Whose Fake Outrage Are We Faking Being Outraged About Today?

It's enough to make you angry


Not quite as boring as the game, but close.

Last night, during the annual televised Department of the Interior round-up and execution of wild horses (which took place in New Jersey this year for some odd reason), Coca-Cola premiered a new commercial that included: 1) part of "America the Beautiful" being sung in a language other than English; and 2) a family with two dads.

People being outraged about everything under the sun has been a theme on Twitter for a while. Media outlets hunting down the outrage and publicizing it as a relatively cheap way to score hits from people who like to be outraged about the outrage of other people followed not long after. For the Coca-Cola commercial, reaction tweets were posted at USA Today, E! Online, the Daily Mail, Talking Points Memo, Mediaite, and likely others.

In each case, a handful of tweets are intended to serve as evidence as some sort of widespread attitude among a certain demographic, which will then subsequently be used to judge a much larger group of people. Thus, we had the infamous MSNBC Cheerios tweet that assumed right-wingers would hate an advertisement that featured a biracial family.

But is there any substantive evidence that this outrage actually existed to a degree large enough to justify multiple media reports? It certainly doesn't seem like it, but man, aren't those easy stories to put together? Toss a few search terms on Twitter and you can find all sorts of opinions! Reporters can put together "man on the street" stories without ever even leaving their desks or actually interacting with any other human beings at all!

"Man on the Street" pieces were never all that interesting or useful to begin with, but at least it involved an actual person in an actual place who chose to share his or her opinions to a reporter for our evaluation. This nearly contextless sharing of random angry tweets illuminates even less. But it's good for stirring up a round of counteroutrage, isn't it? And that counteroutrage at some anonymous, undefined number of people behaving badly on the Internet makes some others feel more superior, doesn't it?

Below, the ad:

I am outraged by how utterly pedestrian it is. This could have been a Levi's ad five years ago. It could be advertising anything.