This whole issue has passed and at first I refrained from commenting on it, but I think it’s still worth commenting on. Last week, Cheap Ass Gamer ran a contest within their community to see who could make up the best and most believable rumor. A few bloggers, including Kotaku’s Brian Crecente, picked up one of the rumors and ran with it. I’m not going to name the rumor, because it doesn’t really deserve any more attention, but the fallout of these blogs running stories based on the competition merits a little discussion. Once the Internet’s finest detectives flushed out that the source for the rumor was indeed CAG’s little contest, Brian was backed into a corner and forced to admit that he posted an unconfirmed bit of (fake) news. Of course, rather than showing some good humor and admitting his mistake, Brian did what he always does; he lashed out and decided to push the blame back into CAG’s hands. Below is what Brian said when he updated his original rumor post:
UPDATE: It appears that this rumor story could be CAG throwing their credibility out the window as part of a contest. Kotaku”s decision to run rumors is always based on the credibility of the site and the information contained within it. In the past CAG has proven to be a reliable site, having broken a number of stories through apt reporting. It appears that may no longer be the case.
Well, jeez, Brian…can you really blame this on CheapyD and CAG? Is that really fair? You failed to fact check, you failed to follow up on a lead, and you made the decision to run with a rumor that had no credibility in the first place. All you had to do was a little bit of simple digging and you could have easily found out it was all part of a fun community contest put on by CAG. Don’t blame CheapyD and Wombat for trying to have some fun with their readers and podcast listeners. Your arrogance in these sort of matters is what turned me off of Kotaku years ago and is the same reason I don’t visit the site today. It’s ok to be wrong, but it’s not ok to throw a site under the bus simply because you failed to do a simple thing like fact checking before hitting the post button. And no, CAG wasn’t throwing their credibility out of the window by running the contest, you were when you ran with the rumor in a sad attempt to beat your competition to the scoop. Bravo, Brian, bravo. Here’s what your update is really saying to me:
UPDATE: It appears that this rumor story could be me throwing my credibility out the window as part of a premature reaction. Kotaku”s decision to run rumors is always based on the ridiculous need to get lots of hits to drive up our click count to appease our traffic-hungry superiors. In the past CAG has proven to be a reliable site, having broken a number of stories through apt reporting which we’ve hastily grabbed and slapped on our front page. It appears that we may either need to start fact checking like most reputable sites and blogs or risk continuing to look like total clowns and amatuers.
For the record, Joystiq, Kotaku’s biggest competitor, refrained from posting the rumor that they were very much well-aware of. Joystiq and CAG good. Kotaku bad.