Perhaps you are here because you have seen the recent articles on PewDiePie by Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Forbes, The New York Times, and many more. If so, I thank you for coming here with an open mind after seeing the title. For the past week, I have watched these “reputable” media outlets bombard PewDiePie, the most-subscribed person on YouTube, with slander and defamation.
It started with a Wall Street Journal article titled “Disney Severs Ties With YouTube Star PewDiePie After Anti-Semitic Posts”. WSJ made an accompanying video and in it they accused PewDiePie of spreading antisemitic messages. It contained clips of PewDiePie taken from several of his videos, and was paired with ominous background music. They aimed to paint PewDiePie as someone who spreads antisemitic messages through jokes. In the end, all they accomplished was diminishing their own reputation as a news source. Each of those clips were taken severely out of context in an attempt to slander PewDiePie’s name and ruin his career for website traffic.
One of these clips shows Felix (a.k.a. PewDiePie) in a soldier’s outfit watching a Hitler speech. This particular clip was ironically taken from a video where Felix addresses how the media takes the things he says and does out of context. The video ended with a skit of him watching Hitler as a criticism to the media for making outlandish claims about him. WSJ does not mention this along with the clip, however, because that wouldn’t fit with the narrative they are trying to sell. Instead, they respond to his video about the media taking him out of context by doing exactly that.
Once other news outlets caught wind of the WSJ article, many others began to appear all over the internet restating that PewDiePie’s “views” as a nazi and racist were indeed fact. The media has established an unfair war against PewDiePie in an attempt to ruin his career for views. In doing so, the guilty news outlets have left themselves at a disadvantage. They have shown their cards–they are willing to throw fact-checking and dignity out of the window in order to create the narrative that they so desire. Many of our modern news sources today have reduced themselves to the level of mere paparazzi and celebrity journalists–hungry to create any story based on little evidence.
PewDiePie, of course, created a video response to the buzz surrounding him. I really implore you to watch it, because he does a much better job at defending himself than I ever can. His fans, like myself, know that he is a good-hearted person who sticks up for others, and I think that by seeing for yourself his sincerity in this video that you will understand why he has such a huge following. He ends this video by enticing Wall Street Journal to try and go after him again with a giant middle finger to their journalistic integrity.
Many others within the YouTube community have also rallied to PewDiePie’s aid. Phillip DeFranco, h3h3Productions, Pyrocynical, Jaclyn Glenn, Mr. Repzion, Elvis the Alien and many more influential YouTubers have spoken up in the defense of Felix as both a good person and a member of their community. There is a clear disconnect between what fans and fellow YouTubers think of Felix, and what the media is trying to portray of him.
Now, you may be inclined to agree with the news outlets if you find Felix’s dark sense of humour to be distasteful. No one is asking that you like his content or his humour. Instead, I only want you to consider the effects of the media confining his speech to absolute truths.
Felix’s jokes and criticisms are being used against him to “prove” that he is a certain kind of person. In what world do we live in where jokes are considered fact? Should our figuratives now be considered literals? When you support these news outlets in their vendetta against PewDiePie, that is the kind of world and future you are beginning to support. It is a world where we have to tip-toe and monitor ourselves of saying anything that could be used against us and taken out of context.
My father once told me a story of when the local newspaper interviewed him regarding a nude statue the city put up. They asked him what he thought of it, and he told them that he had no problem with it, but he could understand why some parents of young children in the area might be concerned or not like it. When the article was published, the writer had twisted his words to say that my father, personally, did not like the statue for those reasons.
The media can, and will, do this to anyone. They are businesses that are there to serve themselves, not the community. This is why, regardless of your personal opinions on PewDiePie, it is important to speak out against media slander and false information. When we let these things slide, they will continue to do it to more people because they can get away with it.
This is why I will ask you to speak out. If you are a writer, YouTuber, gamer, advocate for free speech, or someone who just simply cares, please stand up against this injustice. Do not let the media bully people into submission in an attempt to ruin lives and careers for monetary gain. We deserve news that is based on facts instead of agendas.
Or, take the time and read past article titles. Look to their sources. Discover for yourself the facts and whether your go-to news source is trustworthy. Don’t let yourself be a passive reader. We owe it not just to PewDiePie, but to ourselves as well.