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Hard News from an Opinionated Source
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 11, 2005   |   Episode 67 (Show Archive)  

   

Geraldo knows a thing or two about opinionated news reporting ... and giving away our troop locations!
As we gear up for what promises to be one of the most intense system wars of our lifetime, it's easy to understand how people could be a little jumpy and paranoid regarding what is said about their favorite systems. As fanboys around the world scour the media for any information they can glean, it leaves some writers in an awkward position. Should they stick with the tried and true (and somewhat boring) news format that simply provides important information ... or should they editorialize in hopes of gaining a larger fan base?

For many years this hasn't even been up for debate, up until recently most media outlets have reserved their opinions for the review section and left the news alone. But in the era of the Fox News Channel and opinionated internet Blogs, the sense that news should be opinion-free has taken a backseat for what seems to be blatant editorializing.

Recently 1UP.com ran an article that took me by surprise. It wasn't that it offered news I disagreed with, or even that its news was false or late. What grabbed my attention were the multiple uses of opinions to make what seemed to be a very weak point. What seemed like a short little news blurb was violently turned into what looks like attacks and misinformation.

It all started in an article titled GBA Still Outsells DS in US, posted by Jane Pinckard on July 1, 2005. The article itself talks about how the Game Boy Advance is still managing to outsell the Nintendo DS, a fact that probably shouldn't be too surprising since the GBA can run you as little as $50 (compared to the $150 you'll spend on the DS) and is targeted at a slightly different market demographic. Once the article points out the sales

For all we know Jane might think Advent Rising was a triple-A title!
figures and what they mean the article should be over and done with, after all, you've touched on every aspect of the story and there's more news to write about.

But what followed the sales figures was not a conclusion to the news; instead the writer had a whole new paragraph to spread misinformation and opinions about a certain next generation portable. At first glance you might think their target was locked onto the Nintendo DS, but it quickly becomes evident that Sony is the company that should be doing the defending.

To quote Jane Pinckard, "[Sony has] yet to produce a true triple-A title for the console. No, I'm sorry, Wipeout Pure doesn't count. But expect a giant jumpstart when the unkillable GTA franchise comes to the PSP. But will this be enough to offset the cost of the PS3?"

I'll try my best to ignore the final sentence, but since when was Jane Pinckard given the job of picking what games are worthy of being triple-A?? Obviously, in her opinion, the PSP has yet to produce a strong enough game to be considered a triple-A title, which is perfectly fine. I'm not here to pick apart the writers thoughts on games, I'm just trying to figure out why she feels she has the right to decide which games are worthy and which one's aren't.


Feel the Magic is a fun game for your Nintendo DS, but it's not a Triple-A title by any means!
I'm not here to say that WipEout Pure is or is not a triple-A experience, but judging by 1UP's review (in which they gave the game a score of 9 out of 10) she might be out of step with the other people on the site. Is a 9 not a triple-A score? And why can't we count the game if we like it? Isn't it a lot like saying that the Xbox has no good games ... and you can't count Halo?

It seems odd that an article about the GBA and Nintendo DS would evoke such strong emotion about the PSP, especially since the DS hasn't exactly managed to release any of those triple-A titles, either. Of course, what isn't mentioned in the article is that both systems have unique games that their fans seem to be eating up ... regardless of what Jane Pinckard has to say about things.


I don't care how much the PlayStation 3 costs, just as long as that isn't the control!
As well as deeming what games are and are not worthy of being called triple-A titles, Jane also makes a strange passive aggressive comment towards Grand Theft Auto and Sony's PlayStation 3. Besides the fact that there isn't much correlation between GTA doing well on the PSP and the PS3's price, it's funny how quickly people take predictions by analysts as facts. That's not to say that the PS3 won't be expensive (perhaps even too expensive), but since when did a journalist take rumors as facts?

In Jane's 1UP.com blog she admits that she is planning on "tweaking the news format a little," one can only hope that this doesn't mean that ALL news is going to be delivered with non-stop opinions and speculation. That is the kind of thing you expect from a fan site or personal blog, not a website that is attempting to post hard news. News is not a place for you to give your opinion, it's a place to be as fair and balanced as possible and deliver the facts. Can't wait to see how balanced things are when the new consoles finally hit and the war is in full swing.
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