Why Won’t ‘The New York Times’ Correct False Lil Nas X Reporting?
It’s now been over five weeks since Saving Country Music exposed numerous incidents of outright false reporting by multiple major news outlets when it came to the removal of Lil Nas X’s song “Old Town Road” from the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, including from the supposed “newspaper of record” in America, The New York Times.
In an article written by Ben Sisario about “Old Town Road,” the paper cited a man named Shane Morris as a “former country music label executive,” and quoted him as saying the reason Billboard removed Lil Nas X from the country charts and cited sonic reasons instead of race was “because they didn’t know how to justify it any other way without sounding completely racist.” The problem was, Shane Morris was never a “country music label executive” like The New York Times claimed.
Instead, Shane Morris is very well-documented and aggressively-vile Twitter troll who’s been accused of making death threats towards young girls, has been cataloged verbally attacking the children of performers, along with making homophobic jokes, and jokes about AIDS, genocide, Nazis, 9/11, and the Holocaust, along with other troubling activity verified and cataloged online over many years. In May of 2013 after Shane Morris sent out an especially vile barrage of tweets threatening violence against fans of Fall Out Boy, and verbally abusing the children of lead singer Patrick Stump and bassist Pete Wentz, SPIN and others reported on the incident. The multitude of incidents of abuse by Shane Morris can be seen at the bottom of this article.
Shane Morris is an internet huckster who duped The New York Times and other major media outlets such as NPR and The Guardian into believing he was a Nashville insider after posting a viral Twitter thread criticizing Lil Nas X’s removal from the country charts. The thread was full of outright incorrect information, like claiming there hadn’t been a single black artist at the top of the country charts in 40 years, when Charley Pride alone had 29 #1’s during the period Shane Morris cited. It was the sensationalism and unbelievable nature of the misinformation in Shane Morris’s Tweets that fueled the thread going viral. It was shared by many journalists who eventually reported on the Lil Nas X story, often citing Shane Morris specifically and linking to his thread of false information.
Not even Shane Morris called himself a label executive. Instead he called himself simply a “former country music label person” (he worked at Sony’s Nashville office briefly as a web guy). But in the media’s zeal to assign racism to the entire country music genre via Billboard’s singular decision—and in the Twitter echo chamber of which most of American media is immersed in today—the media en masse made Shane Morris into a senior, executive-level member of the country music industry to underscore the perspective they wanted to portray to the public.
Saving Country Music has been resigned to the fact that this false reporting by The New York Times and others was never going to be corrected, despite reaching out to the outlets and Ben Sisario and others specifically to notify them of the wrong information. Clearly here over a month removed, they have no interest in correcting the record. But even more troubling, in a new article posted in The New York Times, the original writer Ben Sisario goes out of his way to praise himself for his thoroughness, while admitting Twitter is his primary window into the world.
“I constantly scan social media—Twitter, mostly—for news, and in breaking news situations I sometimes find sources to quote there,” Ben Sisario says. “But I am wary of letting social media itself tell the story. You need to actually talk to people, check facts, find contrary viewpoints, weed out nonsense.”
But when it came to the April 5th article on Lil Nas X, The New York Times and Ben Sisario did no such thing. Not only did they not check the facts of Shane Morris’s viral Twitter thread, they quoted him in part in the article, while also mischaracterizing Shane Morris’s place in the country music industry. The New York Times also most certainly did not find contrary viewpoints to present in the article, nor did they “weed out nonsense,” of which Shane Morris is the epitome of.
The premise of the new article in The New York Times is a bit strange in itself. It’s basically The New York Times interviewing one of its own writers about how they listen to music and find information for their articles, with no other writer attributed to the story. It’s basically Ben Sisario interviewing Ben Sisario. Instead of Ben Sisario and The New York Times spending time correcting an important error in their reporting on Lil Nas X, or perhaps digging into the past of a dangerous individual such as Shane Morris, they spent time promoting themselves, including how much they “…check facts, find contrary viewpoints, weed out nonsense.”
