BBC, GamesRadar, Yahoo, Mislead Readers Based On Ghostbusters Troll Post
(Last Updated On: July 19, 2016)

Back in late 2014 #GamerGate kicked off on social media because of all the rampant corruption happening within video game journalism (much of that said corruption has been cataloged over on DeepFreeze.it). Little did gamers know that these issues have been rampant in mainstream journalism as well. This very thing was highlighted when multiple major publications put out articles based on a troll-style Reddit post centered around the movie Ghostbusters.

Kotaku In Action, the sub-Reddit for #GamerGate, put together a quick image showing that multiple outlets published stories based on a post made by a Reddit user named Better_Butter321. The post was originally published on July 10th, 2016 and was seemingly a call-to-arms against the positive reviews of Sony’s 2016 Ghostbusters reboot. The post was titled…

“Ok, so obviously the reviews aren’t as bad as we had hoped. So what more can we do at this point to make sure that the public knows it’s terrible so that it bombs?”

Multiple sites quickly jumped on this after managing editor at Death and Taxes, Maggie Serota, sent out a tweet on July 10th highlighting the post. Serota has since deleted the tweet, but The Sydney Morning Herald managed to capture the original tweet before it was deleted. An image is below.

Serota’s message managed more than 700 retweets and was then picked up by established outlets like  Yahoo!, Metro and Glamour, amongst many others like The Mary Sue and AV Club, as highlighted and archived by Reddit user Spiritual Successors.

What’s more is that the BBC also published a piece pointing to the Reddit thread, along with Ben Wilson from GamesRadar. However, the two of them decided to make some last minute edits after it was revealed that the whole thing was a troll attempt.

It turns out that user Better_Butter321 they had been shilling for Ghostbusters for quite some time, and that the thread they made attempting to rally people against the movie was like a reverse-marketing move to drum up interest. You can see a quick image of Better_butter321’s post history below, courtesy of Spiritual Successors.

User NixonForBreadsident pointed out  how much the post looked like astroturfing, writing…

“Hijacking top comment to point out: Better_Butter321 has been shilling this terrible Ghostbusters reboot for over a month. They post non-stop about how “great” it is and how anyone who doesn’t want to see it is a misogynist (because apparently “the graphics, jokes and script looks terrible” is misogyny).

 

“Suddenly they’re posting an Anti-Ghostbusters thread?

 

“And WITHIN SECONDS, with NO REPLIES, a journalist called Ashley Lynch happens to screengrab it and post it on her Twitter as “proof” that it’s somehow a conspiracy of people “hiding good reviews” that early audiences are absolutely panning it as terrible?”

After that comment was made by NixonForBreadsident, along with others pointing out that the entire thread was likely a false flag attempt to give journalists ammo to call people “misogynists” and “sexists”, user Better_Butter321 quickly deleted their account and their entire post history.

The thread itself was downvoted into oblivion and even at this moment has 0 upvotes.

However, the damage was already done. Multiple websites had fired first without asking or even investigating beyond the Reddit thread’s headline.

The Sydney Morning Herald managed to capture an evenhanded take on the story, but the BBC and sites like GamesRadar had centered their stories around the troll post, only to have it pointed out to them after the fact that it was a troll post. So what did they do?

Delete… delete… delete.

The articles themselves are still up but the references to the troll post on Reddit have been removed, as indicated in the image above.

The original BBC article was published on July 11th, 2016. The updated article, with the archive captured on July 18th, 2016, shows that the references, quote and images linking to the Reddit post have been removed.

GamesRadar was a lot more egregious in their changes, completely wiping out the entire context of the story after it was revealed that they had based their story on a troll post. The original story went up on July 11th, 2016 which you can check out below in the image.

The updated story was archived on July 18th, 2016, and as pointed out in the Kotaku in Action thread, the author of the article has been changed from “Ben Wilson” to “GamesRadar Staff”. The image below shows that the core of the article has been gutted.

