I’ve been trying to cool down on GamerGate writings. I actually made a pact to myself to not use the word in a blog article through July, a promise made more manageable by work turning into super happy fun fun imminent shipping insanity at work. My first recent mention of it was in the Sad Puppies article, largely because GG’s apoplexy over the events at WorldCon was simply too tasty to not Schadenfreudize.
That being said, AirPlay was earlier this month, and I did keep an eye on its happenings. Oddly enough, I was asked to comment by GamePolitics.com on the coverage of the event, and I did. My commentary – and that of other observers across the spectrum – is here. Left unsaid were my thoughts about the event itself.
For the uninitiated, AirPlay was a symposium held by a local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) in Florida* . The brainchild of one Michael Koretzky, it was envisioned to be a debate about ethics in journalism between notable pro- and anti-gamergate voices. Along the way, all of the anti- voices declined the invitation to come**. Then Koretzky managed to, in his own unique way, alienate a whole bunch of the pro-gamergate voices, to the point that anyone who left were professional conservative culture warriors intent on milking gamergate as a war on feminism, diversity and other progressive causes in the arts debating– no one. Yes, a completely unopposed stage. And even then, GamerGate voices claimed they were getting unfavorable terms. Somewhere along the way, Derek Smart (yes, that one) got involved.
Around this time, I predicted that AirPlay would be a trainwreck and it did not disappoint.
AirPlay was about as perfect an analogy of the meandering idiocy that is the last year of the GamerGate movement that I can possibly imagine. Presented to a half-full auditorium, the morning was spent with the examination of pretty much the only ethical thing GG has managed to dig up in a year (the Hernandez case, a minor but definite transgression) and the firing of Jeff Gertzmann for Gamespot’s Kane & Lynch reviews- in 2007.*** For those with math capabilities, this was 8 years ago, which really underlined how little ethical problems have occurred in the gaming press in the last year, given this hate mob’s TOP MEN have been on the case and haven’t found much of anything new since this catastrophuck started last year.
In the afternoon session, Milo and Christina Sommers both derailed the whole thing into discussions about the evils of SJWs, blowing out their time, ignoring the agreed upon format, and trying repeatedly to stampede over Koretzky’s attempts to keep things on track. Favorite moment:
(At one point Lynn Walsh said to Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos – whose early career included a stint at the very well-known British Daily Telegraph – “I hope you get to work with a good journalist”. This is either a tremendously sick burn on the Telegraph, Breitbart et al, or suggested she thought he was perhaps there having won a contest.)
Eventually, a bomb threat ended the event early. KiA attempted to blame anti-gamergaters for it, but the aGGers I was observing were sad that it ended – the entire event was, frankly, hilarious in its demonstration that Gamergate is an emperor that has no clothes. The real villains were likely third-party trolls, who love to spin up easily outraged folks – and lord knows GG hasa never ending supply of bullies looking for something to be outraged about. ****
After this debacle was all over, Koretzky had the gall to be wounded that gaming journalists didn’t cover it more.
Another large gaming news site, Polygon, covered the bomb threat but not the debates.…so why didn’t Polygon cover AirPlay itself? I emailed Polygon’s editor Chris Grant, but I haven’t heard back from him, either. So much for professional courtesy.
Obviously, Kotaku and Polygon wrote nothing on purpose. This wasn’t an oversight – their editors knowingly ignored the biggest gaming story of the week.
Yes, the biggest gaming story of the week was a handful of red-blooded conservatives telling a half-empty and highly skeptical SPJ audience that covering feminism in games has something to do with ethics in games journalism. I’ve been to IGDA meetings in Austin that were more well-populated and had more honest and legitimate content than this symposium. Somehow, the press doesn’t cover those either.
For what it’s worth, Polygon DID cover the bomb threat, which was the only thing remotely newsworthy about the whole circus.
The truth of the matter is that the gaming press doesn’t cover GamerGate anymore for the same reason that political reporters don’t cover LaRouchians. GamerGate is a fringe group that has proven, repeatedy, that their views and tactics don’t merit the microphone of someone interested in serious game coverage. Perhaps someday they’ll centralize, choose spokespeople who aren’t terrible, find ethical transgressions with actual impact & relevance, and stop being sidetracked by silly digressions like defending child porn on 8chan or being on the losing side of the Sad Puppies idiocy. However, I am not holding my breath
* definitely not endorsed by the mothership SPJ organization!
** Some random anti-gamergaters volunteered on Twitter, but were rejected as being likely trolls. Also, I was not invited to come, but would have relished the opportunity to reject the opportunity in peals of hysterical laughter and bold, all-caps text. Sadly, my trainwreck post probably cost me any chance at that opportunity, because for some reason I was seen as not taking the event seriously.
*** (Incidentally, Gerstman does not seem to be a fan of GG’s cause or tactics)
**** If you’re the sort of person who does bomb threats, you’re an asshole. Stop it. I give no shits what side of anything you think you’re on.