Bronies In The News: Weekly Standard’s Unprofessional Coverage

Weekly Standard

It’s rare to find any objective coverage of Bronies in the news media. Many portrayals of Bronies in the news, even by so-called “professional” organizations, are pieces so slanted and outrageous that they defy principles of journalistic integrity. As a news site which prides itself in journalistic standards, we here at FiMFandom find this to be unfortunate.

An article about BronyCon and Bronies, written by senior writer Matt Labash, appears in the Weekly Standard’s August 26th issue. Rather than simply being written in a snide or sarcastic tone, it actually accuses Bronies of being part of the “downfall of civilization.”

The article, called “The Dread Pony,” goes on to engage in rabid sensationalism and speculation, despite the fact that Matt Labash is a self-proclaimed journalist.

This smug writing has the audacity to call itself an “article” rather than an “editorial.” It is included in the articles section even though the Weekly Standard has a section for editorials. However, after reading it, it’s clear that the Weekly Standard needs a new section for “incoherent babbling” and “unfounded denigration.”

Here are some choice quotes from “The Dread Pony.”

“In the near future, historians will struggle to locate the precise moment when civilization’s wheels finally, irretrievably came off… I’ll mark the day as having occurred… when, standing in the concourse of the Baltimore Convention Center, I watch grown men with problem skin and five o’clock shadows prance around in pony ears…”

Oh, so I guess nuclear war, an asteroid collision, or a plague won’t do humanity in… colorful ponies will. Also, nice past/present tense mixup with “having occurred” and “watch.”

“A fourth generation of MLP debuted in 2010 on the Hub, a cable network co-owned by toymaker Hasbro, who thought it a keen idea to program a slate of low-quality cartoons (like Pound Puppies and Transformers: Prime) to help hawk toy lines to susceptible children.”

I guess Mr. Labash wouldn’t want anyone to think that the neo-conservative Weekly Standard supports free market capitalism or American corporations trying to make a profit. I don’t care what side of the political spectrum you fall on, but I at least ask you to be self-consistent. Also, I ask that if you wish to critique cartoons, you have a basic understanding of them, which Mr. Labash clearly does not.

“Much has been written about the infantilization of the American male, which for a change is not media hype.”

Given your downfall of civilization remarks, I don’t think you’re one to judge what is and isn’t hype, Mr. Labash.

“But Bronies represent a novel variation on the theme: Like so many American men, they wish to be forever suspended in childhood. Except this time, they want to be 6-year-old girls.”

That’s as unfounded of an assumption as “If you dislike President Obama, you must be racist,” or “If you call yourself a journalist, you must stick to provable facts.” Wait a minute… that second one is actually true.

Matt Labash, so-called "journalist."

Matt Labash

“To defuse a few common Brony stereotypes straightaway, despite their fascination with pastel talking ponies, there’s no evidence that Bronies are mostly gay or pedophiles.”

Oh, so Mr. Labash is going to defuse stereotypes about the bronies who all wish to be little girls?

“Indeed, there are hardly any children at BronyCon. When I encounter one dad who’s brought his 6- and 12-year-old daughters, the latter says she finds all the older male fans ‘creepy.’”

Ironic that Mr. Labash, who didn’t seem to value little girls’ opinions when it comes to what “low-quality cartoons” they like to watch, and who attempted to demean bronies by asserting that they all want to be little girls (as if little girls are somehow inferior), so eagerly quotes one when she just so happens to support his opinion.

“[Sergeant Jacob Hughes] seems sincere and well-meaning, so I don’t want to harsh his Pinkie Pie mellow. But the Care Bears are wholesome and innocent, too. Yet you don’t see Army drill sergeants traipsing around in Funshine Bear costumes​—​at least not as of this writing.”

So what if they were? I guess Mr. Labash would have a conniption fit. You can read about Mr. Hughes’ experience interviewing with Matt Labash here. His favorite pony is Applejack, by the way.
http://www.fimfiction.net/blog/196729/how-i-learned-to-stop-having-faith-in-humanity-and-hate-the-media

The rest of the article is coverage of Mr. Labash’s experiences at BronyCon, which he (mostly) refrains from injecting his opinions into, until the very end when he makes sure to point out for the umpteenth time that Bronies are somehow mentally deranged:

“Since I’m not sure Justin has ever been outdoors before​—​between his My Little Pony-viewing marathons and whatever other entertainments are being hatched in the misfiring synapses of the hive mind​—​I’m guessing he has much to learn.”

And you, sir, have much to learn about journalism. There is a clear distinction between reporting facts and reporting opinions, and this “article” is low on facts and high on opinion.

It’s not like unbiased articles on the MLP fandom have never been written. I will link to two examples of Bronies in the news in which the news organization maintained journalistic integrity.

If you so desire, you can read Mr. Labash’s article “The Dread Pony” here.
http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/dread-pony_748495.html?page=3

But, if you would rather read an unbiased article written objectively…

There is one here in the Colorado Springs Gazette about military Bronies.
http://gazette.com/fort-carson-bronies-combine-childhood-whimsy-with-military-duty/article/1503485

Another good article of Bronies in the news. This one is about BronyCon and appeared in the Baltimore Sun.
http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-08-02/entertainment/bs-ae-brony-culture-20130730_1_little-pony-bronycon-2013-tv-show

If he wishes to continue calling himself a journalist, Mr. Labash should really take a page from them in how to write professionally and objectively.

Do we need to see better portrayals of Bronies in the news? Leave a comment!

2 comments

  1. Kendra says:

    Very good points in a well written article.

  2. Mr._Fruit_Bay says:

    I love it when people think that their opinions matter.

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