Feminist-Themed Report Shows How Selective #GamerGate Citations Can Spread Misinformation
GamerGate
(Last Updated On: May 17, 2017)

The Data & Society network published a report recently by Alice Marwick and Rebecca Lewis on May 15th, 2017 entitled “Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online”.

It’s one of the rare reports that focuses on #GamerGate that actually uses citations. Commonly, when we do a breakdown on an article, editorial, news piece, or feature that focuses on #GamerGate, it’s rife with claims backed by little more than conjecture and sophistry. In this rare case, Lewis and Marwick actually took time to establish citations for the claims made in their report that includes #GamerGate.

However, the report is rife with selective citations aimed at painting a very specific picture of the internet event that took gaming and the media by storm back in 2014.

For instance, the aim of the report is to depict #GamerGate as some sort of mobilized amalgamation of an internet hate machine cooked up by 4chan to fight against feminists, Social Justice Warriors, and what the report labels as “progressives”.

Regardless of their personal interpretation of #GamerGate, the cited notation for its mobilization is attributed to something that has long since been debunked (by the originators of the comments, no less). On page 10 of 106 in the report, they write…

“IRC chat logs have since revealed that a group of 4chan users strategically engineered Gamergate to foster support among a diverse array of constituents, including Men’s Rights Activists, journalists, gamers, and conservative political commentators in the service of harassment.25”

The “25” at the end is a link to the citation. If you follow the link in the end notes it will take you to the article from former Ars Technica contributor, Casey Johnson, who penned the piece back in September, 2014. Johnson was a member of the GameJournoPros, a secret e-mail group for game and tech journalists that was started by Kyle Orland. The piece was part of the media flurry of propaganda put out by the GameJournoPros in an attempt to misinform the public about #GamerGate, and paint it as a campaign about misogyny and harassment.

If you scroll to the bottom of the article there’s an update post-publishing relating to some corrections that had to be made to the article regarding its claims. Why? Because it turns out 4chan did not cook up #GamerGate. The people from those chat logs were doing what’s called “shitposting”. This was outlined and expounded upon by those who participated in the chat in the full article over on The Escapist, which was published on September 7th, 2014.

One of the posters from the 4chan chat explained to the Escapist…

“We don’t speak for GamerGate or notyourshield as a whole. It is impossible for us to do that. Each and every one of us speak only for ourselves. I’ve said some things in this chat I’m not proud of. I’ve said ‘fag’ and ‘retard’ a few times and now that I think of it, I let anonymity get the better of myself and I have to bring it back around. None of us want people like Zoe, Anita, Leigh, Jenn, Burch, Grayson et al to disappear from the industry. We don’t want to put them out of jobs or take their livelihoods from them. This is and always has been about transparency in journalism. Holding people responsible and accountable for their actions. Asking for recusal where necessary and being completely honest with the ties you have with the people and things you write about.”

The chatlogs referenced in the report are based on agenda-driven pieces. For instance, if you read the full 4chan chatlogs that weren’t cherry-picked and misconstrued on Zoe Quinn’s blog, you would find that the a lot of the content is typical 4chan banter, including organizing a CSS game of Go. For instance, they’re talking about Alec Baldwin joining the cause, even though Adam Baldwin was the one who coined #GamerGate.

Adam Baldwin, the actor, went on record multiple times explaining that he based #GamerGate on Watergate. Baldwin mentions that it was the Internet Aristocrat’s videos that got him involved in #GamerGate, and the lack of ethics in media journalism that helped spawn the hashtag. In an interview with APG Nation on September 21st, 2014, he stated….

“Well, there were a series of videos that were thrown out, I don’t even recall how they came over my Twitter feed, but there they were; and you know, I click on things… I’m a curious guy. I started watching it, and it seemed like an interesting story that the Internet Aristocrats had put out there. It was well sourced, but it had some salacious [details], which I don’t really care about.

 

[…] However, when it does come to collusion and conflicts of interest, it does become part of the story. Be that as it may, we all know what that is. It was really the catalyst for the rest of what was interesting to me, which is journalistic ethics. And also the corruption that was going on, which has now come to light through a series of leaks in an e-mail chain from [GameJournoPros].”