Outlets make mistakes in reporting all of the time. Even the most thorough of editing teams see errors slip through. But in this instance, the most powerful “newspaper of record” gave a platform and credence to an individual who has engaged in widespread and long-standing abusive behavior, and was never in a position to offer executive-level insight into the inner workings of country music. The mistake is alarming enough. Refusing to correct it while praising themselves for the rigorous nature of their objectivity and fact checking is another.
May 21, 2019 @ 8:47 am
Mainstream media vomits out stories that get clicks. Narrative is paramount, facts be damned. The New York Times won’t make any corrections because there aren’t enough people who care enough to call them out on it. In fact, most of their readership supports the false narrative, so they have no desire or incentive to demand truthful reporting or corrections.
What frightens me most is, if they can’t get the facts straight on something like this, why should I believe they’re getting the facts straight on anything else?
May 23, 2019 @ 10:38 am
Another Reason is that that outlets like the NYT have long ceased any semblance of true journalism. They are a political journal for the beliefs they wish to espouse nothing more. If s correction does not fit the narrative they wish to promote, it won’t be done.
Bill "100%" Wood
May 21, 2019 @ 9:21 am
I still don’t get all the “controversy” and repeated attention, to be honest. I listened to the song once two months ago, decided I didn’t like it and moved on. If others enjoy it, fine.
This isn’t a watershed moment for any type of musical movement, or even a statement. Six months from now, Lil Nas X will have made his money and “Old Town Road” will be laid to rest proudly alongside “Disco Duck” and “I’m Too Sexy” in the pantheon of inexplicably absurd novelty hits. Fin.
May 21, 2019 @ 10:42 am
It’s imperative when falsehoods are spread throughout media that the record is set straight, especially when it comes to a naked effort to undermine country music as a cultural institution with those falsehoods. There is nothing more important in the effort to “save country music” than this.
This issue ceased to be about how good Lil Nas X or “Old Town Road” was six weeks ago. Frankly, it troubles and stupefies me that folks still believe this is about raging against some song, and not about raging against the wanton and unprecedented media malfeasance surrounding it.
May 21, 2019 @ 11:18 am
Also, as for the “repeated attention” on this issue, I have posted 41 articles since I last posted an article on Lil Nas X. FORTY ONE of them. People have to understand that the same algorithms and patterns of behavior that led to false information being spread about country music in conjunction with “Old Town Road” are the same that lead people to believe I am “obsessed” with any topic. It’s the same false perspective that leads people to believe that I don’t promote independent music on this site, when I do that more than anything else. Stop letting algorhythms make your eyes gravitate to things you don’t like, and things that anger you to keep you engaged. This is the internet gaming you. Zoom out, seek out contrary viewpoints to your own, and most importantly, interact with the things you want to see more of.
I cannot ignore an issue like this. I wish I could. But unfortunately, I do not have that luxury. But if you want to ignore it, I totally respect that and by all means do so. But please, don’t come at me about how it doesn’t matter. Because making sure the public record is set straight matters more than anything else.
Bill "100%" Wood
May 21, 2019 @ 11:38 am
Trig, I understand and respect your position on this. After all, were it not for this site, I would never have been introduced to dozens of great country artists.
The “repeated attention” comment was not aimed directly at you, as I saw yet another Rolling Stone headline about Lil Nas X at the same time I came across yours.
I guess I just don’t pay much attention to the metagame and politicking being played with this particular song (and again, that is not aimed at you). Simply put, I feel that artists such as FGL and Luke Bryan have done far more to tarnish the perception of country music than a one-hit-wonder novelty song. And yes, I’m aware of how much you’ve held their feet to the fire.
May 22, 2019 @ 6:22 am
You wrote about Lil Nas X two articles ago, in the Rhiannon Giddens review.
May 22, 2019 @ 6:53 am
Here’s the only mention of Lil Nas X I see in that article. It’s the next to last paragraph in the article.
One of the reasons so many can be sold on the misguided notion that someone like Lil Nas X symbolizes an important moment of integration for country music is because they are perfectly ignorant that an artist like Rhiannon Giddens even exists. Like so many of country and roots music’s African American performers, Giddens is summarily ignored by many of the same popular culture institutions and media entities demanding more diversity, while ironically she and other African American artists are doing more to help preserve the roots of the music compared to their white counterparts.
