BlackListed

Tsun Tzu

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LifeCharacter said:
I really don't get this sort of idea. So, unless it's something customers "need to know" or is something deemed important by people who have nothing but utter contempt for Kotaku, a website should make sure to march in lock step with what publishers and their marketing departments want. Apparently, what customers wanted, going by the generated clicks Kotaku received, is irrelevant, because Kotaku should be a loyal servant of the publisher unless something "important" comes along.
Was leaked information, including scripts, something you would consider to be "truth" or part of a journalist's (but only when they're denied something they want, otherwise they're simply "bloggers") apparent higher calling?

And what's with this push to equate not being a jackass with being a corporate servant? I'm sorry, but you can (and most outlets somehow manage to) be a place with some modicum of integrity yet still be critical of companies...without leaking shit you're well aware is far from necessary and only serves the outlet's interests.

They're not reporting on slave labor at EA or some shit. They're willfully finding and leaking major information about products that may not even finish being made and certainly aren't in any state to be shown.

It was done for clicks. Which they are, as I said, within their rights to do. But-

Except people asked Kotaku about it, and they answered. Oh, and apparently they should be exceedingly happy and polite and caring to the people who refuse to acknowledge their existence, lest people start acting as though writing about the situation is throwing a ***** fit.
"I prefer to marshal our reporting to tell readers things they'll otherwise never know or that they need to know sooner- the underpowered nature of upcoming hardware, the plight of fired game developers, the reason a high-profile game was released in rough shape."

"My focus is telling the truth about games for readers, whether that?s the external truth that reporters discover or that more internal subjective truth about how a critic feels about a game."


- They're playing the victim and talking up their bullshit like they're some sort of bastion of journalistic integrity when they're just the gaming equivalent of a gossip rag with little regard for the developers they're sponging clicks off of.

Devs who are entirely within their rights to stop sending an outlet like this the means to garner more revenue.

"A Price of Games Journalism" my aching ass.

They were bitten after slapping a dog too many times. Boo-fucking-hoo.

This article is an attempt to repeat the shit they did to Sony back in '08, which they even link to. It's to drum up support and make the mean 'ol publishers Kotaku has fucked over bend their knees and provide whatever Kotaku wants.

It's transparent. But, hey, by all means. Defend them. They deserve it.
 

SecondPrize

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Silvanus said:
Doomskander said:
As for not understanding why Gamergate would celebrate what is basically their arch nemesis and the most corrupt,unethical rag of an outlet on the internet being repeatedly kicked for their short sighted actions, that's quite silly. It is not a reformable, fixable rag. It refused to dispose of writers such as Grayson,Schreier,Hernandez and many more despite numerous ethical breaches on their part.

http://deepfreeze.it/journo.php?j=nathan_grayson
http://deepfreeze.it/journo.php?j=jason_schreier
http://deepfreeze.it/journo.php?j=patricia_hernandez
http://deepfreeze.it/journo.php?j=Patrick_Klepek
Something I don't quite understand; Deepfreeze cites blacklisting as an unethical act when those figures may have had a hand in it. Is it unethical when it's them, but not unethical when it targets Kotaku? That seems inconsistent.

That site gives flimsy or otherwise shitty justifications for naming figures; the "sensationalism" tag seems to be used almost exclusively to target articles they merely disagree with, as I've argued before. It's a poor choice to bring it up in support of an ethical argument.
The blacklisting cited in deepfreeze is actual blacklisting. People with the power to hire Allistair Pinsof for work conspired on the Game Journo Pros mailing list to not do so. Bethesda and Ubisoft severing their working relationship with Kotaku is not blacklisting. There is no collusion to freeze them out of the entire industry or even a portion of it. There is simply two companies individually deciding that they are not going to work with Kotaku. Do you understand now?
 

Lady Larunai

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I find it odd despite everyone calling Kotaku shit, constantly watching them make up things in stories, shit on consumers, publishers and forum users people still believe Kotaku as to this being the EXACT reason as them to being supposedly blacklisted, it couldn't be they may have been blacklisted for the fact they insult developers that have too many boobs or no enough boobs for their liking, that they will happily insult developers regarding dismissed abuse cases or rape claims or even just rumors, or shit on the consumers for liking things the writers do not..

