The Stupid Trump-Taiwan Panic and our Media’s Addiction to Hyperbole
Austin Frank

I do think Trump is a danger to equality and freedom. But I have to admit that I absolutely agree with Trump on this issue: it’s a friendly phone call. Even if it was a big deal to China, it shouldn’t matter to the USA. I also don’t think his reaction to Castro’s death was as bad as some argued; it certainly lacked diplomatic finesse and could have been much, much better (see Obama’s statement for example) — but at least he got his priorities right, because there were a lot of politicians in the west who praised Castro post-mortem.

I do think his tweet about the flag-burning was very problematic, but there’s no need to make that big a deal out of it.

I don’t think the problem here is a bias in the media; I think the problem is an affinity for hyperbole, and increasingly a lack of journalistic integrity. As a Hillary supporter in spirit I think the collusion between some news outlets like the NYT and the DNC was a disgrace, and I think badly researched articles and fake news are shameful as well (although statistically, fake news are a bigger problem on the right).

But here’s the thing: why are traditional news organizations adopting these patterns? Because their audience is shrinking, so they have to find new ways to reach people; and at the same time online publications show that this is exactly what people want. People click on clickbait headlines. People don’t care for research or integrity online. Really good journalism is time-consuming and expensive, and there’s just no reward for it anymore when you are competing against Buzzfeed, Breitbart and interchangeable low-quality publications that just churn out interchangeable low-quality articles to be shared on social media. Yes, the media is broken; but that includes the audience.

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