The GameJournoPros played an integral part in ballooning #GamerGate into the mainstream. Even the citation about 4chan starting #GamerGate from Lewis and Marwick points to the Ars Technica piece, which was written by a member of the GameJournoPros.

In fact, days before Johnson wrote the article, Kyle Orland, the creator of the group, had already formulated the narrative on September 6th, 2014

Orland explained in the post on the GJP that #GamerGate was nothing more than a 4chan troll job and was organized by the internet hate machine. Johnson used this angle in her piece on Ars Technica. Other sites reiterated the claim without even bothering to ask Adam Baldwin about it, save for sites like APG Nation. That’s not to mention that the topic of ethics in journalism has been an ongoing discussion in gaming since the infamous Jeff Gerstmann firing from GameSpot back in 2007 over the Kane & Lynch review.

What ends up happening is that we get misinformation spread as legitimate news. So when people read reports like the one from Marwick and Lewis, they’ll be convinced that the now-debunked citations are actually legitimate.

Moreover, well ahead of #GamerGate becoming a thing, Adam Baldwin had already mentioned about his knowledge and familiarity with Social Justice Warriors. He mentioned to Heat Street

“For young people in the gaming community, I saw this an an opportunity to raise awareness. ‘Social justice’ and ‘social justice warrior’ was a light bulb that went off for me. If they’re throwing that around, I had read about that for years from folks like Thomas Sowell. When that bugbear reared its ugly head —I thought well, I’ll jump in and see where this goes, #Gamergate, let’s see what happens and here we are.”

Lewis and Marwick’s report also attempts to tie #GamerGate to white supremacy and Mens’ Rights Activists. They claim that it’s a form of “Retrograde populism”, writing…

“Gamergate participants asserted that feminism—and progressive causes in general—are trying to stifle free speech, one of their most cherished values.30 They are reacting to what they see as the domination of the world by global multiculturalism and the rise of popular feminism. This is a retrograde populist ideology which reacts violently to suggestions of white male privilege, is directly linked to the language of the Men’s Rights Movement, and is also present in the messaging of the alt-right.31”

Here the citations get particularly flimsy. For instance, 31 cites a paper from Banet-Weiser and Miltner titled “#MasculinitySoFragile: culture, structure, and networked misogyny”. The paper was published on December 22nd, 2015. The paper reiterates common talking points from third-wave feminists and self-proclaimed progressive ideologues about “toxic masculinity”. Their other citation is from Marwick’s own Data Society post titled “Are There Limits To Online Free Speech?”, which was published on January 5th, 2017. Marwick’s piece is about defending companies like Twitter, Reddit and other private organizations to censor content and free speech that they don’t like.

Both citations are essentially citogenesis; a confirmation bias of the talking points Marwick and Lewis are trying to get across, even using their own published articles to back up their narrative.

What they fail to mention is that #GamerGate had nothing to do with white supremacy, troll culture, or MRAs. #GamerGate, in regards to free speech, had everything to do with stifled speech in game creation and the limitations of creative freedoms that have become increasingly prevalent since sex-negative feminists like Anita Sarkeesian took hold of the industry by utilizing the media to content police developers.

For instance, Koei Tecmo avoided releasing Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 in the West due to fears of a feminist backlash. That’s considered an attack on artistic freedom of creativity.

Bandai Namco avoided releasing Summer Lesson in the West due to fears of a backlash from Social Justice Warriors. That’s a perceived attack on freedom of creativity.

Larian Studios were attacked for Divinity: Original Sin by media and feminists for having a female on the box cover with her midriff exposed. That’s an actual attack on the freedom of creativity.

Hatred was originally pulled from Steam due to complaints from SJWs for being too violent. Valve President Gabe Newell eventually restored the game after catching wind of the incident, as reported by Forbes.

Blade & Soul had missions and story content censored because the localizers adopted to third-wave feminist ideals, and felt that the game needed to be more progressive. They literally began censoring gamers on the forums when gamers began complaining about the censorship of the Western version of the game.

