19 October 2017

Guaranteed predictions and what's illin' "the press"


  1. POTUS DJT will say something not particularly germane to the running of the Executive branch, but whack, provocative, insane, whatever.
  2. It will get play on social media.
  3. The mainstream media (MSM) will cover it ad nauseum as if it's real "news".
  4. Faith in MSM will continue to erode.
That's probably not going too far out on the limb.

MSM is perhaps too broad a category, and there is plenty of good mainstream reporting, but as it's distilled by "headline news" on TV, cable, Internet, etc., it's primarily echoing what's already reverberating on social media or relaying reportage by some local source, which may or may not be of the highest quality. When these converge, you can get nonsense amplified up to 11.

Why do they do it? Um... because it goes up to 11. The real answer is because they (feel they) don't have a choice. If CNN is running it, then Fox and MSNBC have to counter, because if they don't then people might go watch CNN. You can add whatever network or outlet and permute who's doing what. It doesn't matter. They're all doing the same thing, but adding their spin to appeal to their "base".

The biggest problems of this approach are the incentives for intellectual and ethical sloppiness created by the need to be "me too" and the danger of giving an imprimatur of truth or accuracy to a false, misleading, or poorly reasoned narrative (cf. the James Damore kerfuffle). Moreover, histrionics about what Trump might have said to a grieving widow or how he said it takes time and attention from much more important stuff, like what's going on with, say HHS? What is going on with HHS? Who in the hell knows, because you're not going to stumble upon it because there is some interview with someone whose opinion is particularly germane to the etiquette of Presidential condolence speech on followed by some interviews of people protesting, then commentary by some panel of experts, to be summarized later by one of the marquee anchors managing a studied look of grim concern. You might get the occasional "holes in staffing" report about some agency (especially State), but it's often dismissed as incompetence. What if that's the plan? Does everyone really think that Mike Pence is giving Trump the gaga eyes because he's effectively pushing through conservative reforms where the President has purview: the Executive branch of government. I'm sure those reforms are being covered somewhere...

No comments:

Post a Comment