There’s a track on Public Enemy’s 1991 album – Apocalypse 91 … The Enemy Strikes Black – called A Letter To The New York Post.
Said newspaper had printed an article about PE rapper Flavor Flav allegedly beating up his partner, without (allegedly) checking its facts first.
Rather than suing, Public Enemy wrote a viciously damning song about the episode – responding in kind and fighting fire with fire. The lyrics don’t make pleasant reading for anyone associated with The Post. Here’s a sample.
Here’s a letter to the new york post
The worst piece of paper on the east coast
Matter of fact the whole States
Forty cents in new york city
Fifty cents elsewhere
It makes no goddamn sense at all
America’s oldest continuously published daily piece of bullshit
It got me to thinking that, if they could wreak this kind of havoc back in 1991, what would Public Enemy have done to The Post in 2009 with the likes of MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc at their disposal?
Rather than reaching a relatively narrow band of fans with an album track, they would have tapped into a socially active and well connected band of followers who would have spread the damaging message well beyond the immediate fan base.
It’s nice to think that social media will increasingly provide an added incentive for organisations to improve their behaviour.