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Dublin: 7 °C Monday 24 February, 2020

Elle Magazine's tweet backfired because it tapped into Trump's 'fake news' narrative

‘We are sincerely sorry.’

IN AN EFFORT to spur voter registration in the United States ahead of the midterms, Elle Magazine announced that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian had broken up.

When readers clicked into the link yesterday, they were immediately directed to a website which encouraged voter registration and support of female candidates.

There was no story, no article, and no regard for the detrimental effect such an ill-advised move might have on the industry, the publication’s readers and the voter registration.

In one fell swoop, the publication brought journalistic integrity into question and cast doubt over their readers’ priorities, and they did so by utilising a damaging rhetoric which has been used as a vehicle throughout Trump’s presidency: fake news.

Backlash was swift, and has been acknowledged by Elle Magazine who have subsequently apologised for the tweet.

We made a bad joke. Our passion for voter registration clouded our judgement and we are sincerely sorry.

Here’s the thing; no one likes being tricked. It’s as simple as that. Unless the outcome has any comedic value, a reader will feel in some way ridiculed by buying into an article that was the very definition of ‘fake news’.

Events which have taken place in the United States over the course of the last 24 months have instilled fear, heightened tension and fostered resentment, and as a result, a great many members of the public are already invested in the upcoming midterms. 

Yes, it’s absolutely vital that voting is  actively encouraged and information continues to be properly disseminated, but Elle Magazine’s readers don’t need to be tricked into performing their civic duty, and they certainly don’t need it disguised as celebrity gossip.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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