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Australian Journalist Fired, Rockstar Games Involved

We have more news of Red Dead Redemption for you today, but this time it’s not so favorable.  According to Kotaku, Toby McCasker was recently fired from his position as a deputy entertainment editor for Australia’s Zoo Weekly publication.  McCasker made public an email sent by Rockstar to the magazine that asked for more favorable coverage of the company’s game:

“This is the biggest game that we’ve done since GTA IV, and is already receiving Game of the Year nominations from specialists all over the world.  Can you please ensure Toby’s article reflects this – he needs to respect the huge achievement he’s writing about here.”

After posting the email from Rockstar on Facebook, McCasker was let go from the publication.  It has not yet been revealed as to why McCasker was fired, but many have already theorized that it is likely due to pressure from Rockstar Games.

After being fired McCasker told News.com.au:

“I did not sign up to become a journalist to write advertorials masquerading as editorial.  This ‘cash for comment’ culture that is fast becoming the status quo within print media bothers me a lot.”

We all remember the incident with James Gerstmann and Gamespot that occurred a few years ago over a review of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men.  It has been stated by Zoo’s editor, Paul Merrill, that Toby McCasker was fired for a number of reasons including the disclosure of a company email.

In my personal opinion advertisement money should never hold sway over what a journalist writes.  If true it is unfortunate that game companies have this kind of influence over the publications covering the medium.

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Nick is an editorial contributor at Couch Campus and a student at Northeastern University in Boston. He is an avid PC and console gamer. When he isn't going to class or working Nick spends his time with a controller in his hands.

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