Taylor Swift and The Hottest 100 Swindle: Part 3

Taylor Swift and The Hottest 100 Swindle: Part 3
So the birthplace of all this was Joe Mckenzie’s twitter account. As far back as November 2014. He was reposting and tweeting sycophantic and salivating posts about Taylor Swift…

Joe McKenzie @aJoeMcKenzie · Nov 21

*dissolves into a puddle of @taylorswift13 fandom* https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=UUGrXnBzuuv2TVBNCIlfPfRQ&v=O4yN8fSh004 …

It should also be mentioned that throughout November he has glowing praise and support for the ABC Network.

Joe McKenzie @aJoeMcKenzie · Nov 23

My thoughts go out to everyone at #ourABC today. Don’t forget that millions of Australians are proud of the work you do.

It wasn’t until in November that Joe Mckenzie tweeted a picture of the Hottest 100 contenders on a Sportsbet page, with the sentence “Hottest 100 is so boring this year why isn’t Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off a contender?” or a similar statement – that the seed of this concept came together. This post I read back on January 13th when I started researching this article has now mysteriously been deleted from his Twitter.

On December 29th 2014. Joe Mckenzie tweeted this:
Joe McKenzie @aJoeMcKenzie · Dec 29

Triple J is refusing to let me vote for Taylor Swift in the Hottest 100 I personally blame @mscott

This is the exact tweet that his best friend, former JJJ newsreader and writer at Buzzfeed used to begin the campaign on his original Buzzfeed article. So since he’s removed the tweet where he complained about the lack of variety or music he likes and ponders how cool it would be if Taylor Swift was in the Hottest 100. All because he has a schoolboy crush on her. I guess this December 29th tweet. Is the only starting point left in existence.
Firstly. To vote for a song in The Hottest 100. All you need to do is enter it in yourself. So it’s 100% impossible to not be “allowed” to vote for a song. What’s more than likely happened. Is that Joe went to the site and tried to enter the song in. But his UTS education failed him in how to operate a simple poll entry on a radio station website. In the first Buzzfeed article that Mark Distefano wrote. He screenshotted the voting form and showed how to enter the song into the competition. This is our first example of how complete and utter bullshit can be used to propagate a lie. Based on the rest of his Twitter. Mckenzie is a real truth seeker. So he won’t mind me, a high school drop out who never went to Uni. Exposing the huge and obvious flaws in his campaign. ABC Director Mark Scott responds with the humourous retort “shake it off Joe” thinking like anyone would. It’s just some Twidiot complaining about something on Twitter. Little does he know how connected this Twidiot is.


On January 13th 2015. Seeing Joe’s head scratching over why his current pop star masturbation fantasy isn’t worshipped by everyone else and included in JJJ’s publicly voted by listener poll “The Hottest 100”. His friend over at commercially run gossip/clickbait site “Buzzfeed” and former JJJ newsreader Mark Distefano. sees the post and decides to create a bigger campaign driven by an opportunity to use exaggerations and falsifications in order to give himself some attention, take revenge on his former employers and boost Buzzfeed’s advertising revenue. Basically, nothing about his intentions is honourable or as altruistic as promoting Taylor Swift or bringing fairness to JJJ or representing her fans. It’s all designed to benefit him. Knowing how not only powerful his employer’s reach is but how to manipulate social media and hashtags to make something appear as a grassroots campaign. He sets about to do just that.

Now. I’ve already covered most of the original article in Part 1. A quick recap:
– The article begins by asking a question and making it appear as if people have been asking it already – which they hadn’t.
– After asking why the song wasn’t played on JJJ in 2014. JJJ tells him that “only songs played on the station are eligible” To which Distefano – (a former employee of JJJ pretends to not already know.
-“Twitter user Joe McKenzie took the issue to the top and he was rebuffed by the ABC’s Managing Director. Scandal.” Distefano then reprints Mckenzie’s tweet. Making it appear as if it’s a random Swift fan who’s pursued the issue. The reader of the article doesn’t realise the two men are friends on each other’s Twitter and thinks this is part of research on the subject.
-Distefano then posts images showing how to enter the song into the Hottest 100 and creates a hashtag to boost his article and newfound purpose in life, before declaring the campaign a way of “teaching music snobs a lesson”. All to troll and sabotage his former employers. Like so many disgruntled former employees before him.
-The next day he posts that Sportsbet have now added the song to their betting odds for the poll. Something they no doubt later regret. But was made possible by the 24 hours of constant tweeting, spreading the story and invading social media to make this seem bigger than it ever actually was. Once it got bigger. Sportsbet added her to the odds. This ended up costing them more than $10,000 in returned bets when JJJ refused to play her.

Distefano’s contempt as well as revealing his true intentions are most evident on this response to a commenter on that first article:
“Mark Di Stefano · Breaking News Reporter at BuzzFeed Oz
Ella Johnston this is why you are the top commenter and I need to go to bed. Also, to your other sledge, yeah, I know what Triple J is, I worked there as a newsreader for three years.
Reply · Like · 63 · January 13 at 9:46pm

Back over at Mckenzie’s twitter. He shares the Buzzfeed article and thanks Buzzfeed who thank him back. Soon after he posts this:
Joe McKenzie @aJoeMcKenzie · Jan 13

I am going to binge-listen to @taylorswift13 tomorrow to celebrate my mild internet fame

