Fellow Joystiq blogger Chris Grant forwarded the following quote to me and asked, "Why does this sound like something you'd say?"
Washington Post blogger Mike Musgrove overheard one member of a cluster of bloggers behind him caution his fellow bloggers just prior to the beginning of the Nintendo's E3 press conference: "Remember, no fanboyism -- if something happens, polite clapping is enough."
... but only for a moment. Editorialising follows after the post break.
The quote is funny because it typifies so much of what's wrong with "reporting" at E3. First, we've got to give credit to the anonymous blogger who at least recognized the need to remain calm and somewhat even-keeled: good job. You recognized that you were there to provide coverage and to keep a level head about you, even as the company on the stage did their best to inundate you with trickery designed to sweep you off your feet. For that, you deserve recognition.
It's unfortunate, however, that many members of the E3 "press" failed to quell their enthusiasm. I now recall in embarrassment the hoots and yells that routinely break out at E3 press conferences, particularly the Nintendo conference. Such ad-hoc outbursts of passion are appropriate at a pep rally, or at an Evangelical telethon, but they're completely out of place in a room that's supposedly full of members of the press (wouldn't be much of a press conference without press there, would it?).
Why do press allow themselves to get carried way past the point of no-return, past the junction of logic and reason, to the point that they've lost all rational ability to see the hype for what it is?
Whoever you "press" are, this is a message for you: if you're a so-called "member of the press" and you screamed ecstatically -- if you lost yourself -- at any of the big three press conferences at E3, you should be ashamed. Your inability to keep your head in the face of a PR blitz means that you're doing Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo's work for them. When you bleat out a cheer at the beck of some spot-lit shepherd, you've just done the marketer's work for him. When you clap extra-enthusiastically, you've turned teamkiller on your fellow members of the press corps. When you stomp your feet (yes, I saw foot stomping) you turn aid these companies in their efforts to overwhelm our senses; you turn the aural guns on your teammates in the audience.
Here's to hoping you greenhorns get your acts together for the next big media event. A little less fanboy, a little more Cronkite, if you can muster it.
[Via Video Game Media Watch]