Category Archives: So Called Liberal Media

Just Have the Journalists Do Everything

Let us sell it, at least we know what we’re doing:

In another attempt to retain local union jobs in the face of expected layoffs, members of the PD News Guild have asked the Plain Dealer Publishing Company to collaborate with them on a subscription drive.

In a letter sent Tuesday, to which the company has not yet officially responded, the Guild asked that for every 500 new subscriptions purchased, one local journalist’s job be preserved for an additional year.

With expected support from local unions, including the member unions that comprise the North Shore Federation of Labor, the News Guild asked that a discounted rate be offered to “unions, retirees and supporters.”

I know how hot it gets you people when I talk about newspaper marketing and distribution so here we go. This is actually a good idea, as sad as it is to make people’s democracy-dies-in-darkness jobs conditional on something as fickle as circ. I’d go one better: Have the journalists actually make the subscription calls.

No, really.

A lot of newspaper chains in the late 1990s and early 2000s consolidated and centralized their circulation departments. It sounds good if you’re the kind of lizard-brained consultant critter who uses words like “synergize” and “marketing space” and stuff: One call center for five small papers in a general region, with a phone tree instead of a kindly permed receptionist.

It sounds good, until you’re explaining which of the papers you want to a minimum-wager working off a script who lives four towns away and doesn’t know the 7-Eleven you tried to buy your paper at and can’t pronounce the name of your street nor explain why the paper covers your area but doesn’t sell in it.

Like this is a joke but it’s not, really:

The automation and corporatization of basic newspaper operations has as much to do with falling circ as the mobile internet does. Maybe more. I know the older I get the less patience I have for bloated heaving websites that circumvent my adblocker and I’d much rather flip through a paper with my coffee.

But they can’t get it on my porch by 6 a.m. and even if they do, it’s full of syndicated racists and bothsiders whining about civility next to four pages of wire copy about celebrities and a “what’s trending on Twitter today” box, along with reminders to go to the shitass website for the interesting stories and striking photos.

Papers aren’t ever-present anymore, so it’s possible to ignore them. While the tough dirty children were out there yelling (and the downtown boxes were filled, and the racks were in every bodega, and the neighbors were doing the delivery) it wasn’t as easy to overlook them, to flip to TMZ or spend your commute playing Candy Crush. Now, even if you’re looking for the paper you often can’t find it.

Journalists might be the last people on earth who care about that so if they have to be the ones to fix it, well, shit, nobody else is gonna do it. Even the PD’s union admits this is a long shot:

Given how the company has responded to Guild bargaining requests in recent weeks, it’s unlikely that the letter will be met with support or good faith. (The company’s goal is to employ less of them, ultimately.)

I’ve been saying it for a while now: Ain’t nobody coming to save journalism except you and me and everyone we know who cares about it. I’m about done listening to people complain about the way the world is when some of us are out here trying to build something new.

And yeah, we gotta make the sales calls to do it. We gotta pass the sentence and swing the sword. We gotta work day jobs to do the writing we want to see in the world and we have to keep doing it as long as we can. You can bitch about the tree in your way or you can pick up an axe.

Or a phone.

A.

GateHouse sucks newspaper dry, AP blames ‘decline in ads, readers’ for suckage

The facts about a small paper folding are all right here:

In the mid-1990s, when former Daily Guide publisher Tim Berrier was replaced, the newspaper had a news editor, sports editor, photographer and two reporters on staff. Along with traditional community news, the Daily Guide covered the Army’s decision to move its chemical warfare training facility to Fort Leonard Wood in the 1990s, and a flood that swept a mother and son to their deaths in 2013.

As recently as 2010, the Daily Guide had four full-time news people, along with a page designer and three ad salespeople.

But people left and weren’t replaced. Last spring, the Daily Guide was cut from five to three days a week. 

But the headline reads “decline in readers, ads leads hundreds of newspapers to fold.” Not “neverending series of cuts fails to convince customers the product is worth purchasing anymore, while company executives managed to pay themselves bonus after bonus.” This is the takeaway:

All newspaper owners face a brutal reality that calls into question whether it’s an economically sustainable model anymore unless, like the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post, the boss is the world’s richest man.

Let’s ignore the truly regrettable construction of that sentence (What’s not an economically sustainable model? Newspaper owners? That I’d agree with.) and examine the implication that Jeff Bezos personally pays the salaries of every Washington Post reporter out of the goodness of his heart: 

Under Bezos, The Post has revamped its website and mobile apps. It also created software called “Arc,” which gives better analytics and marketing features for the publication.

That’s helped it take a more data-driven approach. It now employs common web strategies like “A/B testing” to track how different headlines and story framings affect readership for each story. It also created a program that takes articles from other publications and asks readers which ones they’d rather read.

It’s also hired a bunch of new editors and reporters lately. It now publishes 1,200 articles a day. Its content varies from breaking news and long features to fun photo slideshows …

So he … invested in making the paper better, and people got interested? Why wouldn’t that work anywhere else, GateHouse?

GateHouse said the Daily Guide, like many smaller newspapers across the country, was hurt by a dwindling advertising market among national retailers. The paper supplemented its income through outside printing jobs, but those dried up, too, said Szachara, the GateHouse newspaper operations president.

Given an unforgiving marketplace, there’s no guarantee additional investment in the paper would have paid off, he said.

National retailers. In a town of 5,000 in the Ozarks. Give me a break. This is where outside, corporate, hedge-fund ownership the news in the ass: Wal-mart can’t supply the pages it was supplying across the entire company, so to make a certain number this quarter this entire community’s news gets cut.

But hey, maybe GateHouse was too broke to invest in this paper the way Bezos did OH WAIT: 

Only a few short weeks after announcing a centralization of layout and copy editing that will cost jobs at its more than 300 newspapers across the nation, GateHouse Media revealed Friday it has awarded more than $1.4 million in bonuses to its top four executives.

ONE POINT FOUR MILLION DOLLARS could run this small paper for five years. Stop interrogating the business model and start interrogating the spending habits of your goddamn management team.

Go on, tell me more about how investment wouldn’t pay off, even though there are examples of it doing just that. It can’t be that you’d rather make money on the downturn than REVERSE THE GODDAMN DOWNTURN, right?

They will keep doing this as long as we keep buying the argument that it’s “declining revenue” (does that mean it’s enough to pay your bills or no?) or “changes in the media consumer landscape” or “damn kids on their phones these days” keeps getting included in the nut graf like some kind of weather system. This is a problem that has a solution, and that you don’t wanna solve it, don’t change that one bit.