They claim to be upholding journalistic standards yet are still toeing the line same line that every other gaming site is doing in regards to kneeling before AAA publishers to give glowing reviews while having a staff where basically every single writer has broken ethical standards

If Kotaku were blacklisted there is a massive pile of shit they could have been kicked for before even getting to the reasons they would like people to believe.
 

Ash_Effect

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Here's the core of the issue:

Kotaku did not report on large companies screwing over consumers in any fashion. Were Bethesda or Ubisoft involved in a large operation to scam players? Did they monitor players on their accounts? Did they have overly obtrusive DRM? Did they take preorders on a completely unfinished game knowing it would still be unfinished come the release date? If the scenario they were reporting on was anything like what I just wrote we'd be having a different conversation. The conversation would be "I don't like Kotaku, but they uncovered something really important here that we should be talking about, regardless of our feelings about their past misdeeds." But that isn't what's happening here.

What exactly DID Kotaku report on? An unannounced, unfinished game, one that the company was NOT prepared for anyone to know about. This is not hard-hitting, consumer-first news. There are likely TONS of projects by tons of companies that consumers are unaware of or never see the light of day. What's so different about this one? Jason Schreier gives us the answer:

http://imgur.com/uY6t0iC

"...it made me and Kotaku look less credible." At its heart, that is what this entire thing was about. They were upset that it made THEM look bad. It had nothing to do with informing the public, and everything to do with Kotaku's ego. Saying that they did this "for [their] readers' sake" is a complete lie. They did it for themselves. They could've waited until Bethesda decided to reveal the info of their own accord and tell everyone "See? We were right." Instead, they leaked the information in an attempt to make the company look bad, which only had the effect of making them look like petty and vindictive assholes, as opposed to the vindicated reporters they believed themselves to be.

If people want to try wrapping it in the patently misleading guise of 'journalistic ethics,' then Kotaku has already violated that ideal when they wrote that (potentially damaging) leak as a way to draw attention to themselves rather than anything of substance. Rule number one of journalism is that you write the story, you don't BECOME the story. Kotaku became the story, and since nobody likes them, they were hung out to dry.
 

jp201

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Ash_Effect said:
Here's the core of the issue:

Kotaku did not report on large companies screwing over consumers in any fashion. Were Bethesda or Ubisoft involved in a large operation to scam players? Did they monitor players on their accounts? Did they have overly obtrusive DRM? Did they take preorders on a completely unfinished game knowing it would still be unfinished come the release date? If the scenario they were reporting on was anything like what I just wrote we'd be having a different conversation. The conversation would be "I don't like Kotaku, but they uncovered something really important here that we should be talking about, regardless of our feelings about their past misdeeds." But that isn't what's happening here.

What exactly DID Kotaku report on? An unannounced, unfinished game, one that the company was NOT prepared for anyone to know about. This is not hard-hitting, consumer-first news. There are likely TONS of projects by tons of companies that consumers are unaware of or never see the light of day. What's so different about this one? Jason Schreier gives us the answer:

http://imgur.com/uY6t0iC

"...it made me and Kotaku look less credible." At its heart, that is what this entire thing was about. They were upset that it made THEM look bad. It had nothing to do with informing the public, and everything to do with Kotaku's ego. Saying that they did this "for [their] readers' sake" is a complete lie. They did it for themselves. They could've waited until Bethesda decided to reveal the info of their own accord and tell everyone "See? We were right." Instead, they leaked the information in an attempt to make the company look bad, which only had the effect of making them look like petty and vindictive assholes, as opposed to the vindicated reporters they believed themselves to be.

If people want to try wrapping it in the patently misleading guise of 'journalistic ethics,' then Kotaku has already violated that ideal when they wrote that (potentially damaging) leak as a way to draw attention to themselves rather than anything of substance. Rule number one of journalism is that you write the story, you don't BECOME the story. Kotaku became the story, and since nobody likes them, they were hung out to dry.
Kotaku has no obligation to any developer to look out for their best interests nor should they be. I personally don't like kotaku but what they did is called journalism and is quite common. Any gaming site would have posted this story if they had gotten the leak themselves.

"They could have just waited until bethesda decided to reveal" No. That is the worst possible thing they could have done, there sitting on leaked info from the publisher, they have an obligation to report that not keep it secret, there is no NDA signed or anything of the sort, them sitting on this information just so bethesda can announce it is essentially them being in bed with them.

