Journalist Totally Makes Up Story About GTA Based On Murderer, Then Attacks Video Gamers Who Called Him On It

from the professional-journalism dept

We've discussed a few times the various claims that many UK "news" publications have a history of totally fabricating stories. This seems odd, given the ridiculous libel laws in the UK, which you would think would keep that sort of thing to a minimum -- and yet we seem to hear similar stories quite frequently. The latest, sent in by EnJaySee, notes that the Daily Star (which is not a particularly well-respected paper) was caught totally making up a story pretending that the makers of Grand Theft Auto were working on a new version of the game, GTA Rothbury, based on Raoul Moat, the guy who killed shot his ex-girlfriend, her new boyfriend, a police officer and (eventually) himself -- successfully killing himself and the new boyfriend. The reporter, one Jerry Lawton, even went and asked the grandmother of Moat's ex-girlfriend what she thought of the game, and needless to say, she thought it was terrible. But there is no such game. There was a Photoshopped image, which appeared to be the basis of the story, but no one's quite sure where that came from.

Even worse, after various video gaming publications called out The Daily Star for such a bogus story, the paper deleted the article from its website with no explanation or correction or anything. It just pretended it never happened. Update: As pointed out in the comments, the Daily Star did eventually publish a full retraction and apology, only after this story started getting attention. But the "reporter," Jerry Lawton, apparently took to his Facebook page to lash out at those who caught his made up story and then mocked video game players:
"Baffled by the fury of adult gamers," he wrote. "These are grown (?!?) men who sit around all day playing computer games with one another who've today chosen to enter the real world just long enough to complain about my story slamming a Raoul Moat version of Grand Theft Auto! You would think I'd denied the Holocaust!!! Think I'll challenge them to a virtual reality duel....stab....I win!!!"
As Destructoid noted, Lawton seems to have selective understanding of the situation:
Nice to see that Lawton conveniently left out the bit where he used a poorly doctored image that any idiot could have ascertained was fake, the bit where he used a 69-year-old grieving grandmother for his own ends, and the bit where he cobbled together a shitty little article full of lies that got taken down because it was a load of crap. Hilarious that he references the "real world" when his article was based in total fantasy to begin with. Maybe Lawton's the one who needs to step away from his computer and face reality.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    ethorad (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 11:00am

    Raoul Moat only killed his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. His ex was only injured, and the policeman he shot (in the face) survived but seems to now be blind.

    You're right about the Star though - they have a rep for posting fictional sensationalist stories (London bus found on moon style)

     

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    Sam, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 11:21am

    Your story needs updating - The Daily Star has apologised "unreservedly" for printing the article, and have agreed to "pay them [Rockstar Games] a substantial amount in damages which they [Rockstar Games] are donating to charity"

    http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=257019

     

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      Usul, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 11:34am

      Re:

      Maybe they should consider dispensing with the services of said Journalist too?

       

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        :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 11:44am

        Re: Re:

        Why? Have you seen the kind of traffic he brings to the website?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 12:07pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, it's possible they want to keep him.

          I've noticed that the apology uses the word "we" eight times to describe that actions of their, um, journalist. No "we" in this part though: "It is now accepted that there were never any plans by Rockstar Games to publish such a game and that the story was false."

          As mentioned before, they will pay "a substantial amount in damages".

          So this media organization had to published an retraction, admit that their (not the) story is false, and pay out some money.

          Hope the additional traffic is worth it.

           

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      ReallyEvilCanine, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 11:39am

      Re: updating

      If it updated with the 2-day-old news of admission and retraction, no one would've clicked on this misleading and sensationalist entry.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 12:24pm

      Re:

      Your story needs updating

      Aha! Updated. Thanks.

       

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    xs (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 11:47am

    A dark humor sort of way to fight him

    Would have been to sue this guy for copyright infringment and trademark violation because he had mentioned GTA in his article, produced unauthorized arts relating to GTA, used GTA trademark without permission, and written unauthorized storyline for a potential GTA line of product.

     

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    Matthew, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 11:57am

    jsut one quick correction to your story! the murderer only killed his Ex's new boyfriend and himself! he did shoot the girlfriend and a random police officer but both survived

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 12:40pm

    "These are grown (?!?) men who sit around all day playing computer games with one another who've today chosen to enter the real world just long enough to complain about my story"

    Oh no, just when they had me conviced that videogamers spend most of their time murdering people and being violent in real life...

     

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    crade (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 12:42pm

    "Think I'll challenge them to a virtual reality duel....stab....I win!!!"
    Isn't that what the article was? Which lost pathetically?

     

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    TheHeretic, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 2:00pm

    "These are grown (?!?) men who sit around all day playing computer games with one another who've today chosen to enter the real world just long enough to complain about my story slamming a Raoul Moat version of Grand Theft Auto!"

    You would seriously be baffled by this when you spent the time and energy to fabricate such a ludicrous article, simply for the means of hoping you would go above and beyond a mediocre journalist, and then when something you enjoy is shot down turn around and bitch on facebook like a teenage drama queen. How justified you are, sir.

     

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    interval (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 2:45pm

    HEY!!

    HE'S A JOURNALIST! That means you should accept whatever crap he smears on the page and NOT QUESTION IT. No higher calling that journalist. Even if its for a tabloid.

     

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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 7:13am

    That pseudo-journalist is disgusting. He abused the grief of an old woman to peddle his lies. He also demonstrated a total lack of ethical standards. Why is he not fired?

     

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    Joe Sensational, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:09am

    Fired?

    Why hasn't he quit and started working in the US, where this sort of tripe can make you famous?

     

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