CNET Publishes Misinformation About #GamerGate, Staff Defends Falsehoods
Donald Trump GamerGate
(Last Updated On: June 15, 2017)

CNET published a screed against the gaming community and against #GamerGate, a 2014 revolt against unethical journalistic practices in the media. The piece was written by Ian Sherr and Erin Carson, and published on June 14th, 2017 [backup] and is titled “GamerGate to Trump: How video game culture blew everything up”.

The piece attempts to blame gaming culture and #GamerGate for helping put Donald Trump in office.

They start by claiming that the proto-#GamerGate antics started with Anita Sarkeesian, and the trolls who popped up around her, writing…

“An army of hateful trolls woke up, found each other online and launched a crusade of harassment, targeting not only Sarkeesian but anyone else who questioned their view of how the gaming world should be.”

Citation needed.

This is a baseless claim and there is no documented evidence anywhere that “hateful trolls” launched a “crusade of harassment” against anyone who questioned the view of how the gaming world should be. If CNET has a citation they’re welcome to present it.

Additionally, the mistrust and resentment that gamers held toward games media originally gained traction after Gamespot fired Jeff Gerstmann back in 2007 over his perceived low score of Kane & Lynch, as detailed by Forbes. #GamerGate was the culmination of years of festering frustration between gamers and games media; but I digress.

Nevertheless, CNET moved on to target #GamerGate, where they wrote…

“A few years later, anonymous online trolls threatened to rape and kill indie game developer Zoë Quinn after her ex-boyfriend posted a 9,000-word online screed accusing her of sleeping with a games journalist for a positive review.

 

“The whole campaign against Sarkeesian, Quinn and other women became known as #GamerGate.”

This is patently false.

No where in Eron Gjoni’s “The Zoe Post”, which you can read in full on WordPress, does he mention that Zoe Quinn slept with a games journalist for a positive review. In fact, CNET purposefully lied here because no where in The Zoe Post is the word “review” even used… ever.

What happened was that Gjoni named Nathan Grayson in the piece, and people figured out that it was the same Grayson from Kotaku who had previously written at Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Grayson had given Quinn positive coverage (not a review) and did so without disclosing his romantic or financial ties to the developer. Grayson’s articles and subsequent ethical lapses are documented on his Deepfreeze.it profile.

Additionally, no evidence supports CNET’s claim that there was ever a campaign against Sarkeesian or Quinn. In fact, in Quinn’s own anti-harassment organization, Crash Override Network, they have no documented harassment from #GamerGate users against Anita Sarkeesian. A WAM!, peer reviewed report indicated that only 0.66% of the people labeled as harassers by more than 172 media articles had actually been reported for harassment. And the FBI’s year long investigation revealed that there was no actionable evidence indicating that #GamerGate was a harassment campaign.

FBI GamerGate Investigation

In fact, CNET misrepresents some of the information from the FBI report to further mislead readers, claiming…

“Sarkeesian, who like Quinn declined to comment for this story, was forced to cancel a speech at a college campus after receiving an anonymous email from a supposed student threatening “the deadliest school shooting in American history.” Brianna Wu, co-founder of indie game development studio Giant Spacekat, had to hire personal security after she became a target for speaking out. Quinn’s family also received threats and was subjected to harassment.”

In the FBI report, which you can read on the official FBI online vault, one of the people who sent in a threatening letter regarding Sarkeesian’s speech at the Utah universe was actually from a troll. The individual used decade-old internet memes laced throughout the letter, including the popular Dragon Ball Z meme “it’s over 9,000”, claiming that he had over 9,000 bombs he was going to bring to the school. The FBI deduced that the multiple threats written in from the  troll were from the same person.

Someone tipped off the FBI claiming that the person who wrote the letter(s) was allegedly a regular forum poster on the SomethingAwful.com message boards. SomethingAwful.com is known as a den of trolls who hate #GamerGate.

CNET, however, continues on by making more baseless claims. They write…

“Over time, different groups on the internet that tend to respond negatively to women, such as some communities of hardcore gamers, coders and far-right white supremacist groups, began to coalesce around shared harassment of women and distaste for social change.”

Citation needed.

