Opinion: How The Daily Beast’s Jenna Jameson Article Defines “Fake News”
The Daily Beast published an article about Jenna Jameson’s “transformation” into a vocal political Twitter user who voices her support for Israel and her opposition to Islam. The idea behind such a piece is to interview Jameson and basically ask her why all the change?
Surrounding her quotes would be the quotes of her friends, former colleague; people who know her personally.
The reality that was given to the American people was a classic example of the journalistic garbage plaguing news feeds and search engines known as “fake news,” and a betrayal by Aurora Snow, someone Jameson called a colleague at one point.
Now, ever since Pizzagate and Hillary Clinton’s following response calling the subject “fake news,” the phrase “fake news” has been uttered with enough frequency to warrant consideration for it’s own entry into the Oxford Dictionary.
However, what exactly is “fake news?” That’s the question that Oxford, Brittanica, or Webster’s would ask before adding the phrase into its official dictionary. This is quite the question because as a journalist, I can attest that fake news comes in all forms and sizes.
The obvious and self-explanatory definition is: “News that is fake. It is maliciously or unintentionally false with no basis in fact.”
Example: “Ed Asner is a woman.” That statement is completely false without factual premise.
However, fake news can be rooted in fact, but presented in such a biased and one-sided viewpoint that it becomes fake by intentionally leaving out the entire truth. It’s not libelous because it is rooted in fact, but it’d be like saying:
“Martin Luther King is known for being a notorious cheat who had multiple affairs on his wife while being lauded as a leader of the African American community.”
Well, yes. Martin Luther King did had affairs on his wife. Many affairs. But it’s not right as a journalist to present this story without mentioning that he’s got a national holiday named for him. That he was assassinated. That he was one of the premier peaceful protest leaders who advocated racial unity and made a famous speech focusing on making a “dream” a reality.
Stories are never one-sided and it is the duty of the journalist to show all sides uncharged in a critical longform nonfiction story. It is unethical to focus solely on a negative or bash one side while pretending that this is an accurate and truthful account of a person. That’s where Aurora Snow’s piece becomes fake news.
This piece saddens me because it is quite well-written. Seriously, for a lady who started out life as a theater major before venturing into the adult entertainment role as Aurora Snow and no background that I’m aware of in writing besides blogging etc, this is quite the article.
The transitions are smooth and make the flow outstanding. The vocabulary isn’t basic, but it’s far from being elitist. The overwhelming majority of readers will have zero comprehension issues.
The problem is the piece is so negatively charged towards Jameson that it spits in the face of what news journalism is about: Neutrality. This isn’t a news story. It’s an editorial wrapped in a wool cloak and pretending to be news.
It’s not even trying to be covert about it, any person can tell that Aurora Snow is slamming and quite frankly betraying her former colleague. It starts out nice. In her opening paragraph, Snow begins by praising and identifying Jameson:
“Jenna Jameson is once again the talk of the porn industry. An icon with close to 200 adult films under her belt, Jameson is still idolized by many women getting their start in the biz. But there will never be another Jenna.”
While opinionated, this is accepted as true by any unbiased party and therefore objective. Jenna Jameson was and still is a brand name unto herself. She isn’t just known in the XXX circles or fan bases, she’s transcended into pop culture. Her 2004 autobiography was a New York Times bestseller for six weeks is just one supporting factoid to that claim.
However, Snow loses her objectivity right after that, beginning by using a quote out of context by Jameson from the 2008 AVN Awards. Let’s examine.
“Jameson said: ‘I’ll never, ever, ever spread my legs again in this industry. Ever.'”
Snow’s narrative continued: “While shaming the adult industry is apparently forgivable, a series of alt-right social media tirades has forced even Jameson’s most ardent supporters in the XXX world to reexamine the woman who’s come to represent it.”
There is nothing objective about this section. Anyone with personal experience with Jameson knows she is a blunt woman which accounts for the blunt even crude retirement statement. However, let’s “assume” for a moment she is shaming the industry. Well ensuing logic would say that she’s ashamed of her time in the business.
Well, there’s no evidence to support that Jameson is ashamed of being in the porn industry. In fact, in an interview with Oprah, she stated that she has few regrets; it’s not Snow’s job as a journalist to charge the language.
“Shaming?” “Apparently forgivable?” “Tirades?” That’s not neutral language.
The first two imply that she said something wrong and the last implies that she’s acting like an immature bratty child in a grocery store checkout line because they want Reese’s Peanut Buttercups. That’s the image I see when I use the term, “tirade” to describe someone’s vocal statements.
A neutral depiction is needed and here’s an example of what I’d write: “Jenna Jameson, since leaving the industry in 2008 and saying (insert quote), has undergone a series of changes in the past nine years and the former face of the adult industry has even her most ardent supporters questioning her choices, particularly her alt-right social media opinions.”
That’s neutrality, Ms. Snow. A free lesson from me to you. Moving on, Snow crafts a narrative that calls Jameson’s fiancé “shady” and nothing else. Why isn’t the fiancé interviewed? The ex-husband is interviewed at the end, but not the fiancé?
That’s like doing a documentary on Paul Newman and not interviewing Joanne Woodward.
In addition the piece says:
Jameson has adopted a fierce and public anti-Islam stance, ranting against Muslims online and clapping back at those in disagreement.
She regularly shares stories and videos about the alleged havoc wreaked by adherents of Islam from dubious far-right sites like the pro-Trump agitprop outlet Breitbart and conspiracy theory forum Infowars, along with bigoted replies from her army of close to 700,000 Twitter followers.
