Entertainment Weekly’s Sad Puppies libel gets around the world

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Entertainment Weekly's Sad Puppies libel gets around the world

By the stan­dards of Jour­nal­ism the writ­ing of , blow­back to, and retrac­tion and re-​writing of Enter­tain­ment Weekly’s piece on the hugo awards was rather quick, and a vic­tory to truth vs nar­ra­tive in journalism.

How­ever the inter­net being what it is unfor­tu­nately this story is prov­ing the old say­ing that a lie gets around the world before the truth gets a chance to get on its pants:

Lon­don telegraph

The Hugo Awards have been at the cen­tre of a furore after two cam­paigns suc­cess­fully pre­vented female authors and authors of colour from being pro­por­tion­ally nom­i­nated. Some peo­ple are com­par­ing the con­tro­versy to Gamer­Gate, which in 2014 saw coor­di­nated misog­y­nist attacks aimed at peo­ple who spoke out about sex­ism in the gam­ing industry.

In 2014 the Hugo Awards cel­e­brated the increas­ing diver­sity of sci-​fi and fan­tasy writ­ers, with younger writ­ers, women and peo­ple of colour all pick­ing up awards. At the time, pop cul­ture web­site io9 com­mented that the awards her­alded “a sea change”.

The nom­i­na­tions for this year’s awards were announced on Sat­ur­day and showed that two cam­paign groups, the Gamergate-​affiliated Sad Pup­pies and Rabid Pup­pies, have suc­ceeded in get­ting a list of pre­dom­i­nately male, white writ­ers nominated.

Slash­dot:

Last year, the Hugo Awards went to mostly minori­ties and women. In response, a fan group decided to fight back against what they saw as a lib­eral attack on their medium. It appears that they have suc­ceeded, as the 2015 nom­i­nees are pre­dom­i­nantly cho­sen by a group called “Sad Pup­pies. Now a counter-​counter group is try­ing to ensure that no one wins any Hugo awards in any cat­e­gory except Best Novel.

Stuff​.com New Zealand:

Sci-​fi Hugo Awards hijacked by anti-​diversity campaign

The Guardian:

By putting for­ward a slate of pre­dom­i­nantly Amer­i­can nom­i­nees, the cam­paign organ­is­ers have been able to lever the votes of a minor­ity of non-​attending mem­bers to “hack” the vot­ing process and dom­i­nate the award nom­i­na­tions. Remark­ably, this is all within the rules of the Hugos, and the moral defence put for­ward by cam­paign organ­is­ers for what many peo­ple would con­sider cheat­ing is their belief that block vot­ing is com­mon in the award-​giving process.

The Hugos and World­con have always been – much like the base­ball World Series – a world event in name only. Hugo win­ners have been over­whelm­ingly from the US, with almost no non-​anglophone works even con­sid­ered for the awards. But over the past decade or so, the Hugos and World­con have become much more diverse and inter­est­ing, with many more women, writ­ers of colour and inter­na­tional voices among nom­i­nees and win­ners. It’s that diver­sity which has been lost in this orches­trated backlash.

IO 9:

The new slate of Hugo Awards nom­i­nees were just announced, and you can read the list at the link. Suf­fice to say, the nom­i­nees in pretty much every cat­e­gory (other than Best Novel) come pretty much exclu­sively from a fan cam­paign called Sad Pup­pies, orga­nized by Brad R. Torg­ersen and Larry Cor­reia. Last year, Cor­reia orga­nized a cam­paign which suc­cess­fully placed one item in each cat­e­gory on the Hugo slate — so this year, they decided to go fur­ther. As John Scalzi has pointed out, this was not against the spirit or the let­ter of the Hugo Awards rules.

The Hugo Awards are voted on by fans, and any­one who pur­chases a sup­port­ing mem­ber­ship at World­con can nom­i­nate two years in a row. (And typ­i­cally, it doesn’t take that many votes to nom­i­nate some­thing suc­cess­fully.) To Torg­ersen and Cor­reia, this meant that a “rar­efied, insu­lar” group of writ­ers were pro­mot­ing their agenda by nom­i­nat­ing works by women and peo­ple of color. To the rest of us, it looked as though sci­ence fic­tion and fan­tasy were finally catch­ing up to real­ity — the best sto­ries aren’t only the ones told by straight white men.