And of course, in those examples, some of those games are from Japanese and South Korean studios, which has nothing whatsoever to do with “white male privilege”. Additionally, Lewis and Marwick are wrong; there isn’t a “claim” about attack on the freedom of speech and creativity in the gaming industry, it is an attack on the gaming industry.

Blade & Soul NA vs KR Censorship

Nevertheless, the foundation of Lewis and Marwick’s portrayal of #GamerGate based on misinformation spread by the GameJournoPros sort of tells you where they were heading with their conclusions right from the start.

They state that #GamerGate was about harassment, misogyny and doxing, and then they forgo citations when making these denigrating remarks, writing…

”Ultimately, Gamergate demonstrated the refinement of a variety of techniques of gamified public harassment—including doxing (publishing personal information online), revenge porn (spreading intimate photos beyond their intended recipients), social shaming, and intimidation. It also provides insight into gender as a key rallying point for a range of online subcultures.”

Here, they have no citations since it’s never been proven nor adequately quantifiable that #GamerGate was ever a harassment campaign; because it wasn’t. A WAM Report showed minimal activity in regards to #GamerGate and reports of harassment, and a European Commission study showed that harassment wasn’t a top priority for Twitter users engaging with the GamerGate hashtag.

The FBI closed out their own case after nearly a year of investigating the hashtag, only managing to find a few trolls who used the hashtag to troll, but could neither identify nor quarantine the “mobilized”, “mass” group of gamers who were supposedly harassing women online. You can read the full FBI report for yourself.

The Media Manipulation report is interesting insofar that it talks about disinformation and group mobilization, yet on so many turns it uses its own levy of disinformation to misinform readers and continue to spread false propaganda about individuals and groups across cultures they don’t understand.


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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.

  • Mr.Towel

    Another great article, Billy.

    These kind of article do wonders in nuking a-GG arguments in discussion, so their true tantrum nature can be revealed. Brings tears to my eyes, keep it up!

  • Jansku Jappanen

    Grammar check, developers isn’t written develoeprs. 😉

    • Disqusted

      Isn’t that more of a spell check than a grammar check?

      • Jansku Jappanen

        Yes, english me first language not is. 😉
        Fixed.

    • Ha, nice catch. Thanks.

      *Fixed.

  • mr pleb

    its a shame they will never read this since it lacks academic citation. Your work only has citations but since you are not an academic they are worthless you white supremacist capitalists ignoramus. So as always the learned academics will continue as if everything they say is authoritative as it is because they are academics….

    • Disqusted

      Don’t worry, in a few more articles Billy can cite his own previous articles as proof, just like academics do.

  • Alistair

    Okay i come to the conclusion, that if gamergate is consider a Alt right harrasment hate group. And since the Law consider it a crime like stalking.

    Harrasment can come in many form 1 crazy example i could invade your privacy space by standing right next you.

    Another example is if you try to force a woman protester of the premises the scream Rape “Dont touch me” As sexual assult.

    So instead of SJWs posting BS If they got a issue, take it too civil court. But they wont as they know they lose as the FBI report and others report proves.

    Gamergate is a consumer revout, by boycotting goods you deem censored is your god dam rights.

    • Disqusted

      To the West, everything is an extreme-right hate harassment group now.

  • This is starting to become a worrying precedent, because the academic literature surrounding GamerGate is starting to formulate with an exclusively SJW bias; every single paper, in fact, says the same shit. This is the stuff that is really going to count in the long run, because it will be used to inform policies in the future if nothing is done to counter it.

    • Laytonaster

      It’s no secret how much the SJW ideology has infested the upper echelons of society; whether it be for the delusional utopian ideals, the corrupt connections, or just simply the plethora of useful idiots it garners; and now have so much control over everything.
      It’s no longer a matter of whether or not people do anything in the first place, but rather whether they won’t end up getting smothered. A reminder that SJWs only want one thing: Control over society.

    • This is the stuff that is really going to count in the long run, because it will be used to inform policies in the future if nothing is done to counter it.

