On January 14th, ABC Nightline aired a controversial segment on #gamergate, which we have previously covered here. The segment was disgraceful to the field of journalism. Facts were ignored and the narrative was heavily anti-gamergate. This was a colossal waste of opportunity as ABC has the capability and resources to reach out to both sides to get a full and cohesive story. Instead, ABC decides to copy-paste the mainstream narrative of portraying pro-#gamergate gamers as misogynistic and anti-social. Anitas Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn’s harassment was mentioned while the rest of the gaming world’s harassment were ignored. The ABC segment can be seen on Youtube where it currently sits as one of the most thumbed down video of all time.
Did ABC intentionally pursue this harassment narrative? Why did they choose this route when other paths were available?
War on women
A female participant in the ABC Nightline segment, Sushilulu, was able to gather insight on how ABC creates and distorts news stories. She exchanged multiple emails with an unnamed ABC reporter and spoke with the reporter on the phone. In her article Truth: The Unsellable Commodity in Journalism, Sushilulu wrote, “The piece was spun to make it look as if I was playing CS:GO and was harassed by people associated with GamerGate.” After the piece was aired, the reporter asked Sushilulu why the segment was poorly received and what could have been done instead. She did her best explaining to ABC on what they did wrong. ABC dismissed her suggestions.
…After explaining the issues with the portrayal of men and women who game, their definition of harassment, and how the piece looked more like a hit piece against Gamergate, I was informed that the “story” was too hard to “spin” to fit their ideals. They asked me to try to make solutions for women gamers only and made it very clear all they wanted were “female victims of the video game industry” because it was an easier story to market. I was shocked; they asked for my opinion on the piece and for more information, agreed that these issues should be addressed, and yet when I expressed my disapproval they focused only on women and what could and could not sell…I provided countless screen shots of both men and women addressing the issues with harassment and calling for change per her request. The people of the gaming community are not enough for ABC to show the truth. Gamers are too small of a market to help but plenty big enough to badger and humiliate to make a quick buck.
This revealing conversation shows exactly where ABC’s priority lies. ABC put ratings above integrity, truth, and neutrality. The #gamergate segment was nothing but glorified clickbait. ABC went with “harassment on women” narrative in place “the journalistic corruption in the gaming industry.” They must believe that the first narrative would gather the most views while at the same time requiring the least maximum effort possible, since the story has been done this way a million times already. Taking the road more often traveled is considerably easier.
Y u no fair coverage?
Thus far, no mainstream media outlet, including ABC, has come out in favor of #gamergate. I believe that there are many reasons for this.
The media is never going to portray themselves as the bad guy. Pointing out the corruption of the gaming press based on real evidence might eventually lead more people to question the current state of journalism itself. Furthermore, #gamergate itself isn’t really newsworthy on its own when taking world news in comparison. We conceive #gamergate as a bigger deal than it is because we are gamers. The truth is, the general population doesn’t care about #gamergate and video games itself still carries a negative connotation as one can see from the infamous Law & Order episode.
The general population perceives video games as nothing more than an activity for social rejects, misfits, and losers. The majority still blames video games for societal problems such as mass shootings and for increasing violence.
Even the controversial Zoe Quinn still pales in comparison to celebrity scandals. Using sex to get ahead is nothing new in our degenerate culture. Various famous celebrities have been caught cheating and many women have been caught using sex as a tool to get ahead. Zoe Quinn is no Kirsten Stewart or Monica Lewinsky.
If the goal is to achieve high ratings, ABC and other mainstream media outlets made the right choice by linking #gamergate directly to the “war on women” narrative. They assume that providing both sides of the story is boring and would get lower ratings. Being ethical in the real world means lower results and less money.
John D. Rockefeller didn’t become the richest man in history by playing nice and fair. He was ruthless in his methods and he was brutal in destroying his competitors at all cost. Anita Sarkeesian is a perfect example as a follower of this unethical principle(minus the work ethics). Before she was creating video about gaming, Sarkeesian did not identify herself as a gamer. She broke every logical fallacy in her poorly edited video on video games. Most importantly, She silenced all her critics without questions by using censorship. Despite these tactics, Feminist frequency continued to gather unprecedented support from the mainstream media and generate an absurd amount of money at the same time.
However, the mainstream media made a miscalculation by not portraying #gamergate fairly and they will pay for it greatly in the future when the narrative turns. The media naively assume that the movement wouldn’t last this long and that it won’t have any influence. The media doesn’t comprehend that #gamergate is an internet phenomenon unlike anything to ever exist in the history of mankind.
The more the media attempt to distort truths, the more that people will try to look for the truth. #Gamergate as a social movement is growing larger by the day because not everyone in this world is a short-attention span zombie who simply do what they’re told. Not everyone in this world listens and believes everything that they read without question. Not everyone wants to stay in the matrix. The media committed a critical error in thinking that the truth can be hidden with cover-up and decoration because as time goes by. What is true will be revealed, and what is fake will fade away.
The mainstream media understood from the beginning that spinning the narrative is the easiest way to get an average person to care about the #gamergate story. ABC doesn’t risk much by throwing gamers under the bus since gamers are already at the bottom of the barrel in this society. An average prisoner probably receive more love letters and marriage proposals than an average gamer.
In contrast, feminists and women are untouchable in western society and can do no wrong because they are fighting against the patriarchy. If you don’t believe me, take a quick peek at various news headline on mainstream news website. You would see that women’s issues and concerns are greatly prioritized over men’s concerns. From the media’s perspective, it’s an easy choice to side with women over gamers, harassment over corruption, and lies over truths, for higher ratings and click counts which leads to higher advertising money.