Kendrick Lamar has a new song out called “HUMBLE.” It features a complaint about images of women being edited unrealistically prior to publication.
“I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop
Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor
Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretchmarks”
A couple days after the song came out, social media started buzzing with posts about the song from online content outlets (if you quiz me on which type of apple I am, you are not a news site). These posts from online content outlets were helpful because they could tell us how to feel, and how other people were feeling.
For example, XXL will tell you all about the “feminist backlash” to the song. However, the Huffington Post will tell you all about the “resounding ‘YES'” which erupted in response to the song’s “powerful” message.
If you click on the links above, you’ll see that XXL cites a whopping total of nine posts on Twitter to back up their article, whereas the Huffington Post upped the ante with a total of twelve. Yes, those articles are each credited to individual writers, but there was still an editorial staff in both situations that decided ‘ok, great, this is what we’re going with.’
So what gives? Why is this accepted? Random people on Twitter have no authority on these issues, and what a handful of cherry picked posts suggest has almost no weight. Just like how what a random celebrity thinks about a terrorist attack isn’t important.
However, the people wanting to believe a random celebrity has the authority to reassure them will stay tuned to be reassured. The people who want to think there is a feminist backlash are totally okay with nine tweets as the basis for their belief in a controversy. The people who liked the song are okay with twelve tweets being the definition of critical acclaim.
These junk articles do not meet any journalistic standard, because we are not asking for that. That is not the requirement for an article to go viral. If it were, tweet citing would not be a standard practice. The only requirement for something to be accepted, apparently, is that we are told what we want to believe.
If you don’t believe me, you can rest assured that I have seven YouTube comments to prove it.