The Out­housers:

A con­ser­v­a­tive bal­lot stuff­ing cam­paign prob­a­bly destroyed the cred­i­bil­ity of the awards.

Salon:

Never doubt that a small group of deranged trolls can ruin any­thing (even the Hugo Awards)

Av Club:

The 2015 Hugo Award nom­i­nees have been announced, and there are some strong titles in con­tention for Best Novel, includ­ing books by Ann Leckie, Marko Kloos, and Jim Butcher. How­ever, that doesn’t seem to be what peo­ple are talk­ing about, which is prob­a­bly caus­ing some con­ster­na­tion in the Kloos house­hold, where con­ver­sa­tion is usu­ally rel­e­gated to argu­ing over the best pro­nun­ci­a­tion of their last name. No, this year’s crop of nom­i­nees is notable for being over­whelm­ingly dom­i­nated by a group of white guys who formed an orga­nized back­lash to the grow­ing inclu­sion of women and peo­ple of color in last year’s awards.

Comics Alliance:

It seems eter­nally worth stat­ing, as there’s no end of peo­ple who don’t seem to under­stand this, that wel­com­ing women, peo­ple of color, and LGBTQ peo­ple into an indus­try does not mean there’s some sort of secret con­spir­acy against con­ser­v­a­tive straight white dudes. It means peo­ple value a pro­gres­sion towards allow­ing more voices in a con­ver­sa­tion. In try­ing to com­bat an imag­ined lib­eral con­spir­acy that puts pol­i­tics ahead of good work, the Sad Pup­pies have achieved an actual con­spir­acy that does exactly this. Good job.

I sub­mit that most of the peo­ple who wrote the arti­cles above will not update theirs with Enter­tain­ment Weekly retrac­tion. They will never note Brad Torg­ersen or his let­ter:

Firstly, the SAD PUP­PIES slate cited in the arti­cle, included both women and non-​caucasians.

Raj­nar Vajra
Larry Cor­reia
Annie Bel­let
Kary Eng­lish
Toni Weis­skopf
Ann Sowards
Megan Gray
Sheila Gilbert
Jen­nifer Brozek
Cedar Sander­son
Amanda Green

Or Glenn Reynolds:

SO ENTER­TAIN­MENT WEEKLY PUB­LISHES A NASTY HIT JOBLarry Cor­reia Fisks it here — and with­out con­tact­ing any of the peo­ple it attacks, and then after pub­li­ca­tion, the author, Isabella Bieden­harn, invites Larry to give the other side.After pub­li­ca­tion. What, did she come to Enter­tain­ment Weekly from Rolling Stone or something?

And they cer­tainly won’t ever cite Larry Correia’s Epic fisk­ing of EW here

Here is an inter­est­ing one for you mod­er­ates, SMOFs, and fence sit­ters to pon­der on. Why is it that our own words and actions aren’t to be believed, but any­thing the other side says about us, no mat­ter how out­landish, is to be accepted?

Over the years I’ve done Sad Pup­pies, do you know how many fan­nish blogs, fanzines, and pod­casts inter­viewed me, the guy who started the cam­paign, about the goals of Sad Puppies?

None.

I can’t think of sin­gle one. You’d think with the most con­tro­ver­sial thing to hap­pen to the Hugos in for­ever, some­body would actu­ally want to sit down and inter­view us and get our side of the story, but nada, zip. Sure, lots of peo­ple wrote about it, but it was pretty obvi­ous these fan­nish jour­nal­ists didn’t read what I actu­ally wrote, and instead they cri­tiqued Straw Larry, or they quoted other blog­gers quot­ing Straw Larry.

Nope for the read­ers of those sites the libelous claims from Enter­tain­ment Weekly that those pieces were based on will be for­ever true, the retrac­tion never noted and the “facts” for­ever estab­lished in their minds.

That’s con­sid­ered a fea­ture BTW not a bug.

Clos­ing thought let me point out to Larry & Brad that if you think you’ve already got a win­ner in a libel suit in the US, any moves against sites in UK and other such coun­tries with much lower stan­dards for libel, should be a cakewalk.