When journalists are looking out for the best interest of the publisher, they are not looking out for the best interest of the reader. (not saying that kotaku does or does not in every case).

At the end of the day its in each parties right to do what they did but it does look a bit petty by Bethesda.
 

Sticky

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General reminder that Kotaku is the same company that has routinely planted evidence on other companies just to get "the scoop" later [http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/05/coca-cola-makeithappy-gakwer-mein-coke-hitler] and is consistent with their constant pattern of abuse of their 'journalist' title.

Also a general reminder that those other news sites DIDN'T publish unfinished scripts from the unreleased games. So saying that the publishers would have done the same to those other sites is a moot point and completely unprovable.

jp201 said:
"They could have just waited until bethesda decided to reveal" No. That is the worst possible thing they could have done, there sitting on leaked info from the publisher, they have an obligation to report that not keep it secret
I don't want to get in this conversation because I'm NOT following the last nine pages. But I wanted to note that Journalists are not obliged to publish every leak they come across for a multitude of reasons. [http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/ethicalperspectives/leaks.html]

Journalism 101 teaches new journalists that many leaks are actually harmful to publish because not only do they not increase public understanding, they are also muddled or fabricated. Furthermore: It's the journalists job to ensure that the leaks are in line with the public interest instead of being self-serving. [http://www.spj.org/ecs12.asp] And because of this, responsible reporting is a very delicate balancing act that requires disclosure if it may ruin someone's reputation or hard work. [http://www.journalismthatmatters.net/to_disclose_or_not_disclose] Most reputable news sites on gaming, like IGN*, commonly disclose leaks before they go to press with them. To the point where their own writers can be punished for publishing leaks without disclosing them beforehand. [http://www.cinemablend.com/games/IGN-Updating-Disclosure-Code-Ethics-Policies-Soon-68163.html]

With that in mind, it boils down to an opinion: Do you think Kotaku publishing the scripts from an unfinished game represents information that is need-to-know for readers or even useful to readers? Do you think it's responsible of Kotaku to not disclose that they're going to do this beforehand?

I'm not going to claim I have right or wrong answers to those questions. I will say that I have my opinions and you can have yours.
 

Josh123914

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-Dragmire- said:
Josh123914 said:
Keavy said:
For the last year and a half I've seen Kotaku criticized for apparently jumping into bed with publishers and not doing enough investigative journalism. Fair enough. Now they're getting criticized for actually doing some investigative journalism and telling gamers something that the publisher didn't want them to know.

This seems to be one of those 'It's unethical as hell, but we don't like *person/website affected*, so screw it, it's totally okay!' issues.

'Blacklisting' being a listed unethical offense in DeepFreeze is the icing on the cake.
You do realise that there's a difference between exposing employer abuse and amplifying leaked information while under NDA, right?
Is that new info? I thought they weren't under NDA.
I thought they were? If they were under NDA then it actually makes Bethesda and Ubisoft's actions tame.
If not? Well its still the publisher's right to not give Kotaku special privileges. Even if it wasn't written in stone it would still harm the trust in their professional relationship.

Mikeybb said:
One thing I've found myself wondering about is how many people who complained about target refusing to stock gta and how many people who defended the right of target to choose who they do business with will now be on the opposite sides of the same argument...
Of course, there will be semantic arguments as to why the situation is different, but it still seems to boil down to the same thing.
One group is ceasing to do business with another.
The difference here is what the business stated the reason being. To the best of my knowledge, Bethesda and Ubisoft haven't stated a reason for why they have stopped giving Kotaku privileges, meanwhile Target's removal of GTA 5 came as a direct result of a petition claiming the game is "grooming yet another generation of boys to tolerate violence against women".

Nobody denies that Kotaku published the leaks, The GTA Target mess is from them removing a game from shelves off a narrow-minded petition that totally ignores how most of the violence committed in the game is by men and against men.
 

Gone Rampant

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I've less of an issue with the blacklisting itself (Though it's about time publishers had enough of Kotaku leaking their stuff- didn't they leak AC Unity as well?), and Totilo's pathetic article where he seriously tried to push the idea that Kotaku were like freedom fighters pushing for hard journalism...

