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How the Gossip Sites Get the News Wrong

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

This week has been eventful for You Sing, I Write. My friend and colleague over at Seventeen Magazine alerted me to Perez Hilton’s latest “scoop” on Boys Like Girls frontman Martin Johnson crushing on Taylor Swift. At first I thought, “Cool. He must have read my article.” But after reading his post I realized, Perez didn’t just read my interview — he PLAGIARIZED it.

After doing some digging, a friend alerted me to an article from OK! Magazine. It seems they developed the false story a few days ago to which Perez then picked up. Neither cited my original article and both were inaccurate with their quotes.

You see, it’d be one thing to exaggerate an article. Let’s face it, we all know none of the gossip sites are actually factual. But to completely steal someone’s work and not even attribute the quotes correctly is unprofessional and just plain sloppy. Both OK! and Perez claim Johnson said, “Taylor Swift is the perfect human being. She’s great. She’s such a nice, wholehearted, sweet girl, and she’s the biggest superstar in the world. My mom would be stoked if I brought her home.”

If you read my interview with the band from Jingle Ball, he never said this. Drummer John Keefe did. I wish this was the end of the debacle. Sadly, it isn’t. Turns out Johnson’s mom died after her battle with cancer a few years back. His fans took to Perez’s site to sling insults while Johnson simply tweeted “perez needs to check his sources.” and later, “obviously 100% of the american male population has a crush on taylor, but unfortunately I don’t have a mom to bring her home to.”

At the end of the day, this was a learning experience. And, while suing Perez Hilton and OK! Magazine isn’t realistic, I’m proud that I know enough about plagiarism and fact checking and came out the reliable source. Whoever says blogs aren’t the place to get the latest news must not be reading You Sing, I Write!

My request for all those gossip sites: get your facts straight and give credit where credit is due.

What are your thoughts? Do you read gossip sites to get music news? How would you have reacted in this situation?

Related Links:
Q&A; with Boys Like Girls
Q&A; with Taylor Swift
Hundreds of Fans Camp Out to Meet Taylor Swift
CMA 2009: Six Artists To Watch

2 replies on “How the Gossip Sites Get the News Wrong”

Perez has been slipping for a while now. He hasn't scooped anyone in months. He's too busy trying to be liked by the very people he trashes. He should write a formal apology to Johnson. Granted, it wasn't the worst accusation–liking Taylor–but the reference to his mom was irresponsible.

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