Monday, November 21, 2016

Faux News

Google and Facebook are responding to claims that their laissez faire approach to  the dissemination of drivel from users' random keyboards may (or may not) have influenced the recent election. By "influence" the current crop of whiners really mean "our candidate lost." Some things never change.

But Google and Facebook are committing to change and if you hold their stock you may want to sell because they intend to cross a line from rather detached self/vanity publishing platforms to curating everyone's content. If this sounds intractable and untenable that is because it is. However briefly this satisfies friends of the Reconciliation Party it will ultimately expose these organizations, with very deep pockets, to all types of legal risks because sooner or later something will slip thru that pisses off some pissy little group of whiners. Like the ADL or the SPLC. In the end this will fall on the (remaining) shareholders.

But this is also a slippery slope and not one littered with just those checkout lane tabloids. Mainstream media, the one where the talking heads ARE the news is also now at risk. Just how far can you cross the line of "truth and nothing but the truth" before you fall out of favour? And does it matter which direction you cross? Apparently so.

The envelope of veracity in mainstream media all but collapsed in 2016 with prevarications, obfuscations and misdirections distinctly trending to a particular direction. Was it accurate to say that Clinton "won the popular vote?" Certainly not. Why? Because Clinton LOST the popular vote since she did not get fifty percent plus one and outside of Clinton victory parties no one held a runoff. While it is accurate to say that Trump lost the popular vote it is somewhat deceptive if not acknowledging that Clinton lost as well.  But like any good con job you only deceive those predisposed to deception.

This was also true with the email whitewashing effort. Private account? Indeed. When you have a private email server you will perforce have private email accounts. Again, true, but not all the truth and much like the server itself designed to ensure that the truth is never known. And the Clintons are not stupid and certainly not naive. They know that emails to and from that server originating or terminating on devices and servers subject to discovery by U.S. authorities would ultimately be uncovered though with great difficulty. These indirect discoveries are the actual cause of the Comey Two-Step. And since Clinton released what she wanted to release and then wiped the drives we will never have insight into those communications where the other parties (think foreign governments) are not subject to U.S. discovery. But instead of pounding this issue mainstream media fell in line with the email "account" obfuscation.

Much of what shows up on the interweb is click-bait and increasingly much of what shows up on incumbent media's "new media" outlets is more subtle click-bait but click-bait nonetheless. Many are blaming incumbent media's shameless chasing of ratings and click-thrus for excessive and free coverage that gave us what we got as if folks were incited to vote thoughtlessly which in their supercilious World-View is by definition The Wrong Way. This is condescension bordering on The Deplorables, but there are many who think it, who say it and who are saying it out loud. Arrogance has no shame.

Demanding that Google and Facebook curate and reject content disliked by these elitists is not the answer and we have painful evidence that the PC policies rampant on college campuses have not served us well[1].  Furthermore the subtle, insidiously slanted "news" from incumbent outlets, exempt from these PC police,  does far more damage that sensationalistic headlines and comic book stories found on bogus websites and supermarket tabloids[2]. The American public simply does not have a reliable news outlet that provides the facts, all the facts and nothing but the facts in a forthright and unbiased manner[3].  Until we do we can expect more of the same.

[1] And yes, the safety pin is silly.
[2] In case you were not really, really sure, Martha Stewart did NOT give birth to an alien's baby.
[3] TOD is not the place to get it either.