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"ethics" #gamergate dude you've got no fucking idea what you're talking about reddit

Do #GamerGaters really think it’s “unethical” for the media to report things the police don’t want them to?

Lapdogs: Adorable, but not what the media should aspire to be
Lapdogs: Adorable, but not what the media should aspire to be

Does the average #GamerGater has about as much real understanding of “ethics in journalism” as a dirty sock?

Over on KotakuInAtion, which describes itself as “the almost-official #GamerGate subreddit” and “the main hub for GamerGate discussion on Reddit,” the regulars have given hundreds of upvotes to this little post on media “ethics.” 

[Ethics] CNN releases personal info of the Oregon shooter, despite law enforcement imploring the media not to. (vid.me)

To make sure everyone understands what an “ethical” issue this is, the post is helpfully labeled “ethics,” twice.

Now, it’s one thing to say “I wish the media would cover mass shooting cases less sensationalistically,” or  “I wish the media would focus more on Chris Mintz, the hero who put himself in the line of fire in order to protect others, rather than on the cowardly killer.” There are plenty of things to criticize about the media coverage of the case.

But demanding that the media not report something because the police don’t want them to? That’s not “media ethics.” That’s being a lapdog.

It’s the job of the media to report things that the police don’t want them to report.

To their credit, there are some commenters making this point in the KotakuInAction thread. But they aren’t the ones getting hundreds of upvotes.

Apparently, to a lot of #GamerGaters, it’s “unethical” for the media to ever say or do something they disagree with.

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David N-T
David N-T
4 years ago

@Alen Robertshaw

You’re splitting hairs to such an extent that you’re missing the point. The discussion here is about ethics, not legality. Naming rape victims could be legal, and yet it would not change the unethicality of it one iota. However, I have a hard time taking the prescriptions of authority figures seriously when they’re either trying to protect their own asses (for instance, the government enquiry on the BBC regarding disclosure of the Downing Street memos) or protect the interests of power, which happens all the time.

Vetarnias
Vetarnias
4 years ago

Uh, I’ll just say that this is seems to be a very American notion that when the police don’t want you to report something, you should absolutely rush to print it, as though the police might not have a valid reason to want to withhold circulation of certain information.

Yes, there’s a certain irony to GG taking sides on this. But it happens all the time. But then, I come from a country where publication bans are a regular tool used by the courts.

Shotagonist
Shotagonist
4 years ago

I don’t know actually. Reporting about the shooting is one thing but I am not sure if it’s alright to post personal identifiable information about the killer. After all, a person who wants to avenge the victims might use that info to track down the killer and take him down themselves. Nevermind the part about the police though, they have no say in what the media can and can’t publish.

Catalpa
Catalpa
4 years ago

Re: naming the victims

I’m of the opinion that victims of any crime should not have their names made public unless they give consent to having that happen. (This would obviously be different in the case of murder, as the victim can no longer be asked.)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ Daniel

I understand the distinction very well. I think it’s naive to expect the press to behave ethically. I speak both from experience as someone who has acted as lawyer for newspapers (not saying the ones I worked for did anything wrong, the subsequent prosecutions show otherwise) and with reference to the wider situation as highlighted by the Leverson Inquiry.

Of course the press should act as both bloodhound and watchdog, and often does well in that role. But you mustn’t forget the newspaper adage “if it bleeds, it leads” When considering what their real motives are.

Paradoxical Intention
4 years ago

Orion | October 5, 2015 at 3:19 am
PI,

what is your stance on outing? It feels analogous to me. A just society wouldn’t discriminate against gay folk or rape survivors, but ours does. If the press treats these as big secrets, you could say they reinforce the shame. But they’re also giving the people affected the chance to pick their battles.

I feel the same. Outing someone as LGBT+ can be dangerous in certain situations, with families constantly denouncing and kicking out their LGBT+ kids, if not sending them to horrifying “conversion therapy”, beating them, or killing them, and until the underlying problem of homo/transphobia is dealt with, it will remain that way.

And that problem is not going to go away for a long damn time, and neither is the whole issue with sex-shaming, though that seems like it’s closer to being solved.

Although, even if we were in a just society as you put it, I would still want to give rape victims and LGBT+ folks the ability to come out when they feel comfortable doing so. I would love to see an environment where people are free to come out with this kind of information, but only when they’ve processed it themselves, and have sat down and decided what to do about it.

Like I said earlier, I was happy that people were still treating me as normal, even though all of my story had come out to the courts. Everyone knew my rapist’s name, but not mine, so he was condemned, while I was allowed to live in peace without people bringing it up, or treating me with pity and delicacy. I didn’t want pity, I wanted things to go back to as normal as they could have been.

mrex
mrex
4 years ago

@SFHC

“Question: Why didn’t the police want his identity to be released? Minimising glorification? If so, I understand and that’s definitely something we needs to find a solution for, but keeping it under wraps isn’t said solution. All that does is stop us from seeing patterns (read: Entitled white men with a history of misogyny and/or racism) and start the “Transgender Muslim!!!” conspiracy mongering.”