On January 15th he posts about it 10 times. which include posts like:”I am going to binge-listen to @taylorswift13 tomorrow to celebrate my mild internet fame”, I’m mildly internet famous woot RT @DailyMailAU: ABC boss shakes off campaign for Taylor Swift to enter Hottest 100 http://dailym.ai/1IMk5NX, I think its a weird internet news rivalry thing that I get credited over @MarkDiStef but whatever I’ll take what I can get., I kind of helped start #Tay4Hottest100 so I wrote about it here, Really @MarkDiStef actually made it a thing but my mum thinks it was me so that’s nice, Hahaha, my opinions are now news this is awesome https://au.news.yahoo.com/entertainment/a/26020444/swift-fan-hits-back-at-triple-j-scorn/ …

Note the the tone of these comments: “to celebrate my mild internet fame”, “I think its a weird internet news rivalry thing that I get credited over @MarkDiStef but whatever I’ll take what I can get”, “I kind of helped start”, “my opinions are now news this is awesome”. The last one is the most disturbing. The fact he thinks that starting this was “news” and that his opinions should be news is extremely disturbing. All ten posts on the 15th were about this and patting himself on the back – took centre stage over what he usually blogs about.

In total. Mckenzie tweeted and retweeted about it 27 times in 14 days and on the 20th of January he wrote an article for music.com.au claiming that “sexism” was the reason for a Taylor Swift backlash. In this article he continues to fake-humbly congratulate himself for helping to start this and then continues by making points like how it’s perfectly normal for a straight 23 year old male to like her music. Correct it is. But remembering the early Swift tweets he made were drooling over her. His interest is clearly not just musical.

“a lot of people can’t handle the idea that a 23-year-old straight guy with fairly refined taste can unironically enjoy her music. Strangely enough, I get it a lot from people who call themselves ‘progressive’.
Here he has used a macho male angle to describe why people think it’s strange he likes her music and questions why people dislike it. He uses the term “progressive” to plant the seed of doubt into people on why they dislike her music. Remember when people hated pop songs because they couldn’t get into them? The media have found a way to stop you thinking that’s the reason. There MUST be something more to it? Is there?

“I think that a lot of people like the fact that they don’t listen to Taylor Swift. They enjoy the ability to distinguish themselves from the kind of people who do listen to Taylor Swift.

And I don’t really mind that, except for when there’s a weird, gendered quality to that reaction”
That seed of doubt now points to subversive or overt sexist tendencies. You don’t like Taylor Swift’s music because of her gender. This has now planted the root for “sexism” to become a reason people are rallying against this. This is something other media stories particularly written by women will now pounce on to make this dream a reality.

“My favourite way of explaining Taylor Swift to people is to compare her to Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks”
Where once it was sacrilege to compare manufactured pop music to actual established musicians. Mckenzie makes the argument that it’s all the same thing. This makes you feel like maybe you haven’t listened to her enough and judge her too harshly. After all – this guy says she’s basically like Bob Dylan

“Taylor Swift is writing incredibly good pop music at the moment. It’s raw, honest and smart. Plus you can dance to it. And millions of people are listening to it because it is actually good.

If she wins the Hottest 100, which I hope she does, that will be why. It isn’t hipster irony ruining everything you love. And it isn’t because triple j has sold out or anything.

It’s just that great pop music transcends bullshit, gendered notions of authenticity.”

There are 4 mentions of gender and misogyny in the article. Sexism is used as a defence to make you feel bad for not liking Taylor Swift or wanting her to be included in a radio poll. Lets’ untangle this shamelessly, self promoting web of shit shall we?

“I work in the media and for an advertising and marketing company. I am a 23 year old man who is attracted to a young pop star and enjoys her music. My friend who works for a gossip/clickbait website and I started an online campaign to force one of her songs which has never been played on a radio station into it’s annual publicly listener voted poll because it has made me “internet famous” and has boosted the advertising revenue of my friend’s website employers. Using our knowledge of internet media and social network marketing I am now writing an article for another clickbait/gossip site to further my cause by wearing down the personal, individual freedom you have to disagree with what I am doing by questioning your personal beliefs using a straw man argument involving sexism. I and my friend do not truly believe that people who don’t like Taylor Swift have a problem with women but in order to reach our goal. We will use any psychological manipulation we can think of to achieve it. Both of us having been trained in the fields of media, social marketing and advertising to make you think what we want you to.

Based on his Twitter. Mckenzie only wrote the one article to “influence public opinion to his favour” He did post links to many articles on his Twitter though and used his blog to further the cause. However, his blog post about it has since been deleted. In the end when the both of them failed. He made reference to JJJ being really old men and claimed their Buzzfeed pisstake article showed the station to be “douchebags”, “proved how sexist the station was”, and claimed their response was “snarky”. He also made references to “hipsters” and claimed that their response “proved their critics right”

In Part 4. I’ll look at Mark Distefano and his campaign and some of the articles which fought hard to manipulate you into thinking you are wrong for something as simple as not being interested in a pop star’s music.

When all the smoke and mirrors clear. This was a campaign by two MEN who enjoyed a pop star’s music and tried to use it to sabotage a former employer, gain some internet fame, boost their media profile, make a profit and entertain themselves. If there was any indication they were fighting for women to be represented on the station. They’d have encouraged a number of women to be entered into the poll. Not just the one. Despite the pro-ABC stance that Mckenzie has. He never thought twice to lie about and discredit the station with falsified rumours and has since shared tweets from people calling for JJJ and the ABC to change. Some people are no better than the politicians they claim to hate. Interestingly enough. Mckenzie has a post on his twitter about fluoride in the water system which includes the phrase “wake up sheeple”. So I guess the lesson here to learn is “beware of wolves in sheeple’s clothing”.

Former JJJ announcer Helen Razer’s article which also helps to cut the wheat from the chaff

Taylor Swift and The Hottest 100 Swindle: Part 3
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