Supporting/Denouncing PewDiePie Isn't News, Despite Everyone Making It News

The story that just won't seem to die in gaming news the past couple weeks is the fallout from all things PewDiePie. The commentary is everywhere you go (including here), with a slew of YouTubers making commentary videos about the situation across their platforms. Even Funhaus dedicated their latest episode of Dude Soup to the subject today, going over all the information and implications of what happened. You would assume that at some point the story would simply die here or at least fade off as people moved onto the next topic, but this week JackSepticEye has become the focal point of the controversy, simply for adding commentary. Here's the video for some context.

Within a matter of hours, Jack's video filled with comments accusing him of not standing by his friend, even going so far as to say he backstabbed him. YouTube gossip channels like Keemstar quickly jumped on those comments and posted tweets and videos asking people their opinions and turning out videos where they dissected the video and said Jack threw Felix under the bus. It got so bad that Jack had to add a disclaimer to the video in a pinned comment at the top of the YouTube link. And the entire situation reached it's peak today when Kotaku took all of this and turned it into a story where they basically point out Keemstar for being a guy who likes adding fuel to the fire, while also adding their fair share of gasoline and tires to the blaze.

keemjack

Here's the thing: THIS ISN'T NEWS. I don't care that Kotaku has it as one of their main stories today, and I don't care if it ends up as another run in the WSJ. As a journalist, I can tell you, it simply isn't news—it's gossip. This is a piece of the greater story exploited by a group of YouTubers and critics—who make their living stirring the pot—and it forces media channels and writers (including myself) to report on it because it's been turned into a bigger deal than it should. The simple fact is this isn't news, it's muckraking at it's finest. There are dozens of YouTubers addressing their audiences and talking about what's happened because they realize the implications and know their voices carry weight. So they did the one thing they know will have an impact, and that's to address it like adults and create an open conversation. A good example would be the video from Markiplier this past weekend, having a candid discussion with his audience about Respect, which you can watch below.

It's a fine video and addresses a different aspect of the situation, but no one went after Mark because there was nothing to twist and exploit for the benefit of "news." In fact, Jack's video is the only one you're seeing make the rounds specifically because of his popularity and the ability many had to exploit his words and twist them into some sort of denouncing. The only two people who know how Jack and Felix feel about each other… are Jack and Felix. It's pretty safe to say that after four days if we haven't heard any commentary from Felix about Jack now, we probably won't because there's nothing to say. In fact, unless Felix has some kind of major screw-up in the next month or so, there probably isn't anything else to say about the situation as a whole. (Until the comments section goes nuts, or another YouTuber turn this into their next video.)

If YouTuber and Let's Play gossip is your thing, then by all means, feel free to consume it. No one is telling you to not read or watch anything. But please, understand the difference between gossip and news, and know that gossip is usually filled with bullshit. As Jon Stewart said on his way out from The Daily Show, "The best defense against bullshit, is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something."

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About Gavin Sheehan

Gavin is the current Games Editor for Bleeding Cool. He has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.
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