Barstool media lacks ethics


Joseph Living

There are no words that are
too harsh for the internet, and
nobody is going to be emailing
the FCC because a blogger said
something they didn’t like. These
principles of creative freedom
are important for the growth of
society, but also leave room for
the manipulation of information,
especially on social media.

Barstool Sports is without a
doubt a social media empire that

has gained fame for its frat boy attitude and general lack of regard

for the principles that ought to
define a news agency. Founded
by the exuberant, larger than life

character David Portnoy, a graduate of the University of Michigan, the main Barstool Instagram

page as of May 2018 sits at a cool
4.5 million followers.

Although Barstool has an independent website, many college

students view their articles, videos and other various forms of

media through their social media

accounts. Barstool for many colleges and universities have specific social media accounts, including Instagram and Twitter pages

for NMU.

Unlike any other media company out there, they have monetized the ghosts that have lurked

the pages of Facebook and Twitter since the beginning and tied

them all together; the ghosts of
college party culture.

Ever since Animal House came
out in the 70s, and I’m sure well
before that, learning is not the
only thing that has been culturally
associated with higher education.

Stories of wild frat parties and
drinking tales have found their
way into the fabric of our society,

and subsequently end up on social media.

Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with that, assuming laws have been followed and

it’s all in good fun. However, its
constant flow onto social media
has drawn massive following for

Barstool as they blatantly encourage this behavior through their

social media.

Barstool encourages specific
products like Juul e-cigarettes,
Four Lokos, and the video game
Fortnite across many of their

various accounts. This is accomplished through selectively

posting user submitted videos,

giving the appearance of a legitimate social trend over shameless


This does not fall under the

definition of subliminal advertising because they are not the ones

creating the content, but can specifically publishing content with

an agenda be considered ethical

practice? Having placed themselves as the defacto authority

on what everyone thinks college

should be, they are in a particularly unique position to influence

that very culture.

By singling out products,

whether it be for advertising purposes or not, they are stepping out

of the traditional mold that news
agencies have always filled and
having legitimate effect on society
through their own influence. All
news agencies have their leanings
whether it be political, or in this
case satirical, but the truth must

always be found in the lines before the opinion.

I personally do enjoy Barstool.

My friends send me their Instagram videos and I read their articles on a regular basis. I think

the idea behind them is a good
one with a sound platform that
has obviously been successful,

and with the rise of social media in the last 15 years was an


But the idea that a company
can influence culture on such a

massive scale is terrifying, and although Barstool does it for some

laughs, it is symbolic of an influential, dark and dangerous path

that could be potentially taken by
that of modern journalism.