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Author Topic: How Spike TV Is Ruining Gaming Journalism And The Industry  (Read 2331 times)
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Zarkon
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« on: November 23, 2005, 01:51:59 PM »

The articles up on the front page, feel free to read and discuss.
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drifter
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2005, 02:20:04 PM »

This really isnt surprising.  I would disagree that a game not released that year could not be the best PC game still or best in any category, except maybe game of the year if the rules specify release that year.

A freind of mine was watchign G-Phoria and he noted that several celebrities (one was snoop dog) mentioning how Star Wars Galaxies is their favorite game.  This was in a console segment he said.  SOE just did the NGE revamp and a ton of players have quit the game since they basically turned it into a "shooter" type game.  The expecctation is that it has been turned console friendly for the Xbox 360 and PS3.  If payola is illegal in the radio world why isnt it illegal in the TV world?  I mean really Snoop Dog's favorite game is SWG?
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Dafones
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2005, 03:12:12 PM »

Fo'shizzle, 3P-dizzle's his main mizzle.
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2005, 03:27:20 PM »

By your standards, when should November-December titles be eligible for an award?  You say World of Warcraft shouldn't win anything since it came out November 2004, but you also say King Kong/Aeon Flux/True Crime shouldn't win because they just came out November of this year.

If you take out the arguments related to Nov-Dec release dates, in your article you don't seem to have much problem with their choice of winners.
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RedJak
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2005, 03:30:22 PM »

Quote
Overall, however, a number of the awards have gone to games that either didn't come out in 2005 (World of Warcraft) or have just come out or even haven't come out at all (King Kong, Aeon Flux, True Crime: NYC and 50 Cent: Bulletproof).


Well to nitpick...if WoW was released after last year's awards then shouldn't it be included in this year's?  I suppose they could have treated it like Bulletproof but that seems to be wrong.
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Dafones
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2005, 04:10:27 PM »

Or, like the Oscars, hold the awards in the spring for the previous year. Not before Christmas, when game sales are up and publishers will be paying top dollar for advertising and ... wait a minute ... me thinks the SpikeTV VGA may not just be for the love of the games. Call me crazy.
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tiny ogre
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2005, 04:17:30 PM »

Just to clear one thing up, WoW was released after their cutoff for awards last year by about a week.  If it hadn't been eligible this year, it would never have been eligible for their awards at all.

EQ2 made their cutoff last year and won something.  It was released two weeks earlier than WoW.
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Scott
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2005, 09:14:56 PM »

Does anyone even watch Spike TV?

Also, what the average game player considers the best game is probably a lot different then a hardcore gameplay.  A lot of those games are pretty popular with casual players, and could be favorites.  Favorite games don't always have to be those with the best graphics, stories, etc.
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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2005, 09:38:17 PM »

To me, getting upset about their choices in nominees or awards is putting the cart before the horse.  You'd actually have to watch the awards show first, before you could see who got what.

That's the problem, that awards show is so poorly done that they lose their credibility right then and there.  It reminds me of a wrestling show or something.  Actually, it's more like the MXC guys were put in charge of doing the show.  If a nongamer tunes into that awards show, their opinion of the gaming scene and gamers in general has got to be as low as it could possibly be.
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Shkspr
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2005, 10:38:24 PM »

I realize that this is officially an "op/ed" piece, but do you have any evidence that the awards are paid product placement?  Quotes, memos, canceled checks, that sort of thing?  I didn't see anything mentioned in the article.  If Spike TV is hurting the mainstream media's view of gaming journalism with their awards selections, GamingTrend isn't doing gaming journalism any favors by screaming payola without presenting any corroborating facts.
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Zarkon
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2005, 10:46:35 PM »

Quote from: "wonderpug"
By your standards, when should November-December titles be eligible for an award?  You say World of Warcraft shouldn't win anything since it came out November 2004, but you also say King Kong/Aeon Flux/True Crime shouldn't win because they just came out November of this year.

