The following is an email I sent to the Wall Street Journal (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) yesterday after their hit piece on the Youtube star, Pewdiepie, came out. Hard to believe that the Wall Street Journal has now fallen to the levels of the National Enquirer and Buzzfeed but here we are. Without further ado;
Dear WSJ Editors,
I am writing about a piece that recently appeared in your pages concerning the Youtube personality Pewdiepie. I believe it was written by Ben Fritz, Jack Nicias, and Rolfe Winkler and was, more or less, a hit piece.
Now it being a hit piece isn’t that concerning. They happen all the time and many papers thrive on them. What is concerning, however, is that the WSJ felt it was necessary to put three reporters on this story. In today’s day and age with the desire for actual journalism at an all time high I find it curious that such an amount of resources would be dedicated to watching Youtube videos and reading a blog to pull quotes out of context to smear a Youtube star. Does that sound like the act of a healthy business or one desperately attempting to stay relevant? Never mind that those reporters could have been allocated to a worthwhile story like investigating the wage gap or discerning the truth about the reports of widespread sexual assaults by migrants and refugees in Europe. But no, why look into serious subjects when you can assist in a libel campaign to silence someone who is making jokes you don’t like.
If you ever sit in your office and wonder ‘why are we a failing industry?’ look no further than this. The Wall Street Journal, bastion of financial news, commits three full time employees to framing the #1 Youtube star because he is telling jokes or making references some higher up doesn’t like and he decides to try and crush him with the old, dying, dusty paper method of the past. Truly pathetic.
Don’t blame fake news. Don’t blame racism or misogyny or privilege. Your industry is dying because you have become a tool of the gestapo who are looking to curtail and limit the speech of anyone who doesn’t say exactly what you want. It used to be people believed not so much in their ideas but in their arguments and that their arguments would persuade people. Nothing has become more apparent to me over the past few years that people have lost faith in their arguments and so seek to silence their opposition because they cannot win a debate.
You can stand against this trend, WSJ, or you can get sucked down the drain along with all the others who are trying to silence those who are, in black and white, given the right to say whatever they want and whenever they want to say it. Should they? No, probably not all the time but that doesn’t give you, or anyone, the right to try to silence and subjugate anyone who does not express your beliefs.
We can pretend that’s not what the goal of this piece was but, lets be honest, that’s exactly what the goal was. To try and sever Pewdiepie from the financial powers that allow him to operate on his own, without an overlord, and express his views without fear of getting a pink slip or being socially ostracized (though kudos! You are trying to do that!). That’s the core of this. You, the mighty WSJ, are jealous because some guy in Sweden has more reach, more impact, and is more important than your entire operation. To top it all off he’s saying things you don’t agree with and you are scared. You are scared that you are losing control. Scared that the narrative may be taken away from you. Scared that you are no longer the arbiters of ‘truth’ or the news. Scared that if more and more people listen to people like Pewdiepie who operate on their own, independently, and without your blessing that their arguments may win out against your feeble platitudes.
So scared that you assigned three journalists to conjure up this piece to smear Pewdiepie and try to drive away his sponsors because the only way you can compete now is if there is no one playing against you. It won’t work and so I can happily say your fear is not unwarranted. You are a dying institution rotting from within and betraying the very principles you claim to champion.
Enjoy your last decade in business and good riddance.
The Mainstream Media is dying a slow, sad, depressing death and the noises it is making as its body fails are truly grotesque.