October 22, 2020

‘One time’ blunder batters Bieber

You think you’re upset about Rolling Stone’s misprint? Bieber’s got you beat. (AP Photo)

Since when does crooning “baby, baby, baby” during the chorus of his hit song constitute Justin Bieber as an expert in reproductive rights?

Apparently Rolling Stone saw abortion as a fitting topic to explore in a heated interview with the heartthrob.

The magazine recently posted an excerpt from this discussion on their website but a chunk of his quotation was missing, because the person transcribing it “accidentally” excluded a vital part of his verbatim.

When asked about abortion in the case of rape or incest, which is undeniably a touchy topic, he was quoted on the website as saying, “Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.”

There was no insert of an ellipsis to indicate any words were missing, and many mistook what he meant — myself included.

As it turns out, Rolling Stone later reported that the full quote, which will appear on newsstands March 3, reads, “Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don’t know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.”

The quote’s entire tone changes with the additional line. Yet because it was already printed on the site, it’s too late to fully fix the mistake.

As a journalism major with a women’s and gender studies minor, I am torn about how I feel. While my inner feminist would be quick to condemn him for such a statement, I can’t help but feel pity for him, since he was misquoted.

When I initially heard he said this, I was disgusted.

To make such a blanket statement, basically saying that these atrocities to womankind “happen for a reason,” as if some deserved fate, is egregious — yes, egregious. (That’s the one adjective my high school English teacher taught us to reserve only for extreme cases of repulsion).

And to say he “guesses” he hasn’t been in that position is simply silly. As a member of the male population, of course he himself will never be in the position where he must decide whether or not to carry out a pregnancy conceived in his body as the result of rape or incest. It’s physically impossible.

While I’ll admit the additional line in the amended quote does not, in my eyes, make it much better, it indeed makes a difference in his sentiments.

Whether it was a publicity stunt meant to draw attention to the magazine, or really was a mistake, thorough checks should be made before anything is posted to a news source, especially such a well-known one.

I’ll admit I’ve made my share of typos — just last week for example — yet never anything as detrimental as the Bieber remarks.

This is reminiscent of the false reports that congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had died, when she was, in fact, alive.

The Justin Bieber matter is different since it’s not a matter of life or death … Or is it?

He was also initially quoted as saying, ‘“I really don’t believe in abortion. It’s like killing a baby?”’

This was corrected to: “I really don’t believe in abortion. I think [an embryo] is a human. It’s like killing a baby.”

Why the change from a question mark to a definitive period? Why do such little changes make such a difference? More importantly, why are we making such a big deal about what a teenage boy has to say?

After all, music is his forte, not politics.

— Jamie Primeau

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