Thankfully, the internet never forgets.

The misleading stories from the above publications would give people the impression that there’s this organized, rampant culture of misogyny at work in the gaming, tech and nerd culture aimed at taking down properties like Ghostbusters. This narrative has been going strong since 2014 and hasn’t let up since. The only thing is that this time around the major publications got caught with their pants down, just as much as they also got caught trying to pull their pants back up.

And for those wondering, this is why #GamerGate became such a deal back in 2014; given that media publications have been repeatedly caught engaged in some form of corruption, but have opted to misdirect attention or place the blame elsewhere to avoid being accountable for their poor practices.


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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.

  • Alistair

    Has it been 2 years already of Gamergate and still going strong. I did my part by calling BS On censorship and corruption in journalism they connected together why eslse games get censored in the 1st place.

    Because journalism doesn’t forces on gameplay just the questionable stuff in game and knee-jerk SJWs called out a game.

    I left GG about a year ago or so, it good to know GG Still going to keep calling this BS Out.

  • C G Saturation

    Thought the name Ashley Lynch sounded familiar. Looked her up. She has a very long history of lying and other nonsense. Over a year’s worth. She also looks very much like what one would expect from such a… person.

  • Michael P

    Truth be told, I’ve never been a fan of Ghostbusters (saw the first when I was a kid and it left no impression on me) but this drama has been fascinating to observe from the outside.

    I’ve witnessed more times than I can count, gaming sites getting a good amount of their info from reddit and usually days/weeks late but apparently it’s a conspiracy theory when they centre in on one false flag “misogynistic” post within moments of it being posted and run with it as if it’s the norm? MAYBE they were quick to catch this one post but it does seem a little suss.

    The real question is how long have they been using the internet because they keep falling for these troll posts/false flags like they’ve been internetting for a week! That thing called “research” is a lost art within journalism nowadays and it’s strange that they wonder why they’re accused of taking bribes when it looks like they’d rather push a narrative than do their jobs and simply REPORT THE FUCKING NEWS!

    • Erthwjim

      These people aren’t journalists is the problem, that’s why they do no research. They’re just glorified bloggers and they seek out things that confirm their biases. It’s not that they don’t know how to do research (although I’m pretty sure they don’t) they don’t want to even try to do it.

  • Arbitrary

    How well has the movie done at the box-office?

    Please tell me it does poorly.

    • LurkerJK

      It didn’t fail that bad but got overtaken by pets in its second week

      A lot of ppl reporting empty theaters tho, makes you wonder if they didn’t inflate the numbers with promotions or other bs, should be obvious next weekend

      I usually check boxofficemojo for numbers

    • Erthwjim

      Last I read, estimates (I don’t think they have exact numbers still) were at 46 million domestic. I read that it cost 150 million to make and they spent at least 100 million to market it. Really what will tell if this movie is going to do well is how it will do this coming weekend, because word of mouth will spread on whether it was actually good or not. I’m going to guess that the numbers will be dismal for this next weekend. And the other numbers they’re waiting on are the international ones, as it has not been released everywhere. Since China won’t show it, that knocks down a lot of potential there.

      • Gerg Arata

        65.8 million now. Do you have any sources on the costs and the marketing?

        • Erthwjim

          They’ve apparently had at least 7 update.rewrites on this article, but there are only three archives: http://archive.is/http://deadline.com/2016/07/ghostbusters-weekend-box-office-1201787149/ I swear it would was spelled out a little better in the version I read but the most recent archive one says this:

          Given Ghostbusters’ huge cost, a profit is unlikely in The Heat sense. That 2013 movie turned a profit of $61.8M off of $259.3M total revenues (global theatrical rental, TV and home entertainment) and total costs (across the same ancillaries) of $197.4M. These results were triggered by a global B.O. of $230M ($160M domestic). Even if Ghostbusters puts up similar numbers, its global P&A and production cost are $131M more expensive than Heat‘s.

