey its own code, which says, “Avoid stereotyping.” How do we know all GamerGaters are evil?
While I condemn the ones who are — more on that in the next self-serving question — there are women who defend GamerGate. Then again, a meticulous Medium post aggregated The Bad Apples of #GamerGate and concluded, “There may be ethical, honest people involved in #GamerGate. But a few good apples won’t magically make a rotten barrel edible.”
I don’t pretend to know the distribution inside that barrel, but if SPJ has to wade through 1,000 bad apples to reach 10 good ones, I’ll take those odds. Why? I volunteer as an adviser to a college newspaper, and I know many professors who say, in a class of 20 students, only 2-3 actually give a damn. Yet they keep teaching. So should we.
This is one of the only times an outsider has decided to give GamerGate a chance, even after hearing the malicious propaganda being pushed by its detractors. This willingness to engage everyone in an issue doubtlessly speaks to Mr. Koretzky’s commitment to proper journalism and free discourse.
Though he seems to be addressing certain talking points, such as the “harassment” claims and calls for GG to be categorically ignored, he always maintains that understanding should precede judgement and never accepts accusations at face value. The post ended with a call for ‘Gaters to step forward and make their case, so that the SJP could get a real feeling for their intents and spirit.
Representing A Movement
A deluge of thankful and supportive comments followed his post, reinforcing the idea that GamerGaters are worth listening to, since levelheadedness and kind words were the bulk of the lot. Following such a positive, rational response, Mr. Koretzky wrote a followup post declaring his intent to host a live panel at the SPJ Annual Journalism Conference dedicated to understanding Gamergate, featuring major voices in the movement as well as opposing figures, to be livestreamed and promoted among the over 7000 SPJ members. He further asked for suggestions as to who should be invited to speak at the panel, both from the pro- and anti-GG sides.
An exciting prospect! Few SJWs have been willing to engage with the brightest and most eloquent GamerGaters, instead preferring to sequester themselves behind hordes of sycophants and shut down any dissenting views they can find, much the way Koretzky described. We don’t yet know who among them would be willing to step out, but judging by the reluctance of such prominents as Sarkeesian and Wu to appear in public or even abide the presence of a dissenter, it is unlikely any major names would risk their all-important image by getting verbally trounced in a live debate. A hissy fit wouldn’t look too good either, and a roomful of professional journalists are unlikely to accept “triggers” as a get-out-of-questions-free card.
Major speakers have already been proposed, including reporter Milo Yiannopoulos, professor Christina Hoff Sommers, and YouTube personality Sargon of Akkad. It is certainly in our interest to select the best prepared and most intelligent presenters we can, the better to rebuke any misinformation that might arise. I personally think that June Lapine, @shoe0nhead, is entertaining, smart, and well-informed, not to mention her innate ability to bypass that most common of SJW canards, cishetwhitemale.
Koretzky will announce his decision on June 1st. In any event, the possibility to dispel the toxic narrative created by SJWs—and thereby potentially topple their castles of misinformation—is a thrilling prospect for any of us concerned by their influence and prominence. It is my hope that some smart, witty people get to attend this event, and put a few of the opposition players in their proper place right to their faces.