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The Devil of Agenda

Micah Curtis / February 13, 2015 at 8:00 AM / Gaming, Gaming Opinions

“I have an agenda.”

I don’t know if there is a more frightening set of words to come out of a journalist’s mouth. Now, agenda driven journalism exists. We see it all the time in mainstream news. Rachel Maddow is a blatant “progressive.” Bill O’Reilly is very much a Republican and further right than someone like Greg Gutfield. Then, of course, you have Chris Hayes, whose fascination with President Obama sounds like a schoolyard crush. It’s not unfamiliar, but it does not stop being wrong. The same idea should be remembered when it comes to game journalism. When Ben Kuchera tells you he is pushing a “progressive” agenda, it’s an issue. When Leigh Alexander tells you her goal is to “get money, fight bulls***, and make sure those she loves stand the longest,” it’s a problem.

It’s true that we all have our tastes in life. We all have different lifestyles. E Pluribus Unum. “From many, one.” As a United States citizen, it comes with the territory. With that said, with the rise in the idea of agenda comes a decrease in the application of ethics. From what Leigh Alexander says of herself, she is not a journalist. She is using her position of Editor in Chief at Gamasutra as a massive PR agent. It seems as if she would be more comfortable doing what Maya Kramer does for Silverstring Media than what she has been doing thus far. As it stands, where does that leave the developers and publishers?

Let’s evaluate the position of an independent developer. Say that a small team has created a compelling experience that breaks social norms, and is a bit politically incorrect in some manners. In a way, it’s a partial throwback to a game like Fallout 2. Now, let’s say another team has created a walking simulator where you listen to a woman talk about how pretty things are for hours on end. If members of the press are stifling the information about the former, and increasing the amount of information output for the latter, you find that the first team is at a massive disadvantage to making their project a success.

If a journalist tells you that they’re unaware of the power that they hold, they’re lying to you. Journalism does not often pay the bills unless you’ve got a side gig or a major publisher behind you. Even then, a quasi-competent businessman will be making more money than you are. Journalists carry influence, and they often times abuse it. In my Unisolated Alienation video, I mentioned both Ben Kuchera and Jim Sterling’s attempt to lay the blame of Aliens: Colonial Marines at the feet of both Sega and Creative Assembly, leaving out the fault of Gearbox completely. As I stated in the aforementioned video, I have my suspicions on why this happened. Anthony Burch worked for Gearbox at the time, and Burch is a friend of both Kuchera and Sterling. If my suspicions are true, it’s a pretty clear cut case of cronyism. Then, of course, you have video game writers contributing to the Patreons of independent developers, on top of roommates giving perfect scores to the games of friends they have made. 

Pictured: David Jaffe. Jaffe is one of the only AAA developers to stand up against corrupt game journalism.

Pictured: David Jaffe. Jaffe is one of the only AAA developers to stand up against corrupt game journalism.

You see, to the journalist with an agenda, facts have no place. The only thing that matters is the message. It’s interesting that folks like Ben Kuchera or Chris Plante are more than willing to call their readers evil. You see, Plante is fantastic at the doublethink that ultimately causes extremism. It’s only in the mind of an extreme ideologue that free market economics would be a tool of sexists. Only the thought process of someone so dedicated to a backwards, far-left agenda could construe a legal act like contacting companies about who they advertise with could be called “sexism.” True sexism is something that women in the middle east not living in Israel experience on the daily, and were they to hear about our problems, they’d weep. They’d trade their lives for the biggest issue they face to be bouncing breasts in video games.  Truth is irrelevant to these third wave devotees. All that matters is the narrative.

In fact, many sites are more than happy to cover up the truth in the media. NBC was famously caught editing the George Zimmerman 911 audio, but I have another interesting one that was from a wrestling site under the Vox umbrella. Cagesideseats is manned by Geno Mrosko, who had hired a writer by the name of Sergio Hernandez. He and Hernandez worked closely with one another, both being on the Cageside Seats podcast, on top of working at MMA Mania. Hernandez was a bit heavy on the booze though, often tweeting on his account while driving drunk. It caught up to him, as Hernandez killed a man. He was charged with intoxication manslaughter. Immediately, those sites turned Hernandez into an un-person. Rather than addressing what had happened, they swept everything under the rug in an attempt to cover the mess, rather than firing Hernandez before it happened. It was easier for them to try and bury the truth, rather than live with it.

“You have one job, information. If I can’t trust your intel then you’re useless to me.” Though I’m quoting Mass Effect 2, ultimately I think that statement sums up what John Q. Public is expecting when it comes to journalists. Game Journalism is simple. Report the news, review the games to the best of your ability, be honest to your audience, and try to give everyone an even slice. You’re paid to sit on the fence and observe, not jump off the fence and get in the middle of what you’re seeing. You aren’t paid to make friends, and being a professional is not difficult. Millions of human beings manage to pull it off on a daily basis. Get with the program. If you don’t acknowledge the problems now, later down the road you’re going to get caught in a mess. At this point, Vox’s writers like Mrosko, Kuchera, and Plante have caused the opinion of many Vox sites to drop, and they’re starting to lose their reputation.

All because of the agenda.


