One week ago NBC News uploaded a 4-minute video to YouTube titled “How Gamers Are Facilitating The Rise Of The Alt-Right.” The piece makes claims that white nationalist, neo-Nazis, and white supremacist used the popular messaging service Discord to organize the tragic events that took place in Charlottesville. While this is entirely possible, the piece goes on to state that the gaming community and the alt-right are tied together. Even going as far as to imply that due to this and the GamerGate fiasco, all gamers are alt-right supporters. To say that it has caused outrage would be an understatement. Not since Rebecca Black’s Friday have I seen such a one-sided dislike to like ratio.
The argument itself implies that members of the alt-right use Discord and since “many” of them are also gamers, that everyone who is a gamer or uses Discord falls into this category. The piece itself even has a woman who briefly states that not all gamers are sexist or racist, but everything else in the video would make you believe otherwise. I’ll link the video down below for you to judge for yourself.
The whole thing can be difficult to talk about and sadly a lot of major gaming outlets will not talk about it, or even defend their audience. Some in the past have even gone as far as to say that “Gaming is Dead” despite the fact they are a gaming outlet and are written by games journalist. That would be like saying that Soccer (I’m American) is dead while meanwhile being employed by FIFA. It’s sad that even after 3 years, news outlets like NBC are still bringing up GamerGate and saying that it was something stemming from another thing. As if that still isn’t beating a dead horse that has already been buried.
Personally, I feel as if this is a perfect example of bad journalism. When you are a journalist, you are supposed to remain as neutral as possible on the subject you are reporting on. You could have even shown a statistic to back up your claims, but instead you just had audio of people complaining. Maybe showed that while yes some games do have a toxic environment (especially competitive play), not all of them do. There are even several examples of the gaming community doing great things such as Games Done Quick consistently raising over $1 million for Doctors Without Borders, the NES Marathon which raises money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, to this video of the community coming together to help pay for dentures for a disabled person who was bullied while playing CS:GO. This just comes across as putting an entire group of people in a box and saying they are all the same. That in itself is a huge problem that we as a society have in general. Think about how many TV news stations try to paint the idea that all supporters of Donald Trump are racist. Are there some? Absolutely, but there are also a lot of them who aren’t. You could say the same thing about the right when they try to say that all liberals are anti-gun. If you actually took the time to talk to each other, you would learn that there lots of people on the left who actually own guns themselves.
Now I know that some people reading this are thinking to themselves “Well this guy is a racist, sexist right-winger.” Well to be completely honest with you I actually identify myself as left-leaning, especially with social issues. My biggest complaint is just that this was a 4-minute hit piece on the gaming community. My recommendation for NBC News is to do a Part 2 where they actually talk to the average gamer. They will find that many of them are against the people who say derogatory or mean-spirited things to somebody for no other reason than to just sound cool. Hell while you’re at it, interview some actual games journalist to put the notion of GamerGate to bed. As somebody who reports on something gaming related every day, it gets upsetting that so many people out there look at sites like Polygon, Kotaku, and IGN and believe they represent all gaming journalism when there are tons of up-and-coming sites that are doing amazing and original work and still struggling to make ends meet.