Beyonce lip-synced the National Anthem at the Inauguration. Stop the presses.
The backlash has already begun towards Beyonce, whose impassioned performance was legendary for all of a day, after which a spokesperson from the U.S. Marine Band claimed that she didn't actually sing.
The lip-syncing story capped off a strange run of national fraud stories. Sociopathic cyclist Lance Armstrong finally came clean about his use of performance-enhancing drugs in an interview with Oprah and Heisman runner-up Manti Te'o also found himself at the center of a "Catfish" scandal surrounding his online girlfriend, who ended up being a hoax.
People are upset about Armstrong, and it's not just because of the blood doping; we usually forgive cheaters that admit it (i.e., Andy Pettitte, Gaylord Perry). Armstrong, though, perpetuated an inspirational image of himself that was false, while also destroying the lives of people who rightly accused him along the way (Google Betsy Andreu).
Teo's story is more benign, if weird and improbable. Why the best player at Notre Dame would need an online girlfriend doesn't really make sense, but the main thing to take away from the whole fiasco is that people don't like fake inspirational stories -- even though Notre Dame immortalized Rudy, who was clearly offsides.
But do we still care about the legitimacy of televised music performances? Whitney Houston lip-synced the Anthem at the Super Bowl. Bruce Springsteen sang over a recording at the Super Bowl while the E Street Band mimed "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out." Michael Jackson lip-synced "Billie Jean" at the Motown 25th Anniversary Concert. Even Yo-Yo Ma played over a backing track at the last Inauguration.
So I'm supposed to be mad that Beyonce sang over a recording of her own voice at a free concert during a phony ceremony that was a day after the real Inauguration?
Beyonce's decision to rip out her ear monitor, seemingly to say, "Look how well I know this song!" looks silly in retrospect.
But she's not as awful as Lance Armstrong, as dumb as Manti Te'o or as fraudulent as Milli Vanilli.
Follow Pete McQuaid on Twitter @sweetestpete.