Huh? I actually follow both Jameson and Snow on Twitter because I find them interesting. I didn’t know I had entered Jameson’s army. Well, General Jenna does have a nice ring to it. When is boot camp?
Kidding aside, Snow is trying to make Jameson sound like some nutjob and not even bothering to hide her disdain for Breitbart or Infowars. “Dubious?” Are you kidding me? That’s a word that no news reporter should even touch let alone print in a news story unless it’s quoted. Granted, I do not think of Infowars as a reliable news site and Breitbart is highly opinionated, but that’s not a journalist’s job.
Just say the names and also, “ranting” and “clapping back” are again, charged terms.
The 42-year-old ex-porn star clearly appears happy to embrace the controversy of her alt-right views. She idolizes Ann Coulter (“I want to be her when I grow up”) and the Illuminati-obsessed Paul Joseph Watson, has called Iran “a cancer,” regularly shares anti-Muslim scare stories, and even tweets anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about George Sorros funding cabals of liberals (the irony is apparently lost on her).
She even trolled Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who is a Muslim, into blocking her on Twitter—before declaring him “Anti-Semitic” for doing so.
“Clearly appears?” You didn’t ask her, Ms. Snow? You’re a 2017 AVN Hall of Fame inductee. Surely you could call your fellow Hall of Famer and conduct a very thorough phone interview.
Or even call to ask a follow-up question.
Why is Snow mentioning the “Illuminati” unless it’s to disparage a source. I can arguably let “scare stories” go but the verb “trolled” is negative whereas she should’ve used “argued” and also, why isn’t she just taking pictures of the actual tweets and posting the entire conversation?
The piece can put a GIF mocking Jenna Jameson (another clear indicator of its bias) but it can’t show a few tweets.
Mark Twain said, “Show don’t tell.” Show me the entire arguments, don’t just tell me about them; that way an audience can see Jameson’s POV as well as Rep. Ellisons and others. Also the unnecessary barb about “irony is apparently lost on her” while it’s clever, I wonder if Snow understands the irony of displaying an opinion as fact.
Snow does let Jameson defend herself by quoting her. For example, Jameson defended Milo Yiannopoulos to a degree despite his comments about hebephila.
Jameson tells The Daily Beast that she does not condone Milo’s comments, but empathizes with him. “I think people were quick to judge and label him without realizing he was a victim of sexual abuse,” says Jameson. “Having been a victim myself, I know people can deal with the pain of victimization with callousness.”
See this is real journalism above right here!
No one is denying that Jameson is taking some pretty controversial stances. That’s why she’s news! She’s a public figure and her opinion is important because she is quite the intelligent woman regardless of how you feel about her personally.
So what I don’t understand is why Snow didn’t finish the whole effort. Why not thoroughly ask Jameson a line of questions to show why she’s behaving this way the way she showed her reasoning for defending Yiannopoulos just then. Jameson even brought up that fact that he was a victim of sexual abuse which could even explain things.
That’s what journalists are supposed to do. Help the subjects explain themselves.
I can and do praise Snow for her success with weaving quotes. To me, the hardest part of doing news stories, is flowing quotes. It’s like sewing information together and your brain and keyboard are the needle and thread. It’s very hard, it requires a lot of skill and an innate knowledge of flow and Snow did that.
I’m happy to see she even got a fellow star like Richelle Ryan who agreed with Jameson’s support for Donald Trump, to comment and not just getting those who wanted Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders to be president.
But what I don’t get is how Snow can go to all that trouble and then louse up what could be, and what should be if done correctly, an award worthy piece that would transform Snow from a former porn star/decent writer to being the true voice of the adult industry, not just her own voice, but their messenger voice. Someone they can rely on to deliver their accurate message.
Jameson’s attacks on outsiders are rubbing the porn industry the wrong way, especially when so many women in porn understand what it feels like to be marginalized firsthand. It’s shocking that someone who has represented the adult industry can be so intolerant.
Both Snow and the editors deserve to be reprimanded for allowing the final sentence. This is clearly an opinion by Aurora Snow the Hall of Fame porn star, not Aurora Snow, the journalist. How it wasn’t deleted can only be explained by unethical editors.
Oh and yes, Ms. Snow those are two people that you are, you’re not one and the same. Unlike the acting world, you can’t play dual roles in journalism specifically when it comes to being a reporter and an interviewed subject.
Your opinion means less than a used ketchup packet in a news story.
Let me be frank here (but many will just twist and deny this anyway), this is not an attack on a story just because I didn’t like what it said. I’m attacking this story because it’s not a real news story.
It’s an opinionated editorial that Snow and the Daily Beast is trying to pass off as news and it’s borderline libelous.
If Snow wants to write a story that says, “Jenna Jameson is the ultimate hypocrite and is becoming a member of the entity that has abused, harassed, stalked, and emotionally brutalized myself and our colleagues for years etc etc etc,” sprinkle some tears for the crowd that needs a tissue; then fine.
If Snow wants to call Jameson a nut job then fine. If she thinks she should douse herself in kerosene, light a match and become a human candle, then go ahead. Write that. Write that opinion.
But don’t write an opinionated story and pass it off as fact because any objective reader would want to know why Jameson decided to do what she’s done. Instead, readers got well-written fake news that belongs in the garbage bin or the shredder.
Snow’s last quote, Jameson’s ex-husband Brad Armstrong said. “She’s not news… she’s a cautionary tale.”
Gee, I can say the same thing about this supposed news story.