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Penny Arcade - Comic - Parabolic

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
edited November 2015 in The Penny Arcade Hub

imagePenny Arcade - Comic - Parabolic

Videogaming-related online strip by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Includes news and commentary.

Read the full story here


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Posts

  • XehalusXehalus Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    Gotta Webcomic

    Xehalus on
  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    Yeah, but which one symbolizes the national debt?

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  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    How much of this is because most so-called games journalism is really just gossip and advertising?
    Are there really any standards, whatsoever?

    (yes, this is where you all chime in about the state of print and/or broadcast media. but they at least pretend/aspire/pay lip service to the notion. does "games journalism" even make that hollow effort?)

    Commander Zoom on
    Fuz
  • I needed anime to post.I needed anime to post. boom Registered User regular
    Not sure I understand the complaint. A news reporter was given news. They reported that news. The games journalist has been cast in a wholly unfavourable light here, but if you just turn this into two people talking who are aware of each other's jobs, I don't exactly see the games journalist in the wrong.

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  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    One of the people is being paid - by their hosting site or service, ad revenue on their YouTube channel, etc etc - for any information they can obtain from the other. It's also in their best (financial) interest to sensationalize whatever they do acquire as much as possible, in order to draw more ratings/pageviews/etc.

    Imagine someone being paid to sift through your household garbage and, from that evidence, compile a profile of your purchasing habits to be sold to marketers. And they get paid double if they find certain products or can get you on certain lists, which no one ever would consider an incentive to falsify/alter/salt the results.

    Commander Zoom on
  • I needed anime to post.I needed anime to post. boom Registered User regular
    Okay, I'm imagining that. What does that analogy have to do with reporters? I could make an equally unfavourable comparison to a corporation controlling the message about their game by providing no information to journalists and taking advantage of everyone who buys the product with misinformation.

    A reporter's duty is to the consumer. The consumer wants information. The reporter delivers the information they get. They are not friends with the corporation. The consumer isn't friends with the corporation.

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  • helphelpmyhouseisburninghelphelpmyhouseisburning Registered User new member
    A reporter's duty is to the consumer.

    That's the problematic part. Ideally yes, a reporter's duty would be to give the consumer what they want. In practice, though, a reporter answers to popularity rather than truth - An unexpected headline sells better than a predictable one, and it may soon dawn on even the most honest reporter that 'Bethesda makes good open-world game' isn't going to move many copies, or drive many page views. The incentive is to turn heads and sell more.

    Mind you, I agree with your point that the publishers etc. are likewise benefiting (possibly short-term) from making false promises or concealing flaws, but finding a developer who truly wants to make a great game seems infinitely easier than finding a game 'journalist' with integrity.

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  • briguybriguy Registered User regular
    I guess this is in response to the Kotaku article about being blacklisted by Bethesda?

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  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    A reporter's duty is to the consumer. The consumer wants information. The reporter delivers the information they get.

    And unavoidably, though often deliberately, adds bias/slant/context, based upon their idea of what else the consumer wants. Some consumers want to laugh. Others want to feel that they're hearing a secret, something that someone else (like the source) doesn't want them to know. Some want a reason to buy a product they're already disposed to, or a reason not to buy one they're uncertain about. Some want a sound bite, others detailed analysis. And so on, and so on.

    And if the reporter does a good job in guessing what the consumer wants to hear, and presents the information in that particular form and context and slant, they make more money, from satisfying the consumer's confirmation bias and increasing the probability that the consumer will continue to visit their site, read their magazine, stay on the page and read the next article, etc.

    Commander Zoom on
  • NamrokNamrok Registered User regular
    Not sure I understand the complaint. A news reporter was given news. They reported that news. The games journalist has been cast in a wholly unfavourable light here, but if you just turn this into two people talking who are aware of each other's jobs, I don't exactly see the games journalist in the wrong.

    IMHO there is a lot more to this than Kotaku's selfish whining about how all they did was report news. Kotaku has been the epicenter of some of the most atrocious reporting ever done in video games, and regularly, if not making up rumors out of thin air, distorts facts to inspire rage. Their bread and butter is baseless accusations.

    I bet a lot of people in this very thread still believe Brad Wardel sexually harasses employees thanks to Kotaku, despite his court case being thrown out with prejudice, the judge demanding the accuser write an apology, and nearly every news outlet which covered the story (except Kotaku) retracting their coverage once the court documents were made available.

