“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
― H.L. Mencken
As a journalist I have long been appalled at the state of the industry and particularly what passes for “journalism” within the entertainment industry and gaming. As we found out with GamerGate, journalists were being paid for favorable reviews, which is a gross breach of ethics.
Fast forward to today when Entertainment Weekly published what can only be termed a hit piece on Sad Puppies, and founder Larry Correia and Sad Puppies 3 show runner Brad Torgerson accusing them of every PC sin short of miscegenation with a goat, which would probably be considered an alternative sexuality by this bunch.
This complete load of horse tripe was written by Isabella Biedenharn (@Isabella324) and while EW has attempted to walk back their statements since the original article was published, the original link alone which has since been changed http://www.ew.com/article/2015/04/06/hugo-award-nominations-fall-victim-misogynistic-and-racist-voting was libelous.
And yes, I meant that word.
A little primer here. Libel is difficult to prove. For a published article to meet the standard it has to pass a few tests. First it must be provably untrue. The article originally claimed:
The Hugo Awards have fallen victim to a campaign in which misogynist groups lobbied to nominate only white males for the science fiction book awards. These groups, Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies (both of which are affiliated with last year’s GamerGate scandal), urged sci-fi fans to become members of the Hugo Awards’ voting body, World Science Fiction Convention, in order to cast votes against female writers and writers of color.
Yeah didn’t happen. In point of fact, as EW even notes in their not-very-correct-correction: The slate (link added by me Ed.) includes both women and non-caucasian writers, including Rajnar Vajra, Larry Correia, Annie Bellet, Kary English, Toni Weisskopf, Ann Sowards, Megan Gray, Sheila Gilbert, Jennifer Brozek, Cedar Sanderson, and Amanda Green.
Which Izzy would have known if she’d bothered to, I don’t know, google, the slate. Moreover Sad Puppies is affiliated with neither GamerGate nor Rabid Puppies.
Second it must have actual malice, meaning the attack must have been deliberate. It’s hard to allege a piece which claims that the people behind it are racist, sexist, homophobes, is anything but deliberate. Izzy knew damn well she was trying to harm Brad and Larry.
Which brings us to the third big test — it must damage the target’s livelihood or enjoyment of life. In today’s climate the mere accusation of racism is enough to destroy careers, accusations of sexism or homopobia are enough to cause the “offending person” to have to self flagellate like a Maoist during the glorious revolution before a stint in rehab, and frankly companies which might do things like — I dunno — publish you or buy the movie rights to your book are likely to back off if there’s a shitstorm of “OMG HE’S NOT PC” around you.
Which damages future earnings.
Big no, no.
Now EW has since posted This “correction:”
CORRECTION: After misinterpreting reports in other news publications, EW published an unfair and inaccurate depiction of the Sad Puppies voting slate, which does, in fact, include many women and writers of color. As Sad Puppies’ Brad Torgerson explained to EW, the slate includes both women and non-caucasian writers, including Rajnar Vajra, Larry Correia, Annie Bellet, Kary English, Toni Weisskopf, Ann Sowards, Megan Gray, Sheila Gilbert, Jennifer Brozek, Cedar Sanderson, and Amanda Green.
This is unacceptable. Izzy here has basically admitted she did no research of her own, but took at face value bovine excrement she read on someone else’s site.
This is unacceptable for any journalist. You do your own work, you double check your sources. AND EVEN IN AN OPINION PIECE YOU MAKE DAMNED SURE YOUR FACTS ARE RIGHT
You can defend your interpretation of them, what you can’t do is defend not having the facts.
It’s time to hoist the Black Flag. We on the Sad Puppies side of things have tried to take the moral high ground. We have tried to be reasonable, we have tried to extend the olive branch.
But this is beyond the pale. They want a war, they can have one.