Micah Curtis

Micah is a man returning to the fold of video game journalism after a bit of time away. He's a conservative with a passion for business, and a love for the art of video games. Micah has been gaming since the NES, and knows a bit more about art than he probably should........



  • lordloss217

    well said Micah, well said

  • Brad Donald

    Its funny how upset bigger media enterprises seem to be getting about the fact GamerGate wont die. And how many sites they hoped to shape young minds with are being forced into ethical policies and disclosures. They see it as an infection. Something they fear will spread into their own LARGER enterprises.

  • Jonathan Roberts

    the very fact they opnely admit holding an agenda proves that no one should trust them. their viewpoint is always going to be skewed towards their agenda. As consumers we rely on journalism and news media to do one thing, give us the facts!
    These sites that GG rails against have given up on giving us the facts, instead opting to give us their opinion of the world and present it as truth.

  • Jonathan Roberts

    To get an opinion of the problems with all journalistic media, look up anything by Adam Curtis, his small segments on Charlie Brookers’ Newswipe give one pause for thought and some of it can be applied to whats happening in Games journalism now.
    Also a good watch is this segment of Canadian journalist Dan Gardner talking about Media narratives.

  • Mark Andrew Edwards

    Yup

  • Ben Jeanotte

    I think since true neutrality is pretty unobtainable, that journalistic publications with an agenda are ok, as long as it is rather apparent that they have a side to push. IN fact, admitting one has an agenda can make ones publication higher quality, and the message they send more clear.

    Of course, there needs to be limitations, with contests and the like, there isn’t a lot of room for bias. That’s perceived as unfair. But if someone wants their publication to push a liberal, or conservative tone, I support their freedom to do so. In the end, consumers always have a couple more options out there. The fact of the matter is, while there are some people that want unbiased coverage of things, others really just want to pick a side.

    I mean, even tech-raptor could be said to be biased. We cover far more pro-gamergate stories than we do anti. We don’t fuss and faun over the bravery of Anita Sarkeezean and Brianna Wu, we don’t fret over their safety like other publications. It’s true, many of us don’t see the other side of that story as “true” but even that is a biased mindset.

    If a publication wants to try to be truly unbiased in their coverage, great! But it’s often a more difficult and less entertaining path to success. One big fact of journalism is, there are few facts that are not debatable. For example, yes it’s true that some video game personalities get death-threats, but are these threats serious, is there any real danger to these people? That’s completely debatable, and all the most interesting questions and observations are. Often, just pointing out that some of these assertions are up for debate would make you biased in the eyes of many. So it’s not bias I have a problem with, it’s dishonesty and lack of self-awareness in journalism that is the big problem.

  • Ryan Juel

    This. This. This. This. This!

  • Show_ME_YOUR_GOATS

    ” I mentioned both Ben Kuchera and Jim Sterling’s attempt to lay the blame of Aliens: Colonial Marines at the feet of both Sega and Creative Assembly, leaving out the fault of Gearbox completely. As I stated in the aforementioned video, I have my suspicions on why this happened. Anthony Burch worked for Gearbox at the time, and Burch is a friend of both Kuchera and Sterling.”

    Holy shit that is one hell of a stretch of logic there.

    you speak of agenda but don’t mention Tech Raptors? To shit on every possible competitor and prop up Tech Raptor as “true journalism” in an effort to increase clicks and revenue. It’s a business strategy I understand but that agenda plays heavily into TRs writing making a lot of pieces bias.

  • Great stuff. Agenda based journalism needs to die. It’s especially disgusting when those found pushing the agenda don’t even follow the morals they allege to follow. I had some experience with Mr. Mrosko and can pretty much believe his responsibility in that incident. I can believe it because while on the surface he tries to fight for “rights” and against the “ism” on a wrestling blog for god sakes, all he is doing is protecting his Kliq

  • Stan Smith

    Truth too much for you?

  • Kitsunetsuki

    It is funny, they blew their wad over video games. Now their methods are plain to see in mainstream media where the stakes are much higher. I read the news sites and the agenda/narrative stands out like neon purple dogs balls now.

    We just had an election and it was the first in my life where I didn’t vote left. Obsessing over stuff that doesn’t matter is costing them in the things that well and truly do matter.

  • Show_ME_YOUR_GOATS

    what? Your confusing me. The writer was showing his disdain for agendas he does not agree with but has no problem promoting his websites agenda. Just a little hypocritical don’t you think?

  • Speaking as the writer of the article, yes. I do have an agenda.

    I serve my readers. You got me. I’m full of agenda. Me and my caring about the people who visit this website. I’ve been had. I’m the type of jerk who wants people to keep coming to the website he writes for because Techraptor doesn’t think its audience is a bunch of sexist racist bigot homophobes.

    I’m so horrible. I’m gonna go to confession now.

    And I’m not even Catholic!

    😉

  • Stan Smith

    Yeah you are confused :).

    The writer is not calling other publications out because they have an agenda. Everybody has an agenda. It’s the intent of the[ir] agenda that he and other rational minded people have a problem with.

  • Toastrider

    Because that’s what it is to them. Regardless of politics, agendas rely on people listening to what they’re told and not questioning it. People who question mutate out of that beloved ‘low information voter’ demographic (well, beloved by demagogues and politicians) and become… problematic.