Says the EIC who said Nathan Grayson did not have a conflict of interest with Zoe Quinn. Who said that it was too hard for his staff to tell when they were too close personally to a subject. Who said that stories about corruption in gaming were not interesting to him. Who said that boycotting Kotaku was censorship. Who said that Kotaku did not need an ethics policy. So why on earth would you believe Stephen Totilo when he claimed that Kotaku was being subjected to an unethical "Blacklisting" in retaliation for printing two specific articles?

As well, I feel I should point out that this "blacklist" is essentially "We are no longer sending you freebies". It is not "You are no longer allowed to cover us". Nobody is preventing Kotaku from reviewing Ubisoft or Bethesda games. The only thing they have lost, is basically Early Access Freebies. They can still review those games like the consumers have to do it: by buying the game.
 

Naldan

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So, Kotaku did something OK for once. And now they're bitching and moaning.

I bet The Escapist has been blacklisted by Cloud Imperium Games, too. CIG even threatened to sue them. I haven't seen whining about that, please correct me if I'm wrong.

And what has been leaked? I remember when they spoiled Season 2 Episode 1 of The Walking Dead by Telltale Games. In their fucking headline with a screenshot of a certain character. Yes, leaks can rustle me really hard, when essentially they're spoilers and unavoidable.

So, I won't defend Ubisoft and Bethesda here, aside from jokingly claiming that this is the biggest innovation in years by these two companies. And it's one of the rare cases when I want to see a company shut down, like Nestle, Monsanto, Gawker, Vox Media. I want to see them burn, honestly. I don't care what happens to the employees of the later two. Because, you can see, whitness that the mentality of the company is well reflected by the staff.

I don't care that even Kotaku did something defendable. The reasons behind this, the pure money/click-farming, the intention solely to get money, not the art and craft of journalism, integrity, information, etc. is what is missing here.

I would celebrate if this company goes down. And blacklisting them is a good step towards this.

Remember Brad Wardell? Kotaku is the worst. Sorry if moderators get offended by this post, maybe for the reason that I'd celebrate if people may lose their jobs.
 

Silvanus

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SecondPrize said:
The blacklisting cited in deepfreeze is actual blacklisting. People with the power to hire Allistair Pinsof for work conspired on the Game Journo Pros mailing list to not do so. Bethesda and Ubisoft severing their working relationship with Kotaku is not blacklisting. There is no collusion to freeze them out of the entire industry or even a portion of it. There is simply two companies individually deciding that they are not going to work with Kotaku. Do you understand now?
I understand, but that still seems inconsistent. In both cases, they exercised their own right to not engage with someone, and their power extended no further. In both cases, "collusion" went as far as talking with each other about making the choices they're allowed to make. If one is unethical (which it may well be), the other is.
 

Ash_Effect

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Sticky said:
Journalism 101 teaches new journalists that many leaks are actually harmful to publish because not only do they not increase public understanding, they are also muddled or fabricated. Furthermore: It's the journalists job to ensure that the leaks are in line with the public interest instead of being self-serving. [http://www.spj.org/ecs12.asp] And because of this, responsible reporting is a very delicate balancing act that requires disclosure if it may ruin someone's reputation or hard work. [http://www.journalismthatmatters.net/to_disclose_or_not_disclose] Most reputable news sites on gaming, like IGN*, commonly disclose leaks before they go to press with them. To the point where their own writers can be punished for publishing leaks without disclosing them beforehand. [http://www.cinemablend.com/games/IGN-Updating-Disclosure-Code-Ethics-Policies-Soon-68163.html]
Pretty much this. Kotaku's method of reporting runs very close to paparazzi harassing celebrities who just want a little privacy, then when they finally snap, the narrative published is "oh no this celebrity is so rude and violent, let's all talk about how horrible they are." Paparazzi can swear up and down they are performing a public service by giving the public info they need to determine the morality of celebrities, but just because they piss on my back and tell me it's raining does not mean I am obliged to believe anything they say.

Silvanus said:
I understand, but that still seems inconsistent. In both cases, they exercised their own right to not engage with someone, and their power extended no further. In both cases, "collusion" went as far as talking with each other about making the choices they're allowed to make. If one is unethical (which it may well be), the other is.
Well, one involves a corporation deciding to end a professional relationship with another corporation. The other involved employment opportunities.