We can release general information about him without releasing his name or identified info. Personally, I’m in favor of a gag order that prevents anyone from ever again referring to a mass shooter by name in public. Most of these guys are narcissistic fame whores looking for infamy. Erasing them from history would be the ultimate punishment.

mrex
mrex
4 years ago

*identifying information

brooked
brooked
4 years ago

Personally, I’m in favor of a gag order that prevents anyone from ever again referring to a mass shooter by name in public. Most of these guys are narcissistic fame whores looking for infamy.

I’m against any gag orders and believe the press has to govern their own behavior rather than become a puppet of law enforcement. It took years for the American press to question the “war on drugs” hogwash being sold by LE and the country’s worse for it.

I also don’t believe that America has all these mass shooting and countries Australia don’t because the USA some how has more “narcissistic fame whores”. Mass shootings are a product of our country’s out of control gun culture, which has mutated into something genuinely horrific in recent years.

Moocow
Moocow
4 years ago

I’m sooooo tempted just to make a thread with the exact same link entitled “Cops try to censor media, but the ethical journalists ain’t having any of it! Huge success for ethics in game journalism” but I think they might see through it….

mrex
mrex
4 years ago

@brooked “I’m against any gag orders and believe the press has to govern their own behavior rather than become a puppet of law enforcement.”

Law enforcement doesn’t give gag orders. Also, nice slippery slope. Not releasing names does NOT equal the media “becoming a puppet of law enforcement”. They can publish statistics, general demographic info, and whatever opinion they like without naming the perp, giving him a permanent footnote in the halls of American history, and turning him into a hero for all the angry, toxic young men in our culture. Spree killers are often copycat crimes. This one was no different, and he spoke of how other spree killers rose to importance through their crimes.

“It took years for the American press to question the “war on drugs” hogwash being sold by LE and the country’s worse for it.”

Apples, meet oranges.

“I also don’t believe that America has all these mass shooting and countries Australia don’t because the USA some how has more “narcissistic fame whores”.”

I would wager we do. America has more violence, of every kind, than Australia. American culture presents violence as “men being masculine”. There’s an undercurrent of American men assuming foreign white men are “pussies.” Narcissism is seen as emotional strength.

Mass shootings are a product of our country’s out of control gun culture, which has mutated into something genuinely horrific in recent years.

But that’s just it, it’s our culture that’s toxic, not our guns. Gun control can reduce deaths and should be debated. But removing the guns won’t remove the toxic culture that glorifies them. And part of that toxic culture is the glorified, commando like, spree killer.

From the Wall Street Journal;

“In 2004, Paul E. Mullen, then the director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health, wrote an illuminating study based in part on his personal interviews with rampage shooters who survived their acts. He notes that rampage shootings tend to follow a definite pattern, what he called a “program for murder and suicide.” The shooter, almost always a young man, enters an area filled with many people. He is heavily armed. He may begin by targeting a few specific victims, but he soon moves on to “indiscriminate killings where just killing people is the prime aim.” He typically has no plan for escape and kills himself or is killed by police.

Among the more pervasive myths about massacre killers is that they simply snap. In fact, Dr. Mullen and others have found that rampage shooters usually plan their actions meticulously, even ritualistically, for months in advance. Like serial killers, massacre killers usually don’t have impulsive personalities; they tend to be obsessive and highly organized. Survivors typically report that the shooters appear to be not enraged but cold and calculating.

Central to the massacre pattern is the killer’s self-styling. James L. Knoll IV, the director of forensic psychiatry at the State University of New York’s Upstate Medical University, describes in a 2010 article how perpetrators often model themselves after commandos, wearing military dress or black clothing. Investigators usually find they had a lifelong fascination with weaponry, warfare, and military and survivalist culture. Their methodical comportment during the act is part of this styling.

Contrary to the common assumption, writes author Michael D. Kelleher in his 1997 book “Flash Point,” mass killers are “rarely insane, in either the legal or ethical senses of the term,” and they don’t typically have the “debilitating delusions and insidious psychotic fantasies of the paranoid schizophrenic.” Dr. Knoll affirms that “the literature does not reflect a strong link with serious mental illness.”

Instead, massacre killers are typically marked by what are considered personality disorders: grandiosity, resentment, self-righteousness, a sense of entitlement. They become, says Dr. Knoll, ” ‘collectors of injustice’ who nurture their wounded narcissism.” To preserve their egos, they exaggerate past humiliations and externalize their anger, blaming others for their frustrations. They develop violent fantasies of heroic revenge against an uncaring world.

