Us Weekly Profits From Fake Kendall Jenner Interview
UPDATE: After Gossip Cop published this story, Us Weekly issued a retraction for its fake Kendall Jenner interview. We have retained the screenshot at right to illustrate our story because, at some point, the magazine will undoubtedly and quietly remove its egregious error.
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Us Weekly won. That’s the lesson from Wednesday, when the magazine published completely fabricated “quotes” from Kendall Jenner, didn’t seem to care that the quotes had been made up, never offered a correction or apology for publishing made-up quotes, and happily left the story online so it could continue to be shared tens of thousands of times on social media and generate advertising revenue.
Gossip Cop was the first outlet to confirm with Jenner’s camp that she had NEVER spoken to Us Weekly and that the interview was fake. Shortly thereafter, Jenner herself took Us Weekly to task on Twitter, saying the magazine had made up the interview. Dozens of outlets picked up the Gossip Cop report and Jenner’s tweets, which is a great. The public record, so to speak, now shows that the interview never happened, and that Jenner never specifically commented on her father’s gender transition, despite the phony Us Weekly scoop. Every day, Gossip Cop tries to wipe out wrong rumors, and in this case, the debunking got a lot of traction.
But the bad journalism still paid off in business terms for Us Weekly. “Exclusive: Kendall Jenner Breaks Silence on Bruce Jenner’s Transition: ‘I Will Always Love My Dad'” is still on the magazine’s website (see above). (The byline, conveniently, just says “Us Weekly Staff,” so it’s impossible to find out from any one reporter where the fake quotes originated.) The outlet is still treating the fiction as news, and the phony quotes are still being circulated in some places as though they’re real. And Us Weekly, which is usually a lot more scrupulous and careful than other newsstand tabloids, is profiting.
Gossip Cop has been at this long enough to know that sensationalism will almost always get more traffic than the truth, and that people are inclined to believe what magazines tell them, no matter how false. We’re not surprised when tabloids make up stories in order to claim “exclusives.” But it’s beyond frustrating that a place like Us Weekly is refusing to acknowledge a fundamental lapse in judgment, choosing instead to exploit it for as long as possible. That’s how the Internet and the celebrity gossip mill operate way, way too often in 2015. You don’t win by being responsible. You don’t win by being accurate. You win by being seen.