As 2017 came to an end, I vowed to not let ignorance take up too much residence in my mind. Yet here we are. After all we had to deal with in the media realm in 2017, Newsweek is gonna pop off the year by tweeting a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a casket with the caption, “Has anyone seen my old friend Martin?” Who cosigned this travesty? I want to know who the under the white cloth racist is that really thought that it was appropriate to tweet this out?
Let me backup and give you the story. The Newsweek Twitter account was attempting to promote it’s article on notable anniversaries in 2018. The article just so happens to be called “Has Anyone Seen My Friend Martin” and features a section highlighting 50th anniversaries of the assassinations of Dr. King and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. One of Newsweek’s social media administrators thought it would be a great idea to share a chilling photo of the great Dr. King in his casket on Twitter to gather attention for the article. Well, it worked but not the way Newsweek wanted.
They immediately faced backlash for the tweet and Black Twitter roasted them back into 2017! I just want to know who thought this would be a bright idea to kick off the new year and lead us into MLK day? Let me show you how I know this was done intentionally and not “an egregious error” like Newsweek would like for you to believe. I write articles and I market my articles on social media! The goal of social media marketing is to get to most attention on what you post that hopefully will turn into clicks for your content. Newsweek author James M. Linsey worked that formula perfectly!
Let’s look at the title “Have You Seen My Old Friend Martin”. The title was borrowed from a song called “Abraham, Martin and John” from rock musician Dion DiMucci, released in 1968. DiMucci wrote the song in response to the assassinations of both Dr. King and John F. Kennedy. In the context of what’s in the article it works. But, that’s not even the name of the song! It’s merely a sentence from one verse of the song.
Anybody here seen my old friend Martin?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed lotta people but it seems the good they die young
I just looked around and he’s gone
Now, let’s look at the article. Let’s just give you the other nine top ten anniversaries that they decided to highlight.
- 25th Anniversary of the European Single Market, January 1, 1993
- 150th Anniversary of the Meiji Restoration, January 3, 1868
- Centennial of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points Speech, January 8, 1918
- 50th Anniversary of the Tet Offensive, January 30, 1968
- Centennial of the Spanish Influenza Outbreak, March 11, 1918
- 75th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, April 19, 1943
- 50th Anniversary of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Opening for Signature, July 1, 1968
- 50th Anniversary of the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia, August 20, 1968
- Centennial of the Armistice to End World War I, November 11, 1918
Although these indeed are significant points in history, I doubt my timeline is gonna be jumping with people saying “Today was the anniversary of the European Single Market you guys!” Linsey and Newsweek new exactly what they were doing with making the Assassination of Dr. King the most notable anniversary they were highlighting. They knew even down to the picture!
Newsweek should be ashamed of itself to stoop this low to sell their article. I expect more from a whole corporate news organization but I was wrong. As media outlets and media personalities, we all need to do better in this new year about reporting the facts and nurturing the sensitivity of our readers. If we don’t, we deserve all the critique and bashing that comes our way.
Follow HBCU Pulse on: