I have a tendency to play really long YouTube videos while I bop about the house ineffectually chasing chaos and entropy out of corners and doing battle with dust bunnies formed from yard-long hair, etc. I had heard that SPJAirplay had suffered numerous bomb threats, and I was interested in hearing what went down! So here are a couple of videos – Sargon’s YouTube video commentary, and Honey Badger Radio talking about what happened. (Apparently they continued the debate outside after somebody pretended to set them up the bomb*, but I got distracted doing water changes for my fish tanks and I don’t remember if Sargon’s video included that bit: I’ll have to try to find it lurking on the interwebs.)
Anyway, the morning debate was amazingly cathartic. The professional journalists may have had no idea what Gamergate is all about, but when the behavior of the gaming “journalists” was described, their reaction was essentially, “Gamergate is entirely correct to describe that as a violation of journalistic ethical standards. I would NEVER do that or allow anyone under me to behave that way.”
But the other thing that really struck me – and this will no doubt deeply offend people – is that (some) journalists are apparently really stupid. As well as near-universally lazy, but I cut them a little slack there because they work for a really exploitative, obsolete business model. (Kind of like nontenured academics.) But even then, some of them, it’s like, “Are you developmentally disabled? Can I speak to your guardian?” levels of stupid. How do you even get a job writing about things when your language comprehension skills are that low?
That really surprised me, even though I know MPAI. See, I read R.S. McCain’s blog, and John C. Wright’s blog, and they used to work in the journalism biz, and I have a friend who used to work for the local paper, and I know that she’s not stupid either. So I figured you had to be at least somewhat intelligent to work in the news industry as a writer, and all the really empty-headed people are on TV reading their scripts off their teleprompters. Apparently not. :-\
The cynical side of me figures that there’s significant demand in the “papers” to hire people who can write technically well but can’t think for themselves at all, and just repeat, parrotlike, whatever narrative gets handed to them. Like the one that goes “Gamergate is about women in gaming!” Now I realize why journolist-type organizations are so effective… between the lazy, the stupid, and the chronically overworked, how could they not be?
*SPJAirplay’s organizers were aware of the 100% certainty that somebody was going to call in a bomb threat (that happened in DC after all) and they took amazing security precautions to ensure everyone’s safety. However, the trolls just kept making bomb threats until the authorities decided that despite multiple bomb sweeps and securing the building afterwards, it should still be evacuated. Apparently there was some journalist there from Afghanistan (iirc) who was amazed that people stuck around to continue the debate after they got kicked out of the building, ’cause in war zones people leave and go back to their lives. Well, DUH, in Afghanistan there actually ARE bombs, and if the crowd sticks around outside a suicide bomber can still get them! Everybody from Gamergate at SPJAirplay knew that the bomb threat was totally bogus and they were in no danger whatsoever. *headdesk* Sigh. Look, I’m sure as people these folks are wonderful, but they are not by any means the sharpest crayons in the box, ya know?
DISCLAIMER: I’m well aware that there are quite intelligent, diligent people working in journalism – it’s just that those people seem to be the exceptions rather than the rule.