Fairly reporting Eminem’s ‘F-bombs’


Everyone knows there are the seven deadly words you cannot say on air. These are typically the words you emphasize, the words you use at the end of an argument, the words for which your mother would wash your mouth out.

This past Veteran’s Day, I tuned into HBO to watch the Concert for Valor — a concert held in the National Mall with a big crowd and an even bigger lineup of familiar voices.

After a little bit of “Born in the USA” from Bruce Springsteen and “America the Beautiful” from Zac Brown Band, the concert (the first of its kind) closed with a “Happy Motherf—-ng Veteran’s Day!” from the one and only Eminen.

He dropped more f-bombs than Times Square has dropped the ball. According to a source from USA Today, the count added up to more than 55. Gutsy for an event held in commemoration of our country’s heroes and in celebration of all that they have done. Obscene for a crowd whose ages and interests all varied greatly. But then again, it’s HBO. HBO is notorious for its laissez-faire approach towards censorship.

However, unlike the usual, the channel allowed its cable operators to open the signal — broadening its audience potentially from 30 to 70 million viewers at home who do not subscribe to it.

In a poll on Entertain This!, 51 percent said that the show was fine and represented our emphasis on free speech while 49 percent just said it wasn’t the right venue for that kind of performance.

Social media have lit up in response to this cursing which naturally has made it all the social craze on the media.

Most tweets read disappointment:

“Turning off HBO after all the swearing coming out of EMINEM..they cld have put him on later..after kids like myself have gone to sleep,” from Najat Dawaji.

“Pretty strange to hear Eminem swearing up a storm as the grand finale to thank our vets. So much anger and hostility is those F-bombs,” from Ace Hoffman.

“With the gun shot effects, swearing, lyrics, I don’t think Eminem was the best choice for #ConcertForValor…” from @VTJawo.

Through all of this, the media have rightfully remained unbiased in their publications — something to admire. With each major news source pumping out the same story, I have half expected one of the reporters to slip and show his or her true colors.

Blog post after blog post, I have criticized or critiqued the reporting of our day — either calling into question issues such as media blackouts, bias or hype. Fair reporting is not entirely a lost art, however. And in this case, with a topic that could easily ignite high emotions, the media has responsibly remained impartial.

To read more on USA Today, follow the link: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2014/11/12/eminem-f-bombs-concert-for-valor-hbo-controversy/18901983/.