In less than a day after Tom Daley comes out the Huffington Post runs with this story: 20 Disgusting Homophobic Tweets In Response To Tom Daley Coming Out. It’s completely sensationalized post to drive traffic to the site. The truth is the vast majority of the feedback Tom Daley got was positive. Tom even tweeted:
I’d just like to say again a massive thanks for all the support yesterday…it truly was overwhelming xx
— Tom Daley (@TomDaley1994) December 3, 2013
But a positive story about Tom Daley coming out doesn’t really drive traffic. The Huffington post concocted the premise: ‘people would respond negatively to Tom’s coming out’ and trolled the internet to prove it. All The Huffington Post proved was a small group of hateful people existed with a minuscule follower base. This group of virtual nobodies now has their hateful speech elevated to the masses via their exposure on Huffington Post. The public shaming of this extremely small group does nothing more than embolden them to be ever more hateful the next time, so they can get even more exposures and more followers. When the out pouring of support was so high, including tweets from very prominent people with huge follower bases:
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) December 2, 2013
I’m relieved to know that all of my panting over @TomDaley1994 at the Summer Olympics wasn’t completely misguided.
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) December 2, 2013
— Ben Cohen (@RugbyBenCohen) December 2, 2013
Why highlight such a small group? It’s cheap reporting. It’s not even a news story. If anything the story should have been how little hate speech there was compared to the overwhelming support. Tom Daley isn’t the only time The Huffington posted used this M.O. they ran a similar post when Raven Symone came out. The Huffington Post can do better.