In the previous, said corporation is not venturing into illegal territory so long as it is not colluding with other corporations to effectively prevent the corporation they ended the relationship with from conducting effective business. In the latter, the employer is not venturing into illegal territory so long as they are not colluding with other employers to prevent the employee from finding work.

So far as I am aware, Bethesda and Ubisoft have done none of that. There is significant evidence that Kotaku and other sites, however, have colluded to prevent a former employee from finding work in the field. I find the two scenarios to be different enough that they cannot be directly compared.
 

Fox12

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dirtysteve said:
IceForce said:
dirtysteve said:
Target removed choice for consumers,
How? If someone wants to purchase GTAV on Australian soil, they still can. Nothing's been removed.
True, but they limit choice, and if you live in a town with only a target selling games, you have to look elsewhere, it doesn't stop you, but it is anti-consumer.

Blacklisting Kotaku doesn't actually remove their coverage it just means no inside scoops or games for free.
By that logic Target should carry every item imaginable, or else they limit choice. You want the new album by Dying Fetus? Well, if Target is the only retailer carrying CD's near you, then you're out of luck. They're limiting your choice by not carrying it. You really want to play Rapelay, an obscure fetish Japanese game? Too bad, Target doesn't carry it. They're limiting your choice.

Target is well within their rights not to stock an item, especially if it doesn't convey the kind of image they want to portray for their business. This isn't new, Target has always done this. They don't carry music that has parental warnings either, because they don't feel like it fits their image. If a bunch of companies band together, and stop carrying it, then a new business will develop to fill the niche. That's how free market capitalism works.

As for Kotaku, yeah, that's the point. They betrayed the trust of the publisher, so now that Publisher won't give them free stuff. The fact that Kotaku feels that it's entitled to free stuff says a lot about them, and none of it is good. If I was a publisher, and Kotaku was leaking information, then I would stop affiliating with them. They need me a lot more then I need them, and they chose to hurt the artistic and financial bottom line of my product. They deserve it. Remember, Kotaku isn't releasing an expose on child labor practices in Bethesda, or human sacrifice at Ubisoft. They're publishing private, spoiler filled documents about the plot of an unannounced game. They don't deserve our sympathy for that behavior.
 

OldNewNewOld

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ShakerSilver said:
This issue has me rather torn. On one hand, I fucking hate Kotaku. On the other hand, what they have done was actual journalism and reporting, rather than doing the usual for press outlets and regurgitating press releases and whatever info the industry willingly feeds. Bethesda and Ubisoft's decision to blacklist them is very shady and shows how far the big publishers will go to control information flow.

Here's the thing though: the only reason that the companies have the power to blacklist Kotaku so easily is because of how Kotaku and other press outlets have so gleefully acting as the PR-branch of the AAA industry. [a href=http://i.imgur.com/ZkzjJVm.jpg]They've all been so complicit in the bullshit the AAA industry tries to peddle[/a], never willing to criticize unless they think it will earn them more controversy clicks (like leaking some game documents). It's a business relationship the industry and the "press" has - say nice things about our games, we'll give you free stuff and info on our stuff so you can make articles for more clicks. This isn't really a matter of journalistic ethics, it's got to do with this business relationship. They acted badly in this relationship and are now facing the consequences for biting the hand that feeds, so I can't say I feel to sorry for them. Their recent article on the matter seemed like nothing more than whining that they were punished for acting bad on that relationship, rather than standing by their journalistic integrity (HAH).

Now, if more outlets continued the trend, broke their ties to the industry, and acted like actual reporters, then I'd be all for it. My guess is though this issue will die down soon and it'll "business" as usual for the gaming press and the gaming industry.
I agree with this post completely.
The so called journalists act all buddy buddy with the publisher and do everything they ask for. Obviously the publisher will have a lot of power and saying there. It they did real journalism and not PR bullshit from the start, blacklisting wouldn't even be a thing.
The game "journalists" are just a 3rd party extension to the publisher's marketing department and they fucked up. The consequences are obvious.
 

