A critical excerpt:
[T]he site’s designed to facilitate irresponsibility. Despite all Malkin’s proud declarations about the importance of citizen journalists, in the end she’d rather hide, like the coward she is, beyond an anonymous byline because she knows “mistakes were and will be made.” How does she know? Because that’s the point of the entire site. She’s free to publish anything she’d like without having to worry about annoying things like “consequences,” because not only is she not directly responsible for what she’s published, she’s merely aggregating what other people have written on Twitter. It’s a perpetual bullshit machine powered by anonymity. She can take credit for its “findings” when some infernal occlusion causes it to belch out something accurate, but for the most part she denies via “UPDATE” the endless stream of bullshit it was designed to produce.
The recent bombing and subsequent shooting in Boston have really heightened my sense of how much our media is failing us in a general sense. It isn’t just partisan hacks like Malkin–those people are always failing us–but even traditionally trustworthy, vaguely nonpartisan outlets like CNN.
At the root, the same problem remains. When CNN reports information that has absolutely zero basis in fact and is more random information than sourceable stuff, we’re unhappy. But there’s no one to blame. We can’t blame the newscaster–that person is reading off of a screen, and we know it. Can we blame the source, someone who heard something they believed to be true and called a 1-800 number? The producer?
It is somewhere in there, and if we did the work, we could probably find the actual gatekeeper who made the decision to let explicit racism run the airwaves for two hours instead of hard facts. Or maybe we wouldn’t. In either case it wouldn’t matter, because it moves too fast for us to ever take the time to puzzle through it.
Someone in the future, some media studies academic, will analyze this whole event and point out exactly who failed at their job as a news curator and who did not. But chances are we’ll never find out and that person will get a promotion out of their on the spot, up to the minute, fastest-to-twitter coverage.
And something else will have happened and we’ll have forgotten about how we were jerked around and fucked over by media corporations for the ten thousandth time.