I was browsing the relevant GamerGate feeds looking for news today, when I saw several stories to write up. One of them includes Tyler Malka, but I’m going to write a longer piece on his recent evolution later. I might even make a video to go along with this one, since he’s so special to the site. Plus, I really need to stop slacking on the videos, and this seems like a good excuse. ANYWAY, that’s not what I came to talk about. I came to talk about Kotaku and Patrick Klepek, the clown who used to work for Giant Bomb. As it turns out, his (admittedly good) report about the PC version of Arkham Knight may have had some ethical issues. Let’s take a look at what KotakuInAction is saying about this episode:

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(https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/3bwori/ethics_kotaku_writer_patrick_klepek_fails_to/)

Patrick Klepek and Dave Lang, the CEO of Iron Galaxy, have been friends for years. Klepek’s article on the Arkham Knight PC port mentions that Iron Galaxy worked on the product, but doesn’t disclose their relationship.

This relationship was built while Klepek worked for Giant Bomb…

Now, I’m not saying that anything in Klepek’s article is wrong, or fabricated to protect his friend, but as always the issue is with a lack of disclosure.

TLDR: Klepek wrote an article involving a company that his friend is the CEO of without any disclosure of their relationship.

As you just read, Patrick Klepek and Dave Lang, the CEO of Iron Galaxy, have been friends for years. Klepek’s article on the Arkham Knight PC port mentions that Iron Galaxy worked on the product, but leaves out the part about Klepek and Lang being chummy.

It looks like Klepek hid the personal relationship he had with the Iron Galaxy CEO, Dave Lang. Not only that, if you read the story, it puts most of the heat on WB Games for this clusterfuck. I tend to believe the story, but without proper disclosure, you can understand why some may feel like Mr. Lang tried to cast blame on Warner Bros. in order to get his studio off the hook. This is exactly what GamerGate has been talking about for months.

I realize there were anonymous quotes in the article, and I’m not against that practice. But I always make sure the reader knows my relationships. Even if those quotes came from Lang, Klepek should have laid out all the ties he had to the central players. He didn’t, and now his journalistic ethics are coming into question.

16 comments
  1. Because Klepek didn’t disclose, I can see some people believing that he protected his friend Lang (CEO of Iron Galaxy) and Iron Galaxy’s involvement in Batman: Arkham Knight’s dreadful PC port. This could very well not be the case, because, from my understanding, the Batman Arkham games haven’t gotten great PC ports probably because WB foolishly doesn’t care about the PC market.

    Morale of the story: Include disclosures where needed so the consumer doesn’t weigh your bias more extremely than they should.

    1. Moral of the story*

      I personally hope this small correction doesn’t hurt your morale, so please do try to keep your spirits up despite this lol. Jokes aside, I do agree with your post 🙂

    2. Exactly. The issue isn’t that they probably committed some sort of shady act, here. In fact, I really doubt that happened. It’s irrelevant, though. The reason you disclose such things is to avoid even the APPEARANCE of impropriety. This is a thing that gaming journalists don’t understand, but every other journalist has to abide by. Simply saying “you’re all a bunch of conspiracy nuts — we’re not doing anything wrong” isn’t justification for not disclosing. You disclose so that people can make up their own minds.

      AND ESPECIALLY when you are Patrick Klepek and you are SO close to the subject of your article, that the CEO of the company you are covering FUCKING GAVE YOU SPACE IN HIS COMPANY’S OFFICE FOR YOU TO HAVE AN OFFICE IN. (Klepek worked out of the Iron Galaxy offices for a long time, after moving to Chicago, while still working for GiantBomb).

      None of this stuff has been hidden from the GiantBomb audience. It has all played out in front of the viewers and readers over the years. However, that doesn’t excuse lack of disclosure. And when we’re talking about ANOTHER WEBSITE — not GiantBomb anymore — OF COURSE YOU FUCKING DISCLOSE IT.

      Actually, what you do is NOT FUCKING ASSIGN A REPORTER TO IT WHO HAS THAT CONFLICT. And if that doesn’t happen, the reporter should just recuse themselves. When you’re this close to any subject of your article, simply disclosing the connection isn’t honestly enough.

      Again, this isn’t because “Klepek is doing shady shit in an article”. That is not relevant.

    3. What’s great is the dlc they announced today is being made by iron galaxy. So…if you are still using the studio to make content did they mess up the game or did WB?

      Likely its all on WB here especially if it was testing badly a year ago but I agree 100% kleepeck shouldn’t have been the one on this story even if it was his source. He should have handed off the sources to Totillo who should have handed them off again and kleepeck should never have known to who.

  2. At least this one is easy to fix: post a small apology article and place disclosures where they should be

    1. That could go for all of Gamergate. An easy fix. Apologies and disclosures. It was easy to end, but it’s still going.

      1. Not seeing an “easy” fix when many involved throw around “terrorist” and classify GG as a hate group.

  3. It never ends. Well I raise my glass to Hulk Hogan in hopes he will end this bullshit site forever. You won’t be missed.

  4. Once again, we see conflicts of interest in gaming journalism that would never be allowed to happen in mainstream media or the vast majority of niche media. When I got my first job as a newspaper reporter, I had to sign a 10-page ethical agreement spelling out what was and wasn’t acceptable, and when I jumped ship to a bigger newspaper, ethical training was built in to the company’s mandatory orientation sessions. Even so much as the appearance of a conflict of interest was enough to pull a reporter off a story and reassign it to someone else, and ethical violations were not tolerated. At all.

    Yet with sites like Kotaku and Polygon, we see lack of disclosure, friends writing about friends, “journalists” willing to overlook bad behavior on the part of their friends and colleagues…again, and again, and again. It never ends. And through it all, we NEVER get disclosure on the swag, access, hotel stays, airline tickets and other gifts game journalists take from the people they are supposed to objectively criticize.

    If I was a game developer, and my bonus was tied in to how my work is reviewed by a bunch of amateur children with no ethical guidelines or professionalism to speak of, I would be campaigning relentlessly to untether bonus rewards from evaluation by these clowns.

  5. What I get from this, is that gaming/blogger sites like Polygon and kotaku is only 40% journalism and the rest clickbait crap and that Patrick fits right in there with his lack of honesty.

    1. I really don’t even think it is a lack of honesty. I think they are just fucking hack journalists that the basics of journalism that every other journalist on the planet — even sports writers and fucking automobile reviewers — adhere to and practice on a regular basis are lost on these idiots. They don’t make a habit of these practices and they therefore don’t even have them rattling around in their heads *at all*.

      And when called on it, they think they can dismiss it by ridiculing the readers or — maybe — justifying why they don’t have any shady shit going on.. completely lost to them is the fact that disclosure isn’t just for when you are doing something shady. It’s something you ALWAYS do.

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