#GamerGate: Polygon Fails To Make Disclosure While Promoting Game
Polygon GamerGate
(Last Updated On: January 27, 2017)

A writer at Polygon going by the name of Merrit K., was discovered to have promoted a game from developer Christine Love, a close friend of theirs, without disclosing ties.

The article was published on January 24th, 2017 and was co-written by Merritt K., and Simone de Rochefort. The article is labeled as an opinion, but discusses and promotes the latest work from Christine Love. Most people would assume it was just a critically positive dissertation examining the work of Love upon first glance, but diggers over on Kotaku In Action, such as sodiummuffin, put together a pastebin file showing that Merrit K., and Christine Love are actually really, really close friends.

The pastebin contains links to public tweets shared between Merrit K., and Christine Love across Merrit’s various Twitter accounts. In the tweets it’s revealed that the two chat frequently, have slept over, and have cordially met on multiple occasions. They’ve been frequently in contact over the last several years, as indicated in the tweets below.

Despite clearly being in a close friendship with Love, Merritt K., nowhere in the article is the friendship disclosed.

The lack of disclosure gives the impression that the opinion piece is unbiased, neutral and objective, when in fact it is aimed squarely at helping promote a game for a friend.

This oversight in adequate disclosures worked as a catalyst to kickstart #GamerGate back in 2014, and continues to be brought up years later as a lapse in ethical standards by various publications.

According to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, they suggest avoiding conflicts of interest. Journalism expert Tony Rogers goes a bit more in detail in an article about journalism, writing…

“It’s important to establish a good working relationship with the sources on your beat. But there’s a fine line between a working relationship and a true friendship. If you become best friends with a source you’re not likely to cover that source objectively. The best way to avoid such pitfalls? Don’t socialize with sources outside of work.

 

[…] “If you have a friend or relative who is in the public spotlight – let’s say your sister is a member of the city council – you must recuse yourself from covering that person as a reporter. Readers simply won’t believe that you’ll be as tough on that person as you are on everyone else – and they’ll probably be right.”

In this case, if Polygon was going to absolutely allow staff to cover a close friend, at the very least they should have disclosed ties within the article to inform readers that the piece would not be entirely objective.

(Main image courtesy of Yahlantykan)


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About

Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • Disqusted

    Christine Love again?? Seems like everyone is sleeping with her. Not surprising that the kings of nepotism and cronyism are doubling-down on their corruption. They won’t stop until they are appropriately punished. Sadly, the world seems to love corruption, lies and assholes.

    Polygon is at the very bottom on my personal list of gaming websites, next to Kotaku. They very much give me the impression of being a bunch of lying, clickbaiting, bottomfeeding scum who make shit up and push bullshit agendas. If I recall correctly, they were also created and funded by the biggest assholes.

    I think it says a lot about how completely and uttlery f’d up this world is, that everyone goes to Polygon and Kotaku for “gaming news”. It’s like how everyone bends over to Twitter, Facebook, etcetra, while they cruelly and brutally rape and strip us of our rights as human beings.

  • Hawk Hopper

    All these dinners, lunches, and Polygon articles don’t sell games. Suckling at the dried up teat of “game journalism” is useless.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f81dce5a821ab3433214c0e8431f3b5bc11e8afa077bf21862cac25a1641eaa0.png

    • Less than 2,000 people bought the game the last time I checked. The article was likely designed to help put more eyes on the product. It seems to be selling worse than Sunset.

      • How do you sell worse than a game that brought down its creators?

      • Hawk Hopper

        It’s a Revolution 60 level success!

      • And of that 2,000 people that own the game, I’m pretty sure a significant number of Steam key activations (from bundles, give-aways, and backer rewards) are included.

        The actual number of sold copies bought by gamers who didn’t already have a Steam key is lower than it actually is.

      • Disqusted

        The saddest part is imagining all the amazing games that could really use coverage from the lamestream media, but never gain the attention they deserve, because the media is too busy slobbering over themselves and their best friends.

        And all the consumers, fans and gamers lose out as a result. They’re tricked into buying mediocre or trashy stuff, whilst gems are hidden from them. Their sense of comparison becomes warped too, because they haven’t seen better products.

        • THIS. THIS SO MUCH!

          While everyone sits around taking a dump on #GamerGate, the reality is that gamers want to know about great games. They don’t want to be preached to by a cult society or miss out on great games because the media is too busy jacking off promoting some piece of crap from their lover/friend/mistress/boy toy.

          The major problem is that now a bunch of cool games NEVER see the light of day on the broader market unless they can convince a YouTuber to make a silly video out of it. But getting that point across about how #GamerGate tried to correct the corrupt media is like trying to find a non-beta male working at a mainstream gaming website.

  • Caio Pontes

    That merrit something was extraordinarily butthflustered on twitter about the censorship, to the point it was making up terms to try and defend her friend game while still approving other games being censored. It was hilariously hypocritical.

  • Maria Maasaa
    • MusouTensei

      I bet all my shekels he would never defend a game like Senran Kagura, but this is his friend’s game so he is in full white knight mode.

  • Grim Cube

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s always good to see what a shit show kotaku is and i’m glad gamergate still does it’s work.