CNET continued on with more baseless claims. They wrote…

“In the case of GamerGate, the mobs coalesced around a particular hatred of what they saw as outsiders — women, in particular — attacking video games, which they claimed was theirs.”

Citation needed.

Claiming that the movement was about hating on women will need more than just claims to make it fact. The fact that this particular article from CNET is classified as a news article in their news section is even more damning, as they have no outlier or caveat that these claims are entirely opinion based.

CNET GamerGate News

They also misrepresent other facets of #GamerGate, writing…

“During GamerGate, a blacklist of publications was created, as were email templates and phone call scripts for how to most effectively convince companies to pull their ads from sites that wrote critically about GamerGate or its message.”

What they failed to mention in this paragraph is that the blacklist was formed so that readers would stop supporting unethical outlets who spread falsehoods and damage the gaming industry, such as when Kotaku launched a smear campaign against Brad Wardell or Max Temkin without fact-checking their claims first, or when Gawker took various opportunities to publish unethical content spanning a myriad of subject matter. In fact, Gawker was #GamerGate’s prime target throughout the tail end of 2014, as admitted to by former Gawker editor Max Read.

#GamerGate worked with the FTC to get an investigation launched into Gawker, and even cost the media giant countless dollars in ad revenue.

Gamasutra, Polygon and Joystiq were a few amongst many that gamers had opted to boycott and stop reading, especially following the barrage of articles now known as the “Gamers Are Dead” campaign.

Another thing the CNET article fails to mention is that many of these sites were collaborators or members of the infamous GameJournoPros list, which was sometimes used to direct the narrative traffic of gaming news media via a secret mailing list.

The GameJournoPros list was actually formed by Kyle Orland in imitation of Ezra Klein’s JournoList, which was also accused of collectively manipulating news to align closer to the Liberal agenda, as reported by Mediaite.

Nevertheless, CNET continued on to state…

“The GamerGate mob also expanded use of a tactic called “doxxing,” or publishing a person’s address, Social Security number, phone number or any other private information”

Citation needed.

What we did discover is that Zoe Quinn’s Crash Override Network did partake in targeted harassment and doxing of individuals who were ideologically opposed to them. This information was documented and revealed through leaked chat logs. Multiple members of the group confirmed the authenticity of the chat logs, but media websites refused to report on the contents.

In fact, #GamerGate had a sub-group known as the #GamerGate Harassment Patrol, to ensure that no one used the hashtag to dox or harass anyone.

CNET’s attempt to play six degrees of separation between #GamerGate and Donald Trump being elected into Presidency is tenuously irresponsible at best, and unethical fearmongering at worst.

In fact, claiming that tactics developed by #GamerGate to help seat Trump completely misses the fact that according to exit poll data collected by Business Insider, the majority of people who voted for Trump were majority from rural America, white, middle-to-upper class individuals mostly between the ages of 40 and 65+. What’s more is that most of the people who put Trump in office were moderates and Conservatives.

Many of the demographics who voted for Trump have only a small crossover with the average gamer, who is labeled by most studies to be between the ages of 18 and 35, as reported by Statista.

What’s the relevance of this data? Well, for reference, majority of the people who identified as using the GamerGate hashtag in the Game Objective survey revealed that they were mostly left-leaning Liberals, a majority of whom voted for Barack Obama (for those who identified as American) in the 2012 elections.

Nevertheless, all of these facts were ignored by CNET staff.

The comment section on the article was adept in citing sources to correct CNET and even suggested that they update the article with the proper facts. However, when these issues were brought to the attention of the staff in the comment section, here’s how CNET staff member Connie Gugllelmo responded

“You’re entitled to your opinions about what you consider “evidence” and “poorly researched.”

“CNET stands behind our reporting.”

Majority of the claims were without citations, and evidence was not presented for many of the more outrageous conjecture, but CNET appears to be standing the article.

(Main image courtesy of Box TV)


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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.

  • The entire comment section on the CNET article was cleared. Guess they didn’t want any evidence that contradicted their little fantasy world.

  • jlenoconel

    I really don’t want GamerGate to start up again at this point. This is what the SJWs want, so they can cry harassment and people will give them victim bucks. I’m not gonna take the bait this time.

