The AP Mistakes Roland Martin’s Ascots For A Serious News Story, Writes Feature


The Associated Press, one of the most respected journalistic enterprises in the world, has put the might of its reputation and all its resources behind a cutting-edge, breathtaking exposé on… Roland Martin‘s ascots. The CNN commentator, who captivated the writers of the Daily Show and recruited colleague Rick Sanchez into the ascot revolution, is the focus of an AP report entitled “Ascot Ascendant? Martin Eyes Neckwear Comeback”, and it is unclear from the tone whether the author is aware that he is not writing a serious story.

Here is how the article begins, with all the gravitas of an eyewitness report from the frontlines in Afghanistan:

Roland Martin is talking revolution in this buttoned-down town.

“We’re going to do this one by one, person by person, block by block,” the talk show host and TV personality says.

Martin’s revolution has nothing to do with health care, bank bailouts or federal spending. It’s all about the lush puff of maroon silk underneath his chin.

An ascot …

Once the proud mark of an aristocrat, now an act of rebellion inside the Beltway.

Author Henry Jackson tries to inject some humor into the piece to prove he, too, finds the phenomenon hilarious– and maybe he does!– but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he actually did research “on the ground” in Washington, DC, searching for a guide to public opinion on Martin’s curious neckwear. He interviews DC professionals for a response to the ascot (the reaction is mixed) and even visited a proper neckwear shop to get an expert’s opinion.

Which brings us to an interesting crossroad in media– and specifically, internet– history: if the AP is aware of a meme, but treats it as a serious news story, has the meme jumped the shark? Is the AP capable of writing a story without inherently making it an important national issue? And what do we have to do, as responsible American citizens who love our country, to stop the growing tide of what was once an amusing cable news sideshow that has now become a monster all its own? Given that Martin has already hinted that he’s interested in going into the neckwear design business himself, this is probably just the beginning of what will inevitably be a entire segment’s worth of VH1’s I Love The 2010s.

[Photo courtesy of Roland Martin’s Ascot Care Package To Jon Stewart On]

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