Lazy Journalism Vs Red Dead Redemption II

So this morning  I read the following little article written by Kate Lyons for The Guardian… Red Dead Redemption 2: game criticised over killing of suffragette.

Please give it a quick read as it’s not a long article, but if you don’t feel like it then I’ll give you the jist. So the article explains how in the game one can record themselves “beating, abusing and killing a suffragette character”. Which is true, yes you can. The article goes on to cover how some YouTubers are are making videos of the player abusing a suffragette character and uploading their footage for all to see and mock.

“However, days after its release, one YouTuber using the handle Shirrako uploaded a video of his avatar walking up to a suffragette character who is wearing a sash and calling out “Let me vote”, and beating her unconscious. The video, named “Red Dead Redemption 2 – Beating up annoying feminist” – has been seen more than 1.5m times.”

Now to be completely fair, the article does have a couple of quotes from people who think the YouTube video is pathetic… a couple. Yet the article’s main thrust is how sexist Rockstar the developer of the game are being. As the article goes on, it continues to berate Rockstar and even goes back to the tired old lowest hanging fruit with;

“In its Grand Theft Auto series allowed players to have sex with sex workers, then kill them so they could take their money back.”

Oh, so it must bee 2001 again already to bring up that overused and stale example. The article also goes on to say this about the YouTube videos…

“The videos raise further questions about sexism in video games and the gaming industry”.

Okay so this is what gets my dander up. Yes you can beat, abuse and kill a suffragette character in the game. You know what? You can do that with (almost) any non-story NPC in the game. It does not matter if they are male, female, black, white, rich or poor, etc. Yet the article fails to mention that and only focuses on the fact you can do these things to a suffragette character. Strange that eh? It has nothing to do with sexism at all if you can just as easily beat, abuse and kill a male character as you can a female one does it? Seems to me that Rockstar are being equally offensive (if you want to label it that) and not singling out females at all, ergo not sexist.

See, I loath articles like this that spread hate for the sake of causing a shit-storm and to get clicks on their page. This isn’t journalism, its just lazy writing. Look, I’m no fancy “journalist” writing for a reputable news site like Kate Lyons for The Guardian here. I’m just a guy with a passion and his own unimportant blog – but I, at the very least try to be a bit more level headed and do even the most basic of research for anything I write and publish. I don’t always get it right (I am only one man) but I at the very least try. Unlike those writing at The Guardian.

Red Dead Redemption II KKK.jpg

Yes you can go around doing things like beating, abusing and killing a suffragette character in Red Dead Redemption II… but you don’t have to, and for me this is key. Rockstar have created a huge open world with RDR II and given the player the freedom to do whatever they wish within that world and its rules. Last night as I was playing some RDR II, I came upon a random encounter with a KKK meeting. Now again you have the freedom to handle this situation however you feel. You can just ride on by and ignore the whole thing, you can watch as the scene plays out to a funny and fitting climax (showing Rockstar’s feelings on the KKK)… or you can do what I did and throw a stick of dynamite into the crowd of KKK members and watch them all die because you are disgusted with all the KKK are and stand for. As I said, this is key – the fact you the individual have the option to approach and deal with numerous situations however you wish. You don’t have to beat, abuse and kill a suffragette character (or any character) in the game but you can if you want. Just like you don’t have to deal with the KKK in the game, but can if you want to. Yet no one is writing news articles on how you can kill KKK members in the game but jump at the chance to cry sexism because of one little feature you can choose to do in a game full of varying and numerous other features.

Strange how you never see news articles covering the fact you can do plenty of good things in the game. I mean there is even a story mission where you help the suffragettes organise a protest into a nearby town, speaking out for women’s rights… but The Guardian article seems to fail to mention that…

Red Dead Redemption II Suffragette Help

Point is, the game allows you to be as evil or as helpful as you choose to be. You can walk up to strangers and wish them good a morning or you can insult and rob them instead. You can help random folk with everyday menial tasks such as moving bales of hay or you can tie them up, drop them on a railway track and wait for the inevitable to happen.

Then the article finishes up with perhaps my favourite bit of the whole thing…

“Rockstar Games was approached for comment.”

Why, what is the point? All Rockstar have done is provide the player with some tools, what the player chooses to do with those tools is completely up to them. What The Guardian should be doing is approaching Shirrako, the person that made the video and uploaded it for their comment. They were the one who chose to do it not Rockstar.

I’m sitting here tapping away on my laptop with the freedom to write about whatever I want. I could go into a tirade of racist, homophobic and sexist comments if I so wish… but you wouldn’t then go on to blame Dell who built my laptop or WordPress who publish this blog would you? You would blame me for choosing to write what I did. Much like how you can’t blame Rockstar for what Shirrako chooses to do in the game they created.

Also note how the comments for the article have been disabled? So not allowing people a rebuttal to refute the badly researched and written piece of “journalism”. Yes, they won’t allow comments on the article but I did enjoy this slice of hypocrisy from the “Since you’re here …” bit at the end where they beg for money…

it enables us to give a voice to the voiceless, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.

“Factual, honest reporting”? Yeah right. They misspelt bias and one-sided.

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