The XX Factor

GamerGate Fights Corruption in Journalism By Encouraging Corruption in Journalism

This makes some people really mad.  

Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

The Benghazi of the video game world, the GamerGate movement is a baffling mess of accusations and anger that started over the summer when a man named Eron Gjoni, angry about his failed relationship with an indie video game developer named Zoe Quinn, created a webpage and used it to accuse Quinn of infidelity. Soon, other gamers started to gang up on Quinn, leveling increasingly ugly accusations at her, like that she had sex with a video game journalist in order to get good reviews. (The accusation, for what it’s worth, is false.) Upon the outside world discovering GamerGate and recoiling in horror, those who had attacked Quinn swore that they aren’t misogynists, but merely trying to clean up corruption and cronyism in video game journalism. My colleague David Auerbach has more history of GamerGate here and here

The claim that GamerGate is not really about sex but about corruption in journalism has never really held water. It doesn’t make sense to attack a non-journalist like Quinn for supposedly violating the ethics of journalism. But any lingering hopes that GamerGate is about bringing integrity back to journalism were dashed this week, when GamerGate participants convinced Intel to pull its advertising from the gaming website Gamasutra in order to punish Gamasutra for publishing an opinion they don’t like, a piece criticizing GamerGate for making gamers look like misogynist idiots.

The purported concern of GamerGate is to end gaming journalism’s “increasing corruption by money and hype,” as Auerbach explained. If that’s true, it’s awfully fishy that GamerGate’s first major victory is to threaten journalists with lost revenue for writing about their honestly held views. That the journalist in question, Leigh Alexander, happens also to be yet another young, outspoken woman suggests yet again that GamerGate never was and never will be about corruption in journalism, but is simply a loosely organized collective that wants to bully women out of the gaming world.