That’s writing “about” Lil Nas X?
May 22, 2019 @ 6:59 am
He’s also referenced (and tagged!) in the Orville Peck review a couple weeks ago, and those are just off the top of my head. I’m sure if you went through those forty some “non-Nas X” articles you’d find a lot more mentions. I’ve been a fan of this site for a while, and Trigger clearly is a good writer with a great ear for music, but with all this buzzy clickbait provocative nonsense, SCM is becoming a mirror version of the very things he professes to criticize.
May 21, 2019 @ 10:56 am
Damn, now I have to look through Spotify for “I’m too sexy”, Disco Duck is on my playlist, so no searching needed.
May 22, 2019 @ 4:17 am
I think it’s great to for trigger to be reporting this. We can’t have everyone believing in false news and eating it up. Without someone pointing out falsehoods, everyone who reads/watches this ‘news’ will think everyone who regularly listens to country music is a raging racist, and will automatically consider our opinions, listening tastes and beliefs invalid. Without people like trigger taking a stand, all kids will grow up hating all country music, anyone who listens or makes country music will be hated and alienated, and without kids growing a liking for country music, in the future there’ll be no more fans of this great genre. Then, country music will die. That’s why people like Trigger are sorely needed.
Keep on writing Trigger. Keep on contributing to the saving of country music.
May 21, 2019 @ 9:37 am
You know why they won’t issue a correction.
It is all about agendas and narratives. Facts are secondary to their kind.
Sir Adam the Great
May 21, 2019 @ 2:45 pm
Beside, they have more anti-Semitic cartoons to draw and publish.
May 21, 2019 @ 3:50 pm
Except the cartoon in question wasn’t drawn by a staffer. And the paper apologized for publishing the cartoon.
May 23, 2019 @ 1:33 pm
A lot of Jewish people probably read the NYT. A lot of country music fans probably do not. A large outcry from a certain large segment of readers might have gotten a correction in this case, but alas…
May 21, 2019 @ 9:40 am
In the past, the mainstream media seemed to answer to the people. In 2019, the mainstream media only answers to themselves. As more and more “blogger culture” seeps into mainstream outlets, replacing unbiased and fact-driven reporting with buzzwords and opinions, eyeballs and clicks become the only goal. The New York Times showed it cards a long time ago, and it became further cemented with the blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon they published recently.
May 21, 2019 @ 10:17 am
Small gripe, but his name is Ben Sisario, not Bob. Not sure if maybe that could have something to do with his lack of response to you reaching out?
May 21, 2019 @ 10:45 am
I reached out to Ben Sisario. Not sure how I got Bob switched with Ben in a few places here, but it happens. The most important thing is that I got it CORRECTED. We all make mistakes. How we deal with them is the measure of a man.
May 21, 2019 @ 10:20 am
A quote from the great Ace Venture…. “Ho, Ho, Hooooo, Fiction can be fun, but I find the reference section a little more enlightening.”
May 21, 2019 @ 10:26 am
and people wonder where the term “fake news” comes from. If there isn’t a real story, they will tweak the information to make a new story. Take this situation, add politics and then times it by a 1000, there you have the mainstream media in America. it’s not about information it’s about manipulation. I pretty much assume everything that I read or hear from mainstream media outlets is in some way designed to alter my perception of the world.
May 21, 2019 @ 11:13 am
Journalism is simply activism, now. When the mainstream media realized most young people were getting their “news” from the “Daily Show” (activism under the guise of satire – because that show, and others like it, could always claim it was simply “entertainment” not actual “journalism”) a decade ago, they changed their format to mimic it.
We have multiple generations now who can’t detect falsehoods or unprofessional, biased reporting in the media because that’s all they’ve ever known – and even if they suspect it, they’d never admit it. They actually support it. It feeds and reinforces their own biases.
May 21, 2019 @ 11:35 am
A study recently showed that Baby Boomers and older are the most likely to fall for fake news stories.