If you take out the arguments related to Nov-Dec release dates, in your article you don't seem to have much problem with their choice of winners.


Honestly?  I don't think gaming awards should come out until December, and shouldn't include anything that comes out in December.  

I'm not saying that my writing and reasoning is flawless, and you make a good point.  That being said, World of Warcraft did get major awards last year, including a few Game of the Years.  That being said, a lot of the problem is a complete lack of any criteria offered by Spike themselves.

It's also not so much the fact that the games got awards more than it's the timing of the awards.  If the awards were done live on December 10th, I'd have much less problem with the newer games getting awards.  Being taped on November 18 or 19?  Yeah, I got problems there.
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Zarkon
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2005, 10:47:31 PM »

Quote from: "tiny ogre"
Just to clear one thing up, WoW was released after their cutoff for awards last year by about a week.  If it hadn't been eligible this year, it would never have been eligible for their awards at all.

EQ2 made their cutoff last year and won something.  It was released two weeks earlier than WoW.


I'll accept that.  Question:  Can you give me a link to their criteria?  Because I'm having problems finding it at all, honestly, and I looked before writing the article.
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Zarkon
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2005, 10:48:30 PM »

Quote from: "gameoverman"
To me, getting upset about their choices in nominees or awards is putting the cart before the horse.  You'd actually have to watch the awards show first, before you could see who got what.

That's the problem, that awards show is so poorly done that they lose their credibility right then and there.  It reminds me of a wrestling show or something.  Actually, it's more like the MXC guys were put in charge of doing the show.  If a nongamer tunes into that awards show, their opinion of the gaming scene and gamers in general has got to be as low as it could possibly be.


Ah, but you don't have to watch the show if they tape it 2 weeks ahead of time and the results are quickly leaked on the net.  

Personally, I think the show should be done live, but that's just me.
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Zarkon
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2005, 10:50:08 PM »

Quote from: "Shkspr"
I realize that this is officially an "op/ed" piece, but do you have any evidence that the awards are paid product placement?  Quotes, memos, canceled checks, that sort of thing?  I didn't see anything mentioned in the article.  If Spike TV is hurting the mainstream media's view of gaming journalism with their awards selections, GamingTrend isn't doing gaming journalism any favors by screaming payola without presenting any corroborating facts.


No, I have no proof.  I only have supposition, and the odds are that I'm right.  That's why I was extremely careful to say what I said as opinion, and not name names.  However, we do already know from previous articles on the net (granted, truthfulness may be an issue there as well, naturally) with information that the publishers are paying for premium shelf space at EB and Gamestop.  That, combined with the timing here, means that it dosen't take a great leap of logic to draw the obvious conclusion.
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Shkspr
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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2005, 11:45:35 PM »

Quote
Going back full-circle, we come to this: Go away, Spike TV. The gamers don't need you. And shame on you for taking money for awards.


If you don't have proof, this is irresponsible journalism.  Even if it doesn't require a leap of logic, it takes a step, and that first one without a safety net is a doozy.

In the last several paragraphs of your article, you abandon any sense of the hypothetical, and proceed to just level groundless accusations against SpikeTV, Majesco, Vivendi, Ubisoft, Blizzard, and Activision, sure and serene in the knowledge that if they pay RDA to get stuck on an endcap at Gamestop, they've got to be paying for this, too.  Whether or not they DID is irrevevant in this case.

THe reason WHY it's irrelevant is that it would be very easy for SpikeTV to come back to GamingTrend and say, "You know what?  We didn't take a dime from anyone for these awards, and your claims that we did has made it more difficult to have a 2006 awards show."  I won't try to make any claims about whether there's any kind of legal liability that GamingTrend has in this instance, because that's not what I care about, particularly.

The thing that bothers me is that you lament SpikeTV's effect on gaming journalism, and you haven't done any kind of journalism yourself to make your case.  I would like to see GamingTrend raise the bar for journalistic standards in the gaming industry, and without any evidence in hand to support your contentions, even an article by another media outlet, you're just blogging here.
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gameoverman
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« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2005, 11:47:16 PM »

Quote from: "Zarkon"
Ah, but you don't have to watch the show if they tape it 2 weeks ahead of time and the results are quickly leaked on the net.  

