Engadget Defends CNN, Misinforms Readers About #GamerGate
Engadget CNN GamerGate

Engadget’s Jessica Conditt penned a piece entitled “Here’s why CNN isn’t ‘doxing’ anyone”. It was published on July 7th, 2017. The piece attempts to defend CNN’s actions that they took against a Reddit user they thought created a meme that Donald Trump shared on his Twitter account. CNN tracked down the user and posed the threat of doxing him to coerce an apology out of him, and made mention that they could always change their mind if the Reddit user ever got out of line again. They later had to post an updated story to affirm that President Donald Trump’s press team denied that Trump retrieved the meme from Reddit, which means that the attempted blackmail was levied against the wrong person.

However, more relevant to the topic at hand is the fact that Conditt misrepresents a lot of information in the piece to continue the false narrative about #GamerGate being a harassment campaign, something that was never proven to be true back in 2014 and has still never been proven to be true in 2017.

Conditt writes…

“Doxing was one of the main weapons deployed by proponents of Gamergate, a loosely organized movement that led to the widespread harassment of women in the video game community around 2014.“

Doxing was used by various trolls against people who identified as pro and anti-#GamerGate, including Liz Finnegan, a former writer for The Escapist Magazine who supported the fight for better ethics in journalism as a pro-#GamerGate figure early on.

Additionally, it was discovered that non-affiliated groups like /baphomet/ were doxing people and attempting to place the blame on #GamerGate, since the /baphomet/ crew hated #GamerGate, which was only reported on by alternative sites like Ralph Retort.

What’s more is that there was never any “widespread harassment”, nor any archives, records or evidence indicating that #GamerGate ever commenced or partook in widespread harassment. In fact there was a #GamerGate harassment patrol designed to ensure that trolls would not use the hashtag for harassment, this way the message about ethics in journalism could be seen loud and clear on the hashtag. The group ended up petering out, but not before helping catch and expose one of Anita Sarkeesian’s more notorious harassers, as reported by We Hunted The Mammoth.

Additionally, the WAM! peer reviewed report did not indicate that people who were labeled as harassers partook in any kind of organized harassment. More than 172 news articles claimed that the people on the #GamerGate blocklist were harassers, and according to WAM!’s findings, only 0.65% of the people on a list of nearly 10,000 were ever reported for harassment, as detailed by Techraptor.

Conditt has no links and nothing to back up the claims of harassment. She goes on to write…

“Gamergate targeted game developers Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu and Feminist Frequency founder Anita Sarkeesian, among others.”

Except, there’s no evidence they were “targeted” by #GamerGate for anything other than criticism. Even Anita Sarkeesian openly admitted that criticism is not harassment. A Newsweek report even indicated that over 90% of the tweets regarding Quinn, Wu and Sarkeesian involving #GamerGate were neutral, with a small percentage of tweets being positive or negative.

Newsweek Report

Conditt continues, writing…

“The FBI got involved, and earlier this year the Bureau released a redacted 173-page document outlining its Gamergate investigation, including swaths of abusive tweets, emails and messages. One suspect apparently admitted to calling and threatening a victim 40 to 50 times a day, though it appears this person didn’t face any punishment.”

Conditt links to another Engadget article regarding the FBI report, cherrypicking certain examples to paint an unclear picture about their investigation. In reality, the calls from the individuals made 40 through 50 times a day were from two teens from Indiana. The boys began calling Brianna Wu because they regularly participated in a chatroom with Wu, and after seeing #GamerGate in Gnews from sites like Engadget, Kotaku and Polygon claiming that it was a harassment campaign, they joined in. Theis was detailed in the full FBI report that you can read on the official FBI website.

Conditt leaves out the very poignant point that the only reason the boys began making the prank calls was because of what was misreported by the media.

Conditt’s final example in relation to #GamerGate involved actress Felicia Day, recounting how the actress was doxed after penning a blog about #GamerGate, writing…

“Felicia Day, actress and all-around nerd goddess, penned a blog post in October 2014 about her personal reaction to Gamergate and to explain why she hadn’t spoken up about the controversy before then. Essentially, she wrote, she was scared of being doxed […]

 

“Day was doxed minutes after publishing that blog post.”

It is true that Felicia Day’s talent agency’s address was posted in the comment section about 9 to 12 minutes after making the blog post. The address was posted by an anonymous user who was posing as the Internet Aristocrat. The dox was done in an attempt to make it as if #GamerGate doxed Felicia Day; the user was quickly reported and the post was deleted shortly thereafter.

An actual recounting of the event and the details surrounding it were only properly covered by a user blog on Gawker’s Kinja network.

The blog surmised that it was likely the work of third-party trolls. As evident with /baphomet/’s involvement, there were definitely various third-party trolls at work, and a couple of times #GamerGate caught them red handed, including an event that involved some trolls attempting to bribe young kids to send death threats through the GamerGate hashtag in exchange for free MewTwo codes for a Pokemon 3DS game.

The FBI report also indicated that goons from the SomethingAwful.com forums were also involved, but Conditt fails to mention any of this in her article, solely reiterating old unproven claims to continue a narrative to suit the media’s fake news agenda.


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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.

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