A.

Tactical Framing

This, this exactly:

It’s also a natural consequence of the pundit-to-journalist-to-pundit pipeline, in which people who can only think tactically are paid to tell other people what to think about a policy. I understand why political strategists are obsessed with where something will play and how well and why. I will never understand why journalists think they need to convey those debates to their readers.

This whole mindset has infected journalism as a whole. I remember having a conversation with an editor about whether we should, as a newspaper, call for a local scumbag’s resignation. The editor’s worry was that if we did so, and the scumbag didn’t resign, we’d look weak and people would be less likely to listen to us in the future.

I think my argument to him was something along the lines of HE’S A SON OF A BITCH WHO’S GONNA BURN IN HELL, THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS. You do right, say it loud, and damn the torpedos.

We see this in the obsession over which attacks on Trump land, and how awful it is that none of them do and that his supporters keep supporting him. As if the kids in cages care. As if guilt or innocence in criminal actions rest upon convincing a focus group of overwhelmed suburban moms who watch the Today Show. As if you should be worried, when reporting true facts about the actions of the powerful toward the powerless, how that reporting makes YOU look.

Back to the pundit-journalist finger cuffs: You do become a sociopath in both jobs, and I get that and honor it as a necessary defense mechanism to dealing constantly with the worst parts of society. You see the world under its skin, in both occupations, and you can’t go back to merrily skipping through the cereal aisle the next morning.

But that emotional kinship doesn’t mean the aims of the job are the same. Serving your candidate and serving your readers are not the same thing, and while explaining the complexities of the political process has merit, predicating coverage on the likelihood of a policy initiative getting a favorable vote serves your audience … not at all.

A.

Tucker Carlson was hired for the misogyny, not in spite of or in ignorance of it

So Tucker Carlson is a piece of shit: 

Carlson called into the radio show for about an hour a week from 2006 to 2011 (he joined Fox News as contributor in 2009). In the recordings obtained by Media Matters, Carlson defends cult leader and child abuser Warren Jeffs, calls Britney Spears and Paris Hilton “the biggest white whores in America,” questions whether sex workers can really be raped, and describes women in general as “extremely primitive.”

Fox knew this. Shit, Tucker used to work for CNN and I wouldn’t doubt CNN knew this. These things were broadcast on the radio so every single listener to “Bubba the Love Sponge” knew this, too, but Tucker kept getting jobs because people liked his schtick. They don’t have any excuse for being unaware of who he is and what he’s like.

They don’t get to say OH MY WE HAD NO IDEA HE WAS INTO CHILD RAPE. WE THOUGHT HE WAS JUST ONE OF THE REGULAR RACIST MISOGYNIST PIECES OF SHIT WE HIRE.

He and his ilk are terrible, harmful and useless, and he was hired not in spite of those things or in ignorance of them but because of them. Tucker’s viewers respond to this in him. This isn’t something they overlook. They don’t put up with the pederasty fantasies to get to the racism. They recognize it’s all of a piece.

It’s all part of the “I fucked your mom” persona Tucker cultivates and profits from. It’s not an obstacle to his appeal. It’s his whole entire sales pitch, and Fox bought it, and CNN before them, and Bubba the Love Sponge picked up the phone because he knew this was what was on the other end of the line.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Rocky Road

Charing Cross Bridge by Andre Derain

Carnival was alternately exhausting and exhilarating. I love it but I’m always glad when it’s over, especially when the weather is cold and wet. This year was physically difficult for me as I was in pain for the last week of the season. I ended up on the disabled list and stayed home on Mardi Gras day but I don’t regret not resting on Lundi Gras as you can see from this tweet:

Proteus is one of the “old line” krewes and their den is around the corner from Adrastos World Headquarters. They were indeed as drunk as plutocratic skunks. Watching them set up to roll is one of the pleasures of life inside the parade box. Where else can you watch three fake kings-Proteus, Comus, and Rex-toast one another on the street?

This week’s first theme song was written by Nick Lowe and Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke for Nick’s 1990 Party Of One album, which reunited him with his musical partner in crime, Dave Edmunds.

It’s disambiguation time: a different tune with the same title. Our other theme song was written by Steve Tilston but I first heard it done by Fairport Convention. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: Fairport live followed by the songwriter.

Now that we’ve traveled down several rocky roads, it’s time to jump to the break.

Continue reading

‘Congress’ Isn’t The Problem. Republicans Are.

This isn’t “Congress,” dude: 

About 75 percent of Americans favor higher taxes for the ultrawealthy. The idea of a federal law that would guarantee paid maternity leave attracts 67 percent support. Eighty-three percent favor strong net neutrality rules for broadband, and more than 60 percent want stronger privacy laws. Seventy-one percent think we should be able to buy drugs imported from Canada, and 92 percent want Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. The list goes on.

[snip]

In our era, it is primarily Congress that prevents popular laws from being passed or getting serious consideration. (Holding an occasional hearing does not count as “doing something.”) Entire categories of public policy options are effectively off-limits because of the combined influence of industry groups and donor interests. There is no principled defense of this state of affairs — and indeed, no one attempts to offer such a justification. Instead, legislative stagnation is cynically defended by those who benefit from it with an unconvincing invocation of the rigors of our system of checks and balances.

Everyone’s mad at David Brooks but this is the dumbest thing in the Times today.

“Congress” isn’t refusing to enact sensible gun regulations. “Congress” isn’t gutting the only weakass healthcare protections we’ve ever managed to pass. “Congress” isn’t denying pregnant women health care or parental leave. “Congress” isn’t murdering net neutrality in its cradle. “Congress” is doing none of these things.

Mitch McConnell and his merry band of blithering buttlicks are.

Pretending nobody in Washington wants to get anything done sounds really savvy and appealingly cynical because it allows you to let everybody off the hook including yourself. The facts remain that the very SECOND Democrats had control of Congress they passed universal background checks, created a committee to study climate change, and oh yeah REOPENED THE GOVERNMENT THAT HAD BEEN SHUT DOWN.

I mean sweet mercy, you don’t have to go past the first Google result to figure that out.

We can’t solve any problems right now because we keep telling ourselves lies about what those problems are. Those problems are Republican problems, full stop, and the more we keep on with this copypasta equivalence the stupider it sounds. “Both sides” is a joke by now, here on the internets, but it keeps getting spat out like it still means something.