Update: Larry notices the spread:

Most of them said our slate was exclu­sively white, straight, and male (not true)
Most of them said that last year was a big win for diver­sity (I believe last years win­ners were all white and one Asian).
Most of them said our slate was exclu­sively right wing (not true, in fact the major­ity skew left, we have social­ists, lib­er­als, mod­er­ates, lib­er­tar­i­ans, con­ser­v­a­tives, and ques­tion marks. To the best of my knowl­edge, I believe that last year’s “diverse” win­ners all espoused the same social jus­tice pol­i­tics).
But there is no bias in this per­fectly func­tion­ing sys­tem. My side said that polit­i­cal nar­ra­tive trumped real­ity in this busi­ness. Believe me yet?

***************************************************************************

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Sub­scribe at $50 or more in April and receive each monthly pre­mium shipped the date of your payment.

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By the standards of Journalism the writing of , blowback to, and retraction and re-writing of Entertainment Weekly’s piece on the hugo awards was rather quick, and a victory to truth vs narrative in journalism.

However the internet being what it is unfortunately this story is proving the old saying that a lie gets around the world before the truth gets a chance to get on its pants:

London telegraph

The Hugo Awards have been at the centre of a furore after two campaigns successfully prevented female authors and authors of colour from being proportionally nominated. Some people are comparing the controversy to GamerGate, which in 2014 saw coordinated misogynist attacks aimed at people who spoke out about sexism in the gaming industry.

In 2014 the Hugo Awards celebrated the increasing diversity of sci-fi and fantasy writers, with younger writers, women and people of colour all picking up awards. At the time, pop culture website io9 commented that the awards heralded “a sea change”.

The nominations for this year’s awards were announced on Saturday and showed that two campaign groups, the Gamergate-affiliated Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, have succeeded in getting a list of predominately male, white writers nominated.

Slashdot:

Last year, the Hugo Awards went to mostly minorities and women. In response, a fan group decided to fight back against what they saw as a liberal attack on their medium. It appears that they have succeeded, as the 2015 nominees are predominantly chosen by a group called “Sad Puppies. Now a counter-counter group is trying to ensure that no one wins any Hugo awards in any category except Best Novel.

Stuff.com New Zealand:

Sci-fi Hugo Awards hijacked by anti-diversity campaign

The Guardian:

By putting forward a slate of predominantly American nominees, the campaign organisers have been able to lever the votes of a minority of non-attending members to “hack” the voting process and dominate the award nominations. Remarkably, this is all within the rules of the Hugos, and the moral defence put forward by campaign organisers for what many people would consider cheating is their belief that block voting is common in the award-giving process.

The Hugos and Worldcon have always been – much like the baseball World Series – a world event in name only. Hugo winners have been overwhelmingly from the US, with almost no non-anglophone works even considered for the awards. But over the past decade or so, the Hugos and Worldcon have become much more diverse and interesting, with many more women, writers of colour and international voices among nominees and winners. It’s that diversity which has been lost in this orchestrated backlash.

 

IO 9:

The new slate of Hugo Awards nominees were just announced, and you can read the list at the link. Suffice to say, the nominees in pretty much every category (other than Best Novel) come pretty much exclusively from a fan campaign called Sad Puppies, organized by Brad R. Torgersen and Larry Correia. Last year, Correia organized a campaign which successfully placed one item in each category on the Hugo slate — so this year, they decided to go further. As John Scalzi has pointed out, this was not against the spirit or the letter of the Hugo Awards rules.

The Hugo Awards are voted on by fans, and anyone who purchases a supporting membership at Worldcon can nominate two years in a row. (And typically, it doesn’t take that many votes to nominate something successfully.) To Torgersen and Correia, this meant that a “rarefied, insular” group of writers were promoting their agenda by nominating works by women and people of color. To the rest of us, it looked as though science fiction and fantasy were finally catching up to reality — the best stories aren’t only the ones told by straight white men.

 The Outhousers:

A conservative ballot stuffing campaign probably destroyed the credibility of the awards.

