I’ve been seeing a little blowback on my recent post about the site deepfreeze.it. What’s interesting is that none of it is here on this site. It’s people across social media (Twitter specifically)that believe somehow this site is going to force gaming journalists to become “ethical”. I disagree.
What does this blacklist, as I refer to it, actually accomplish? Placing names, employers, and grievances (supposed violations) looks like an actual witch hunt, not unlike, as I mentioned before, the A+ Blockbot or even the GGBlockbot whose only criteria is that those entered follow the “wrong” people online.
Let’s take a quick look at the About page for the site. Under the first heading, the second paragraph reads:
DeepFreeze strives, whenever possible, for maximum objectivity — supplying factual information so that readers can form an opinion on their own.(Emphasis, mine)
Whenever possible? That means, at least to me that there might be information included in an entry that is only rumor or speculation. Hardly objective.
Under “Criteria and Emblems” is the more troubling statement:
Entries don‘t necessarily represent ethical improprieties — they might represent a strong appearance of impropriety, or even unprofessional actions that are not strictly breaches of journalistic ethics. (Again, emphasis mine)
So, in other words, rumors and speculation are valid. Someone’s opinion of an “appearance of impropriety” qualifies as an entry. Really looks like the A+ Bockbot more and more to me. It also lends credence what I was said about this list being retributive: Vengeance directed toward writers that may not have written favorably about GamerGate. That entire paragraph will by itself become a siren call to those anti-GamerGate people who’ve said that GamerGate was never about “ethics in journalism”.
In fact, look under some of the “Emblems”:
Censorship: Evidence or strong appearance of malicious or unjustified denial of coverage to a subject deserving of it.
Deserving of coverage by whom? By not covering a subject, how is that malicious? Nonsense.
Dishonesty: Lies, direct or by omission.
Who’re the arbiters of what is a lie? Because someone doesn’t like what’s written (or not written) is that automatically a lie? Is it possible that what’s perceived as a lie actually has nothing to do with the article? Something someone thought was important many not be to the overall thrust of the article.
Harassment: Abuse of one’s position of power — mostly, but not strictly, one’s journalistic platform or social media following — to attack, intimidate, shame, libel a person or group.
This looks like where the vengeance comes in for those that wrote saying “Gamers are Over”, etc. Again, with the caveats that this may not be a lapse in journalistic ethics by including what I bolded above. If it has nothing to do with an article, why include it? Don’t these people have a right to their personal opinions on any social media platform? If it doesn’t affect their objectivity in their profession, why would anyone really care? After all, it’s about journalistic ethics, right? Not about someone’s personal opinion. Seems a bit hypocritical to me.
Not a pretty picture so far.
So let me summarize here for clarity. Whenever possible we’ll be accurate in what is posted about an individual. The entries made may or may not have anything to do with journalistic ethics. If we don’t like that a subject we were interested in wasn’t covered you’re on the list. If we don’t like what you write, it may be considered a lie. You attacked gamers as a group, therefore, back at ya!
Doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with “Ethics in Journalism”, does it?