Personally, I think the show should be done live, but that's just me.


My fault for not being clear.  My post was in response to this from your piece:

"This is all well and good, of course, except for the fact that this award show is telling me, as a gamer and a member of the gaming press, that we have absolutely no credibility as far as what we do is concerned"

From reading your piece, it seemed to me that you felt their picks for nominees and winners themselves were the main contributors to this lack of credibility.  In my opinion, when a major televised awards show for an industry looks like it was produced by kids, it doesn't matter who the nominees are.
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Zarkon
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« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2005, 12:48:45 AM »

Quote from: "Shkspr"
Quote
Going back full-circle, we come to this: Go away, Spike TV. The gamers don't need you. And shame on you for taking money for awards.


If you don't have proof, this is irresponsible journalism.  Even if it doesn't require a leap of logic, it takes a step, and that first one without a safety net is a doozy.

In the last several paragraphs of your article, you abandon any sense of the hypothetical, and proceed to just level groundless accusations against SpikeTV, Majesco, Vivendi, Ubisoft, Blizzard, and Activision, sure and serene in the knowledge that if they pay RDA to get stuck on an endcap at Gamestop, they've got to be paying for this, too.  Whether or not they DID is irrevevant in this case.

THe reason WHY it's irrelevant is that it would be very easy for SpikeTV to come back to GamingTrend and say, "You know what?  We didn't take a dime from anyone for these awards, and your claims that we did has made it more difficult to have a 2006 awards show."  I won't try to make any claims about whether there's any kind of legal liability that GamingTrend has in this instance, because that's not what I care about, particularly.

The thing that bothers me is that you lament SpikeTV's effect on gaming journalism, and you haven't done any kind of journalism yourself to make your case.  I would like to see GamingTrend raise the bar for journalistic standards in the gaming industry, and without any evidence in hand to support your contentions, even an article by another media outlet, you're just blogging here.


Note that this was specifically why I posted it as an Op/Ed piece.  There's really no way to -get- solid proof without being on the inside in one of the publishers or in Spike TV.  The fact that (to date) I can't find any criteria for their award selections and the simple timing of all of this (giving an award to games that weren't even on the shelf at the time of taping) makes it pretty apparant.  

If I could prove that it happened, it wouldn't be an Op/Ed piece, it'd be an actual news article.  

As far as the hypothetical Spike saying that it's harder to do a 2006 award show because of this article?  My response is this:  If your 2006 award show is going to be as big a farce as your 2005 and 2004 shows were, thank goodness for small favors.  If, instead they wanted to have a more open award selection process (like, oh, I don't know, the Oscars, perhaps?) then I might not be ripping on them so much.
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Hrothgar
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« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2005, 05:43:51 AM »

Calling it an Op/Ed does nothing to protect you or the site if you make claims that are untrue and hurt the reputation of the SpikeTV.  You can say it smells fishy.   You can say it has the appearance of impropriety.  You can write satire about the awards show where winners are passing bills.  You chose to make a claim about their behavior without proof.

"I can't find any criteria" isn't a good answer.  They merely need something and it looks like they have it:

Quote
Ballots were sent out to the VGA Advisory Board, which was responsible for advising on categories and determining nominees in selected award categories. Winners of the VGAs are determined by votes from the Video Game Industry Voting Council which is made up of more than 200 industry journalists. Winners in two "Viewers Choice" categories will solely be determined by viewer voting.


If I were you or KD, I'd change the wording to something defensible.
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Knightshade Dragon
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« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2005, 08:04:47 AM »

Officially: The opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the management of Gaming Trend, or the site at large.
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« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2005, 09:44:17 AM »

I don't get your reasoning about WoW. It is the biggest PC game of the year, and if it wasn't eligible last year, why shouldn't it be this year? And does anyone really care who wins a lot of the awards anyway? Who buys a game because it won best cast? I say congratulations to WoW for showing that the PC can still be a very viable platform to develop on.
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« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2005, 10:25:16 AM »

Everything is arbvitrary.  What you find to be a good game isnt what anyone else finds ot be a good game.

