The retail industry built the day after Thanksgiving into a cultural icon as “Black Friday” – the must-shop day when consumers are meant to feel a nearly physical need to get to the stores. The media’s obsessive coverage of Black Friday is bolstered by incessant advertising, heavy newspaper inserts, and small quantity special deals to build a feeling of urgency.

Today’s papers are full of stories about “Cyber Monday,” reportedly the online equivalent for millions of people sitting down at their office computers for more holiday shopping.

Here’s a blog that finds the whole thing a little creepy. The trigger for all this media attention appears to be a study commissioned by, the online retailers’ arm of the National Retail Foundation, a lobbying and marketing association for the retail industry which issued a press release touting the “Cyber Monday” trend a week ago.

In other words, this is a “trend” literally invented out of whole cloth by the industry that stands to gain from it. And the newsrooms are willingly participating in the retail industry’s publicity campaign. There’s been a plague of bogus trendspotting, but somehow it’s worse to see the news media passing on a press release without so much as a murmur.

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