Karadalis

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LifeCharacter said:
dirtysteve said:
A company has responsibility to it's customers, they have no responsibility to the revenue streams of journalists
Kotaku aren't just writing about what happened though, they're portraying themselves as hard-hitting journalistic heroes.
And journalists have no responsibility to companies and their marketing departments, yet some people here seem to think that they should do as directed by said companies and marketing departments unless its arbitrarily "important" enough to warrant not doing so. And it's especially troubling because, if a publisher is willing to just cut all ties with a group of journalists over something trivial like publishing leaked documents about games-in-development, it probably won't be any better if it was over something more important.
Well isnt that some bending backwards logic at work here...

No one has said any of what you accuse them of.

It was repeatedly stated that kotaku had the right to publish those leaks.

And it was said that Bethesda and Ubi do infact have the right to cut business relationships with kotaku.

Neither holds any moral or ethical obligations towards the other.

YET! Kotaku claims that bethesda and ubi do infact HAVE THE DUTY of keeping business relationships with kotaku... because kotaku all of a sudden are now "real journalists"

No matter the fact that "real journalists" would never beg for freebies and exclusive access to the people they cover!

What is it now? Kotaku being "real journalists" or "industry mouthpiece"? You cant be both at the same time for crying out loud!

If kotaku claims it has put on the big boy journalist pants now, then why the hell are they whining about being "blacklisted" and no longer receiving free stuff?

Kotaku wants bethesda and ubisoft to keep bending over and getting railed over the desk, but Beth and ubi are not going to take that shit anymore and now kotaku is crying to their readers how evil those two publishers are because those two have decided to no longer get fucked over by kotaku.

Wich would all be perfectly fine if kotaku wasnt such a ***** about it. Instead of owning up to their claim of being journalists they suddenly realize that being a journalist ISNT all gummidrops and icecream and want back suckling on the teets of big publisher review copies.

Kotaku are being the hypocrits here. But thats hardly anything new.

Heres the thing:

Game journalism has been called out for receiving free stuff from industry giants for a looooooooooooooong time, and yes review copies are amongst them. Review copies are a "nice thing to have" but if you dont get them you do NOT have the right to get them. They are a privilige granted by the publisher because the publisher deems sending you a review copy a positive thing. If the publisher decides sending you a review copy is no longer in his interest then theres only one thing to do for you..

DEAL WITH IT!


Actually this whole "blacklisting" thing is a net gain for gamers and i hope it happens to all the big games news sites... because then we would finaly get back to honest review scores and no longer have to deal with bullshit reviews that only exist to please the big publishers.
 

Karadalis

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LifeCharacter said:
It's good that you think companies should be able to dictate who has access to their product for review based on what they think will best serve their interests with nary a complaint from the customers who, in the end, are harmed by such a practice. You'd think people would take issue with the idea of curating who receives review copies (and thus receive a rather substantial advantage over those who don't) based on who will say the best, marketing-friendly things about it, but who knows, it's been a crazy year of stupid so why not?

And, as I'm pretty sure I've said before, Kotaku is clearly dealing with it. Unless you think dealing with it means that you are never allowed to talk about it even when asked to? Again, crazy year, so I honestly can't even consider that a rhetorical question anymore.
And there is that backwards logic again.

Dealing with it means accepting the situation as is, not whining about being "blacklisted" when in truth your business PARTNER that you constantly fucked over doesnt want to play house with you anymore and decides to cut ties with you.

Please point to where bethesda and ubisoft actually prevent Kotaku from reviewing their product here anyways? Cause they dont. The reviews of both publishers products are up on kotaku arent they?

They simply refuse to give kotaku EARLY review copies. Something that again, kotaku has NO RIGHT morally or ethically to to begin with.

Wich wouldnt be a problem in the first place if the ENTIRE game journalism scene didnt DEPEND on this PRIVILIGE that they cant seem to survive without.

Showing just what a ludicrius joke the entire "games journalism" industry is in reality.

They are so dependand on the goodwill of publishers that they cant seriously be called "journalists". Wich in turn makes the term a carricature if used by kotaku seriously.

What kind of sick and twisted joke of journalism is this scharade anyways?

You buy right into this bs outrage by making it seem like bethesda and ubisoft send an army of lawyers into gawker central and shut down any news reporting about them forcefully when in fact they simply refuse to talk and send review copies.

Are you telling me that bethesda and ubisoft sould be FORCED to send kotaku free shit and do interviews? Are you really suggesting that?