However any awards ceremony that gives winners ot games that havent come out yet needs ot be shot on sight.

Imagine peoples pain if C&C Tiberian Sun or Jade Empire had gotten awards before they came out.
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« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2005, 01:36:59 PM »

Quote from: "Semaj"
However any awards ceremony that gives winners ot games that havent come out yet needs ot be shot on sight.

If the awards are voted on by "industry journalists" it's reasonable to assume that they've got access to said games before the public and could be making informed decisions.

Of course, I'd imagine their opinions for an awards show are just as suspect as the reviews in their publications...
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« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2005, 10:30:07 PM »

I dunno, it's hard to imagine in the week or two they Might have had to play these games tops.... I say might because you have ot think voting took more than 20 minutes in a board room, emails/phone calls/whatever, vote tallying, etc.  They are able to make an informed decision if that really is the best game of the year in *insert random category here*?

I can see the need to show random hotties, I can see the need to have jack black and charleze theron on the show...  Yet there is no strategy game section.

I am shocked Shadow of the Collosus gets no mention, nor Civ 4, or... Bleh not worth it.   I am so boycotting them now.
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Hrothgar
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« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2005, 11:12:11 PM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
Officially: The opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the management of Gaming Trend, or the site at large.
That's fine when he's stating an opinion such as: These awards don't have any credibility with me.

When he's making an accusation of impropriety such as bribed awards, that's either true or false.  Either you have the evidence to prove it or you don't.  Those aren't opinions.

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm not sure that even a statement above the article claiming that Gaming Trend doesn't know that Spike TV has done anything wrong and disavows all claims of the author would protect you from liability.  I'd have Zarkon change the wording or take it down and have him post it in the forum as his words alone.  Why expose yourself to even potential liability when his point can be made without groundless accusations?
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« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2005, 11:25:58 PM »

1) WoW should be nominated if it weren't eligible last year.
2) games that had not been released should not be eligible; given WoWs disqualification from last years *cough*ceremonies*cough* based on street date.
3) if the 200 industry experts who have had a chance to play these games (some of which may or may not be final code or even have "gone gold") why would WoW not have been allowed last year?

It seems to me that they have a dilly of a pickle there. Knightshade, I'd seriously take hrothgars advice. That network could sink your site for no better reason than slander.

If you're going to sling mud, make sure it's legit and that you have, in fact, protected your own flank.
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« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2005, 12:32:06 AM »

Note:  This is not an apology, as of yet.  I'm waiting for feedback from KD before I change anything in the article.

First, the original article was specifically about the awards and the fact that they were awarding things to games not released / just released and to WoW.  If it wasn't eligible last year, then yes, I agree it should get the awards this year.

That being said, once I wrote it, I had a few people bring up the buying of awards.  That's why I wrote what I wrote.  

Beyond that, and the fact that the article was -my- opinion and not KDs, and (at the time) I had permission to write and post it, and indeed gave a considerable amount of time for oversight before I posted it, there's this to consider:

1)  It'd be libel, not slander.  Slander is verbal.
2)  In 1974, in Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., (418 U.S. 323), the Supreme Court ruled that a plaintiff could not win a libel suit when the statement(s) in question were of opinion rather than fact. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slander).  
3)  The third thing which must be proven for it to be libel (to the courts) is this:  The statement must be defamatory, which means that it must be a false statement to the plaintiff's discredit.

Granted, the courts do presume that it's false until proven true.  However, #2 trumps that, as again, I'm presenting this as my opinion.  

This, of course, doesn't preclude that Spike TV or their parent company (Viacom, in this case) may issue a C&D or something similar.  With that in mind, I've already asked KD as far as what he feels I should do.  If he wants me to edit or remove the post, I've got no problem doing so.  