This issue has been percolating in the U.S. for a LONG time, way before The Daily Show became popular with Gen X and Millennials.
May 21, 2019 @ 12:58 pm
If that’s true, I’d theorize that boomers fall for fake news because they’re under the old-fashioned impression that mainstream journalism is entirely factual. There’s also a technology and culture gap where they’re probably more susceptible to falsehoods and scams online.
Either way, it seems there are no standards of conduct on integrity when delivering information via TV, radio, web, or print anymore – if there ever were. I get the distinct feeling it’s getting worse, and will continue to get worse far into the future.
May 21, 2019 @ 1:37 pm
Boomers have also been shown to share more (truly) fake news than younger generations. Part of it is a technology gap, but part of it is age makes some people more strident in their beliefs and less likely to shift their opinions, even in the face of overwhelming factual evidence.
It comes down to intellectual laziness. Lots of people, regardless of age, only want their opinion validated. Same here with this story. The New York Times audience largely wants to believe all Country fans are racist rednecks and this journalist gave them what they wanted.
Melody in Alabama
May 21, 2019 @ 2:18 pm
Baby boomer here. You can’t fall for what you don’t read. I gave up talk radio and network news years ago and am very selective about what I read and watch these days.
May 21, 2019 @ 4:13 pm
I generally try and stick to non-profit or publicly funded news sources. Such as ProPublica or PBS. Neither is perfect, but I find their coverage of events to be pretty fair and lacking the sensationalism associated with some other news entities. That’s harder to do for local news, but you do what you can.
Staying away from social media is the best choice. I get it’s hard for some people, but if you generally don’t care about randoms pictures of vacations or kids, it’s worth cutting out. Not everyone can do that, but Facebook and Twitter are both a succubus to society.
May 21, 2019 @ 5:12 pm
Not really, but please cling to your stereotypes.
King Honky Of Crackershire
May 21, 2019 @ 11:54 am
I’m going to assume that you’re not a complete moron, and that this is a rhetorical question.
May 21, 2019 @ 12:21 pm
Pretty sure it’s a rhetorical question aimed squarely at poking the bear. The bear being New York Times. The arrogance and stubbornness of NYT is astounding. Repeat the lie enough and people will believe it. Long gone are the days when journalism was held to standards and ethical practices.
We could all bombard the Times with complaints and demand a correction though. Might be fun.
May 21, 2019 @ 12:42 pm
Why won’t The New York Times correct false reporting?
Because The New York Times is…..(wait for it)…..FAKE NEWS!
May 21, 2019 @ 3:53 pm
Except it’s not.
May 22, 2019 @ 8:33 am
How can we know you’re not on the NYT payroll, Heyday?
May 22, 2019 @ 10:12 am
I’m not on the NYTimes’ payroll (been quoted in the Times, though…) but after four decades in journalism, I have plenty of friends who have been on the payroll. They are honest, hard-working, PROFESSIONAL people who are trying to do the best job they can in an increasingly antagonistic environment. They take their work — and their Constitutional franchise — very seriously. I am sick and tired of people who have never set foot in a newsroom and probably don’t even know a reporter or editor personally telling me that I am an “enemy of the people” or that the professionals I worked with are interested in nothing more than clicks and scandal. Those claims are laughable. And they are a sad commentary.
May 22, 2019 @ 2:42 pm
If they are professionals, then they need to correct the error exposed in this article. This isn’t just an issue of getting the record straight. Shane Morris is an extremely aggressive and dangerous individuals who has made specific death threats to people and threatened genocide on multiple fan bases. This guy should be banned from social media platforms, and meanwhile the most important newspaper in the world is giving him a platform. As someone who is a professional journalist, who has worked in newsrooms, I can say this is an abomination of journalism, and the fact that they refuse to correct the error is indefensible. If they don’t want to be chided as “fake news,” fix the error. Sane Morris was never an executive. That is FAKE. And in this instance, it could become a public safety matter by emboldening and adulating someone with very alarming patterns of behavior.
