Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A Bad Idea

You know, not every idea can be a gem. Even the best and brightest among us comes up with a clunker now and then. Prince wrote "Manic Monday." Steven Bochco did "Cop Rock." Michael Jordan tried to play baseball for a living. So it shouldn't be too surprising that even our generation's Edison, Elon Musk, came up with this brilliant idea:

Oh, the public! Oh yes, let's have the public "rate the core truth" of what they read in the news media. What a great idea! Let's have the people who scream "FAKE NEWS!" every time they don't like something be the judges of the "core truth" of what professional journalists write. I mean, it's not like there was a publication like, say, the Columbia Journalism Review,  or organizations like F.A.I.R. that have actual knowledgeable informed individuals analyzing news coverage. No, this sort of thing is best left to the people that forwarded you that e-mail about Obama being a gay Muslim fascist..

Now I don't know what Elon Musk's politics are. And I certainly don't care enough to find out, but this bullshit. . . This is the kind of bullshit false choice that the right always tries to force people into. Like "Are you in favor of invading and occupying Iraq or do you think that Sadam Hussein is so great and you wish you could marry him?" or "Do you want everyone to be able to walk into WalMart with a machine gun whenever they want or do you want to throw the Constitution douwn the toilet?"  I would have thought that a wealthy, successful man like Musk would be above this sort of crap, but I would have thought incorrectly. I would have at least thought there should be an option for "the mainstream media is in pretty bad shape at the moment and the proliferation of falsehoods purporting to be "news" on social media is making things considerably worse, but this is still a really dumb idea.

Ooooh. I get it. You aren't interested in uncovering the truth, or determining which sources or trustworthy. You're just upset that Tesla got some negative press. And you want to be able to discredit any reporters who don't give you the fawning coverage you're used to. Okay, now it all makes sense!

Then it starts to get a little silly.

But you just said that all they care about is how many clicks and how much money they can pull in. Now you say that what they really care about is their credibility? And they define themselves by some credibility score that as yet does not exist and when it does exist will be decided upon by the same people who click on those "One Weird Trick" ads?

Well. . . I mean. He's got a point. when you tweet things like:

You kind of sound sort of exactly like him.

Wow, it's uncanny!
It's like what Oasis was to the Beatles, you are to Twitter Trump.

And that's not really something to aspire to.