Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Bloomingdale's Pulls 'Fake News' T-Shirts

            Bloomingdale’s is an American department store chain. It was founded in 1861, so its first few years in business coincided with The Civil War. But Joseph and Lyman Bloomingdale could not have seen this coming: the company they founded has come under attack for selling t-shirts sporting the words, “Fake News.” And that is real news.
A number of self-important reporters and members of the media (are there any other kind?) took to Twitter and other platforms to lambaste the retailer for its insensitivity in selling these “offensive” items. Allison Kaden, a reporter for WPIX-TV in New York City, tweeted: “Hey @Bloomingdales, this isn’t funny or fashionable. It further delegitimizes hard working journalists who bring REAL news to their communties.” And REAL spelling competency, too! I’m sure your “communties” appreciate that, as well. This is funny and further delegitimizes self-styled “journalists” who can’t even fact-check or proof-read their own 20-word missive touting their accuracy and honesty.
Pathetically, Bloomingdale’s immediately caved to the delicate sensibilities of one person, replying: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention and we apologize for any offense we may have caused. We take this feedback very seriously and are working quickly to remove this t-shirt. Again, thank you for taking the time to alert us.” That’s obsequious enough to make Eddie Haskell barf. Though the store said, “The item was immediately removed from our selling floor” and essentially apologized to everyone in the world for it having arrived there in the first place, that wasn’t enough to sate the blood lust of some in the REAL news community. Such as the Baltimore Sun’s Pamela Wood, who wrote: “Hi, @bloomingdales. Apologizing ‘for any offense we may have caused’ is not a sincere apology. This is not about journalists’ hurt feelings. This is about damage done to our democracy when your brand joins in perpetuating and celebrating the idea of ‘fake news.’ Please try again.”
Ms. Wood’s claim that this isn’t about “journalists’ hurt feelings” is fake news. It obviously is. Her claim that this is about “damage done to our democracy” is also fake news. Preposterously—if inadvertently humorously—so. I thought “democracy dies in darkness,” not in the light of a department store selling a shirt with “fake news” on it. Democracy certainly isn’t served by members of the fourth estate telling private companies what words can adorn the apparel that they sell. I am highly offended at Kaden’s and Wood’s statements-- and at much of what passes for news in the mainstream media. Will this lead them to remove that with which I disagree? And issue me a heartfelt apology?
It is fitting that the “fake news” t-shirts at Bloomingdale’s were displayed on mannequins. Fake people. Perhaps they represent all those anonymous sources reporters love to cite.
Journalists should get over themselves. For the most part those in the mainstream media are just another brick in the wall preventing those who follow them from seeing the truth.

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