Staff Editorial: Mass Media Manipulation

The past couple of weeks, our staff has been reporting updates on the bi-annual Spring Concert. After our initial report last week on difficulties with booking rapper Hoodie Allen, Hoodie (government name Steve Markowitz) reached out to us via Twitter. He was confused by our story, as he was “told something very different” than what we had reported.

After a few quick messages were exchanged, Mr. Markowtiz referred us to his agency for further comment. An inquiry was sent to his agency, but we received no response.

Things took an interesting turn during an interview with Student Activities Coordinator Sarah Gunion. When asked about the possibilities of different stories being told, that notion was quickly shot down. However, Ms. Gunion made note that Mr. Markowitz’s agent had been “bugging” them with phone calls and emails, and claimed a member of our staff had personally sent them a copy of our story.

That never happened. It was also interesting to note that while Mr. Markowitz, and not his agent, had corresponded with us, the opposite had been happening in regards to the communication between Hoodie’s camp and SAB.

It became clear that someone over on Mr. Markowitz’s side of things had not been in complete communication with someone else, and that is a problem between them. But not with us as journalists or with the SAB, who have been attempting to move on and put together a concert for us.

Media manipulations happen frequently. Sports agents and teams feed “anonymous” information to gain leverage in contract negotiations. Politicians feed inside information to journalists all the time—politics as usual.

But those journalists play that political game consciously—it’s how many make their living. That’s not what we do here. In this time of turmoil and uncertainty in the media under the reign of our fearful leader, we have to be more careful and aware when it comes to others trying to use as pawns for their own gain.

A common trend in society seems to be bucking off stories someone doesn’t agree with as “fake news.” To certain parties, our story was called “fake news” as what seems to have been a last-ditch negotiation tactic—or perhaps just a little salt (this seems to be quite a salty semester). Or perhaps one person was working for their own interests rather than the people they represent.

Sound familiar?

Mason Schweizer for The Wayne Stater