May 22, 2019 @ 9:17 pm
I have to agree with Trigger, if these people you know are working so hard to provide the truth then why have the quoted someone whose character is questionable at best and terrible at worst and used that person’s opinion as an example to prop up their argument? If Ben Sisario had spent more time doing research and coming to blogs like this one then he would have found what the actual issue at hand is, which is music that has no business calling itself country by artists that are not associated with the genre is winding up on top of the country music charts stopping artists who are actually country artists who’ve been working their butts off in Nashville for years from succeeding. Many country music fans have made numerous complaints about this to Billboard and it didn’t start with this one song, it’s been going on for a while now. Ben should have done more to clarify that Billboard are the ones whom decided to drop the song after receiving complaints that the song was country and shouldn’t be included on the charts, instead he’s made it into a race issue, which is simply not true, hence Triggers and many others frustration. Had Ben bothered to speak to people like Trigger than he’d have been told the issue is about non-country music encroaching on country music charts which is hurting real country music. Just do a simple search on this site for Bebe Rexha and you’ll find articles Trigger has done about Meant To Be which is another song that should never have been on the country charts and Billboard received lots of complaints about this. There is a growing level of push back from the country music side towards Billboard and what they are allowing to be classified as country. That’s what this all boils down to, it’s simply about the music nothing more. But your friends in the media have made it into this big race issue, why? If there was truth to it then fine, but I have been coming to this blog and others now to know it’s BS, I’ve seen the complaints about the non-country music and how country fans feel about it. If they take their job seriously they should be taking what they report on seriously which means getting it right and apologizing when getting it wrong and correcting their mistake. Trigger hit the nail on the head, Ben Sisario has made no move to correct the misinformation in the article or to point out his source wasn’t credible, nor has he mentioned that he left out a lot of black people’s contribution to country music that Trigger pointed out in his previous post on this. You don’t want people using Fake News then make sure you don’t give them a reason to, because in this case it applies.
May 23, 2019 @ 9:51 am
I can understand your frustration, Trigger, and like I said, I have no idea why they haven’t run a C&C or responded to your emails. That said, I respectfully have to take strong issue with your comment, “But there is a bad culture permeating all media right now where as long as you believe you’re on the right side of an issue, it’s okay to lie.” That just simply is NOT the case, and it is an insult to me and the good, honest and professional men and women I worked with. You’re taking your frustration over a couple of issues and inflating it into a damnable lie accusing an entire industry of unprofessional conduct. That’s where you lose me.
May 25, 2019 @ 12:47 pm
Except a great amount of your coworkers have been blatantly biased in their reporting. You can’t cry, “woe is me.” The news media dug their own grave.
May 23, 2019 @ 3:31 am
Trigger, of course The Times should correct inaccurate information. It actually has a very good record of doing that. I have no earthly idea why that hasn’t happened here. But my question to you is: Just who at The Times did you write to or speak with about the error? If you didn’t get a satisfactory response from the writer, did you notify his editor? Did you notify *that* editor’s supervisor? Did you notify The Times’ Reader Center? Don’t assume the paper’s editors are sitting around reading SCM, as good as it is. No newspaper wants to publish inaccurate information, and The Times has an admirable track record of correcting its errors. I don’t know Ben Sisario and I can assure you his reliance on social media like Twitter is NOT the norm and it should give any editor pause. Complain up the ladder until you get satisfaction or an explanation.
May 23, 2019 @ 9:04 am
I did reach out to Ben Sisario. I also sent an email to the editorial email address of the Times, just like I have done in all of the cases of inaccurate reporting over this Lil Nas X issue. I haven’t even received any acknowledgement, let alone a response. Posting an article about it to correct the public record was a last resort. As you can read below in this comments section, others have reached out as well. Nothing. They don’t care. To them, I’m just a blogger, and my noise is inconsequential compared to them (though they may be surprised at the size of my readership).