I get it. It lets you sound like you know something everyone else, all those dumbasses with party allegiances and beliefs in stuff and principles worth fighting for, is too blinkered to know, and that special knowledge gets your op-eds published and your name on the cable shows. It lets you off the hook for figuring out what a candidate stands for and then backing that candidate, fully and unashamedly, because their views align with yours. You can just declare that the whole system is, like, bullshit, man, and go home.

Instead of having to stand up and say “Congress” isn’t doing anything to stifle the views of the majority. The views of the majority are the views of the Democratic Party and but for corruption, gerrymandering, and a 24-hour propaganda network blaring all day long that liberals are socialist traitors’ whores, those majority views would be law by now.

Schmuck.

A.

This ISN’T HELPING, Guys

Ugh, division and disagreement are so ugly, why can’t we all just get along on important issues like babies in cages and destroying the world? 

Contempt makes political compromise and progress impossible. It also makes us unhappy as people. According to the American Psychological Association, the feeling of rejection, so often experienced after being treated with contempt, increases anxiety, depression and sadness. It also damages the contemptuous person by stimulating two stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. In ways both public and personal, contempt causes us deep harm.

While we are addicted to contempt, we at the same time hate it, just as addicts hate the drugs that are ruining their lives. In an important study of political attitudes, the nonprofit More in Common found in 2018 that 93 percent of Americans say they are tired of how divided we have become as a country. Large majorities say privately that they believe in the importance of compromise, reject the absolutism of the extreme wings of both parties and are not motivated by partisan loyalty.

Our country did not “become” divided. A 24-hour propaganda network for the Republican party told half of us the other half hated them and they were being persecuted and put-upon by, in order, the Clintons, the Obamas, Democrats generally, liberals, women, gay people, people in cities, people who drank Starbucks I think, imaginary communists, and everybody younger than 30.

When liberals tried to say, erm, not really, we don’t actually think about you all that much, we’d just like to have health care, there was an 11-year screaming fit known as the Tea Party that was covered like it was the spontaneous emergence of a new species of humanity hitherto unknown.

Plus a bunch of racism, and Fox News cashed the checks.

This wasn’t a weather system that swept in. Errbody didn’t just wake up one day and say GOLLY GEE WHILLIKERS I FEEL LIKE HATING ON YOU TODAY. Facebook and Twitter have not helped, but if you think this strain of misery didn’t exist before we all started wringing our hands about it, you haven’t been home for Christmas with a bunch of relatives who want to shit on your humanities degree.

That a few liberals, sick and tired of being dumped on constantly, have now started saying HEY QUIT TALKING SHIT is not evidence of a divided country. It’s evidence that you can only kill so many of us (and Reagan and Bush killed quite a few) before we start, you know, objecting.

I mean, all weekend we’ve been hearing about how deranged and hateful CPAC is NOW, as if the 1990s rhetoric around the AIDS crisis was compassionate, or 9/11 wasn’t followed by a wave of hate crimes, or the Civil Rights movement wasn’t greeted with fire hoses and guns. As if Kent State was a peaceable meeting of equal opposites just trying to understand each other. As if Father Coughlin never took up the mic.

We did not “become” divided. Many many more of us just became heard, and this newfound insistence on civility in communication is the response to that, and it doesn’t serve anyone but the wealthy and powerful who “divided” us in the first place.

This is exhausting:

Finally, we should see the contempt around us as what it truly is: an opportunity, not a threat. If you are on social media, on a college campus or in any place other than a cave by yourself, you will be treated with contempt very soon. This is a chance to change at least one heart — yours. Respond with warmheartedness and good humor. You are guaranteed to be happier. If that also affects the contemptuous person (or bystanders), it will be to the good.

It is true that in an argument between me and another middle-class white lady I should keep my temper and smile for the sake of peace in our well-appointed neighborhood where everyone contributes to the block party bake sale. In an argument between two middle-class white college students at debating podiums, certainly, by all means let’s be nice.

But in an argument between a middle-class white lady and the man who thinks she deserves to make a third less than an equivalent male colleague?

In an argument between trans people who want to live their lives and those who want to define them out of existence?

In an argument between a black mother whose son was just shot by police and the city government that covered it up?

In an argument between a Muslim traveler and the authorities who stop him at the airport with no pretext and no explanation?

In an argument between kids who want to live free of war and persecution and people who want them gassed at the border?

I would posit there is not enough contempt for the powerful on the part of the powerless in these conversations. In these situations, where lives are weighed against social comfort, lives should always win. There are worse things than division. There are worse things than conflict. There are worse things than saying mean things on Twitter.

Babies in cages, for example. Death from preventable disease. Schools with holes in the roof. Bullets, bombs and all the other horrible things our need for comfort make possible.

If calling someone who is trying to prevent me and mine from living our lives in peace a monster is divisive, then let division reign along with freedom, forever and ever amen.

A.

‘Ghost Newspapers’

Let’s talk about this before we have a single additional hearing about Facebook, Twitter and “fake news:” 

… Digital First Media, controlled by Alden, announced it was laying off a third of the newsroom — leaving fewer than 70 reporters to cover a population of 3m people. According to the Alliance for Audited Media, the circulation of the Denver Post has more than halved from 413,676 in 2013 to about 170,000 today. DFM employees across the country — from San Francisco to New York — protested against their owners. “We wanted to let [the public] know. People were still blaming [the paper’s demise] on Craigslist, and the internet,” says Chuck Plunkett, former editorial director at the Denver Post who resigned last year after criticising the hedge fund in the newspaper. “But . . . Alden is what was killing us”.

[snip]

From its headquarters in Manhattan’s Lipstick building, where Bernard Madoff used to conduct his business, Alden has seized on deteriorating newspapers across the country, ranging from the small Alaskan town of Kodiak to large metro areas such as Denver. The company owns almost every newspaper in Los Angeles and San Francisco, except the LA Times and San Francisco Chronicle.

This is on purpose. This is deliberate, and what fills the void in these communities is right-wing talk radio and cable news, most often Fox but let’s be honest it’s not like CNN and MSNBC are less stupid right now. Local news broadcasts are horrible in their own ways, and watching 10 minutes of TV news in even the bluest state will give everybody a really good idea of how Trump happened and is still happening.

I have been screaming for 20 years that they have DONE THIS ON PURPOSE IN ORDER TO UNDERMINE DEMOCRACY AND ENRICH THEMSELVES, and here we are.

And this is the thing that makes me craziest:

The battle over Gannett represents a test case for corporate America as it pits two opposing principles against one another: a company’s fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of its shareholders, against a newspaper’s public duty to operate in the interest of a broader constituency, which includes a community’s access to local media.

