You Better Belieb It
The Internet, and more specifically social media networks, never fail to provide us with plenty of opportunity to give our support for causes or voice our dissent on certain issues. One would think that would mean that our country would be a large body of participating and politically- and socially-aware citizens with the average weekly time spent online at an all-time high of 23 hours, according to an Aug. 2013 report by eMarketer.
Yet, we at the Foghorn have watched with astonishment as Justin Bieber’s recent ‘shenanigans’ topped the news charts as the most viewed news in the past couple weeks, and not just on tabloids or gossip sites, but the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal — known for their more serious reporting.
We watched on in horror as an MSNBC anchorwoman Andrea Mitchell cut off Congresswoman Jane Harman’s (D-CA) discussion on NSA surveillance reform to break the more pressing news of Justin Bieber’s arrest on DUI and drag-racing charges.
As a result of his news-topping antics, the White House will be forced to release an official statement in response to the ‘We The People’ petition, “Deport Justin Bieber and revoke his green card”, which has garnered over 242,000 signatures as of Monday. The text of the petition reads: “We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture. We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing, Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked. He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nations youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society.”
Surpassing the 100,000 mark is enough to gain the federal government’s attention, but the fact that people feel so strongly about this issue is saddening. More importantly, his charges of DUI and drag-racing are not bad enough to merit deportation, if our politically-involved signers had done their research; as reported by CNN, only “in the event of a violent crime or a prison sentence that exceeds one year”, can our star of the hour’s immigration visa be revoked and he be deported.
This is not the first time that the White House has had to comment on petty celebrity issues. Popular petitions, including the calling for the construction of a Death Star and the cancellation of Jimmy Fallon Live! after a particularly offensive segment, do not really seem to pertain to issues of greater, political impact. Why are we not sharing petitions on Facebook regarding the fact that our government has had open access to our private e-mails and phone conversations? Unfortunately, it seems that Rep. Harman’s interview would not have risen to YouTube fame if it were not for the breaking of Bieber’s arrest.
Bieber’s arraignment is set for Feb. 14, and until then, we can only hope that everyone will turn to more critical news. As politically conscious citizens, we hold the power of defining what is and what is not ‘news’ to us. If we continue to share YouTube videos and links spotlighting the more absurd topics, then we will find that our ever-reliable news stations and media outlets will further exacerbate the lack of awareness amongst our voting society members by feeding our demands and ‘interests’.