Just “Arrrrgh!”

First, Beyonce ducks a question (at pre-Super Bowl  press conference) about whether she really lip-synced the National Anthem at the Inauguration, as discussed extensively here , here, and here,

by using Clintonian parsing—no, she wasn’t lip-syncing ( because that means just moving one’s lips to a song, and technically she was singing. It’s just that the audience may have been hearing her recording and not her real voice.) Then she “answers”…by singing the song, brilliantly, without accompaniment. (Of course it was planned.) Then CNN’s awful morning anchor Carol Costello AND CNN’s headline writer state that Beyonce “answered her critics” by doing so.

For the love of…Arrrrgh!

That was NOT an answer! This was masterful, if screamingly obvious (to all but CNN) misdirection and manipulation.The question posed was not “Can you sing “The Star Spangled Banner?,” but “Did you lip-sync?”, which means, as she well knows, “Did you sing it live at the Inauguration, and was the live rendition what we heard?” Her rendition of the song at the press conference was no more responsive to the question than a sudden riff on “Trouble in River City” or “Turkey in the Straw.” Then pathetic CNN calls it an answer, as if singing the song two weeks after the event in question settles the issue. Our professional journalism establishment at work. (in the version I saw, Costello didn’t even mention that Beyonce gave a technical “no” to the “did you lip-sync?” query before bursting into song.


 Beyonce could have cleared up the controversy weeks ago by either admitting that she lip-synced, or by denying it. Asked about the matter directly, in front of TV cameras, she avoided the question again. That was an answer, all right, but not the one CNN and the singer implied it was.

The answer was “Yes.”


Spark: CNN

Graphic: Soda Head

10 thoughts on “ARRGGH!! Beyonce..ARRRRGHH!!!

  1. Since I didn’t watch the inauguration, I don’t know whether the rendition by Beyonce, real or recorded, was any good. I did hear her performance yesterday, and give her fuill marks for screaming, but zero for singing. But it was no worse than some we have seen and heard. JerryB

  2. Much of the “news” media has lost its perspective and fails to actually report news as they should. No disagreement there. I must disagree, however, with your conclusion that Beyonce ducked the question. Your (and, apparently, CNN’s) focus on her singing at the press conference ignores what she said there, and, in a way, is no different than the “tight editing” you complained about only two days ago. She said she sang along with a pre-recorded track. In other words:
    Q: Where you lip-syncing?
    A: No.
    Lip-syncing, as its name implies, is primarily accomplished by using one’s lips – not one’s breath or vocal cords. Lip-syncing does not produce sound. “Singing along” involves the breath and vocal cords; it produces sound. Did anyone at the event hear her sing along? Could anyone hear her sing along considering the volume of the pre-recorded track, the wind, the fact that she was facing away from anyone close enough to hear, etc.? Maybe. Maybe not.
    Yes, the ultimate effect on the vast majority of those watching the event is that they heard the pre-recorded track and where thus, in the moment, misled about exactly what they were hearing. Yes, that would have been avoided if she was introduced as “Beyonce, singing along with a pre-recorded track of the National Anthem,” although such an introduction may also have disturbed the proceedings (by focusing the participants and audience on the nature of the performance rather than on the event as a whole and the solemnity of a nation joining many voices together in our national song). Yes, once questions were raised, everyone questioned about it should have answered honestly –to the extent they actually knew what occurred, otherwise they should have said “I don’t know.” That didn’t quite happened.
    Now, however, Beyonce has answered the question. She was not lip-syncing, she sang along. As a practical matter, is this a distinction without a difference? Perhaps, but, as a technical matter, there is a real (if convenient) distinction. Was singing at the press conference a distraction? Of course. Is claiming that singing along with a pre-recorded track is “common” an “everybody does it” rationalization? You bet. Nonetheless, amid all the unnecessary and self-serving packaging, we did get an answer. She sang along. You may not believe it, but it is an answer. As no one other than Beyonce really knows what she did, it is THE answer and should put the matter to rest.

    • The answer was indeed yes, then, at least for ethics purposes. That’s spin and Clintonian parsing. Where does she admit she was singing, or that we heard a recording? If the audience heard a recording, she was lip-syncing by the definition everyone uses—singing into a dead mic is lip-syncing. Come on. By that definition, no rock singer is lip-syncing.

    • If I am standing in the crowd and the voice I hear over the speaker is not actually the voice coming out of the singer’s mouth, then from my perspective she is lip-syncing the song. The only perspective that matter’s here is the audience’s, it is ridiculous to frame lip-syncing from the singer’s perspective.

  3. Why does any of this even matter? If it was tagged as a “live” performance (ahead of time, during, or after), then the lie would perhaps be newsworthy. (Although since it ranks in my book as nothing more than entertainment, I think that would still be a stretch.) Even then, wouldn’t the innauguration organizers, television networks, etc. be more responsible for the inaccurate portrayal than Beyonce herself? It’s not as if this is signicantly different than lots of televised events and shows that air a taped version of a “live” event. It’s entertainment. Does anyone care that the 24-hr news channels repeat “live” news segment around the clock, and doesn’t add a clarification that you are now viewing something previously recorded, regardless of the time-stamp on the screen? Or that Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show tapes in the afternoon in front of a live audience but airs the show later that night? I don’t get why there is a different standard for the entertainment at an innauguration, which, c’mon, is held OUTSIDE in the winter.

      • Right. I’d read this 1/25/13 item already. Of course honesty & integrity matter. Especially when it’s regarding our national leaders. Truth in advertising matters. News reporting of accurate facts also matters. People telling the truth under oath matters, too. My point in asking “what difference does it make” regarding Beyonce’s performance is that, to my knowledge it wasn’t purported to be a live performance. It became a scandal simply when the question was asked, “was she lip-synching?” Once asked, then the predictable lying, hedging, rationalizing, etc., followed, something the media just adores. All that, then, may warrant a little debating, admonishing, ridicule, etc. But why does the mere fact that she sang into a mike over a prerecorded track get labeled as an inherently unethical act? Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but I still believe that unless it was officially called a live performance as it was being aired, there’s no issue here. The baiting question certainly turned it into a scandal, but at the outset, I do not see that there was any unethical or misleading action.

        Should we begin to ask (and in so doing, scandalize) whether so-and-so has had plastic surgery or dyes his/her hair, whether movie effects are real vs. CGI, whether the laughing we hear on a sitcom is canned or from a live audience, whether those nifty yard-line markers we see on TV football coverage are real, moving lines, just because that’s what they appear to be? By the very definition of entertainment, I believe most of us already assume that much of what we see has been enhanced for our viewing pleasure. I still don’t see the wrong-doing. There’s no similarity here to the recent events such as Subway, Lance Armstrong, the Benghazi attack. In fact, to equate them trivializes these three incidents.

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