    It may be possible that this really is all about Kotaku breaking embargo. But to ignore the rest of Kotaku's blatant malfeasance and portray them as the victim here requires some incredible blinders.

    I realized halfway through my post I stopped responding to you, and started just venting my undisguised hatred of Kotaku. So yeah.

    I really hate Kotaku.

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  • LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    This week's episode of South Park is surprisingly relevant to today's PA web comic.

    South Park is about horrible online "news" sites with all their click-bait, sensationalized headlines, ads, links to celebrity gossip nonsense articles, slideshows, and other crap.

    Games "journalism" suffers from all those same things.

    It's really sad when a "news post" on a site is reporting on hearsay and gossip that popped up on Reddit. But that shit is happening all the time now.

    Developers are not innocent in all this either. Remember back when new info straight from the source was called a preview? Now whenever anything new comes out it's a "leak." But leaks are intentional these days, which means they aren't really leaks. Which means we are being lied to and manipulated.

    And what the hell is up with adding un-released content for games into patches and then feigning surprise when the fans data-mine it. That's all a game at this point too. Devs are intentionally putting game previews of future content into patches, because they know full well that enterprising fans are data-mining for un-released content. It's all a big deceitful game.

    There's no honesty anymore.

    Lucascraft on
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  • WhelmedWhelmed Registered User regular
    Given the Penny Arcade comic about prosumers (among others), I think they're well-aware of game companies' own brand of hypocrisy in terms of spreading their carefully crafted message about how their products are nothing but amazing. But journalists (games or otherwise) aren't entitled to knowledge by some holy calling they've been given either. There's plenty of motivated self-interest on both sides that ultimately prevents true, useful information from getting to customers.

    Expecting journalists not to report negative things is dumb. Expecting companies to enable reporting negative things is also dumb. There is no noble side here. There is just the endless war between haves and wants, and the people in between who profit from being middlemen. And the consumers, I guess, who feel pressured to be drafted onto "a side".

  • OddfishOddfish On opposite weeks In odd numbered monthsRegistered User regular
    Okay, I'm imagining that. What does that analogy have to do with reporters? I could make an equally unfavourable comparison to a corporation controlling the message about their game by providing no information to journalists and taking advantage of everyone who buys the product with misinformation.

    A reporter's duty is to the consumer. The consumer wants information. The reporter delivers the information they get. They are not friends with the corporation. The consumer isn't friends with the corporation.

    That's the point. No one's being cast in a bad light here. The point is that it's the 21st century and if you don't understand the consumer/journalist/corporate relationship by now you're just kidding yourself and when you get stung it's your own damn fault for being a goose.

  • cooljammer00cooljammer00 Hey Small Christmas-Man!Registered User regular
    Shocked that this is their stance on things.

    Wait, not shocked at all.

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  • cooljammer00cooljammer00 Hey Small Christmas-Man!Registered User regular
    Also this is incredibly myopic when you remember PA itself had its own games journalism site a scant few years ago.

    But fuck it, the PA guys just only a few months ago dusted off the old "you just gave X game I liked a bad review because you want attention", so I'm not shocked this is their opinion on things.

    Can't wait till a video gets released of Gabe and Tycho wearing Pip Boys and complaining about Jeff Gerstmann and we can merge two dumb situations into one.

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  • identeregareidenteregare Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    Too many developers have developed a cozy frenemy relationship with the (gaming) enthusiast media (I have my own hangups about calling it "journalism"), which has resulted in both of the major ills that plague games media: collusion between developers and media for favorable coverage, and exploitation of the relationship by the public-facing side (the media, obviously) for their own benefit.

    There is something to be said for the fact that the more monolithic games media outlets (an outgrowth of traditional media) are rarely the center of such scandal, while it is the ones that value the "individual voice of the reporter" more (an outgrowth of blogs) that attract such ignominy.

    Perhaps it is time that gamers demand that games media be held to higher standards, and to show all those covens of toxic, individualistic blowhards the door.

    It's about ethics in games journalism.

    identeregare on
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  • tgbennett30tgbennett30 Registered User regular
    The scorpion is blameless in the story, the "blame" (if any is to be assigned, as that's questionable) goes on the head of the person who intentionally ignored warning signs that they really should have known better than to ignore.