THOSE TWO THINGS AREN’T IN OPPOSITION. Newspapers, when printing the paper on dead trees and delivering it to people in a timely fashion, were extremely profitable. Gutting those newspapers and loading the companies up with debt and then buying shit like sports teams and TV stations was … not in the interest of shareholders OR the broader constituency.

This isn’t a fight and media don’t have to be charities in order to thrive. They just have to be smart, which is not a thing you can do when you have no budget for journalism, marketing or distribution and are run by fucking idiots who are all HERF DERF FACEBOOK VIDEO PIVOT and cut million dollar checks to incompetent filth pigs and their consultant friends.

And then prop up politicians who will cut your taxes even if they’re putting babies in cages at the border.

A.

Poynter Pearl-Clutching Train’s Never Late

How, HOW, is Sainted Jill Abramson dealing with the horrible trauma that is being accused of plagiarism after plagiarizing a bunch of people? 

“Over the weekend, I was mostly taking care of and playing with my grandchildren,’’ Abramson told Poynter on Monday afternoon. “And focusing on all that is right with my world.’’

Aww. It’s so nice that we checked in with her and not with, you know, all the people she ripped off or the ones she misgendered or called stupid uneducated kids with mohawks or whatever her problem was with Vice and BuzzFeed.

After all, Twitter was MEAN TO HER:

“Twitter is a savage environment, and at a certain point I just stopped going on Twitter,” Abramson said, “and had trusted friends and advisers to look at it and tell (me) if there is anything that I needed to know.”

“Twitter” is not a savage environment. The world is a savage environment when you screw up. Just ask any journalist not currently swanning around on apology tour of every major media outlet while promoting her book. Just ask the night cops reporter at any mid-size paper in the country. Nobody is nice to you when you fuck up.

So what happens now? Where does Abramson go from here?

She said she will continue teaching twice a week at Harvard. She expects to continue writing regularly for The Guardian and New York Magazine. She said she has no desire to ever run a newsroom again.

This story could not be more soft if Poynter actually smeared Vaseline on the lens. I don’t ask a lot of the outfit that mainly exists to run things like “do journalists swear too much” and “how fair is it to point out when people are lying liars who lie?” but I would expect the August Guardians of Standards and Practices to take a little more seriously when someone who should know better violates them flagrantly.

As far as the latest chapter in her career — a chapter that had her getting off Twitter, answering uncomfortable questions and retreating to the safety of her grandkids — Abramson refuses to let it consume her.

How brave.

How brave of her to continue to persevere by … literally not changing a damn thing and continuing to cash her checks. That must take a lot out of her. Again, the perspective that is presented here is Abramson-as-victim of the mean meanies on the Internet, and I hate to break it to the professional media observers but the Internet, like most of the world, is really really mean, sometimes to people who deserve it, sometimes to people who don’t.

I suppose since Abramson is a Very Important Person, she cannot ever really make an irredeemable mistake (after all, Brian Williams and Mike Barnicle remain employed) but it would be nice to see supposed standards applied in a … standard … way, and at least spare us the “I made mistakes, how dare you be mean and point them out” martyr act.

A.

Surely THIS Will Save Journalism

Horseshit: 

It’s easy to see why Apple favors the scheme. It gets a windfall of new revenue at a time when the decline in iPhone sales has made selling additional services a high priority. It gets to bring more high-quality publishers onto its platform, burnishing its reputation as a premium brand. And it gets to talk loudly about how much it loves journalism, as Apple vice president Eddy Cue did when announcing Apple’s acquisition of the subscription news app Texture last year. “We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users,” he said at the time.

Publishers, meanwhile, may need to hire new employees to manage the partnership, build the necessary product integrations, and address customer service issues. At a time when the industry is already laying off hundreds of journalists, asking them to build out their partnership and product teams in exchange for a potential revenue increase in the single digits appears laughable on its face.

Man, we are willing to do just about anything except take ad revenue and subscription money and spend it on journalism. We’ll spend it on pundits and cable-yellers, we’ll spend it on consultants and digital paradigm shifts and machine learning plans, we’ll spend it on rebrand after rebrand after rebrand, we’ll spend it developing spin-off companies within our news media company, we’ll spend it on hush money for victims of serial sexual harassers, we’ll spend it on developing software to write box scores for high school baseball games, we’ll spend it on real estate. We’ll spend it on glitter glue. We’ll spend it on regular glue.

Anything, ANYTHING, other than news.

It’s my forlorn hope that after the video pivot and the podcast boom and the hyperlocal experiments and the longform mega-wank and the Facebook bots and the Snapchat productions and the endless, endless, endless shitshow that is paywalls, publishers will just finally be so tired they’ll agree to do journalism. But the enthusiasm for this type of thing is just too stupid and predictable. Can a webinar be far behind?

A.

True Unity

Politics isn’t about feelings, you ambulatory turtlenecks: 

Obviously, no Democrat would talk like Trump anyway, because that kind of bigoted talk would get a person drummed out of the country’s multiracial party even as it got him celebrated and elevated in the country’s white ethno-nationalist party.

I am saying, though, that Democrats should stop pretending they can unite the country. They can’t. No one can. What they can do, what they must do, is assemble a coalition of working- and middle-class voters of all races around a set of economic principles that will say clearly to those voters that things are going to be very different when they’re in the White House.

Emphasis mine. Consensus, as Mr. A is fond of saying in stupid meetings we’re in, is not unanimity. You don’t get to have everyone agree with you, and everyone agreeing is not a sign of anything anyway. You get the balance of people to commit to something and the people who want to get on board afterward can, but the people who won’t? Fuck ’em, Bucky, we got work to do.

We forget this all the time because so much of our politics is about talking but as a politician you are supposed to DO STUFF. I know cable news has warped everyone’s brain to the point that we think if two people are yelling at each other that automatically makes both of them wrong, but it doesn’t. And I know our ignorance of history leads us to think that there was some indeterminate point in the past where “we” all rallied around the flag but “we” didn’t. As many people agreed with McCarthy as fought against him. Post-9/11 there were waves of hate crimes and paranoia and let’s not forget all the torturing. During our last glorious period of unity in World War II we locked up a bunch of Japanese-Americans who probably weren’t feeling like we wanted their unity at that point.

We confuse the way we need to remember things with the way they happened, and that’s where our need for unity comes from. It’s childish horseshit and we should be above it by now. People are dying.