  • The comments sections of the GG and Brianna Wu article are now locked. Interesting. There were no abusive comments, but plenty of people posting links to articles that shoot holes in CNET’s narrative. After seeing this sort of lazy journalism (and this opinion is coming from an entertainment journalist) I won’t be returning to CNET again.

    • I gave up on CNET a while back when they pulled a similar stunt. They don’t seem to have any interest in balanced reporting or correcting mistakes, it’s all about doubling down on the narrative at this point.

      It’s especially painful because CNET used to be my go-to spot on the net for some great software downloads and catching up on a lot of tech related news.

      • The comments section for the GG piece was finally unlocked, but all the original responses are still gone. That’s a level of dishonesty that I cannot stand. If your staff writes an article that contains misleading or false information, at least retract it or ammend it. Putting up a wall so no one can point out inaccuracies shows that CNET cares more about ideology.

      • Aaaaand they deleted my new comment about how they cleared out all original and legitimate responses to GG article. Wow. It’s got to be fun living in a world where no one ever disagrees with ya.

        • Welcome to news media post GamerGate.

          It’s not just CNET, just about every anti-GamerGate website does this. Most comment sections are just completely closed down, others are heavily censored. None of them have made any attempts to rectify the inaccuracies. All of their lies and misinformation are echoed through broadcast TV segments and have made their way into the Gamergate Wikipedia page.

          It’s the same thing they’re doing now with the Trump/Russia thing.

  • Alistair

    Bah what a load of shite, gamergate didn’t do what they said putting trump in office.

    It may be 1 factors but Not the main one, if you get told you are a sexist misogyny and piece of shit.

    Of course you gonna rebel, 50% of white women didn’t believe what the media said that trump grabbed women by the pussy.

    But he grabbed NA by the pussy by winning the presidency.

    • But he grabbed NA by the pussy by winning the presidency.

      Bwahahaha…. he sure did.

  • The response from Connie Gugllelmo was directed at my comment about the poor research. They’ll stand by it even when other commentators and websites have delved into Gamergate in-depth. I never got involved with the thing until all the dust settled and it was easier to sift through to find facts.

    EDIT: I noticed that some comments were being deleted from the CNET article, tame ones including mine. All I said was that I had no issue with Gugllelmo’s response to my comment, but I was disappointed that the article was more focused on ideology rather than facts.

    • Well they’ll have to delete any evidence of their wrongdoing because they’re trying to shape reality to fit their ideology. This is what the early days of totalitarianism looks like.

  • Will

    CNET is owned by CBS. CBS is just about as bad about ignoring truth in favor of agenda as NYT and CNN.

  • Vrenna

    Why isn’t the media being sued for misinformation?
    I’m sick and tired of these companies and people having such power to destroy other’s lives and rewrite events as they see fit and see no jail time for their crimes.

    • milk bone

      You can only sue them for libel against a private individual. They can yellow-up their “journalism” all they want against groups, and most public figures. Free speech doesn’t necessarily imply integrity. In the marketplace of ideas, truth is not privileged.

      The most effective way of countering this sort of irresponsible reporting, is to produce factual reporting of one’s own. One can also undermine credibility in these outfits by insistently pointing out their errors in alternative media. Eventually, one hopes, the reach of the alternatives exceeds that of the established platforms.

      There’s actually some hope that this is happening, and the Trump candidacy is evidence of it. Even in the face of near-uniform blatant, obsessive advocacy for Hillary Clinton on the part of the establishment media, he managed to eke out a win at the ballot box.

      • Clarence

        milk bone: It’s even worse than that because even private citizens can be ‘limited public figures’ and they can (via shaping news) pretty much make you one themselves. Basically, have you ever been in the news, even your local paper? Then, under some circumstances they can still yellow journo and ruin your life all they want. Take George Zimmerman: You want to know why he couldn’t sue the regular news channels for splicing that tape that made it seem as if he said ‘coons’ and the 9/11 call – making it look like he offered Martin’s race on his own instead of being asked for it? Two reasons: A. He had helped a black man who was the victim of police brutality by the FORMER police chiefs son. Passed out pamphlets, was named in at least one local article. B. Due to the length of the case and the fact he had no income (and due to the Prosecutors trying to pressure him they tried to get his wife on a bullshit charge too due to a telephone conversation about their paypal account) and his wife had no income he went on one of the talk shows. He did that only once. Those were sufficient to basically make him a ‘limited public figure’ even though the REAL reason (and the reason his life was almost ruined) was all the hateful propaganda the press was spewing about the case. The whole nation knew about what should have been an open and shut (if you watched the trial and read the evidence like I did) self-defense case. There were riots and protests and Obama saying Martin looked like his son…aargh.

