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never go viral

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never go viral motif 2

click-through culture

The Associated Press recently joined a bunch of other newsrooms across America in amending its style guide. It now prescribes the capitalising of the letter B in the word black if the word is being used in a racial, ethnic, or cultural sense. Years from now liberal media magnates visiting their children at the Biden Institute for State Socialization could well be interrogated about the part they played in the 2020 Culture War. They will be able to brag that they used the approved form every time they wrote about how their level of income kept them comfortably in the Black. As American media reporting and language progressively cease to reflect the United States we thought we knew, the question is about what incentive there is to generate extreme and divisive headlines. News aggregators like Yahoo!, MSN, and AllSides present content from a range of publications as divergent as the New York Times and the New York Post. The data they must capture will undoubtedly tell editors what kind of stories attract the most clicks, and therefore the most ad revenue. It used to be that impartiality in reporting the facts justified freedom of the press. Now editorialising is the accepted standard in every piece as media moguls cash in on the division dividend. Chronic polarisation is pay dirt. It reduces everything to a crazed contest between factions. It becomes a team event with winners and losers: America's favourite dichotomy writ large. Why shouldn't political journalism be a business driven by profits that rival those from sports broadcasting? As the Jake Gittes character remarks in Chinatown, if you follow the money it can lead to the truth. Follow the news if you want an alternative destination.

Mon, 10 Aug 2020 16:25:00 GMT all posts

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