When Good Intentions Backfire
danah boyd
44836

I feel like this ended where it should’ve begun. By definition, we can’t know the unintended consequences; we can only deal with them afterward. That’s where journalism is with manufactured outrage. But the problem isn’t that outrage is manufactured — once it exists, it exists, no matter the reason it originally existed. The problem is that journalists aren’t willing to say “this will only matter if we say it matters, so let’s not.” The Ku Klux Klan has been impotent for decades, yet they’re still good for clickbait. Milo Yiannopoulos is purely a product of outrage — if his speeches had been ignored, he’d be another obscure Breitbart writer. The question for modern journalism is who it is supposed to serve, and the unintended consequence of commercial journalism is it serves the publisher, not the public, so we continue to live in the world of “if it bleeds, it leads.” Why it bleeds stays irrelevant.

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