    Case in point - got a buddy who just got left by his wife for another dude. Both of her parents cheated on each other prior to their divorce when she was a kid, and her older sister cheated on two husbands, plus wrecked another marriage by being "the other woman." And his wife in fact cheated on her boyfriend in high school, then later cheated on another boyfriend in college prior to meeting him....but she *swore* she was done with that kind of behavior when they started talking marriage. Two years into their marriage, she slept with her boss at work, and after a few months of this decided to jump ship to him. My buddy had the nerve to be shocked at this turn of events. He really didn't see it coming, or so he says. The rest of us in our circle of friends figured she had it from both ends (grew up around cheaters, plus was a cheater herself, so nature and nurture both pointed the same way), and told him it was a terrible idea to marry her.

    If there is a better living representation of the monk (or frog, or whatever version of the parable you like) in real life, I have not seen it yet :-/

  • identeregareidenteregare Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    The scorpion is blameless in the story, the "blame" (if any is to be assigned, as that's questionable) goes on the head of the person who intentionally ignored warning signs that they really should have known better than to ignore.

    That presupposes that, much like the scorpion, people who work in games media are unable to rise above their base animal instincts and behave in a decent manner to the people who have put their trust in them. And while this may be, for the most part, true at sites like Kotaku, there are so many counterexamples that I don't see why this should be assumed to be the "natural order".

    identeregare on
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    It's entertainment news, not world politics. We do not apply the same rigor for video games as we do for actual reporting, nor should we. If you want good interviews with developers about video games, there are places to get this. There is room for entertainment hobbyist/enthusiast sites (like this one!) and serious sites about game development (like Gamasutra) on the Internet.

    No one watches The Daily Show and expects CNN.

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  • identeregareidenteregare Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    Hahnsoo1 wrote: »
    It's entertainment news, not world politics. We do not apply the same rigor for video games as we do for actual reporting, nor should we. If you want good interviews with developers about video games, there are places to get this. There is room for entertainment hobbyist/enthusiast sites (like this one!) and serious sites about game development (like Gamasutra) on the Internet.

    No one watches The Daily Show and expects CNN.

    That's a weak deflection. You can still have serious, well-researched reportage geared towards enthusiasts that doesn't have to devolve down to TMZ/Gawker levels of smut-peddling, click-baiting social-agenda-pushing in a race to the bottom. I don't watch The Daily Show and expect CNN, but I sure as hell don't expect the Weekly World News.

    identeregare on
  • OmegaDezOmegaDez CanadaRegistered User regular
    Lol, Kotaku assholes.

  • NamrokNamrok Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    Hahnsoo1 wrote: »
    It's entertainment news, not world politics. We do not apply the same rigor for video games as we do for actual reporting, nor should we. If you want good interviews with developers about video games, there are places to get this. There is room for entertainment hobbyist/enthusiast sites (like this one!) and serious sites about game development (like Gamasutra) on the Internet.

    No one watches The Daily Show and expects CNN.

    That's a weak deflection. You can still have serious, well-researched reportage geared towards enthusiasts that doesn't have to devolve down to TMZ/Gawker levels of smut-peddling, click-baiting social-agenda-pushing in a race to the bottom. I don't watch The Daily Show and expect CNN, but I sure as hell don't expect the Weekly World News.

    Honestly I'd be satisfied if Kotaku just stopped making shit up, and calling everyone and everything sexist/racist/transphobic. I mean, wasn't it Kotaku that ran with the bullshit Reddit rumor about you only being able to play a male character in Fallout 4? Using it as an opportunity to rant about how sexist Bethesda is, was, and always will be?

    Yeah, that's who I'd want to get buddy-buddy with for news coverage.

    Edit: I gotta do my research before I go off all half cocked. Apparently Kotaku actually came out against that rumor. For once.

    I still hate them.

    Namrok on
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  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    I laughed at "But the scorpion... I mean, the Games Journalist". Also, I imagine that this is set in their world of CTS. :D

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  • UltimanecatUltimanecat Registered User regular
    Game publisher's marketing wants controlled exposure, and offers preferential access. Video game gossip blog offers exposure, and wants preferential access.

    This seems like a classic quid pro quo (with unfortunate effect on everybody's integrity).

    The only problem would be if said video game gossip blog had convinced itself that it was actually doing something honest and pure under this framework, stopped offering controlled exposure, and then publicly complained about losing the access.

    Seems like if the gossip blog is going to complain about the quo expected for the quid in the name of JOURNALISM, the honest response would be to refuse preferential access from any company going forward. I'll guess that that happened, and not some self-serving article about brave journalism in the face of an oppressive system.

