According to B.J. Mendelson, the author behind such works as the popular marketing book Social Media Is Bullshit and the comic book series Vengeance, Nevada, news outlets should not report on leaks related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe “because that’s how we get things like QAnon.”
Mendelson issued his criticism on December 31st, presumably prompted by a report written by Chris Smith and published by Yahoo! News the previous day which discussed an alleged 4chan leak claiming to reveal the supposed ending of Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.
Taking specific issue with Smith’s own admission that “we have no idea whether it’s based on accurate information, which is what we always tell you about these questionable MCU leaks,” Mendelson questioned on Twitter, “Then why are you reporting it?”
“I know we’re talking ‘leaks’ from upcoming MCU films, but you, as a responsible media outlet, shouldn’t be posting stuff like that,” he argued. “Why? Because that’s he we get things like QAnon.”
He continued, “I know. That sounds dramatic, but these things add up. It erodes trust in media outlets, which is what sends people down bad rabbit holes as they search for ‘more reliable’ sources of information.”
“It’s the little things that matter,” he asserted.
“Remember,” he added, “it’s the little things that’ll either make you a huge success, or get you killed.”
Met with confusion at his leap in logic by one fan who asked “My dude what????”, Mendelson further contended, “Crappy reporting on major media sites erodes trust in the media, which in turn leads people to seek out other sources. Let’s say YouTube as an example.”
“The algorithms on places like YouTube then feed those people QAnon crap,” he concluded.
Ironically, while there is some truth to Mendelson’s observation regarding eroding media trust, it is not caused by the reporting of leaks regarding popular media franchises which may or may not be true, but rather the very same dishonest framing and accusing he himself is engaging in.
After all, the reporting of rumors concerning the cinematic future of the Justice League or Spider-Man’s new costume isn’t meant to divide viewers or accuse fans of some inherent moral failing, but rather simply inform fans of what they could see from their favorite series’ going forward.
At its worst, such reporting could most maliciously be described as clickbait.
However, on the other hand, the false narratives routinely pushed by popular news media outlets – ones which one could easily assume are sufficiently performatively supportive of Mendelson’s beliefs – are intended to do just that.
Even, sticking to just the realm of entertainment, recent years have seen a rising trend of accusatory and combative articles being published by outlets whose staff members can only express themselves through widespread derision.
What benefit, if absolutely any at all, does the promotion and praise of pieces blanket decrying Snyderverse fans as misogynistic bullies or critics of the Star Wars sequel trilogy as “‘alt-right’ racist trolls” serve but to deride one’s opponents – no matter how valid their arguments or concerns – as unworthy of a voice?
The answer, hypocritically, is none.
What do you make of Mendelson’s belief that reporting on entertainment leaks serves as a direct pipeline to QAnon? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!