Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Bogus Arizona Tea Boycott: It's Not the Internet's Fault

Based on the twitterings of an enigmatic Twitter member, some folks think there's a real boycott of Arizona Iced Tea in the wake of the state of Arizona's ill-advised immigration law. Yes, some people are boycotting Arizona's baseball team and Arizona tourism, but what does that have to do with AriZona Tea?

This story has been reported more or less as being a problem of stupidity because the Arizona Beverage Company, producers of the bottled and canned tea, is located in New York, nowhere near the state of Arizona. The bigger problem, in my opinion, is that the so-called tea boycott was ever reported as news at all.

There was no boycott from what I can see, just a New York Daily News reporter who doesn't understand Twitter. (As of 9:32 a.m. Thursday morning, this has been confirmed. No boycott. Just joking.)

So, is this misunderstanding the fault of Twitter joker Travis Nichols who twittered the following on Tuesday.
I think we should all also boycott Arizona Iced Tea because it is the drink of fascists.
Or is this potentially harmful misunderstanding more the fault of Helen Kennedy's misleading story at the New York Daily News? Kennedy used that Nichols tweet and one other tweet by Twitter member Jody_Beth to declare opponents of the Arizona immigration law had called for a boycott of the Arizona Iced Tea brand.

I mean, come on, Jody_Beth has only 345 followers, and Nichols has a meager 69. Nevertheless, I may have to follow Nichols on Twitter myself because he tweeted earlier tonight these gems:
The drug of fascists? Oxycontin! #thedrinkoffascists

The movie of fascists? Rush Hour 3. #thedrinkoffascists.
And I really love another of his tweets that was included in the New York Times post on the hyped boycott issue.
Though lizards don’t have lips, the stewardess had what can only be described as lizard lips. Explain that one, Darwin!
The Lede blogger at the NYT, Robert Mackey, also writes that he tried to reach Nichols, who is a contributor at The Believer, at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago. So, is this Nichols some kind of tweeting poetic comic? (He's an editor at the Poetry Foundation.) According to his website, he's a novelist, and I'm impressed by his wit. He's too young for me, but surely I am in love with him. He's so wacky, and sometimes writes at the Huffington Post.

Whatever Nichols's power or the lack thereof, this tweet-inspired potential boycott bothered the New York-based Arizona Beverage Company enough to make it issue a statement distancing itself from the state of Arizona and its crazy law. Some companies, perhaps, fear the Twitter gods. Others, not so much.

You know, if Helen Kennedy were a mommy blogger and not a staff reporter at the New York Daily News, someone probably would have suggested by now that she may have received an incentive to create this tempest in a tea pot. I find nothing about Arizona Tea trending on Twitter. So, was there ever any real threat to the company?

I first saw this story on the Huffington Post, but it was just an AP brief. The New York Times has much better story.


Pamela Lyn said...

Thanks for posting this. Whoopi Goldberg also gave this story legs by mentioning yesterday on The View. Oh, how rumors start.

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

Thanks for sharing that Pam. Makes me think of the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast, not as dramatic though. :-)

Deb said...

Unbelievable. When MSM misrepresents, they STILL say it is social media's fault. It is an interesting case study, though.