        Anyway, my point? Even private citizens are not safe from our yellow press. I know some Brits say its too easy to sue for Libel in Britain. Well, in my opinion its too hard to sue in the US, and not just because of time and cost. We need to tighten the “public figure” and ‘limited public figure’ exceptions up a bit and maybe add a statute for ignoring evidence no matter WHO you are talking about.

  • Articles like this should be a warning to anyone who likes to say “oh but SJWs/feminists are only a tiny minority, the majority are gamers and are against PC culture”.

    This “tiny minority” has control of the entire mainstream media, academia, education, politics, government, entertainment media, TV, news outlets, etc., basically the biggest institutions and organizations.

    CNET is one of the big mainstream technology sites that a lot of people go to. One article on there influences and indoctrinates hundreds and thousands of people. One article on there completely silences and drowns out GG and Anti-SJWs speaking the truth.

    That’s why SJWs are cancerous even if they are only a “tiny minority”.

  • MONAD

    How long until the “#gamergate caused Global Warming” articles?

    • VersVlees

      Well you see because gamers play violent video games with big breasted women in it. Their game consoles and PC’s use extra energy to generate those problematic pixels, causing those filthy coal power plants to pollute our environment.
      Now let me get my problem glasses and grow out a hipster beard so I can write for the current year gaming media.

  • Disqusted

    Lying mainstream scum doubling down on lies. Thanks Obama. IIRC he’s the one who removed the law preventing them from flat-out making up shit.

    I wish Trump would use his money to just sue all these lying f**ks for blatant slander. That’s probably part of why they keep Trump busy with so much other bullshit, because they know if Trump had spare time, they would all be in jail.

    I was looking up bad localizations yesterday and saw people talking about Fire Emblem: Fates and saying that only “GamerGate scum” (or some such name-calling) would complain about completely mistranslated stuff. Bullshit.

    Having a basic standard for quality makes you a woman-hater now, apparently. Which reminds me, I think it was Oxford University that is now banning the use of words such as “genius” and “brilliance” because it’s “sexist against women”.

    By coddling women and treating them like helpless children, Soros’ liberal left has successfully made “female” synonymous with “dumb, helpless, useless victim”. They must be real proud of themselves. Real progressive. Not.

    • I wish Trump would use his money to just sue all these lying f**ks for blatant slander. That’s probably part of why they keep Trump busy with so much other bullshit, because they know if Trump had spare time, they would all be in jail.

      And if they really were punished or jailed, watch these same parasites scream for free speech.

      • milk bone

        Which would be the desired result. Can we give a try and see?

        • Of course, I would love to see Trump do this.

          But is he actually going to do it? Of course he isn’t. You have to remember that Donald Trump is a politician. And politicians are all dishonest, and end up being part of the globalist establishment anyway. Whether that be globalist left or globalist right. They end up pandering to the loudest whiners, and that’s SJWs and feminists.

          I haven’t been keeping up with Trump’s progress recently, but I sure hope he’s stopped allowing Ivanka to dictate to him on “muh women’s rights” and “muh feminism”.

          Quite frankly, I don’t trust ANY politician no matter who it is and which side they’re on.

          I think all Donald Trump is going to do is control immigration and change the economy. That’s it. People are naive if they honestly think that he’s going to put an end to all the SJW and feminist garbage that plaques the entire Western societies.

          I would love to be proved wrong on this of course.

