Games Journalist Tricked Into Reporting Fantastical Grummz Story

Games journalists may have developed a condition we can call GDS, or Grummz Derangement Syndrome. Grummz is the social media handle for Mark Kern, a former Blizzard producer who has been leading the charge to remove DEI and wokeness from gaming in what has been dubbed “GamerGate 2” (the real mastermind of which is not who you’d think). Kern has been bringing attention to this for months – actually for longer than that, but it’s really heated up this year – from the influence of consulting firms like Sweet Baby Inc. to the silencing of dissatisfaction from community managers to the massive video game budgets that force developers to compromise for funding. Currently, he’s spearheaded an attempt to undo the censored version of Stellar Blade, a breach of developer Shift Up’s promise to release it unaltered. As you’d expect, games journalists are less than thrilled with Kern, and their anger has manifested in doing outrageous things like encouraging Twitch streamers who put a bounty on his head. (I know they’re probably not 100% serious, but it’s perfectly fair to read it as a threat to some degree, and the journalist egging this on should know better.) The initial video with the bounty has been deleted, but here’s what happened since, including the encouragement from one of Kotaku’s finest:

In response to this insane overreaction to someone daring to have an opinion about a video game, an X user with the name GIGABEAR decided to point out the irrational hatred games journalists have for Kern. After creating some fake accounts, he contacted Nick Calandra, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Second Wind, an online entertainment group composed of “the former video team of The Escapist,” a website of which Calandra was the editor-in-chief until he was fired last fall. According to GIGABEAR, Calandra has “been posting an endless stream of smears and baseless claims” against him and Kern. So, GIGABEAR used the false accounts to send Calandra a fantastical story about an unhinged Kern to see if Calandra would run with it… which he did. You can see the story from both parties in the X posts below:

Aside from Kern, I’ve never heard of any of the people or groups involved in this, but even for someone as far removed as I am, it’s a little funny. And it proves the point GIGABEAR was trying to make: they hate Kern so much that they’ll run with anything that makes him look bad. We’ve seen this from the mainstream media for years, so why should games journalists be any different? (A lot of people say games journalists aren’t real journalists, but I don’t know if they’ve earned a compliment like that.) And come on, this is a pretty out-there story, one involving guns and blackmail; it’s not like saying maybe Iron Man will show up in the Agatha Harkness show. And even then, it’s best to run those things under a “rumor” headline. For something involving real people and a serious situation like that, you need to be absolutely sure your story is on the level. And GIGABEAR made another post that perfectly encapsulates why a games journalist (former or otherwise) would neglect to do that:

I’ve never read the Sword of Truth books (high fantasy isn’t usually my thing), but the sentiment is right on the money. When you’re fueled enough by hate (or love, conversely), you will believe what you want to be true. And just like the ridiculous pronouncements about a certain man-of-orange hijacking a limo or engaging in urine-related activities, journalists want all of the bad things ever to be true about Mark Kern. I almost feel bad because it’s human nature, and none of us is immune to this sort of irrationality, but journalists are supposed to rise above it when reporting, and that goes doubly true when a person’s life and career are involved. This should result in some soul-searching among games journalists, but if you think that will happen, I have some beachfront property to sell you.

Comments (1)

June 1, 2024 at 4:52 am

“Games Journalist Tricked Into Reporting Fantastical Grummz Story: In a surprising turn of events, a journalist was duped into covering a fictional tale, showcasing the importance of fact-checking in gaming news. For more gaming updates and real stories, visit Cricaza!”

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