The Internet: Will It Never Stop Ruining Everything?

Also kids, on their iPhones, and there’s nothing but Kim Kardashian out here, andit’s just made everything suck all the time:

To the shock of most sentient beings, Facts died Wednesday, April 18, after a long battle for relevancy with the 24-hour news cycle, blogs and the Internet. Though few expected Facts to pull out of its years-long downward spiral, the official cause of death was from injuries suffered last week when Florida Republican Rep.Allen West steadfastly declared that as many as 81 of his fellow members of theU.S. House of Representatives are communists.

What the tits do “the 24-hour news cycle, blogs and the Internet” have to do with Allen West being a jackass? Allen West has been a jackass as long as he’s been alive. I think I can authoritatively state that if he had to mimeograph his idiocy and hand it out on street corners, he’d still be saying stupid shit all the time. It’s not like the Internet caused him to lose his damn mind.

Look, I get that the thing is supposed to be funny, hee hee, an obituary for facts, but it pushes a larger narrative in traditional journalism, which is that we were once all sober and thoughtful people, and then along came Google and screwed it all up.

If your beef is with the mendacity of politicians, as the author’s seems to be:

Though weakened, Facts managed to persevere through the last two decades, despite historic setbacks that includedPresident Bill Clinton‘s affair withMonica Lewinsky, the justification forPresidentGeorge W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and the debate over President Barack Obama’s American citizenship.

Facts was wounded repeatedly throughout the recentGOP primary campaign, near fatally whenMichele Bachmann claimed avaccine for asexually transmitted disease causes mental retardation. In December, Facts was briefly hospitalized afterMSNBC’s erroneous report that GOP presidential candidateMitt Romney‘s campaign was using an expression once used by the Ku Klux Klan.

But friends and relatives of Facts said Rep. West’s claim that dozens of Democratic politicians are communists was simply too much for the aging concept to overcome.

Then there’s a very simple solution: STOP COVERING STUPID SHIT. If you think Allen West’s utterances are ridiculous, as many thinking people do, then make the grown-up editorial decision to not run his nonsense. Stop returning his press interns’ calls. Send his press releases straight to the recycle bin. You are not helpless in the face of all this, as your passive-voiced academics seem to think you are:

People unable to understand how science works began to question Facts. And at the same time there was a rise in political partisanship and a growth in the number of media outlets that would disseminate information, rarely relying on feedback from Facts.

“There was an erosion of any kind of collective sense of what’s true or how you would go about verifying any truth claims,” Poovey said. “Opinion has become the new truth. And many people who already have opinions see in the ‘news’ an affirmation of the opinion they already had, and that confirms their opinion as fact.”

Um, NO. Opinion did not “become” the new fact. An erosion did not “happen.” This did not just fall from the sky. There are any number of insane print publications and conspiracy scandal magazines out there that for decades have been publishing stories about aliens among us and celebrities being Cleopatra in past lives and shit like that, and we were perfectly content to ignore it until it started to occur to media executives and odious “consultants” that there was a buck to be made there.

If TMZ hadn’t been started, we would have ended up here anyway, courtesy of some other easy excuse for not being the grown-ups we wanted to be.

“American society has lost confidence that there’s a single alternative,” she said. “Anybody can express an opinion on a blog or any other outlet and there’s no system of verification or double-checking, you just say whatever you want to and it gets magnified. It’s just kind of a bizarre world in which one person’s opinion counts as much as anybody else’s.”

You know, maybe I’d be a little more inclined to chuckle at this shit if I hadn’t been in journalism before blogs, and heard countless glib assholes arguing with me about how “you can’t believe everything you read in the paper.” People were bitching about media bias during the Lewinsky thing, they were bitching about media bias and general up-fuckering during the first Bush administration, they’ve been bitching about this stuff since Joseph Pulitzer was actually running a paper. This is not new.

What is new is we’ve decided that a preponderance of news outlets we have access to has given us the excuse we’ve always wanted to just fucking give up, and we’re taking it hard.


2 thoughts on “The Internet: Will It Never Stop Ruining Everything?

  1. You’re going to bill me for the blood pressure medications, aren’t you?

  2. Or very nicely point out that they are a liar. For West, run a story that says West said that he had a list of 81 members of the House who are communists. When asked to provide the list in his hand, he declined. When Asked to provide evidence to substantiate his claim, he declined. When asked how he and he alone happpened to know this number for a fact, he cited confidentiality with little green men from Mars.

Comments are closed.