      • Me

        And they would be right. And how do you justify trampling of their first amendment rights, just to satisfy your stupid revenge fantasy? You don’t. That’s because young, arrogant idiots like you don’t think, you simply want to burn the house down to kill the termites.
        You idiots want to know why gamergate is losing? why it’s not attracting more people? I’ll tell you why…I swear, every fucking time I want to support gamergate I see some stupid cunt like you advocate trampling on freedom of speech because vidya gaems GET OVER IT I hate these people too, but I love my freedoms more. Take the time to learn about the importance of principles like the freedom of speech, instead of being a fucking baby who wants Daddy government to fix everything and just lock everyone you don’t like away.
        If Trump had that power, do you really think he’d use it wisely? ( I don’t say justly as that’s impossible…)
        And what’s going to happen when he hands it over to Obama 2.0? who’s ass will get the fist then?
        When gamergate moved away from it’s libertarian beginnings it went downhill, decending ito either Bernie-bottom-ism, or alt-right cuckery. Have it that way, if you want, but don’t expect to win. Expect to continue losing.

    • Me

      ” the law preventing them from flat-out making up shit”
      There never was any such stupid law, nor should there be. There IS something called the first amendment.Look it up. Libel and slander laws are a blatant violation of the freedom of speech. I am sick of you social justice warrior idiots ( yes, you are no differrent…) screaming that you want to trample on the first amendment, just because some people tell lies.
      These idiots are going down in flames like they deserve to, freedom of speech is the reason why.
      But yeah, give governmnt the power to openly censor the media and jail journalists, what could possibly go wrong? It’s not like iit’s an unjust violation of the non-aggression principle or anything right? or that it would be abused. Im sure the government would only use it justly, right?

    • Me

      ” the law preventing them from flat-out making up shit”
      There never was any such stupid law, nor should there be. There IS something called the first amendment.Look it up. Libel and slander laws are a blatant violation of the freedom of speech. I am sick of you social justice warrior idiots ( yes, you are no differrent…) screaming that you want to trample on the first amendment, just because some people tell lies.
      These idiots are going down in flames like they deserve to, freedom of speech is the reason why.
      But yeah, give governmnt the power to openly censor the media and jail journalists, what could possibly go wrong? It’s not like iit’s an unjust violation of the non-aggression principle or anything right? or that it would be abused. Im sure the government would only use it justly, right?

    • Me

      ” the law preventing them from flat-out making up shit”
      There never was any such stupid law, nor should there be. There IS something called the first amendment.Look it up. Libel and slander laws are a blatant violation of the freedom of speech. I am sick of you social justice warrior idiots ( yes, you are no differrent…) screaming that you want to trample on the first amendment, just because some people tell lies.
      These idiots are going down in flames like they deserve to, freedom of speech is the reason why.
      But yeah, give governmnt the power to openly censor the media and jail journalists, what could possibly go wrong? It’s not like iit’s an unjust violation of the non-aggression principle or anything right? or that it would be abused. Im sure the government would only use it justly, right?

  • ItEotWaWKI

    You went to CNET? Why? That site’s design causes eye cancer.

  • Hawk Hopper

    “Over time, different groups on the internet that tend to respond negatively to women, such as some communities of hardcore gamers, coders and far-right white supremacist groups, began to coalesce around shared harassment of women and distaste for social change.”-CNET

    Image of coalesced hardcore gamers, coders, and far-right white supremacists:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c14250b8298953ba019cdd2fc9901bfe84a8cb971055b7d9fee06bde6e2b59b1.png

  • Bamf

    Breaking News from CNet!!!!

    #Gamergate responsible for 9/11!!!!

  • Bamf

    Breaking News from CNet!!!!

    #Gamergate responsible for 9/11!!!!

  • durka durka

    “The piece attempts to blame gaming culture and #GamerGate for helping put Donald Trump in office.”

    Well they are not wrong, Gamergate got people who didnt care about politics including myself, educated on what the hell is going on. After that alot of people followed sargon of akkad, which in my opinion helped Brexit, then alot of people were sick and tired trying to argue with people that responde the same way as CNET, “this is the truth and if you dont like it, you cant do shit.” so they said “fuck it, Trump”

    The goal is simple, re establish ideological hegemony, just keep beating anyone on the right and keep holding the narrative until they are back in charge.

    This is why i said you cant be total shitlords, because if you are no one is gonna take you seriously. This is not a battle, it is a war that will last for years, its been, what 3 years already?

  • durka durka

    “The piece attempts to blame gaming culture and #GamerGate for helping put Donald Trump in office.”