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  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    The "A conversation between friends" thing. I wish that had more exposure or a comic linking to it. Mike's kid being self-aware about their anxiety at that age? While he's unlucky to have the anxiety, being able to identify it at that early age is both sad (that's a huge burden for a kid!) and hopeful. Catching it early means they can get help earlier, and that the parents can help.

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  • FuzFuz Registered User regular
    Yeah, this is bullshit.
    The gaming press DO lie, but in favor of the developers, not against them.
    Case in point: dragon age 2, any recent bethesda game, asscreed and so on.

    Nartwak
  • CenoCeno pizza time Registered User regular
    The whole "unfinished" game argument kind of falls apart when you consider that games just fucking release entirely unfinished these days.

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  • Warlock82Warlock82 Never pet a burning dog Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    Yeah, I think I read the word "leak" about ten times in that Kotaku article before they got to the part about actually being blacklisted. It's like, are you really surprised here? Business that you drag through the mud doesn't give you free stuff anymore. Such is the price of "journalism."

    I think this comic sums it up pretty nicely :P

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  • FuruFuru Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    Fuz wrote: »
    Yeah, this is bullshit.
    The gaming press DO lie, but in favor of the developers, not against them.
    Case in point: dragon age 2, any recent bethesda game, asscreed and so on.

    yeah people lie about liking things you don't. They're all against you.

    This comic is a gross misinterpretation of what's actually happening. It's sad to see so many comics churned out lately that must completely re-invent a situation so that Gabe and Tycho can make fun of an imaginary topic.

    EDIT: And given A. the former existence of the PA Report and B. the many work for hire jobs G&T have done for Ubisoft and Bethesda, the whole thing comes off skeezy in multiple ways.

    Furu on
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  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    Fuz wrote: »
    Yeah, this is bullshit.
    The gaming press DO lie, but in favor of the developers, not against them.
    Case in point: dragon age 2, any recent bethesda game, asscreed and so on.

    Expressing a positive opinion of a game you have a negative opinion of is not the same as "lying."

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  • Gamer8585Gamer8585 Registered User regular
    I'm not sure if this comic's parable is accurate.
    There are really three parties to this and the bigest problem involves the third party not represented in the comic.

    1) Developers/Publishers: Attempt to make video games and sell for profit.
    2) Journalists: Attempt to seek out truth and expose malfeasance for profit.
    3) Consumers: Want to buy Video Games, but are wary of poor quality or abusive industry practices.

    So we have a situation where the Developers who want to sell their games to the consumer, but the Journalists want to sell writings about the Developers to the consumers. However since Consumers are risk adverse any negative reporting by the Journalists can adversely impact the sales by the Developers, and because Consumers are more likely to pay attention to negative news articles than positive ones tension is created between the Developers (who have an incentive to keep their games looking good) and Journalists (who are incentivised to make the games look bad).

    Complicating matters is that the average Consumer has no concept of the timelines involved or iterations necessary to create something as complex as a video game. So, any piece of seemingly bad news can poison the Developers well (even if its from a standard early build), and since that kind of news brings viewers the Journalists are subsequently compensated.

    This creates a negative feedback spiral as mistrust builds on both sides, and leads to games and shady practices. The only logical and complete resolution to this is: Kill all Consumers.

    QED

  • NosfNosf Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    I don't really understand how anyone can be surprised on either side; Kotaku posted some leaked info and as a result no longer receive any info via official channels. Bethesda certainly doesn't need Kotaku, nor does Ubi. It seems pretty much a given to me that if you're going to run a leak that you run the risk of being shut out from official news, and so you need to gauge how much leaked info you're going to reliably get to make up for that official loss. At that point, the company in question has to figure out if including you in their PR dealings is worth it, or should they just cut off contact.

    That said, both Kotaku/Gawker are pretty shitty, and certainly Zenimax/Bethesda have done some shitty stuff too (re: prey 2 and Human Head, later their acquisition of Arkane) so it's more two scorpions stinging each other. Kotaku really has no right to cry about this, it was a pretty logical outcome for their previous stories. I'm sure on the Bethesda side this was a pretty simple assessment of "Do we need them? No? Send an all hands email telling people not to talk to them." and that was that.

