On March 1, 2017 the USA Today Network published an article titled, “Artist Victor-Hugo Vaca Jr. creates ‘a diary of the world on canvas’”. Five days later, boosting the decline of public trust in news media, as noted in a recent Gallup Poll, editors at a USA Today publication used subtle-censorship to openly corrupt a factual header, in favor of a glaringly fake-news headline, to downplay a unique story about modern-art-gonzo-journalism and the Modern Art Music Movement (MAMM). The trending internet article, by journalist Lisa Conley, about the curious career of the Maverick Artist Victor-Hugo, was printed in the Sunday March 5, 2017, Naples Daily Newspaper, under the headline, “Artist creates, ‘a diary of the world on canvas'”, after premiering globally on the USA Today Network, on the same day that Democratic Congressman, Cedric Richmond, uttered a crude, gang-rape, sex-joke about the Counselor to President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, at The Washington Press Club Foundation’s Annual Congressional Dinner.
“Between the famous name, the Naval Academy, “Crackhead Jesus” and Pink Floyd, Victor-Hugo Vaca Jr.’s story has everything.“: The caption read, as the article quickly caught public interest and was picked up over the next five days by several mainstream media news outlets across America including: The Tennessean, The Naples Daily News and The Marco Eagle.
As Lisa Conley’s article gained readers and momentum in shares, on social media networks, like Facebook and LinkedIn, the real news headline was abruptly changed, to a fake-news internet headline, by USA Today editors, without explanation.
The nonsensical caption negatively impacts search algorithms and serves to stunt the stories reach. Students of art movements and human history, are left confused, rather than informed, when using Google, Bing and other information gathering resources on the internet, to research the United States Naval Academy trained, New York born, Hispanic, multi-media artist, Victor-Hugo Vaca Jr., who is better known by his stage name, Maverick Artist Victor-Hugo, when performing as part of the Modern Art Music Movement (MAMM), to raise money for charity and education scholarships, as well as elevate awareness about under-reported social issues, such as waning public trust in news media, at public events, like, Wet Paint Live, in Marco Island, Florida, as reported, in the USA Today Network article by Lisa Conley.
Victor-Hugo Vaca Jr. is listed in The Library Of Congress amongst some of the most influential artists in modern history, including The Beastie Boys, Shepard Fairey and The Wu Tang Clan, in the University/College reference book, by D.B. Burkeman, titled, “Stickers: From Punk Rock To Contemporary Art”. The Maverick Artist Victor-Hugo is known to no one in the entertainment industry or in his private life as, Vaca.
The headline “Marco visitor Vaca paints to create ‘diary of the world on canvas'” begs the questions: “If a USA Today journalist goes to Syria on assignment, would USA Today editors say the reporters are visiting or working to gather useful news and information for public consumption and if the artist Willie Nelson performs in Naples, will the Naples News headline read, “Nelson Visits Naples”?
The same week, USA Today Editors, corrupted truth with false narrative, a story headlined, “Willie Nelson at Artis-Naples” was published in The Naples Daily News. The Naples News editors, who inexplicably chose to burden Conley’s work with a fake news headline, were then asked: “Would the headline for a performance by Lady Gaga, Sting or Cher in Marco Island read; “Marco Visitor [Whatever Lady Gaga, Sting, or Cher’s Last Name is] Sings Songs About Life”?
According to USA Today Network editors, when asked to provide an explanation for this betrayal of public trust and answer why they chose to surreptitiously alter a fact based headline in favor of heralding a grossly misleading caption as truth for subscribers, the following statement was provided:
“We used the phrase Marco visitor because we try to emphasize local angles in headlines to distinguish our local stories from all of the state, nation and world stories available on our website and others. We used just his last name in the headline because that is standard practice in American journalism to keep headlines shorter and thus more readable. It’s not standard practice to put Jr. in a headline unless necessary to distinguish someone from his father. In this case, that wasn’t necessary because few of our readers would think of his father.”
It is curious, to say the least, that the USA Today Network would choose to bury a story about modern-art-gonzo-journalism, by purposefully changing the title to mislead algorithms and search engines, at the height of public interest. USA Today editors, using archaic, truth-defying-standards, appear to rationalize the perpetuation of false narratives, through fake news headlines, as a way of dumbing down the public. It is no wonder that smart readers have fled, in hordes, from subscribing to the poetic-misinformation peddled by newspapers.
On October 29, 2010, The Palm Beach Post used subtle-censorship in the form of nine question marks, ?????????, to corrupt the title of the award-winning film, “Crackhead Jesus: The Movie”; a film written, produced and directed by Victor-Hugo Vaca Jr., as part of the 2010 Delray Beach Film Festival 72-Hour Movie-Making Competition.
When the 72-Hour Film Competition winner was screened alongside cult classic films, “Pink Floyd’s: The Wall” and Stanley Kubrick’s, “A Clockwork Orange”, in Lake Worth, Florida, as part of the Halloween Modern Art Music Movement Midnight Cult Movie MAMM Jam, the fake Palm Beach Post movie listing caused needless confusion for subscribers in the surrounding community and realized lost revenue for the theater owner and event producers.
To the credit of USA Today publications, though editors chose to stifle proliferation of the story of modern-art-gonzo-journalism on the internet, with a fake news headline, they did not censor, in print newspaper or on the internet, the contentious name of the title character, Crackhead Jesus, from the controversial, award-winning film, inspired by court documented events.
To credit USA Today publication editors at the Naples Daily News, which claims an audience of 70,995 Sunday and 60,232 daily, they did not use a fake news headline in the print newspaper version of Lisa Conley’s article, published on March 5th, 2010.
Modern-art-gonzo-journalism serves as a bridge between art and journalism, to help people understand the other side of the story, by seeing past the truth, through the Modern Art Music Movement (MAMM).
As newspapers struggle to stay relevant, it is only a matter of time before fake news headlines on websites perpetuated in big, bold letters and words, that ultimately mean nothing and only serve to confuse facts, will consume public trust and further alienate a growing skeptical internet audience.
The question for editors at USA Today remains the same: “Will the headline, ‘Willie Nelson at Artis-Naples’ eventually be changed to read, “Nelson Visits Naples” and will a performance by Lady Gaga, Sting or Cher in Marco Island receive the headlines, “Marco Visitor [Whatever Lady Gaga, Sting, or Cher’s Last Name Is] Sings Songs About Life”?
“Subtle censorship is a slippery slope, filled with false narratives that create fake news and collapse public trust in news media outlets.” -Maverick Artist Victor Hugo Vaca Jr.