          If The Heat had total costs of 197 million and Ghostbusters was 131 million more expensive, that would indicate Ghostbusters had total costs of around 328 million. If it cost 150 million to make, it would leave the remaining portion for marketing, etc.

          Again I’m pretty sure they actually spelled it out a little more in one of the previous version of it though, as I read it on Sunday or Monday, but those must not have been archived.

  • anopolis

    I wouldn’t watch this film if you paid me to…I wouldn’t even watch a pirated version….I’d rather watch pixel…as I wrote that i shuddered…but yep, I’d rather watch pixel

  • Hawk Hopper

    Ghost editing.

    I wouldn’t see the new Ghostbusters (watch John Carpenter’s The Thing, Dredd, and Judge Dredd instead) but I have watched the original recently.

    What’s striking about that movie is how a dick less bureaucrat who absolutely hates the Ghostbusters weasels his way into shutting them down, causing a ghost meltdown that threatens to destroy the world.

    But with this new Ghostbusters, the non fictional cultural impact revolves around a bunch of shoddy journalists acting as PR shills for Sony and the Ghostbusters franchise. For months, they’ve been trying to paint anyone who doesn’t like the movie or has no interest in the movie as some sort of misogynist monster.

    They’ve basically been saying “We can’t believe people don’t want women to have these fictional jobs!” But that wasn’t really the point many people had against the movie. They didn’t have interest in it or thought it looked like shit. It’s like the Sony shills’ world is melting because people don’t want to watch some Sony garbage.

    Them jumping on this bait is another sign of “journos” of all kinds being mostly worthless idiots who steal ideas from reddit and should only be writing on Tumblr.

    • The thing is, I don’t think anyone would have had a problem with an all-female Ghostbusters reboot had it been done honestly and without the very obvious subversion of being about gender politics.

      Heck, there’s 101 ways to write an all-female Ghostbusters flick that’s funny and inclusive (for all audiences, not just third-wave radfems). It would have been hilarious had the movie themed itself around the group not wanting the job and constantly trying to pawn it off on others but being stuck doing it nonetheless because it’s crappy pay, hard work and dangerous. They could have had a real meta-commentary about the working class stuck doing things no one else wants to do. And if I were casting I would have had Sofia Vergara in there as an illegal immigrant who only takes the job as a Ghostbuster because she can’t get hired elsewhere.

      But instead, they went the low-brow third-wave feminism route, taking cheap shots at the very people who would have been their audience. Worse yet is that the movie turned out to be exactly what people feared it would be: third-wave feminism propaganda aimed at taking the piss out of men for no other reason than furthering the current media narrative. Of course most people would be pissed to see one of their most beloved franchises turned into that steaming pile of crap.

      • lucben999

        “Worse yet is that the movie turned out to be exactly what people feared it would be”

        I hear they end up defeating a giant Ghostbusters logo by shooting it in the dick, I think there’s a subtle message in there.

      • Erthwjim

        And it would have had a better chance had they not shit on everyone that criticized it. That’s another reason many people don’t want to see it, because all criticism or questioning of the movie resulted in being accused of being manbabies, misogynists, and any other negative comment they could come up with to paint people as anti-women. Do they not learn from the mistakes of those that came before them? How does that encourage people to go see the movie, and I think that backfired, because they were hoping that it would fuel the SJW/feminist crowd to go see the movie, but most of them probably weren’t going to see it anyway, because it’s not their type of movie. So they lost longtime ghostbusters fans, while gaining very few new ones in the process.

      • Alistair

        There that word again inclusive it follow it cousin diversity they go hand in hand that the swore promise of SJWs everywhere. So now it be in films.

        Wash rinse & repeat, if you dont see the film if you dismiss that film you be called a sexist.

        If you like and play ecchi games you are a sexist and mysogist

        I can go on and on and on a simple post if it a troll post or not they latch onto that and make a big deal of it.