People who think journalism is the root of all evil finally have their own theme song, and who better to deliver it to them than professional conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich?
Yellow Red Sparks debuted the music video yesterday for “The Great Media Hoax,” which was recorded for Cernovich’s upcoming movie, also called “Hoaxed.” Presumably just like the movie, the song credits the national media (except for Fox News) with singlehandedly ruining basically everything.
As a burning cow skull and later a burning cross float in the background, Yellow Red Sparks sings in black and white film about how the media is exploitative (“You pray for our youth, but why would you care? You’re searching for honor in all our despair.”) and how journalists wield an immense amount of power that they use to keep good Americans down (“We’re tired of losing our feet on the ground. … We’ll strip you away from that media crown.”).
This music video would not be complete without alluding to Black Lives Matter protesters, so they also show up, along with policemen in riot gear and, inexplicably, a KKK member next to the floating headline, “Ku Klux Klan gains strength.”
“So, we’ve leveled the playing fields,” the song continues. “You’ll keep pushing ‘til someone gets killed.”
Far-right website The Gateway Pundit quoted Yellow Red Sparks as saying, “This song is for the left and the right. It’s for anyone who understands the information wall that we are all subjected to on a daily basis.”
The absurdity that Cernovich, the same man who sold a passionate few on Pizzagate among other conspiracy theories, should be an authority on the truth goes without saying. In a promo for his “Hoaxed” movie, Cernovich says that fake news caused the Great Recession (it totally didn’t), among other ills.
“We’re going to expose the frauds, the people who are robbing the nation of money, the people who are causing wars, the people who are destroying this country and this entire planet,” he says.
Then, à la Kathy Griffin’s disastrous Trump head photo shoot, he slowly lifts a tiny television that spits sparks while flashing the logos of CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and others. But not Fox News.
Again, it’s all quite absurd, so why should we pay attention?
During the 2016 presidential election, the mainstream media’s blind spots had blind spots. The media didn’t acknowledge or try to understand the appeal that some Americans saw in Trump, his bigoted ideas or his disdain for journalists and what they do. This issue has since been addressed in think pieces and in superficial efforts to parachute into Trumpland and really get to know what his supporters think during a day’s reporting, while simultaneously holding the people they’re writing about at arm’s length.
Meanwhile, Cernovich gets it. He gets it, and he’s built a brand on turning the most ludicrous, bold-faced lies into cold, hard cash. Instead of acknowledging the truth, that he’s full of shit, he’s turned that argument on its head to maintain his cachet with his audience, who already hates news that isn’t far, far to the right. I’m not fake news. You’re fake news.
Big news orgs’ blind spots are still there. Some of the most prestigious media organizations in the country still don’t seem to adequately cover people like Cernovich as they have historically covered other public figures, in the sense that they should be consistently held accountable for what they say and do. Perhaps prestige publications consider it beneath them to fact check the ravings of a journalism charlatan, but they’re forgetting one important thing.
Charlatans are popular. Somehow, Cernovich raised $163,000 on Kickstarter to make his little “journalists ruined everything and gave me this rash” movie. He has 400,000 followers on Twitter. He has 65,355 YouTube subscribers, and his videos get thousands of views. People do believe what he’s saying, even if to many of us that seems improbable and illogical.
And what makes him and people like him dangerous is that while telling a world of lies, they’ve pledged war on journalism. We should all take this seriously, because politicians are fighting against the truth and even physically have attacked reporters. The newspaper industry, particularly when it comes to local news, is hanging by a thread, and anti-media sentiment is an antidote to any hope for its comeback.
So, Yellow Red Sparks’ song isn’t just a dumb song (although it is also very dumb). The song is one in a series of rocks that have been thrown at the journalism industry, and we need to protect ourselves. And maybe even fight back.