However, I still stand by the statement that the entire article was my opinion, outside of the actual awards.  The timing of the awards with the games just released tends to lead me to believe that the awards were not kosher.  In my mind, the most logical presumption is that Spike TV was paid to promote those particular titles, which isn't unheard of.  Also in my mind, the blame lies with Spike, because they could have very well refused to promote the games, if in fact something was involved beyond the actual quality of the games.

Note:  For what it's worth, I have -not- said that the games aren't bad, or are undeserving of winning awards in general, merely that they shouldn't have gotten awards when they weren't on store shelves yet (at the time of filming), and I agree with that.  If they're going to film the awards on November 18, then in my mind, no game should be considered that's released after that date.

I realize that this entire thing has stirred up emotions and pressed a few buttons.  I hope, however, that it's made you actually think about things somewhat.  After all, the worst thing that can happen to an article written by any reporter is indifference.  A reaction...any reaction...is a good thing in my mind.
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Zarkon
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« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2005, 12:59:41 AM »

By the way, I'd like to welcome any readers coming here from Blues News, which has given us a referral.  Hope you enjoy the site, even if you don't like this article. smile
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« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2005, 05:07:31 AM »

I haven't gotten a law degree since my last post, but I can't imagine that claiming provable facts are opinion is a magic shield against liability.  Maybe some of the lawyers around here will weigh in.

The example from Wikipedia:
Quote
For example, contrast "I think Jo is a bad lawyer", which is opinion, with "Jo doesn't know the law", which is defamatory per se.

The distinction appears to be in the nature of the statement rather than any claims of "that's my opinion."  You're saying the statement, "I think Jo doesn't know the law" isn't defamatory.  Wouldn't that open up a whole can of worms where anyone could say anthing about anybody if they added the words, "I think" to their statement?  

Could you say, "I think Dungeon Lords won PC game of the year" in your article?  Is that just an opinion?

I don't want an apology.  I just don't want anything bad to happen to this site.
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« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2005, 05:44:06 AM »

Out of curiousity, would you consider the following paragraph to be libelous?

Quote
I'm certainly not in the know on Spike TV's process for picking their winners, but with much lauded games left out of the competition completely and a plethora of winners whose release dates coincide with the air date of the program, Spike TV doesn't appear to be doing themselves any favors in the credibility department.  Whether one believes that Spike TV picked contenders by visiting the magazine rack and looking through Electronic Gaming Monthly for the flashiest ads, or jumps to the conclusion of a payola conspiracy to rival Alan Freed's, it's obvious that there is a disconnect between Spike TV's concept of what constitutes good gaming and that of the gaming public at large.


I've just reread the article, and I think the problem is that there's one quick "I think," and then several paragraphs treating it as known truth, including the final condemnation of, "And shame on you for taking money for awards."  Had the initial approach been:
  • When I look at who won, I can't help but think the winners were paid for.
  • Here's speculation on how/why it could've worked.
  • If there's any shred of truth to the above, Spike TV suxxorz.
I think we wouldn't even be discussing libel at all.
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« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2005, 03:32:44 PM »

Probably not.  I'm not going to claim that I did a perfect job.  Oh, and at the request of Knightshade Dragon, the article is pulled.
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« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2005, 04:53:20 PM »

For what it's worth, I agree with the initial point of the article that Spike TV's gaming awards show is a joke and not doing the industry any favors.  

I stand by everything I wrote in the quote box in my last post.
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« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2005, 01:47:08 AM »

CS,

I think you're correct.  If you avoid any direct statements claiming SpikeTV did act improperly, a discussion of the appearance of impropriety is certainly fair game.  To go back to the examples,

'This whole thing looks and smells bad' is an opinion and protected.  I would avoid using the words 'awards were paid for' at all without evidence.  I certainly would avoid them in any declaration.  I don't see any declarations in the quote you used so to me that's ok.

I agree that the point of the article is good.  Just take the six million dollar man approach, make it better and stronger than it was before.
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