Democrats took back the House and a bunch of state legislatures last fall because they said to the voters, here is what we are going to DO FOR YOU. Lots of people liked that. Because some people didn’t doesn’t mean Democrats somehow failed to “unite the country.” It means some people don’t want to get on board with where most of us are going and that’s fine, for them, they get to live their lives, but we don’t have to spend all our time freaking out about what they think or stressing because there are 12 people out there we ain’t converted yet.

Bemoaning the end of comity is good Sunday show ratings but I know of nobody sitting in the pain clinic twitching for an opioid fix who gives a damn if Ilhan Omar was rude. I know of nobody on the phone yelling at their insurance company about a test their doctor says they need to stay alive who worries about Amy Klobuchar being an asshole in the office that one time, or even Joe Biden challenging Trump to a monster truck rally or whatever believes-his-own-press shit Joey has going on today.

People will get united real fast if we stop talking about unity and start giving them clean water, good jobs and free health care. The ones that won’t, eh. The bleached suburban bookclub assholes currently making common cause with Nazi hicks in the hills, fine, you get invited to the party but don’t expect me to change the menu, the venue and the seating just to convince you to show up. Show up or don’t. The rest of us, we got kiddie concentration camps to close.

A.

NOW we’re talking about the money

There’s a reason for this: 

While the companies’ reasonings behind mass layoffs aren’t identical, there is a common thread: The cuts have less to do with the talent of the workers, and more to do with financial imperatives and the whims of investors. THR reports that Nancy Dubuc, CEO at Vice, seeks to decrease spending and increase profitability. HuffPost spokesperson told CNN that the site is “investing its talents and resources to areas that have high audience engagement, differentiation and are poised for growth at a time when our mission means more than ever.” And according to BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti, who reportedly suggested that employees bring dogs to work on Monday as a means of raising morale, BuzzFeed is “restructuring” to “focus in on the content that is working, and achieve the right cost structure to support our multirevenue model.” (There is also speculation that BuzzFeed is preparing for a sale or merger.)

Back in the early 2000s newspaper company owners could still get away with blaming kids on their phones for not paying for news. Shit, they’re still doing that to explain what happened to newspapers, but now that the layoffs are hitting digital shops some people are actually starting to notice that hey, the money WAS there, and it just wasn’t being spent on journalism.

There’s a reason I yell so much about the nonprofit model for legacy and new media: Because enough money can be enough. If you’re paying your bills and can sock a little away at a time in case of emergency, you’re okay. If you’re pulling down maybe a small profit, huzzah! You get to celebrate, possibly by hiring people or doing a kickass project. You don’t have to freak the fuck out and fire fourteen people because the profit margin went from five percent to four.

Newspapers, yes the dead trees on which information is printed and distributed to the masses, are STILL profitable enterprises. Online news outlets can still be profitable. They’re just not profitable ENOUGH for Wall Street analysts, and it’s infuriating to see people fired to make a spreadsheet look better. That’s an insane reason for stories to not get done. It’s absurd. It’s laughable, but dismantling that entire system is harder than screaming at Facebook and Google so here we go:

“This isn’t happening because of market inefficiencies or consumer preferences or social value,” HuffPost senior reporter Zach Carter tweeted. “It’s happening because two very large companies have taken the advertising revenue that journalism outlets rely on and replaced it with nothing.”

YOU WERE NEVER ENTITLED TO ADVERTISING MONEY. Nobody owed you their dollars and Facebook and Google didn’t set out to kill journalism, they set out to suck up all the cash. They don’t care about you at all. It wasn’t maliciousness, it was indifference, the same indifference with which, say, hedge funds run papers. This was all foreseeable three damn years ago and the way I know that is that people saw it. They were, of course, laughed off in favor of making promotional videos for machine learning plans. 

And instead of building something good in the meantime, your bosses decided to pivot and pivot and pivot. They’re ones to be mad at, not techbros in San Fran and Seattle. They’re the ones who owed you their loyalty and hard work and they threw it away on plans to blanket the Internet in videos and endless podcasts. Because Facebook and Google told them to and laughed all the way to the bank.

I can’t sympathize with people who didn’t listen when we said they were gonna get taken. I feel bad for the journalists who tried to do good work and I hope that now, finally, finally, that we’re talking about money and where it goes we can start understanding who has journalism’s best interests at heart, and build some systems that serve them instead of pivoting some more.

Via Maximillian Potter.

A.

It’s Not the Tools, It’s the Talent

I can’t anymore with this:

Much has been made of the way Twitter serves as a megaphone for popular anger that’s made more intense by the speed of the news cycle and the distinctive malice and ineptitude of the Trump White House. But too little attention has been paid to what may be the most potent facet of the social media platform: its ability to feed the vanity of its users. There’s always an element of egoism to intellectual and political debate. But Twitter puts every tweeter on a massive stage, with the nastiest put-downs, insults, and provocations often receiving the most applause. That’s a huge psychological incentive to escalate the denunciation of political enemies. The more one expresses outrage at the evils of others, the more one gets to enjoy the adulation of the virtual mob.

We are not having a problem with Twitter and we are not having a problem with “fake news” and we are not having a (political) problem with Facebook. We are having a problem with Republican money and that is ALL we are having a problem with.

But but but bot-farms and share networks and lies and deceptive headlines! Yes, and isn’t it fucking amazing how none of that resulted in landslide Democratic elections? Isn’t it all super-weird that networks of bots don’t harass Republican men on Twitter but liberal women? Isn’t it a goddamn chickenfried magic coincidence that this supposedly nonpartisan crisis of fact-free nonsense has ONLY EVER BENEFITTED REPUBLICANS?

“Fake news” didn’t descend upon us from out of the sky. It was something a GOP presidential candidate screamed at his supporters and they screamed it at the press. “Twitter” isn’t destroying liberal democracy. GOP and GOP-aligned activists swept across every platform from Twitter to old-fashioned direct mail to whip up anger against black people, brown immigrants, women, gay and trans people, and environmentalists in an effort to keep and expand their power.

They took Russian money and looked the other way while Russian operatives acted like chaos-causing shitlords because they knew it would only hurt Democrats and help them, and they didn’t care what damage they did to “our democracy” because they don’t care about that and never have.

That they CLOAKED IT in this language of “both sides” and made it seem like a weather system that just somehow moved in, like old/er America woke up one day and started spontaneously sharing stories of Obama putting a basketball hoop in the Oval Office or whatever it is they’re mad about today, isn’t on the medium.

