“The internet has been an incredible boon to mankind, both in terms of our liberties and also in terms of our productivity. But we’ve taken it for granted. … We’ve got to stop taking it for granted, because the internet doesn’t obey fixed laws. There’s no gravity in cyberspace except the gravity that we say exists.”
“It will take the attention of the free society that built the internet to save it.”
This failure of U.S. broadcast media to use proper news judgment in covering Trump is among the gravest professional sins the industry has committed in recent memory because it fails to recognize the manipulation involved.
We’ve come to a remarkably mature place as a society where you can detest the war; but not the Warrior.
The response is symptomatic of a deeply entrenched desire to use a communal form of punishment against those who are perceived as straying from established ideological positions. It’s practically a reflexive response at this point to find somebody to attack. Why do headlines like “Can Taylor Swift call herself a feminist after skipping Women’s March?” even exist (and there are other versions of this kind of story)? These kind of responses do not reflect a desire or a willingness to “live and let live.” Even in an environment where the left is struggling to maintain influence, they’re calling out allies for not showing up for marches or for employing poor people, minorities, and immigrants in a way that doesn’t match the progressive playbook.
‘Publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017,’ Smith writes. This is an amazing thing to say, because if you think it through, it means publishing open libels and slanders is the job of reporters in 2017.
‘Fake news will become more sophisticated, and fake, ambiguous, and spun-up stories will spread widely,’ warned an important American editor at the end of December 2016. His name: Ben Smith. His publication: BuzzFeed.
A social media baron as president would be an unprecedented experiment in politics and the power to control perceptions.
Hillary Clinton, by contrast, epitomizes the dorky arrogance and smugness of the professional elite. The dorkiness: the pantsuits. The arrogance: the email server. The smugness: the basket of deplorables. Worse, her mere presence rubs it in that even women from her class can treat working-class men with disrespect. Look at how she condescends to Trump as unfit to hold the office of the presidency and dismisses his supporters as racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic. Trump’s blunt talk taps into another blue-collar value: straight talk. …
Progressives have lavished attention on the poor for over a century. That (combined with other factors) led to social programs targeting them. Means-tested programs that help the poor but exclude the middle may keep costs and tax rates lower, but they are a recipe for class conflict. …
Economic resentment has fueled racial anxiety that, in some Trump supporters (and Trump himself), bleeds into open racism. But to write off WWC anger as nothing more than racism is intellectual comfort food, and it is dangerous.
I genuinely do not assume the worst, because I’ve seen the best so often.
The lens through which people understand politics and politicians is extraordinarily powerful. And Trump understands the new ecosystem, in which facts and truth don’t matter. You attract attention, rouse emotions, and then move on. You can surf those emotions. I’ve said it before, but if I watched Fox I wouldn’t vote for me!
[The new media ecosystem] means everything is true and nothing is true. An explanation of climate change from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as the denial of climate change by somebody on the Koch brothers’ payroll. And the capacity to disseminate misinformation, wild conspiracy theories, to paint the opposition in wildly negative light without any rebuttal—that has accelerated in ways that much more sharply polarize the electorate and make it very difficult to have a common conversation.
We’re creating a world of dummies. Angry dummies who feel they have the right, the authority and the need not only to comment on everything, but to make sure their voice is heard above the rest, and to drag down any opposing views through personal attacks, loud repetition and confrontation.
In that moment, Facebook was Reynolds’ only recourse. And that’s scary. Because no matter how much social media has done to raise public awareness about these tragedies, it still falls so short. Comments and posts and shares and retweets couldn’t come to the rescue when Reynolds and Castile needed it most. And virality alone isn’t admissible in court. As Castile lay dying, he and his family could not rely on anything else. Social media was all they had, and all that social media could offer them was an outlet for outrage, fear, and mourning.
In international relations, extremists on one side empower extremists on the other side. ISIS empowers Trump, who inadvertently empowers ISIS. He’s not confronting a national security threat; he’s creating one.