Reports of Justin Bieber support for 'Ground Zero mosque' greatly exaggerated
Breaking: A representative of Tiger Beat just confirmed that Justin Bieber never talked to them about the Ground Zero mosque.
Just read that sentence again, please.
In case you were wondering whether this is a slow news day, or whether print media is dying, or whether I recently allowed my Tiger Beat subscription to lapse, you have your answer now.
There has been controversy brewing in the interwebs. Andy Sullivan, a construction worker, founder of the 9/11 Hard Hat Pledge, and staunch opponent of the plans for the Park 51 mosque and community center, recently appeared on WNYC radio to announce his boycott of Justin Bieber, after Bieber allegedly made pro-Ground Zero mosque remarks in Tiger Beat magazine. As a consequence, he no longer allows his 11-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter to attend Bieber's concerts, he told Salon.com: "I informed them, 'Hey guys, guess what? Justin Bieber spoke out for the ground zero mosque. My little girl took down his poster and said she didn't want to have nothing to do with him anymore. These are my kids. They're living this thing."
But then clouds of doubt began thickening. No one could find the relevant Tiger Beat interviews. All that surfaced was a page from a site called Celebjihad.com, which appeared to be a funny, if unsubtle, Bieber satire. It read:
"Muslims should be allowed to build a mosque anywhere they want," the singer said. "Coming from Canada, I'm not used to this level of intolerance, eh."
Bieber went on to say that Muslims are "super cool," Christians are "lame-o-rama," and that the mosque will help "start a dialogue" with all religions about which Justin Bieber song is the most awesome.
"I was, like, seven when September 11th went down, and frankly I'm surprised people are still going on about it. Move on, already!"
Now the Facebook group that urged boycotting Bieber is insisting that "We are waiting for comment from Tiger Beat Magazine to verify the artice [sic] we quoted. However, our source of information was not based on the obviously false quotes from celebjihad."
Really? What was this source? I picture him as a venerable greybeard, "I read every Tiger Beat article," he insists. "Every article. Even ones that they never run!" He begins to cackle ominously. "I have them here in my mind," he adds.
As a consequence, I spent my afternoon calling Tiger Beat to try to verify the Bieber quotations. With some of my leftover dignity, I am going out later to try to become a Playboy Bunny.
But, no, there was no such article, confirmed executive editor Heidi Hurst, "I can guarantee it's not from a Tiger Beat interview, nor have we ever asked him about this topic."
No! What? No! You mean Bieber didn't actually talk to Tiger Beat about the Ground Zero mosque controversy?
But this is the danger of satire. Often, good, subtle satire can be mistaken for terrible news. And vice versa. Life these days is so absurd, it's easy to assume the worst. That can't be real, we say, glancing at the front page of the Times. I must have grabbed The Onion by mistake. Our world has cried wolf one time too many. "No, Justin Bieber didn't say anything about the Ground Zero mosque! Duh!" a small, still voice at the back of our mind insists. But it's no longer safe to assume that.
Then again, the group says that people should boycott "Justin Beiber" for "Public Support of mosque."
So maybe that's a different guy.
| December 30, 2010; 5:02 PM ET
Categories: Only on the Internet, Petri, Worst Things Ever | Tags: justin bieber, parody, the power of myth
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