It’s on the editors and producers who, seeing what was happening but fearing their eviction from the realm of Sensible Centrists, ran editorials about “right- and left-wing extremism” and our country “becoming” divided.

It’s on our goddamn Congress out there having hearings about “shadowbanning” on Facebook and racist/sexist/anti-Semitic Facebook ads, without emphasizing who paid for those ads, and who got elected because of them.

And if the entire internet just up and quit tomorrow (a decision I’m not sure I’d mourn, given all our fucking givens) and disappeared except for the cat subreddit and one knitters’ message board, the same GOP ratfuckers moaning about the future of the white race would be revving up their radio shows and fake-bestselling publishing imprints again.

The way I know this is that the same kind of “fake news” said Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and John Kerry shot himself, and Jill Carroll was carrying her terrorist abductor’s baby, and Saddam had WMDs, and who did all THAT benefit? Who got elected on the back of all that?

WELL FUCK SHIT JESUS, IT WAS THE GOP!

I mean, this is Rush Limbaugh’s party, it has been since forever, and we’re all out here going oh goodness me wherever did this thirst for sensationalistic horseshit come from? 

I mean look at this crap:

These are the things they’re putting in the mail. It’s the same stuff that’s on the internet, the same xenophobic fearmongering bullshit. At a certain point you stop oohing and ahhing over the newfangled ways they spread their slime and start asking from whence the slime emanates, right? RIGHT?!

At a certain point we have to stop calling this a fake news crisis, a Twitter crisis, and call it a Republican crisis. They’re the only ones who win here and they’ve got no incentive to try to stop it, and it’s poisoning the well the rest of us drink from. We need to name them as the ones who have been pouring venom into the discourse, and stop listening to anything they have to say.

A.

P.S. If you’re going to throw the Covington kids in my face, as the first linked article does, you’d better be ready to answer for Richard Jewell, who was tried and convicted by the social media mob known as the NEWSPAPER. And let’s not forget the ENTIRE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR.

P.P.S. William Randolph Hearst called, he said he left his telegraph machine at your mom’s and while you’re there he wants his change. Schmucks.

Blogger Ethics Train’s Never Late

Our august journalism elders are wanking away about unqualified diversity hires who ARE NEITHER: 

Now on top of those errors, the graf above says VICE wanted ppl with “the look.” “But” it hired “very young” reporters w/ “scant experience.” I’m the 1st example of this. Elements of the graf paint me as an “edgy” but inept diversity hire, rather than a competent journalist.

To attempt to explain what’s happened to journalism:

Jill Abramson follows four companies: The New York Times, The Washington PostBuzzFeed, and VICE Media over a decade of disruption and radical adjustment. The new digital reality nearly kills two venerable newspapers with an aging readership while creating two media behemoths with a ballooning and fickle audience of millennials. We get to know the defenders of the legacy presses as well as the outsized characters who are creating the new speed-driven media competitors. The players include Jeff Bezos and Marty Baron (The Washington Post), Arthur Sulzberger and Dean Baquet (The New York Times), Jonah Peretti (BuzzFeed), and Shane Smith (VICE) as well as their reporters and anxious readers.

Merchants of Truth raises crucial questions that concern the well-being of our society. We are facing a crisis in trust that threatens the free press. Abramson’s book points us to the future.

Meanwhile this shit is happening: 

I’ll keep saying it until I’m dead but you are not talking about what’s happened to journalism unless you’re talking about money.

Hedge fund money. Billionaire money. Corporate money and the slavering greed that called 17 percent profit margins “struggling” and pissed away every ounce of customer loyalty that media brands spent centuries building.

Media company bosses fired experienced reporters and hired younger ones, counting on the old hands to yell at their replacements and not their bosses and for 20 years that’s been the response, along with screaming at “millennials” to stop being so hip and edgy and getting their news “for free.” You are not talking about what happened to journalism unless you’re talking about that.

For that matter, you are not talking about what’s happened to journalism unless you’re talking about the consolidation of production and delivery that doomed people who wanted information to getting it irregularly, incorrectly or not at all.

You are not talking about what happened to journalism unless you’re talking about systematically attacking customers by redirecting them to bloated, heaving websites that drop 35 ad trackers on you while screaming at you to subscribe even after you log in three times.

You are not talking about what happened to journalism unless you’re talking about running a sports team and a TV station and an events production company and a luxury high-rise with the money you’re supposed to be spending on DOING THE FUCKING NEWS.

If you’re talking about the content, and taking potshots at the hip hairstyles of people who ACTUALLY WANT TO BE REPORTERS IN THIS GODFORSAKEN MEDIA HELLSCAPE (people you should be mentoring and nurturing and encouraging, not smacking around for violating your antique gender norms), you are already so far behind the 8-ball that locating Charlottesville in North Carolina is the least of your problems.

And let’s not even get started on supposedly surveying everything the light touches in American journalism without centering Fox and its media and cultural imitators, who are responsible for the parts of the slaughter hedgies haven’t gotten to yet.

In the year of our Lord and Savior Nellie Bly 2018, we cannot possibly still be saying the problem is young people with partially shaved heads. In the year of endless hearings into misinformation on Facebook shared over and over by elderly MAGAtroids, our pundit class cannot still be obsessed with the blogger ethics panic that seized the entirety of the early oughts, right?

RIGHT?

A.

Any. Minute. Now.

Trump will literally be herding people who mildly criticize him into cattle cars OH WAIT and Republicans and pundits will be going NOW WOULD BE A GOOD TIME FOR SOMEONE TO STAND UP TO HIM:

You know when else would have been a good time, Jenny? When he fucking declared his candidacy by calling Mexicans rapists and murderers. When he was screaming LOCK HER UP from the podium and mocking disabled reporters and passing off “grab them by the pussy” as “locker room talk” and all any of your glorious principled conservatives did was rub their foreheads and duck the mic.

And if Mitt Romney does this tonight or tomorrow morning he doesn’t get a cookie and neither does any other Republican senator because they could have stopped this any old goddamn time.

Fucking Christ. They are not going to stand up to him. They were not going to do it when he stood next to Putin in Helsinki and said look, I don’t believe our own intelligence services I believe his lying butt face. They are not going to stand up to Trump because they don’t want to. Because it doesn’t benefit them. Because they don’t see what you see.

What you see is the course of history or whatever Mr. Smith/Washington fantasy and you think this is some kind of goal, being brave. What they see are dollars and voters and they recognize that they’ll keep getting both if they just keep their mouths shut and letting Trump’s manners obscure their machinations.

