Daily Star Apologizes for Fabricating GTA Story

Only the Daily Star could make the New York Post look like the New York Times.

We’re a little late to this one, but last week that bastion of accurate reporting, the UK’s Daily Star, ran an article insinuating that Rockstar was making a Grand Theft Auto game based on the criminal actions committed earlier this month by ex-con Raoul Moat, who killed one and injured three across a six-day spree throughout the NorthEast UK. 

GTA Rothbury, as the game was called by Star writer Jerry Lawton, contained a series of animated quotes from relatives of the victims, outraged by the thought of a game, book or movie based on the criminal’s exploits, as reported up by CVG.

The story was eventually taken off the Star’s website entirely (since it was made up) and the newspaper issued an apology (thanks again CVG) stating:

We made no attempt to check the accuracy of the story before publication and did not contact Rockstar Games prior to publishing the story. We also did not question why a best-selling and critically acclaimed fictional games series would choose to base one of their most popular games on this horrifying real crime event.

It is now accepted that there were never any plans by Rockstar Games to publish such a game and that the story was false. We apologise for publishing the story using a mock-up of the game cover, our own comments on the matter and soliciting critical comments from a grieving family member.

Lawton, the author of the piece, wasn’t so apologetic. He took to his Facebook page (thanks Destructoid) in order to talk smack about gamers upset with his fiction, writing:

Baffled by the fury of adult gamers. 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!!!

One of Lawton’s favorite quotes listed on his Facebook page is “better to regret something you’ve done than something you haven’t.” Think he regrets making up this story yet?

Yet another reason to not believe everything you read!

Thanks Rodrigo Ybáñez García!

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  1. 0
    State says:

    The journalist made perhaps one of the worst "crimes" that you can do in journalism which is to fabricate a story or perhaps a lesser "crime" which is not to do any research into a story at all and to base the story off of what?

    And again incorrect stereotyping in regards to gamers, although isn’t it ironic that he moans about people spending all day on games whilst he spends all day on Facebook?

    I should expect his credibility as a journalist to be destroyed. It doesn’t matter what the story is or what it is about, it is unacceptable in journalism. Quit complaining your poor journalism has been caught out.

  2. 0
    Father Time says:

    Wouldn’t be the first time a media story mistook satire as legitimate news.

    An asian news show (Chinese I think) once reported that Congress was demanding the capitol have a retractable dome.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  3. 0
    Soldat_Louis says:

    It reminds me a hoax that occurred a couple of years ago in France : the "147 silicon suicides story".

    It happened at the end of 2004. A French gaming site talked about the postponing of the latest “Dead or Alive”, and joked about 147 otakus who would commit suicide by injecting silicon bags and hanging themselves with giant bras.

    Problem: few days after, French newspaper “Libération” wrote an article about collective suicides in Japan, mentioning (very seriously) the “147 silicon suicides”. And the cherry on the cake: TV-channel “France 2″ also mentioned it on a report, claiming : “video games cause suicides, specialists say so” (they also deliberately manipulated quotes from the people they interviewed).

    This sparked a furor over French gaming sites and blogs, so much that journalist from “Libération” quickly apologized. So did “France 2″, more or less. First, one of their journalists issued a very short statement, saying that the information was false, but it wasn’t their fault : they blamed an “English-speaking Japanese newspaper”, then they said that anyway, collective suicides exist and are a serious matter. But a couple of days later, they finally called the game blogger who’d made the joke and asked him to debate with them. The blogger defended himself quite well, and the journalist who made the report apologized more or less.

  4. 0
    nightwng2000 says:

    "There’s no such thing [as an objective story]… The objective journalist is one of those great myths you read about like a Griffin or a Phoenix… or an honest politician. Everyone’s got an agenda whether they admit it or not… but you try not to let it get in the way of the truth… "

    – Babylon 5, season 4, The Illusion of Truth


    NW2K Software


    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  5. 0
    Father Time says:

    Unlike say the multitude of claims that you could rape people in GTA.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  6. 0
    Krono says:

    To be fair, most of the stuff said during the blame GTA panic was generic stuff that at least had tenous contact with reality.

    This was something specific, unique, and blatantly made up.

  7. 0
    Zerodash says:

    Of all the things that R*/TT could have sent their lawyers on and have retracted, this is the one they actually follow-up on.  Where was this vigor during the heyday of the "blame GTA" panic?

  8. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Well, he’s liekly just incited more rage now and is liekly to write a story based o nthat, basically baiting.

    As for the bit about Rockstar, anyone who has followed the games in ANY capaicty knows that people, places, events, cars, corporatiosn i nthat game are never, NEVER anything real, just parodies.

  9. 0
    Father Time says:

    Let’s forget about taste for a minute does anyone really think Rockstar would’ve made that game?

    "who killed one and injured three"

    So he attacked 4 people? That’s pitifully low for a GTA character.

    "across a six-day spree"

    So six missions maybe, seems pretty short for a GTA game.

    Not only that but does anyone think it still would’ve been relevant by the time they finished?


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

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