's attempt to start a legitimate conversation and interest in its controversial cover story titled “Muslim Rage” is backfiring.
The magazine, which is trying to reinvent itself amid struggling circulations numbers, wanted to hear readers’ reactions to its controversial story, and earlier Monday it tweeted
“Want to discuss our latest cover? Let's hear it with the hashtag:#MuslimRage.”
What followed over the better part of the day was nothing short of amazing—a hilarious response to the magazine’s attempt to draw eyeballs by provoking fury.
However, social media users took hold of the hashtag and made it their own, turning Newsweek’s Twitter conversation into a free for all, renewing hope in humanity’s sense of humor. As one tweet
said, “Muslims just hijacked @Newsweek
's hashtag. Pun intended. #MuslimRage
The thousands of responses to Newsweek
's post include:
• Lost nephew at the airport but cant yell for him because his name is Jihad. #MuslimRage
• When your scarf is not exactly the right shade of blue #MuslimRage
• I'm having such a good hair day. No one even knows. #MuslimRage (Retweeted more than 2,300 times)
• Using ur iPhone to tweet "boycott USA!" #MuslimRage
• I have been more socially active than ever and yet, @Klout tells me that my score has went down! #MuslimRage
• When a "female assist" is called before I even walk through the metal detector. #muslimrage
There's a site devoted to the meme here
Media critic Jeff Jarvis
's cover made the magazine akin to an Internet “troll” by writing inflammatory comments intended to provoke, instead of inform: “Best way to deal with trolls: Silence. Second-best: mockery, e.g., #muslimrage.”
Or as one tweet put it
: “Welcome to the new digital age @Newsweek. Your attempts to use #MuslimRage to discuss your foul cover has become funniest joke on twitter.”
Gil Rudawsky is a former reporter and editor. He heads up the crisis communication and issues management practice at GroundFloor Media in Denver. Read his blog or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.