GamerGate has been painted as an “alt-right” political movement in well over a dozen recent articles on the subject.
If you’re just catching up, “alt-right” is the catch-all term used to describe Trump voters who have a strong anti-immigration stance and, at times, even white nationalist views. Hillary Clinton brought the term into mainstream use in a speech in August and it’s been the topic of discussion on social media ever since. An article recently tweeted out by Hillary Clinton’s official presidential campaign, Hillary for America, lumped GamerGate in with the alt-right by calling it a “hate group still targeting women that advocate for inclusion in the tech industry” and describing its supporters as “shock troops of the Alt-Right.”
The prevailing narrative is that the “alt-right” was forged from the fires of GamerGate in 2014 after gamers raised serious questions about the personal relationships between indie game developers and game journalists on mainstream gaming websites like Kotaku and Polygon. Gamers were silenced at these venues and prevented from speaking about the topic. When it inevitably spilled over onto Reddit and 4chan, gamers—who at the time were not organized in any fashion whatsoever—were subsequently squelched. The biggest catalyst for the nascent movement was the publication of over a dozen articles condemning the “gamer identity,” as I described in my previous article on the subject.
It’s 2016, and though many GamerGate supporters no longer use the hashtag made infamous by the gaming media’s slanted coverage, the movement as a whole is being cast as a bogeyman to unfairly vilify gamers as racist bigots and scare voters into supporting Hillary Clinton.
The “alt-right” does have its roots on 4chan’s /pol/ forums, where many right-leaning digital activists and conservative Internet firebrands like Milo Yiannopoulos hang out. And while more than a few GamerGate supporters share parts of the ideology ascribed to the term alt-right, it would be completely false to claim that GamerGate and the alt-right are the same thing.
In reality, GamerGate is an apolitical movement dedicated to journalistic ethics and consumer rights, and is made up of a diverse group of gamers from across the political spectrum, including Bernie Sanders supporters (dubbed “BernieBros” by the media in a successful smear attempt), Donald Trump supporters, libertarians, anarchists, socialists, and yes, even Hillary Clinton supporters.
Journalist Brad Glasgow, whose work was previously republished on Heat Street, surveyed 725 American and non-American GamerGate supporters to inquire about their political views. He provided me with the following data from polls he took in January 2016:
The survey clearly indicates that the vast majority of GamerGaters lean strongly left, with liberals leading the numbers, followed by moderates. Together, they make up well over 80% of the participants.
A second chart shows that almost 50% of the conservative-leaning GamerGate supporters voted for President Barack Obama. Slightly fewer of them did not vote for any presidential candidate in 2012.
In the United Kingdom, most GamerGate supporters who voted in the most recent election aligned themselves with the Liberal Democrats and Labour parties. Fewer than 10% of participants supported UKIP.
Openly aligning yourself with a political party is one thing, but another telling chart, answered by every participant in the survey, reveals that the vast majority of people who completed the survey shared clearly liberal views towards governance and laws. A sweeping majority expressed belief in human-caused climate change, equal opportunity for racial minorities, the legalization of marijuana use, support for abortion, and support for gay marriage.
Why would a group that’s supposedly made up of white supremacists carry these views? Could what we’re being told be wrong?
There’s no denying that a contingent of GamerGate participants support Donald Trump for president, and many of them rally behind Milo Yiannopoulos. Yiannopoulos was a leading voice for the unfairly marginalized gamers at the onset of GamerGate, contributing a series of articles to Breitbart that unearthed a private mailing list for game journalists.
As a result of his contributions to the movement, GamerGate critics have been quick to align Milo’s personal (yet public) politics with the movement as a whole. In doing so, they have dismissed or simply erased the contributions of other journalists and public figures who voiced their support for GamerGate, including feminist Christina Hoff Sommers, YouTube personality and outspoken lefty John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, and libertarian journalist Cathy Young. As for myself, I don’t align myself with any movement, but I identify as a liberal with zero tolerance for bullshit.
For the most part, GamerGate supporters—and gamers in general—are just happy to have anyone listen to them and allow them to speak their minds. And it makes sense as to why they would, considering every lie that’s been spoken about them. What ever happened to reporting on fact, and not inventing fiction?