His policy aims are theirs. His goals are theirs. His voters are theirs. For 40 years this has been true and you expect somebody like Mitt Romney, who is like if a webinar was a person, to be a hero? What FOR? What does he want that Donald Trump does not provide?

You can’t answer that, you have no business asking the questions you’re asking.

A.

Naughty Words

One:

 

Two:

You know what we’ve gone and done? Jesus Christ. You know what?

We’ve gone and built Trump’s wall.

In fact, we’ve built like ten of them. Today.

We’ve built a wall that is 400 feet high and constructed almost entirely of bullshit. We’ve built a wall between the word “racist” and any meaningful fucking understanding of what that is, such that we can acknowledge, as Anderson Cooper has, that Donald Trump does racist shit all the time but may not Be A Racist.

Yes, he does horrible racist things constantly, but to call him a racist is somehow a higher bar, or something. What the actual unholy blue fuck. “Racist” is not a naughty word we say when we want to be a big meanie to someone, and it’s not even the most important thing to do with regard to Trump and race in America.

It’s not important to determine whether Trump, personally, dislikes people who are not white. It’s important to determine if his actions support a system that consistently punishes and dehumanizes them. He’s a white American politician, so he’s always gonna do that to a certain extent, and we don’t need to know what’s in his shriveled lump of a heart. We can look at his record.

I don’t care, even, if Trump is A Racist. I care that he does racist things and supports racist people and policies. That’s enough. We put up this wall where if Trump is not A Racist then the racist shit he does is somehow less racist and that’s not how any of this works.

We’ve built a wall between the way we talk to each other about real things — I’ve heard more 80-year-olds use the word “motherfucker” in the past two years than ever in my life — and the way we react when an adult does it on tape because we think we can get ahead by feigning outrage. What a load of shit. Motherfucking shit, even.

Grown-ass men on the news acting aggrieved that another grown-up used a grown-up word in a bar. People talking about “f-bombs” like they’re telling their toddlers about going poopy on the potty. Good God. Watching that freakout unfold in exactly the way the freakouts over every other imaginary wingnut “scandal” have unfolded was as instructive as it was depressing.

We’ve learned nothing in the past 24 months. We just keep stacking bullshit on top of bullshit, and we don’t even notice how high the wall’s gotten.

A.

Cohen Family Values

This post title may be ironic but it contains a kernel of truth. Trump’s former fixer spent a good deal of time in his remarks at his sentencing hearing discussing the importance of family and his regrets at having let them down. Bigly.

Cohen’s family values are also the best explanation for his limited co-operation with the Southern District of New York. I spent too much time Wednesday watching MSNBC and listening to pundits and legal experts alike discuss this “mystery.” There’s a simple explanation: both Cohen and his brother married into families with extensive ties to the Ukrainian and Russian mobs. It’s unclear if they’re gangsters or associates, but they’re connected. Flipping on them would not only blow up Cohen’s family, it would be hazardous to his health. There’s no mystery there at all.

Additionally, Cohen’s uncle runs a social club in Brooklyn that’s frequented by wise guys from the former Soviet Union. The Fixer sold his stake in the club after Trump’s fluke election victory. At the very least, Cohen’s uncle is a mob associate. To put it in terms that Sopranos fans will get: he’s the Artie Bucco of the story. Artie was, of course, Tony’s childhood friend whose eatery Vesuvio was a hangout for the fictional Jersey mob. Artie was a hapless schmo and sporadic wise guy wannabe, which is how Cohen is perceived by many in the MSM.

The mistake the MSM has made in covering  the Trump scandals is that they’ve treated it as strictly a political story. It’s really the story of how a career criminal was elected president* by defrauding the voters. It’s a crime story. The victim is the American people.

I think all the wise men and women on cable news should read Josh Marshall. He’s been on top of the Cohen/mob story since the Spring of 2017. In case you’ve missed his coverage, here are links to some of Josh’s Cohen stories:

From February 26, 2017: It’s All So Confusing.

From March 1, 2017: Piecing Together The Michael Cohen Story.

From April 17, 2018: The Closer I Get.

From April 18, 2018: Cohen-ology Pays Off After All.

It’s all there, y’all. It explains why Michael Cohen cannot offer the sort of co-operation demanded by the SDNY. They expect co-operators to discuss *every* crime a witness is familiar with, not just their own malefactions. Cohen would rather spend 3 years in jail than deal with the shitstorm that would ensue if he flipped on his friends and family from Brooklyn and Brighton Beach. Who the hell can blame him?

Having explained why I believe Cohen will never sign a full co-operation deal with the SDNY, working with Team Mueller is an entirely different kettle of fish. Cohen seems willing to spill everything he knows about Donald Trump. Those bridges are burned and the only way Trumpberius can hurt Cohen now is with his mouth and tweets. Cohen doesn’t give a shit about that any more. He’s done covering up for the Insult Comedian’s “dirty deeds.”

The last word (image?) goes to my First Draft colleague Michael F:

The GOP, in Wisconsin and Elsewhere, is Anti-Democracy

This is by design: 

The bill includes plans to lower voter turnout by adding a third statewide election in the spring of 2020, even though it will cost taxpayers millions of additional dollars and local election officials have come out strongly against it. They want to make it harder to vote early, which will cost taxpayers millions more in legal costs. They want to take control of state economic development away from the governor’s office. They want to replace the elected attorney general with private attorneys hired by the legislative branch at additional expense to taxpayers.

Is this democracy at work?

I mean, technically, yeah, in that they only have the power they have because we gave it to them. Look, for the last two years we’ve had lots of conversations about norms versus laws, about what we really consider important in government versus what is actually required. Half the shit the Trump crime family does is not illegal (like ghost the sexist shitshow that is the White House Christmas decoration reveal party, Melania, that thing sounds like hell on earth) but we act like our imaginary expectations are supposed to carry weight.

We shouldn’t run a country based on everybody being sensible and having manners. That’s not how anything should function. If you tell me that I am required to do X and Y, and in your own head you expect me to do Z, you can’t throw me in jail for not doing Z if only X and Y are mandatory.

Republicans in Wisconsin CAN do this. Should they? Shit no. But we’re well past trusting motherfuckers not to fuck mothers. If we want them to keep their dicks to themselves we have to strap on political chastity belts.

This editorial starts strong and then gets real, real stupid:

Remember in 2015 when these same three politicians – Vos, Fitzgerald and Walker – tried to gut the state’s open records law before the Fourth of July holiday?  They sneaked it into a budget bill, hoping no one would notice on the holiday weekend.

