Enough with the “Fake News is Hard” BS
Rick Webb

The Yellow-Journalism of William Randolph Hearst (whom most say is the inspiration for Welles’s “Citizen Kane” whom some compare to one Donald J. Trump) leads to the muckrakers associated with Upton Sinclair. Don’t forget, though, our modern entertainment industry is one-part video games, one-part Marvel and one-part rebooted franchise (read: written by computers) and comics beget serials begets comic books beget 4K never-ending stream of steroid freaks in spandex saving the girl but not getting to fuck her.

And. And we owe a great deal of that to one of Hearst’s other attempts to sell copy, namely Flash Gordon, which was an ingenious way to both subvert the political cartoons of the muckrakers as well as use synergy to cross-promote junk food and sell movies, all the while targeting the family-friendly demographic, in today’s ad lingo (or maybe yesterday’s).

But it was Balzac who said Franklin created the canard. Writers making money selling per word stories which are entirely false but will generate profits for the press by selling papers and feed and clothe the poor poet with dreams of grandeur not able to satiate a desire to impress a chick, or have the latest and greatest, or conversely for a chick to perhaps gain creditably as 'one of the boys' (in what was traditionally an informal club, historically- see: George Sand) are, in point of fact, not just not an outlier but rather the raw material used to build the newspaper industry itself.

But. But I would make one quite important distinction. They did not have bots. And there was no such thing as Tronc. While many of the self-same human frailties at the heart of La Comédie humaine are as true today as ever, we cannot assume that our national presses, the fourth estate will survive, recognizable as they are today, with Tronc, activist shareholders, dwindling revenue, FB, Alphabet billions pouring into AI ML chip-design, and Gannett buying up small presses and turning them into oversimplified, generic USAToday clones.

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