Reasoning with Madness
"This is a barbaric yawp, and it will be sounded over the roofs of the world."
Mainstream news over the last 20 years (or more) regularly shuns data/trends/details in favor of "weird" or anecdotal pieces that don't really reflect reality in any significant way, but lean more toward the "hmm, that's wild" approach, giving audiences the perception that the world is going mad. In the news biz they call these shit pieces "kicker" stories. The last piece of TV news, the entire selection of stories of any given yuck yuck radio morning show. It's the grocery store magazine cover. It's trash. It's fast food news. It's propaganda.
The internet media has refined this even further with "clickbait" news, that pushes the freakshow kicker story into hyperdrive.
Facebook and Twitter has taken that approach to a whole new level, refining this fast food garbage news even more by giving the least qualified in society the ability to share "news" to diehard, locked-in micro audiences built by nefarious "activists" and algorithms (based on tastes and online behavior) that are nothing more than an echo chamber of pre-determined and pre-qualified "fans".
Information is fuel, just as food. Garbage in, garbage out. Mainstream media is like mainstream food. CNN and Fox News are the burger chains of information. You're not getting decent information, you're getting manufactured trash not designed for education, but entertainment. It's punditry over reporting.
If journalism is to survive in the digital age, it must shun the urge to gain more traffic (the modern equivalent of letting sales determine headlines)...it must shun click bait practices and blatant bias (propaganda) and focus on organic information: Data, Trends, Information, Education, Details, Transparency, Balance, Honesty and Objectivity.
But even more important, social MEDIA platforms must also be held accountable for the services they provide. While I generally groan at government regulation, it has become hellishly clear that there must be some agency built to play watchdog to these "speech platforms", which have all clearly done a terrible job of maintaining quality and truth.
The worst part is all of these platforms have taken zero responsibility for the content they allow and let gain traction (using the algorithms they built). Zuckerberg and the rest of them must be held accountable for the MEDIA their social MEDIA platforms propagate. If newspapers, television stations, radio stations and magazines (aka traditional MEDIA) outlets, who hire and employ professional journalists, have to be held accountable for the content they publish (by maintaining standards, hiring various types and layers of editors, copy editors, etc) then social MEDIA can no longer be given a free pass.
It takes years to become a qualified journalist and there are many things to know before you get the responsibility to become an actual reporter. MAGA Marcy and her freedom eagle blog links written by Russian disinformation agents shouldn't be considered in the same boat as the Washington Post, but that's where the fuck we are right now, thanks to social MEDIA.
If it's social MEDIA, then it must implement the same protections, accountability and responsibility that tradition media outlets have in place. And there should be a governing body that this new MEDIA platform must answer to. It's clear to anyone with more than 10 contacts on any given social MEDIA platform that this is a real problem and gives our current administration the ability to discredit the entire media environment with two 3rd grade words: FAKE NEWS.
One of the main problems, as demonstrated in the confrontations of Zuckerberg and Co by our dusty, decrepit, out-of-touch representatives in Congress, is these fossils have no fucking idea what they're talking about, nor do they even understand the basic concepts that exist across any given social media. They are wildly out of touch and completely out of their element. And the ones who are, take full advantage of the ignorance of their peers and the people they represent to personally profit from the shell game that's pumping billions into social MEDIA and they don't want to lose their precious stocks and investment portfolios.
It's time we stand up to this bullshit as a society and stop letting our brains turn to shit with the never-ending scrolling feed of bullshit that is allowed in these digital flea markets. It's time quality information and news make a comeback and we pride ourselves on being an INFORMED population, not a distracted, mislead society fed propaganda and trash.
Part of me doubts this will ever be addressed properly, but part of me sees glimmers of hope in the coming generation who DO understand the difference between an email and social media handle. But time will tell. Until then, I shall continue to scrub my feeds and friends lists of ignorant, hateful fucks who pride themselves on their trolling tactics and the propaganda peddlers who share bullshit information.
I have grown to appreciate the many values of social media, so I'm not going to be the guy who says "GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA AND ABANDON IT FOREVER" like some crotchety codger who doesn't understand modern society.
But we can do better. We can all do better.
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Who Am I?
I am Ahab.