Elle magazine published a tweet earlier Thursday suggesting to readers, falsely, that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are breaking up.
When readers clicked through, they didn't get the salacious details about the fictional split up between the two celebrities, but rather, a lecture:
So far in the primaries, women have beat long-time incumbents and created historic races, all while redefining what it looks like to be a woman in politics. And now you have the opportunity to vote for them, or whomever you choose, in the midterm elections. No matter your party or your state, it’s more essential than ever to make your voice heard. Take a few minutes to complete the form below, and be sure to cast your vote on Nov. 6.
Of course, the deadline to register to vote has passed in roughly half of U.S. states, but Elle provides little of this information up front, merely offering a link to left-leaning voter registration group Rock the Vote for those thinking of registering to vote 19 days out to find out their fate.
But while registering to vote is a civic good, there are bad methods to achieve good ends. Elle appears to be mimicking a successful viral tweet (also a sort of fake news) by a private citizen from a few days earlier. Imitation may be a sincere form a flattery, maybe not for a publication.
Lying to readers and knowingly peddling actual fake news in an attempt to con them into considering registering to vote demeans voters, demeans democracy, and demeans the media.
We should all be better than that. And if we're not, then snookering a few extra people into registering to vote isn't going to fix things.