Also, this is not the first time The Times has refused to correct inaccurate reporting. In December of 2017, they irresponsibly misquoted Sturgill Simpson. I wrote a story about it and reached out to them, Sturgill posted publicly about it, and they did nothing to correct it. I wrote about it here:
I can’t speak for politics etc. because it’s not my beat. But in my experience, The New York Times seems to not care to correct their errors, and their reasoning appears to be “We are The New York Times.”
I have a lot of respect for The New York Times. When I was interviewed by them in 2012, it was a great honor, and I have all the times I’ve been mentioned or quoted in the paper linked on the site’s “About” page. But there is a bad culture permeating all media right now where as long as you believe you’re on the right side of an issue, it’s okay to lie. It’s not that they don’t know their Shane Morris reporting is inaccurate. It’s that they don’t care. That’s why no effort has been made to correct it.
May 21, 2019 @ 1:04 pm
Fake news groups are the enemy of the people.
May 21, 2019 @ 3:56 pm
Indeed they are. And while errors do make it into print, the NYTimes is NOT “fake news,” and I’m betting the paper has, over the years, contributed more to American society than you have. The people putting out the paper are not “enemies of the people.”
May 21, 2019 @ 9:13 pm
“…contributed more to American society than you have.” Well gee, I’d sure hope so, I’m just a guy with a computer.
May 21, 2019 @ 2:08 pm
Trigger it happens every day, the media blow up a story in which they suggest thousands of people are outraged over something totally PC when really it’s just a couple of people on twitter who have too much time on their hands. The media have become very good at making a mountain out of a molehill, not sure where real investigative journalism went. So many articles don’t even use proper grammar and have spelling mistakes, it’s just slack.
May 21, 2019 @ 4:19 pm
Its all driven by advertising revenue and the business model of news. Once upon a time, the networks didn’t view news as a moneymaker. That changed with Cable TV, CNN, Fox News, etc. The profit motive to sell ads, leads “journalists” to hunt or clicks or viewers by ramping up tribalism and division.
The only way this ever gets solved is by people learning to critically think and turning off news networks that traffic in these bad habits. I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
Melody in Alabama
May 21, 2019 @ 2:20 pm
It’s a lot sexier and gets you more readers to publish stories about an “ism” these days even if/when it’s false.
May 21, 2019 @ 3:02 pm
This isn’t even a song. It is basically a freaking MEME that took on a life of its own for some strange reason.
May 21, 2019 @ 3:03 pm
And heck, this is not even new. The Rappin’ Duke did this 35 years ago. And THAT song was even more country than this!!!
May 22, 2019 @ 7:39 am
I will happily go on record as saying I loved The Rappin’ Duke.
“Two hundred punks well whatcha gonna do
I got two six-shooters that’ll see me through
Well that’s 12 dead and 188 pallbearers…
Dah ha ha ha, dah ha ha ha ha ha.”
May 23, 2019 @ 8:22 am
I don’t think…that you’re wild
Well I’ll tell ya, pilgrim, I’m versatile…
ARETHA FRANKLIN, LET ME ROCK YA
LET ME ROCK YA, ‘RETHA FRANKLIN
LET ME ROCK YA, ‘RETHA FRANKLIN, THAT’S ALL I WANNA DO
May 22, 2019 @ 7:15 am
My kids are singing it cause they hear it on the school bus & at recess. It doesn’t mean they like it, just that it’s stuck in their heads. They will still pick sunny Sweeney 9 times outta 10. I try to expose my kids to good music so they can sift thru the bullshit and decide on their own this song is like a cat food jingle that you can’t shake.
Thanks again for doin what you do Trig
May 22, 2019 @ 8:21 am
They certainly should correct the record. I’m wondering if one of the reasons for them not doing so is they aren’t getting pressure from more powerful interests (i.e., Music Row)?
May 25, 2019 @ 1:24 pm
The corrections by the NYT can be a bizarre thing at times. They will hale some minor thing like ‘the victim was a resident of West Palm Beach not Palm Beach as earlier reported we apologize for the error’ but yet some major, major factual error will go uncorrected for sometimes years and then somebody will catch a correction upended to it all of a sudden.
I suspect it is as you say a powerful entity pressures them to correct something or in the Covington case lawsuits which led to lots of ass covering corrections.
Atomic Zombie Redneck
May 23, 2019 @ 8:19 am
I messaged the link to this article to Ben Sisario on Twitter, politely explaining the matter and asking him to read it.
It’s ridiculous that neither him nor anyone else from the NY Times has commented on this issue in any way whatsoever.
May 23, 2019 @ 9:05 am
They did a similar thing when they completely misquoted Sturgill Simpson in 2017. They just absolutely refused to acknowledge the issue.
May 24, 2019 @ 8:48 am
This comes to no big surprise that the NY times would quote someone like Shane Morris that jokes about the holocaust since it was the NY Times that virtually ignored the holocaust during WWII. Paper of record? What a joke!
May 25, 2019 @ 12:46 pm
The only difference between the New York Times and toilet paper is that toilet paper is more expensive.
May 26, 2019 @ 10:49 pm
1. NYT should correct the error, and it certainly sounds like it might be some lazy reporting here.
2. The Shane Morris quote you’re making such a fuss about is totally trivial and has no real affect on the article overall, and an identical quote could have easily been sourced from dozens of legit people instead of this guy. They could just omit the quote, as he didn’t really say anything.
3. Speaking as a big fan of SCM, I’d love to see you rethink (or at least drop) this whole Lil NasX argument, as you’re going to end up on the wrong side of this one, and it could damage a lot of the public credibility you’ve deservedly built up over years of hard work. A lot of your other hard-core fans will disagree with this, but I’m just saying that it would be a shame for your killer site to become a laughing stock to the “outside” world. You’ve worked hard to keep your site apolitical, but you walked into a bear trap here, and you’re in danger of getting forever lumped in with the “fake news” crowd. That may not be fair, but that’s how it is.
May 26, 2019 @ 10:57 pm
You might want to read the update:
And what The New Yorker is now saying about Shane Morris:
A lot of the opinions shared by Saving Country Music when it came to Shane Morris and Lil Nas X were validated spectacularly in the last 72 hours. I ate shit for six weeks and was screaming into a void about all of this. Now it’s The New York Times, NPR, and others that have the explaining to do.
“peaking as a big fan of SCM, I’d love to see you rethink (or at least drop) this whole Lil NasX argument, as you’re going to end up on the wrong side of this one”
I appreciate the concern, but I believe it’s will be the exact opposite. History will be very unkind to Lil Nas X, and how he was handled by the media. The spectacular downfall and cancellation of Shane Morris is just the beginning. Eventually it will all come tumbling down as the great American swindle it is.
May 26, 2019 @ 11:33 pm
Hey, that cool! I’m glad you’re helping to take down this POS Morris. Totally down with that. I’m just saying that his contribution to the NYT article was simply: “Shane Morris, a former record label executive in Nashville, thinks so. “They said there were compositional problems,” Mr. Morris said of Billboard’s chartmakers, “because they didn’t know how to justify it any other way without sounding completely racist.”
Point being, NYT should answer for their shitty sourcing on this, but nothing else in the article is affected here, and the more you go in on this as an Old Town Road story, the more you’re re-announcing your wedding engagement to an argument that I think you’re going later regret marrying. When politics and aesthetics get tangled up like this, it just sucks to accidentally become a political site after working so hard to not be that. In music history, this will be a novelty-song footnote, but culturally, I think it’s going to be a litmus test that people will remember. But shit, what do I know.
May 27, 2019 @ 8:31 am
My effort with the Lil Nas X story is to detangle the political quotient from the music, not vice versa. Granted, whenever you engage in that exercise, it’s often misunderstood as getting political because the nature of the work is having to broach inherently political subjects. But my coverage of Lil Nas X is extremely consistent with my efforts to say that the music space should be free of political acrimony. Political acrimony is one of the primary reasons Lil Nas X became a superstar.
Also, I don’t give a fuck about public perception. It’s my job to be honest and not worry about that stuff, and serve the public facts in an ever-increasingly fictional world. If that puts me on the wrong side of public perception, so be it. I’ve always played the long game here and trust that history will judge these events fairly.