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Monday, September 16, 2013

the comments are not the news

The media treats morons' comments on social media as news. The comments are not the content.
Can we stop doing this? There’s a disturbing trend in news recently where someone’s accomplishment is mentioned in only in passing but the bulk of the story is dedicated to the fact that Someone Said Something Ignorant About It On Twitter... these sentiments are problematic. But are they so newsworthy? Do they really deserve second billing? It’s almost a formula now: “[Person of X Background] does [Remarkable Thing], People On Twitter Are Jerks About it.” Followed by the story, “Person Who Did Remarkable Thing Comments on Hateful Comments.” For decades, in the privacy of their living rooms, people have said ignorant things when something happened on TV. This is not news, even if the second-screen experience means that the living room now includes the equivalent of carving your offhand mutterings unalterably into stone. I understand that some of the thinking behind this is that publicity will shame these people. But I don’t think inserting their bile so prominently into this kind of coverage is working. Dave with 6 friends said something racist? Does it make a sound? Give me the old way, when the only people forced to know about these things were the unfortunates who were in the living room with him. Now that kind of hateful muttering winds up online and somehow merits a national reaction from its target. And, frankly, it doesn’t.... I really hoped, after we wound up making an 11 year-old boy comment on the racist tweets that greeted his performance of the national anthem, that we might have taken a second to think, “You know, maybe the best way of dealing with this kind of comment is not to dignify it by rubbing it in the face of the person who just did a nice thing for us.” This isn’t the story. It’s the comments. Never read the comments.
Most primitives on YouTube will tell you that.

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