Wait, you mean to tell us, newspaper that FUCKIN ENDORSED THOSE POLITICIANS, that they turned out to be scumsucking suckers of scum? You mean they did this before? Why, it’s almost like this is WHAT THEY DO. I do declare, Miss Scarlett. See also gambling, shocked, and this establishment.

The modern GOP is designed to pursue power and subvert voting. Especially in Wisconsin. I pay attention to this shit as my side hustle and I’ve noticed that it’s not some kind of weird accident that these people are authoritarian tailpipe tumors who keep pulling underhanded crap. How can people who make a living being knowledgeable knowers of knowledge not pick this up?

We haven’t mentioned political party because this isn’t about party platforms – that’s what elections should be about.

This is about keeping the citizens in charge of their government.

It doesn’t matter which party is coming in and going out of office — we would say the exact same thing. In fact, we would shout it — just as we are now.

ARGHGGHHHH I mean name for me please the equivalent Democratic subversion of power that has occurred, that would warrant this sort of imaginary both-siderism. “We haven’t mentioned political party” so definitely please don’t call us the enemy of the people or get mad at us! Pretty please!

I give up.

A.

Poppy Bush

The MSM tends to the hagiographic when a former president dies. They were even relatively charitable when Tricky Dick went straight to hell without passing go. In the case of Poppy Bush, the people who covered him liked him as person, which makes it easier to gloss over his political flaws and vices. This was my initial reaction upon hearing that he’d died:

In its rush to paint Bush as a “kinder gentler” president, the MSM has focused on his thank you notes instead of his record.  As president, Poppy Bush was determined to disprove this Newsweek cover:

That was when Newsweek was owned by the Grahams and what it said mattered. Bush was a genuine war hero who should have been secure in his masculinity, but instead was overly fond of military solutions to political and diplomatic problems. His former boss, Ronald Reagan, spent Word War II in uniform in Hollywood, but he was more secure than his Veep so there was tougher rhetoric but fewer military deployments when he was what Gore Vidal called “the Old Television President.”

My head started spinning when I heard CBS’ Bob Schieffer claim that the “Wimp Factor” flap was caused by Poppy’s niceness and good manners. Wrong. It was caused by his obsequiousness as Reagan’s Veep. Bush was a moderate Republican who abandoned most of his previously held positions in a full embrace of Reaganism. It was Bush who dubbed Reagan’s tax cut plan “Voodoo Economics.” Bush arguably moved to Reagan’s right because the hardcore wingnuts never trusted him, so he was obliged to appease them. Appeasement is never appealing.

While we’re on the subject of Newsweek covers, Gary Trudeau did the mud bath cover that is this post’s featured image. He also did a hilarious strip wherein Poppy Bush “put his political manhood in a blind trust” for the duration of the Reagan-Bush administration:

Repeat after me: the Wimp Factor was about George HW Bush, subservient Veep. It was particularly noteworthy as he followed in office the first modern Vice President, Fritz Mondale. Mondale saw his mentor, Hubert Humphrey, humiliated by LBJ and insisted on becoming the first Veep to have any power and influence. Poppy Bush was a throwback Vice President as was his own Veep, J Danforth Quayle.  Ironically, W followed the Carter-Clinton model and gave Dick Cheney too much power. So it goes.

I gotta give Poppy Bush credit for being able to laugh at himself. He befriended Dana Carvey who was best known for his Bush impression on SNL. Carvey portrayed Bush as an amiable somewhat dim aristocrat. Carvey famously said his Bush combined Mister Rogers and John Wayne. It’s a good day in the neighborhood, Pilgrim.

Poppy even invited Carvey to do his impression at the White House:

There’s been a lot of babble on the MSM about Poppy’s decency. It’s been exaggerated BUT I’ve enjoyed it when it serves as a rebuke to the Insult Comedian. Trump has not been barred from the DC memorial service so, he’ll be there. I hope he’s not allowed to speak: eulogies are supposed to be about the dead guy, not the speaker. I don’t think Trump is capable of that. Besides, he might confuse Poppy with Jeb and say 41 is too low energy,

I still have mixed feelings about Poppy Bush’s presidency. He signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law and presided over the demise of the Soviet Union with skill and tact. His weaknesses on the domestic front emboldened the Pat Buchanans and Newt Gingrichs of the world, which gives Poppy some responsibility for the GOP becoming the Party of Me. I never voted for him and would give him a gentleman’s C as president. The worst thing about his Presidency is that it made the Bush-Cheney administration possible. I give them a lout’s F.

I wish hagiography weren’t the American way, but it’s as old as the Republic itself. See Weems, Parson. George HW Bush was neither all bad nor all good. I didn’t like his policies but, unlike the Current Occupant, he was not a raging gaping asshole whose hand I would have refused to shake. That’s about the nicest thing I can say about a Republican in 2018 except this: Poppy Bush was the best of a bad lot.

Blame The Right People for Media Failures

The “business model” wasn’t the problem here, has never been the problem, stop this bullshit copypasta from every story about every media company failure: 

Mic raised more than $60 million to build a millennial-focused news company but couldn’t find a business model to support its costs, which include a one-floor office in Manhattan’s World Trade Center (an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the size of Mic’s office).

If these people were running a baked potato stand, and spent all their money on glitter glue instead, nobody would be interrogating the viability of the baked potato sales model. They’d be like WHY DID YOU BLOW ALL YOUR CASH ON GLITTER GLUE YOU FUCKING MORONS? Just SELL GOOD POTATOES!

Sell enough potatoes to pay for the potatoes and the equipment and people to bake them. God, quit overcomplicating shit and then whining about how complicated it all is.

I mean what a load of horseshit:

“What you hear less about the truth is that it is expensive. Our business models are unsettled and the macro forces at play are all going through their own states of unrest.”

The truth isn’t expensive. Real estate and prezzies are expensive, and you decided you’d rather spend money on that than on doing good work and retaining your people and building your company. I HATE when people talk about preventable catastrophes like they’re natural disasters. Your house burned down, yeah, but you set the fucking fire.

You relied on Facebook — Facebook, in the year of our Lord Jesus Delano Roosevelt, 2018 — for revenue from videos — VIDEOS — and when that went tits-up you had no backup plan. Any ten people on the street could have told you that relying on third-party companies to give you the traffic you’d otherwise have to build like grown-ups was a long wait for a train don’t come and a shitty risk besides, but no, you pivoted like hell until you drilled a hole and fell in it.

A.