The Entertainment Software Association, already suffering from an exodus of member companies, took on Game Politics today over a post the Entertainment Consumer Association-backed site wrote calling into question the choice for the upcoming E3's keynote speaker.
You better sit down, this gets really confusing really quickly.
Yesterday The Escapist broke the news that E3 keynoter Texas Governor Rick Perry stirred up some controversy by attending a Texas' Cornerstone Church sermon given by the Rev. John Hagee. During the service Hagee told the gathering that non-christians are going straight to hell. Perry later said he agreed with the sentiment. The story failed to mention that the sermon took place in 2006, something the Wired follow-up did explain.
Then Game Politics, a ECA site which follows the convergence of politics and gaming, picked up the story and added some commentary, calling Perry a bizarre keynote choice and asking the ESA to rescind their offer. It also said that E3 2008 was being politicized by ESA president Michael Gallagher.
In exchanges with Joystiq, Dan Hewitt, the ESA director of communication, called into question Game Politics' objectivity, pointing out that it was owned by ECA.
"If the ESA posted a blog and called it a news site, journalists would rightfully balk and it wouldn't pass a smell test. Remarkably, GamePolitics doesn't face the same scrutiny even though it's funded by the ECA and tainted with anti-ESA vitriol. At the end of the day, calling GamePolitics a news site is as laughable as saying there's a Cuban free press."
Game Politics' editor Dennis McCauley defended the site, saying he "stands by what he wrote regarding the appropriateness - or lack thereof - of having Gov. Perry deliver the E3 keynote."
Reached for comment this afternoon, Rich Taylor, senior vice president for communications and research at the ESA, had this to say:
"The ESA welcomes open, honest and frank exchanges with the media. Dan's comments to Joystiq, which were directed specifically at GamePolitics, were an expression of frustration based on the consistently biased approach of reporting on that site. "
So two issues for the price of one: Is a religiously outspoken governor the appropriate choice for E3 keynoter? Does the fact that ESA rival, the ECA own GamePolitics call into question their objectivity.