Salon:

 

Never doubt that a small group of deranged trolls can ruin anything (even the Hugo Awards)

 

 

Av Club:

The 2015 Hugo Award nominees have been announced, and there are some strong titles in contention for Best Novel, including books by Ann Leckie, Marko Kloos, and Jim Butcher. However, that doesn’t seem to be what people are talking about, which is probably causing some consternation in the Kloos household, where conversation is usually relegated to arguing over the best pronunciation of their last name. No, this year’s crop of nominees is notable for being overwhelmingly dominated by a group of white guys who formed an organized backlash to the growing inclusion of women and people of color in last year’s awards.

Comics Alliance:

It seems eternally worth stating, as there’s no end of people who don’t seem to understand this, that welcoming women, people of color, and LGBTQ people into an industry does not mean there’s some sort of secret conspiracy against conservative straight white dudes. It means people value a progression towards allowing more voices in a conversation. In trying to combat an imagined liberal conspiracy that puts politics ahead of good work, the Sad Puppies have achieved an actual conspiracy that does exactly this. Good job.

I submit that most of the people who wrote the articles above will not update theirs with Entertainment Weekly retraction.  They will never note Brad Torgersen or his letter:

Firstly, the SAD PUPPIES slate cited in the article, included both women and non-caucasians.

Rajnar Vajra
Larry Correia
Annie Bellet
Kary English
Toni Weisskopf
Ann Sowards
Megan Gray
Sheila Gilbert
Jennifer Brozek
Cedar Sanderson
Amanda Green

Or Glenn Reynolds:

SO ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY PUBLISHES A NASTY HIT JOBLarry Correia Fisks it here — and without contacting any of the people it attacks, and then after publication, the author, Isabella Biedenharn, invites Larry to give the other side.After publication. What, did she come to Entertainment Weekly from Rolling Stone or something?

And they certainly won’t ever cite Larry Correia’s Epic fisking of EW here

Here is an interesting one for you moderates, SMOFs, and fence sitters to ponder on. Why is it that our own words and actions aren’t to be believed, but anything the other side says about us, no matter how outlandish, is to be accepted?

Over the years I’ve done Sad Puppies, do you know how many fannish blogs, fanzines, and podcasts interviewed me, the guy who started the campaign, about the goals of Sad Puppies?

None.

I can’t think of single one. You’d think with the most controversial thing to happen to the Hugos in forever, somebody would actually want to sit down and interview us and get our side of the story, but nada, zip. Sure, lots of people wrote about it, but it was pretty obvious these fannish journalists didn’t read what I actually wrote, and instead they critiqued Straw Larry, or they quoted other bloggers quoting Straw Larry.

Nope for the readers of those sites the libelous claims from Entertainment Weekly that those pieces were based on will be forever true, the retraction never noted and the “facts” forever established in their minds.

That’s considered a feature BTW not a bug.

Closing thought let me point out to Larry & Brad that if you think you’ve already got a winner in a libel suit in the US, any moves against sites in UK and other such countries with much lower standards for libel, should be a cakewalk.

Update: Larry notices the spread:

Most of them said our slate was exclusively white, straight, and male (not true)
Most of them said that last year was a big win for diversity (I believe last years winners were all white and one Asian).
Most of them said our slate was exclusively right wing (not true, in fact the majority skew left, we have socialists, liberals, moderates, libertarians, conservatives, and question marks. To the best of my knowledge, I believe that last year’s “diverse” winners all espoused the same social justice politics).
But there is no bias in this perfectly functioning system. My side said that political narrative trumped reality in this business. Believe me yet?

***************************************************************************

Primary Season is coming and with a 1/4 of the year gone were less that 5% toward our annual goal.

If 1000 of our readers kicked in $20 we’d be all set for a full year and I could retire DaTipJar till January of 2016.

Of course if one person wants to kick in that $20K we’ll take that too.  Help me make the good fight every single day.

We’re extending our March premium to April for tip jar hitters of $50 or more is Stacy McCain’s book:  Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature

Subscribe at $50 or more in April and receive each monthly premium shipped the date of your payment.

 

All Tip Jar hits in April of $10 or more will get a copy of Jeff Trapani’s excellent E-Book Victor the Monster Frankenstein.