Whereas serial killers are driven by long-standing sadistic and sexual pleasure in inflicting pain, massacre killers usually have no prior history of violence. Instead, writes Eric W. Hickey, dean of the California School of Forensic Studies, in his 2009 book “Serial Murderers and Their Victims,” massacre killers commit a single and final act in which violence becomes a “medium” to make a ” ‘final statement’ in or about life.” Fantasy, public expression and messaging are central to what motivates and defines massacre killings.

Mass shooters aim to tell a story through their actions. They create a narrative about how the world has forced them to act, and then must persuade themselves to believe it. The final step is crafting the story for others and telling it through spoken warnings beforehand, taunting words to victims or manifestos created for public airing.

What these findings suggest is that mass shootings are a kind of theater. Their purpose is essentially terrorism—minus, in most cases, a political agenda. The public spectacle, the mass slaughter of mostly random victims, is meant to be seen as an attack against society itself. The typical consummation of the act in suicide denies the course of justice, giving the shooter ultimate and final control.

We call mass shootings senseless not only because of the gross disregard for life but because they defy the ordinary motives for violence—robbery, envy, personal grievance—reasons we can condemn but at least wrap our minds around. But mass killings seem like a plague dispatched from some inhuman realm. They don’t just ignore our most basic ideas of justice but assault them directly.

The perverse truth is that this senselessness is just the point of mass shootings: It is the means by which the perpetrator seeks to make us feel his hatred. Like terrorists, mass shooters can be seen, in a limited sense, as rational actors, who know that if they follow the right steps they will produce the desired effect in the public consciousness.

Part of this calculus of evil is competition. Dr. Mullen spoke to a perpetrator who “gleefully admitted that he was ‘going for the record.’ ” Investigators found that the Newtown shooter kept a “score sheet” of previous mass shootings. He may have deliberately calculated how to maximize the grotesqueness of his act.

Many other perpetrators pay obsessive attention to previous massacres. There is evidence for a direct line of influence running through some of the most notorious shooters—from Columbine in 1999 to Virginia Tech in 2007 to Newtown in 2012—including their explicit references to previous massacres and calls to inspire future anti-heroes.

Aside from the wealth of qualitative evidence for imitation in massacre killings, there are also some hard numbers. A 1999 study by Dr. Mullen and others in the Archives of Suicide Research suggested that a 10-year outbreak of mass homicides had occurred in clusters rather than randomly. This effect was also found in a 2002 study by a group of German psychiatrists who examined 132 attempted rampage killings world-wide. There is a growing consensus among researchers that, whether or not the perpetrators are fully aware of it, they are following what has become a ready-made, free-floating template for young men to resolve their rage and express their sense of personal grandiosity.

Whatever the witch’s brew of influences that produced this grisly script, treating mass killings as a kind of epidemic or contagion largely frees us from having to understand the particular causes of each act. Instead, we can focus on disrupting the spread.

There is a precedent for this approach in dealing with another form of violence: suicides. A 2003 study led by Columbia University psychiatrist Madelyn Gould found “ample evidence” of a suicide contagion effect, fed by reports in the media. A 2011 study in the journal BMC Public Health found, unsurprisingly, that this effect is especially strong for novel forms of suicide that receive outsize attention in the press.”

[link]

I disagree that a killer’s manifesto should not be published. It’s important for multiple people to analyze the killer’s motives, however I certainly I think that it shouldn’t be published as front page news and I flat out think that these guys names should be banned. Erase these fuckers from history.

David N-T
David N-T
4 years ago

“I understand the distinction very well.”

Clearly you do not, at least not in practice, as your entire argument was entirely besides the point. Or is it that you simply enjoy bringing up red herrings, cuz reasons?

“I think it’s naive to expect the press to behave ethically.”

Aaaaaaah, so how is this relevant again?

“I speak both from experience as someone who has acted as lawyer…”

Ah, so that explains the making points that seem related to the topic that was being discussed, but really aren’t.

“Of course the press should act as both bloodhound and watchdog, and often does well in that role.”

Really? Now who’s being naïve? I think that by and in large, with a few notable examplary exceptions, the job that the press does well is acting as a lapdog. Truly great journalism is frequently marginalized, often within its own publications. It’s not for nothing that I. F. Stone routinely managed to scoop mainstream reporters.

“But you mustn’t forget the newspaper adage “if it bleeds, it leads” When considering what their real motives are.”

That really depends on who’s bleeding and who bloodied them up.

Gurren Xero
4 years ago

One of the incentives for doing these mass shooting is infamy and a kind of twisted glory the shooters get after doing it. And similar people see this and are further incentivized. Its similar to why suicides aren’t covered. Suicide rates increase when suicides are widely publicized. By immortalizing the shooter through news coverage, the media is encouraging would be shooters. This is why it it unethical. Agree or disagree. Just stop misrepresenting GG.