‘Fake news’ a term that has been thrown around so casually it has harmed the reputation of journalists, but you know what hurts them even more? Shitty journalism.
Freelance journalist Matthew Barbour epitomizes what we call unethical journalism practices (despite being repeatedly exposed). His most recent piece made the page of UK publication The Daily Mirror, titled “Fortnite made me a suicidal drug addict” followed by “Dad saves his son, 17, from death plunge after he gets hooked on online craze.”
These splashy headlines are, unfortunately, what certain outlets want no matter the cost – literally. Well, former video game writer for Eurogamer and Youtube host of “What Makes Games,” Chris Bratt, decided it was the perfect opportunity to expose the journalist for his negligence once again.
Bratt wrote a thread on twitter of an email exchange he had had with Barbour two years ago. He found an inquiry the journalist had put out via ResponseSource, a site where reporters can put out requests for relevant case studies, and it peaked his curiosity. The writer tweeted he wanted to see how far Barbour was willing to go to get a story.
The piece was going to be on Pokemon-Go, “Maybe it’s affecting their sleep, their relationship, their work,” Barbour wrote, he then indicated he was willing to pay £100 to anyone willing to contribute. Bratt tweeted he responded with the header, “Pokemon Go is ruining my marriage” saying “and then wrote the most ridiculous tale I could manage.” Read the full thread below to see how far the journalist was willing to go for a tabloid story – it will honestly shock you.
While there isn’t evidence that the Fortnite story was made-up, Eurogamer did recently discover another ResponseSource email from Barbour on June 8th that stated he “urgently” wanted to talk to families who had children that were addicted to the video game, “The case study can be anonymous and we can pay a £300 fee. We can also fully credit any clinic or therapist.”
Chris Bratt, host of ‘People Make Games’ went to discuss his experience with the disturbing ‘fake news’ trend
Image credits: Chris Bratt