    Nosf on
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  • yuttyutt Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    [Deleted my comment because I forgot it gets posted in the PA forums with their insufferable community and messiah-complex moderators. Mods please feel free to delete my post and warn or ban me while masturbating furiously.]

    yutt on
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  • Warlock82Warlock82 Never pet a burning dog Registered User regular
    Nosf wrote: »
    I don't really understand how anyone can be surprised on either side; Kotaku posted some leaked info and as a result no longer receive any info via official channels. Bethesda certainly doesn't need Kotaku, nor does Ubi. It seems pretty much a given to me that if you're going to run a leak that you run the risk of being shut out from official news, and so you need to gauge how much leaked info you're going to reliably get to make up for that official loss. At that point, the company in question has to figure out if including you in their PR dealings is worth it, or should they just cut off contact.

    That said, both Kotaku/Gawker are pretty shitty, and certainly Zenimax/Bethesda have done some shitty stuff too (re: prey 2 and Human Head, later their acquisition of Arkane) so it's more two scorpions stinging each other. Kotaku really has no right to cry about this, it was a pretty logical outcome for their previous stories. I'm sure on the Bethesda side this was a pretty simple assessment of "Do we need them? No? Send an all hands email telling people not to talk to them." and that was that.

    This 100%. I think the comic is a response more to the people saying Bethesda/Ubisoft should un-blacklist Kotaku, as though this will prevent Koaktu from continuing to post leaks about their products.

    Kotaku has every right to do so of course, but these companies also have every right to not like that and stop offering Kotaku free stuff.

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  • NosfNosf Registered User regular

    The only thing that developers can really offer the press, or should be offering is access- interviews with staff and/or preview builds which of course are going to be incredibly controlled. The press has to realize this and walk a fine line in reporting on what they see, versus just being another part of the game industry PR mechanism. In a perfect world, any freebies/swag should be declined or immediately donated to a local charity or something, but of course, I'd guess that isn't the case. My take on it all is that games journalism these days is that they're the movie industry's Entertainment Tonight - just another word for games PR so I don't bother with gaming sites anymore outside of a few forums.

    TryCatcher
  • TryCatcherTryCatcher Registered User regular
    edited November 2015
    Also, Gawker Media in general are a particulary poisonous bunch of gooses (see: Gizmodo and ValleyVag) , so the more people realize that they lack any professional standards and shun them, the better.

    EDIT:

    TryCatcher on
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  • AegeriAegeri Tiny wee bacteriums Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    The most interesting thing is that games "journalists" don't win either way. When they side with developers overwhelmingly, like against fan backlash to ME3s ending, they are sellouts. When they report things that undermine the carefully planned PR machine publishers want, they are called "agenda" pushing clickbait holes.

    Aside from that this comic is pretty much pure nonsense and doesn't really make the point they think it does.

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  • FuruFuru Registered User regular
    TryCatcher wrote: »
    Also, Gawker Media in general are a particulary poisonous bunch of gooses (see: Gizmodo and ValleyVag) , so the more people realize that they lack any professional standards and shun them, the better.

    the shunning has nothing to do with a lack of professional standards. it's corporations mad they can't get their way 100% of the time. It's fine to hate Kotaku - I do - but acting like Ubisoft and Bethesda are in the right in this situation is ridiculous.

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  • JavenJaven Registered User regular
    This is the kind of games journalism I'd like to see go away, anyway. Klepek's tenure with Giant Bomb was good, because he did very little reporting on 'check out this new release' or 'game leak of impending title we knew was coming anyway', but delivered a lot of insight into company acquisitions, or shined a bright light on things that deserved to be put under scrutiny, like the massive community issues in competitive fighting games. The whole 'hey guys, this game exists insofar that it is a glimmer in a publishers' eye' reporting is exactly the type that should be shunned by consumers, because it adds no value to the medium whatsoever.

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  • FuruFuru Registered User regular
    Javen wrote: »
    This is the kind of games journalism I'd like to see go away, anyway. Klepek's tenure with Giant Bomb was good, because he did very little reporting on 'check out this new release' or 'game leak of impending title we knew was coming anyway', but delivered a lot of insight into company acquisitions, or shined a bright light on things that deserved to be put under scrutiny, like the massive community issues in competitive fighting games. The whole 'hey guys, this game exists insofar that it is a glimmer in a publishers' eye' reporting is exactly the type that should be shunned by consumers, because it adds no value to the medium whatsoever.

    So you're telling me if someone ends up with a ton of advance information about Fallout 4, they just shouldn't publish it? Should entertainment news sites stop running articles about directors being hired to do movies too?

    Nartwak
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