GamerGate: Conspiracy, collusion, and games journalism’s secret mailing list
Apparently, a group of well-known game journalists hailing from a variety of prominent gaming websites are part of a secret mailing list, in which the aforementioned journalists collaborate on stories in regards their method of approach, what to pursue, and which ones should be thrown by the wayside.
Gaming news sites such as Kotaku, Ars Technica, and Polygon use the secret mailing list, known as the private Google Group, “GameJournoPros” or “Game Journalism Professionals,” in order to mold and manipulate game industry attitudes towards pertinent events., not unlike the Zoe Quinn/Kotaku scandal (which was reported on at GamerHeadlines.com here), and the 15+ articles saying that “gamers are dead.”
Breitbart somehow got ahold of a number of emails from the GameJournoPros mailing list that revealed the type of collusion occurring within the digital walls of the elite game journalism club.
A particular email showed a senior gaming editor for Ars Technica, Kyle Orland, brainstorming on how to use the “Quinntaku” scandal as a means of promoting Zoe Quinn’s work and the potential scapegoating of the gaming community.
You can see the email in question below (courtesy of Breitbart.com):
GamerGate: Collusion and Games Journalism
In case you cannot read the email, Orland states the following (highlighted):
“I don’t want to in essence reward the jerks doing this by giving their ‘issue’ any attention at all (I’m not even going to give the bullshit ‘journalism ethics’ excuse for these attacks the time of day.)”
He continued to say later in the email:
“I would LOVE to use my platform to reproach this kind of behavior…but that would go against Quinn’s valid and understandable desire not to have this personal matter publicized by the media…Maybe we should just stick to Twitter to boost the signal on this one, rather than our ‘front pages.'”
Near the end, Orland says the following:
“Maybe we should get a public letter of support going around decrying these kinds of personal attacks, signed by as many sympathetic journalists/developers as we can. Maybe we should just use this as an excuse to give more attention to her work…I know I’ve been meaning to review Depression Quest since its Steam release.”
The above quote may be in reference to Andreas Zecher’s open letter signed by various game journalists and developers, which was written about here. However, that is mere speculation, and would be inappropriate to discuss further without more concrete information.
Additionally, Ben Kuchera, editor at Polygon, can be seen on GameJournoPros lending his support for Zoe Quinn, and chastising fellow writers who are not.
You can see that email below:
In response to an antin-Quinn thread on EscapistMagazine.com , Kuchera says:
“Someone signed up for an Escapist account just to post that thread, and try to spread alleged details of someone’s sexual past in order to shame them. I’m not sure what your definition of harassment is, but that fits mine.”
Additionally, in other emails, Breitbart states that Kuchera keeps pressuring members in game journalism to take down content on their websites that is disparaging towards Zoe Quinn, as well as requesting that they censor/moderate comments and forum posts that call out the integrity of games journalism as a whole.
In another post on the mailing list, Jason Schreier, senior writer at Kotaku defends the journalist, Nathan Grayson, who admitted to having sexual relations with Zoe Quinn after recently mentioning her in his writing.
In regards to Grayson supposedly reviewing Quinn’s game, Depression Quest, Schreier says in the email:
“Nathan Grayson has never reviewed or written about Depression Quest for Kotaku.”
Mike Wehner, writer for Yahoo, USA Today, Daily Dot, among others, and James Fudge, GamePolitics.com’s managing editor, are both on the GameJournoPros private group mailing list and lend credence to the group’s overarching influence in mainstream media by saying:
“And yet all video game outlets, from GiantBomb to Kotaku to Destructoid to the Escapist to Reddit all the way to 4chan’s /v/ do their continual best efforts to simply not bring this up, both in official outlets and, in the cases of GB and /v/, by deleting threads about it, or in the case of Reddit downvoting it and making the links not work.”
If you would like to see additional screen captures of the emails, visit Milo Yiannopoulos’ article mentioned (and linked) in the disclaimer.
The email correspondence between the members of the GameJournoPros mailing list seems to attest to many gamer’s leering suspicions of the corrupt state of modern games journalism., due to the manipulation of coverage in regards to relevant gaming stories, as well as the manipulation of a variety of gaming websites, forums, Reddit, et cetera, in order to support gaming figures that they are sympathetic towards.
If you’re interested reading other articles relevant to GamerGate written by me and my fellow GamerHeadlines staff, check out the links below:
I really don’t have a response for all of this. In the midst of GamerGate and NotYourShield, it’s quite difficult to type out how I feel in regards to this situation on a computer screen.
As I’ve said before, GamerGate is about transparency and ethics reform, and if any of the information laid out above is even remotely true, that’s exactly what the games industry and games journalism needs. I support honesty, integrity, and transparency (and by association, GamerGate) in any line of work, but when it’s a field that is meant to cater to an audience that you rely on (such as the relationship between game companies, journalists, websites, et cetera and gamers), it’s undoubtedly paramount. It’s a priority.
There should be no deals under the table (or in this case, within a private mailing group) that seek to manipulate general attitudes towards relevant game industry stories/figures. It should always be about the games, all about the gamers, all the time.
That’s really all I have to say about this situation. I’ll update this article as relevant information surfaces, but for now, I’m just going to sit back, and think of the days when gaming was actually about gaming. You may think I’m missing the point, that I’m dismissing the imminent veritable firestorm that is sure to occur if all this turns out to be true. But really, I’m not. It’s important without a doubt. But I’m tired. Not tired of GamerGate, not tired of gaming, I’m just tired of all the extraneous bullshit that has seeped into the soul of what I love.
There I go again, being melodramatic and heavy-handed. But screw it, just remember to stick to your guns.
Erwin Murillo is a graduate of Union University. He has a Bachelor's of Science degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Exercise Science and Wellness/Sports Medicine, and is currently enrolled at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center's Occupational Therapy Program. As buff as he is nerdy, you can find him either throwing around iron in the gym, or working on his latest video game article...sometimes both. Follow him on Twitter @DesertFoxJr or email him at [email protected].