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Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure

News.com.au tells the tale of Toby McCasker, a former deputy entertainment editor for the magazine ZOO Weekly, who claims he was fired for blowing the whistle on efforts by Rockstar Games to influence coverage of Red Dead Redemption. McCasker posted excerpts on Facebook of an email allegedly from Rockstar saying: "This is the biggest game we've done since GTA IV, and is already receiving Game of the Year 2010 nominations from specialists all around the world," going on to say: "Can you please ensure Toby's article reflects this he needs to respect the huge achievement he's writing about here." The Facebook posting is now removed, and McCasker is no longer with ZOO Weekly. "I did not sign up to become a journalist to write advertorials masquerading as editorial," he says. "This 'cash for comment' culture that is fast becoming the status quo within print media bothers me a lot."

Kotaku has a response from ZOO editor Paul Merrill saying: "I would like to make it clear that at no time has Rockstar EVER sought a preferential review in return for advertising. In fact no games company has ever suggested this. And Zoo would never give a positive review to a game we didn't rate in return for ad dollars. Toby McCasker was sacked for a number of reasons, one of which was his decision to post a private email on his Facebook page. This email was not referring to a game review. He should not be considered a credible source of information on this matter." News.com.au also has a comment from Rockstar Games Australia: "We are not clear on what the story is here. We always try to present our games in the most compelling way to media and fans alike and of course we, like every other video game publisher in Australia or anywhere else for that matter, want to have our games seen in a positive light." The article also says: "It is understood McCasker had earlier received two official warnings about his behaviour."

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56. Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 23:12 Beamer
 
1. INVESTORS don't watch CNN or MSNBC. It's useless. If they watch anything at all, they watch Fox Business or CNBC. But mostly they are researching on the internet or in trade publications.

Certainly. Every single person in his/her 50s with a portfolio in the six figures only watches Fox Business and CNBC. They never put on CNN. How right you are.

2. Business to business ads? Do YOU work for a large corporation? The execs aren't watching CNN or Fox News unless it happens to be on in the airport. Add to that the ads aren't even hawking business services. They're "feel good" ads. They're designed not only to latch media companies into a revenue stream, but also as propaganda to make the world feel okay about them. That disinclines the public to believe stories about such companies polluting or bilking consumers or whatever when accidents or scandals happen, if such stories even get air time.

Sure. I mean, Toyota is one of the highest spenders in the country. Nice to see how their recall failures were swept under the rug for it.

3. News organizations are critical all the time? Where were the mine safety stories before the Massey mine blew up? Where were the stories about the housing bubble and derivatives trading before the market crashed?

For one, it's insane that you think anyone in the media was paying attention to mining. If BusinessWeek put mining on the cover over the next iPhone would you have purchased that issue? You really think the mining industry bribed the media to ignore this? Holy crap!

For another, I'm amazed that you think more than a handful of people were aware of the impending CDS issues. Now you're confusing incompetence for evil. I'd assume, then, that you think all the people taking out mortgages that they knew were too large and buying houses they knew were too expensive were evil, too, right?

It's extremely naive to think otherwise

Naive is watching too many scifi movies and thinking they're reality.
 
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