Web Reporting Shenanigans
Reading internet gaming news and blogs is like playing the telephone game in Junior High. Take an original story or report and watch it morph, sometimes subtly, sometimes not, into something if not completely else, then not completely what it was.
Take as an example, this bit of verbal maneuvering from 1Up.com by Patrick Klepek. This article reports an earlier story at GameDaily by Robert Workman, paraphrasing GameDaily's playtest of the PS3 version of Call of Duty 3. Here is what Mr. Klepek has to say:
Though likely nothing to become alarmed about, the report also points out the PS3 version is currently running at 30 frames-per-second, as opposed to Xbox 360's supposed 60 frames-per second.
The key word here is supposed whose insertion is clearly intended to call into question the verity of the framerate attributed to the Xbox 360 version of the game.
Here is the relevant section of the original article:
...The game doesn't run as smoothly as the Xbox 360 version (not yet, anyway- it runs at 30 frames per second instead of 60), but it still moves very fast and has lots of detail...
Mr. Klepek may have reason to disbelieve the reported detail. However, he makes no attempt to properly deploy this disbelief in its proper place. Instead, he injects doubt in a place where there wasn't any. There is some deception here as well. Without referencing the original article, are we to believe that Mr. Klepek doubts the framerate or Mr. Workman? It isn't clear and this lack of clarity renders the fact-reporting less distinct.
Additionally, if we are to doubt this element of the original article, should we not doubt the truth of the entire piece? If we are to question the integrity of the report (which Mr. Klepek is surely doing), we should engage this question at every point and on every level, not just cherry-pick one particular detail that doesn't meet our approval or particular belief. The game either does this thing or it doesn't. It isn't a matter of belief. The 1Up article is not posed as an editorial but as a report of known facts (or as close to facts as we can know). If Mr. Klepek has reason to believe what he does, he ought to demonstrate this, not twist another writer's words to suit his beliefs or agenda.
What's in a word?
I often read (and share in) the lament on the lack of quality gaming journalism. Surely, if we want to aspire to this ideal, then we must both practice what we preach and bring those whose practies do not meet this ideal to task. Mr. Klepek blurs the lines between what is being reported and what he would like to believe is being reported. The first is news. The second is fantasy. We should leave the fantasy to the games we play, not the reports about them.
I originally wrote this article for the WorldVillage blogging network. View the original article here.