Toronto news station CityNews has come under fire following a report it released about gaming addiction in which it interviewed various players at EGLX last weekend in Mississauga, Ontario.
The report focused on the rise of gaming and esports and how the World Health Organization recently classified gaming addiction as a disease. The report included interviews from pro Smash players (in which they were asked how many hours of the day they play) and the event organizer
The report irked some high profile figures within the Smash esports scene, who seemed to feel as if CityNews Toronto misled the interview subjects with regards to the tone or nature of its report.
Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios, perhaps the best known Smash 4 player in the world, took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with the report.
They basically went to a video game tournament, faked their interest, got welcomed by many different community members who gave their time for interviews, in which they proceeded to cut and use words to fit their fake narrative that they're mentally ill, tricking them.— ZeRo (@TSMZeRo) March 14, 2018
Joe "Toronto Joe" Cribari, another professional and the head of Get On My Level, also expressed frustration with the report.
.@NBissonauth @CityNews Embarrassing level of journalism with your recent gaming piece.— Torontonian Giuseppe (@TorontoJoe) March 13, 2018
Shady to speak to gaming enthusiasts at a large meetup & spin their answers to serve your own agenda against them. Baiting responses without giving any context to your questions is shameful.
The gist of the pros' complaints stem from the idea that CityNews might have twisted the words of the players' or taken their comments out of context, asking questions in a positive tone that resulted in what they thought was a negative article.
Looks like certain news organizations are baiting smashers at tournaments into giving interviews then selectively clipping them to talk about how awful "video game addiction" is. This has happened a couple times now, we have to be more careful.— Phoenix1 | Duck (@ssbDuck) March 14, 2018
It's unclear what interview practices CityNews used or how the interviewed players were approached about the nature of the story. Still, there's a pushback from people within the esports community regarding non-endemic media outlets reporting on this industry. There seems to be little trust between esports and non-endemic outlets, and any report that is borderline negative will be graded on a different curve than if it comes from an outlet within the community.
It's tough to make a clear judgement without more context from both sides, but it's clear the Smash community was not receptive to CityNews or its report from EGLX.
Photo by Robert Paul/DreamHack