Sensationalism

I have stayed pretty uninvolved with the whole Gamergate discussion – my blog is shorter, off the cuff discussion pieces that don’t really lend well to the necessary thoroughness, research and thought level on such a challenging topic. I would be better sitting around a table drinking beer and discussing it then trying to put it into words (don’t worry – I am buying!). I am not even going to dig in deep here on it except to say the level of coverage and often intelligent discussion around the whole situation has been fascinating and educating to follow. Outside of major game releases and typical gaming news, has anything brought more attention or discussion forward? It has ignited passion, debate, taking a look at gaming “labels” and caused us to look internally at what the “Gamer” tag meant to us all, and if it was worth defending or not.

This article I really liked reading about it. It isn’t even about what was reported but the way it was reported. It is a well written piece about sensationalism and how things are reporting impact what is being reported in the first place. Sensationalism and profit motives to report in such a way.

To understand the impact of sensationalism one must examine examples of biased coverage that attempts to push a cultural agenda for moral advocacy, the nature of controversies in the media, the exploitative nature of trading objective journalism for a “profit motive”, and how sensational content can damage and ruin the reputation of those involved in a scandal.

The article goes on with those examples. It’s worth a read. I love news and understanding what is going on in the world is important – I think everyone needs to have an understanding of what is happening in the world beyond their own cities, provinces, or countries. I think it lends perspective that we live in a global society. There are wars waging around us while we worry about the price of a Starbucks Latte. I really believe in community and while important that you start with local, to truly believe in community I believe you have to go bigger than that. News reporting in general is profit driven. My favorite news source, The Economist, does a good job of being upfront and honest as a “liberal news source” and the reporting style rarely has a catchy headline – they are more concerned with reporting facts, providing solutions and commentary. It feels very honest and I turn to it weekly to get my dose of the world. I don’t take their articles or opinions word for word mind you – just that I have come to trust that they are pretty factual about the facts. Many aren’t.

Other sources, such as CNN (blue) and Fox (red) are political and social agenda platforms in their own rights. Fox says it is “fair and balanced” but everyone (with half a brain) knows it is fair to Republicans and balanced to the Christian right. CNN is clearly a democrat news source, but tend to be less obvious about their leanings than Fox. Both are dangerous as your only source. I have a friend who only does BBC news, because it’s not profit driven. They don’t cover enough North American sports for me to be a true source. (/grin).

Reporting on scandals is a lucrative enterprise that’s encouraged simply for its gains in profit. For many online-based mediums, more hits means more ad revenue, and that means more cash flow for the company or publication. This kind of ruthless take on generating views has some very real consequences, and is often a dual-edged sword.

Where I am going with all of this is asking you to be careful. There is a lot of information out there and it is easy to get caught up in. A lot of that information is meant to mislead you, is meant to persuade you, is meant to call you to action that may not be entirely based on truth. Just be aware – and be aware of your own biases and how that influences how and what you read from news sources. Hell, I struggle a lot with my initial opinion formed versus the one I get from solid debate amongst trusted sources. I never actually change my opinion – on anything. I afford myself the right to make a new opinion with provided with more – or better – information. I can be stubborn that way.

I have several posts not going to see the light of day (this week) but I did want to share the above part of all of this Gamergate – yes, there are issues. Yes, there is a discussion and meaningful debate to be had. No, don’t read one article from a particular source and quote it as right. There is too much at stake for the author who wrote it, the company that pays them and what you personally represent and stand for. Spread around the sources, try to find something balanced and fair, and then go for it.

On that note on everything related to Gamergate I need to share a small part of what is important to me about it. And that is that I won’t be defined by labels. period. Being a gamer isn’t negative or positive anymore than being a man, or being black, or being a lesbian is negative or positive. Equating the word “gamer” to “misogynist” or “racist” or any negative connotation is entirely irresponsible. A gamer is someone who games, nothing more, nothing less. The label doesn’t mean who you are. Your actions – how you treat people and what you personally represent – does.

On that note, I am supporting Bragtoberfest.

I game because it’s a hobby that I have made lifelong friendships with. I game, because there is an amazing, supportive community surrounding our games. I game because I have friends who write and talk about gaming. I game, and I support equal rights, I game, and I support several charity and community initiatives throughout the year (both with my time and money) and I game because it is fun. So I am a gamer, and proud of it. You should be too.

bragtoberfest_spooky

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