      This was always their end goal.

      • tajlund

        This has been Regreesive SOP since the beginning, they have just gotten way better at it. Release a fake story, push said story over and over until people believe it, never go back on the story even if you’re found out “the seriousness of the charge matters more than the accuracy”, and then cite said story as precedent when creating your new scandal/policy/attack.

    • This is the stuff that is really going to count in the long run, because
      it will be used to inform policies in the future if nothing is done to
      counter it.

      The way to counter it is for our side to be aggressive and take an eye for an eye, but making sure that we do it using facts, reason and logic.

      The problem is that the more I look around the current GamerGate and anti-SJW sectors, there seems to be a fairly-significant and growing portion of individuals who have chosen to be “neutral”, “moderates” and fence-sitters. They’ll usually be the first to scream “STOP ACTING LIKE SJWS!!” from their moral high-horses if any of our side even starts to get a little aggressive towards SJWs/feminists.

      People are just too focused on being the “moral good guys” and to “not act like SJWs”. That is why not much gets done to counter SJWs.

      • tajlund

        This has been a problem with the anti-regressive forces forever. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “You can’t use their Alinsky tactics against them, it will make you just like them”.

      • Drake Moore

        I come here after binging your latest videos, and here you are, Jim you’re taking over my life faggot.

    • Disqusted

      Not exactly surprising considering that SJWs have been hijacking academia for at least two decades now.

      • Keystone

        “for at least two decades now.”

        Try four.

    • TT

      They are getting desperate however, they are basically a dying beast, most people know they are full of shit, and many are fighting back varying degrees of success. The facts aren’t on their side, and they are trying harder than ever to push their nonsense. Keeping pushing back I’d say.

  • Laytonaster

    Sheesh, talk about hypocrisy with the smuggest veneer. This rampant intellectual dishonesty go back to its pit soon enough.

  • LuzariusLive

    Great article!

  • Disqusted

    More Soros minion propaganda, eh? Hopefully the Seth Rich revelations will start toppling dominos over until all those lying pieces of shit are gone.

    Speaking of Men’s Rights Activists, I heard a few days ago that Cassie Jaye’s The Red Pill has been repeatedly cancelled in Australia despite selling out, thanks to small feminist groups complaining.

    I found a Vice article about it (first time I’ve read their site, and the last) that spews lies and lies, including false descriptions of Cassie Jaye’s documentary as violent and misogynistic. They claimed it was funded by Breitbart and MRA, but never mentioned how the funding was originally from feminists who cancelled when they realized it wasn’t going to be the hit piece they wanted.

    Fake news, as expected of Vice.

    • Keystone

      Netflix won’t stream it either, but they’ll happily stream Bill Nye’s faux intellectual identity politics bullshit masquerading as science.

      Anyone got a good stream link to Cassie’s film? Would love to watch it.

      • SevTheBear

        There are people at *Universities* that believe the same nonsense as Bill Nye. Understanding simple genetics and chromosomes is beyond comprehension even at the Universities. So that the mainstream entertainment industry is just as moronic is no surprise https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b5936348d461823ea2829de3a25d0e86fc67ccad2502b3379128e42aa358b2cc.jpg

        • Disqusted

          Academia is full of idiots who want to think they are smart. Most of the lecturers I’ve met considered themselves intellectuals just because they read up on and copied “intelligent” literature, and then acted as if they were the ones who came up with it.

          That’s not even including most of the teachers I’ve met, who got off on being “superior” to kids, despite failing basic English and lacking basic knowledge of their curriculum. Or the teachers who insisted they were absolutely correct, solely because “they knew so”. I’d imagine things are even worse now than back then.

          • SevTheBear

            I approve of that. I have meet plenty of people at the Universities like that. Well my next test will be with someone working at hospital. If they are just dumb then we royally fucked

      • Disqusted

        Because mah sex junk, oh oh oh.

        I’d like to watch Cassie’s film, too. I heard it’s available for free, but a quick browse didn’t turn up any good links.

        • You can watch it on YouTube, but it costs money.