    Well they are not wrong, Gamergate got people who didnt care about politics including myself, educated on what the hell is going on. After that alot of people followed sargon of akkad, which in my opinion helped Brexit, then alot of people were sick and tired trying to argue with people that responde the same way as CNET, “this is the truth and if you dont like it, you cant do shit.” so they said “fuck it, Trump”

    The goal is simple, re establish ideological hegemony, just keep beating anyone on the right and keep holding the narrative until they are back in charge.

    This is why i said you cant be total shitlords, because if you are no one is gonna take you seriously. This is not a battle, it is a war that will last for years, its been, what 3 years already?

    • It’s all down to attrition. The longer they keep harping on about this crap, the more insane they seem.

      That’s why we need to look like the rational ones. Moderates will come to us, because the alternative is constantly getting crapped on because you don’t agree with their every word.

      • It’s all down to attrition. The longer they keep harping on about this crap, the more insane they seem.

        I’ve seen people say this countless times over the last few years and nothing has changed, SJWs are still in control. In fact, I think it’s gotten even worse.

        I don’t think the plan of ‘just-let-SJWs-show-how-insane-they-are’ is actually working.

        • milk bone

          Well, even the normies, from either side, have lost faith in the truthfulness of the mainstream media, so that’s progress.

    • This is not a battle, it is a war that will last for years, its been, what 3 years already?

      Yep.

      • Elilla Shadowheart

        I like the comments in Cnet’s article, especially the “we stand by our reporting.” They just can’t stop digging that hole.

        • Disqusted

          They may as well have said “We love Soros’ money”.

          • I don’t think it’s only the Soros money though.

            I honestly believe that some of these journalists (especially feminist women journalists) have a personal bitter, spiteful, hateful agenda they want to spew so they actually mean what they say rather than just following orders.

    • Disqusted

      If the mainstream media wanted us to believe their 24/7 lies about Trump, maybe they shouldn’t have previously outed themselves as blatant liars by constantly bullshitting about GamerGate.

      It’s not GamerGate’s fault that the entire mainstream decided to destroy their own credibility by expending tremendous effort to slander one of the world’s largest entertainment industries and all of its audiences.

      Mainstream: “You’re all a bunch of racist women-hating violent neckbeard basement-dwelling regressive fascist Nazis!!!!”
      Mainstream: “Trump and his supporters are racist woman-hating violent neckbeard basement-dwelling regressive fascist Nazis!!! Vote Hillary!”

      Yeah, real f**king trustworthy.

    • This is not a battle, it is a war that will last for years, its been, what 3 years already?

      It’s virtually coming up to 5 years now.

      I was there before “GamerGate” and “SJWs” were even a thing. Back then, SJWs were known as “moralfags”, and sometimes “prudes”.

      They were nowhere as loud or as controlling back then because they didn’t have full control of the mainstream games media yet. BUT the mainstream news media (CNN, BBC, WSJ, The Guardian, etc.) were already full SJW and feminist, so the support was already in place for SJWs to attack and take over the video games industry.

      Then along came the parasites such as Anita Sarkeesian and Laci Green, along with the Zoe Quinn incident and morons like Movie Bob and David Futrelle, and therefore hoards of new SJWs were created.

      The goal is simple, re establish ideological hegemony, just keep beating anyone on the right and keep holding the narrative until they are back in charge.

      What do you mean “back in charge”?

      SJWs are in charge. They’ve been in charge for the last 30+ years in Western politics. In video games, they’ve been in charge for the last 3-4 years. They’ve never lost it.

      • milk bone

        I think what you’re observing is the long march through the institutions. It’s been going on since roughly 1917. Because it happens gradually, it’s been largely accepted.

        But as it has finally reached a degree of insanity that can’t go unnoticed, it has finally engendered a reaction. How to undo the worst of it? Build alternative institutions and work to discredit the existing ones. They’re pretty much doing the latter job themselves, and only need a little push from us. Just not acquiescing to the lunacy is a good start, and that’s the essence of GG.

    • Alistair

      It been longer then 3 years but it all down to the internet, that people now realise the threat of regression left SJWs.

      You can go back to the 1960 that lobbyists try to banned a book in U.K.

      The viewers and listeners association a lobbying lobby of busybodies like the late Mary Whitehouse she total hate sex on tv in the 1970s.

      Besides I think the war won’t end, but what we can do is keep calling them out. Buy uncensored products and enjoy in their glory. 😊