By Lee Duigon
When I was a teenager, we used to get a lot of good belly-laughs out of crazy tabloid headlines. “Bigfoot Kept Lumberjack as Love Slave!” “Mad Dentist Rips Out Patient’s Tongue.” And “Girl Too Ugly to Go to School,” complete with clumsy composite photo that wouldn’t fool a five-year-old. These guys were writing click bait before clicks were invented.
Now it’s over fifty years later: and the new CEO of the Sacramento Bee has a plan to tie his reporters’ pay to the number of clicks their stories get. And those reporters are horrified.
The Sacramento Bee News Guild says the new policy “encourages controversy and quantity over clarity and quality,” to say nothing of accuracy. It will tempt writers to create “click bait,” and “It cheapens our work.” You don’t say?
There must have been readers, back in the 1960s, who believed those loopy headlines. But I think most of us understood that it was just mere silliness. “174-MPH Sneeze Blows Off Woman’s Hair.” Come on: who was standing there with scientific apparatus to measure the velocity of that sneeze?
Besides, we had the real news. On TV. And in the papers. Once upon a time, Walter Cronkite was billed as “the most trusted man in America.” He and his colleagues were really deft at picking our pockets. At least they pretended to be bound by journalistic ethics, even as they exercised their subtle skills to steer public opinion to the left. Very few Americans realized they were doing that.
Now, though, they don’t even pretend. The Sacramento Bee is only taking it just one step farther. Whoever gets the most clicks gets paid the most money. Bring back Bigfoot’s love slave. And while we’re waiting for the next mad dentist, they can “report” Amy Barrett’s paycheck signed by Putin, Donald Trump’s lurid affairs with space aliens, and the 16 weeks we’ve got to stop Climate Change before it kills us all.
If “journalists” are upset about being forcibly herded into the production of fake news, whom have they to blame but themselves? Aren’t they all Woke by now? Is there any Far Left fantasy they haven’t pushed as if their lives depended on it? Some guy declares himself a “woman”—and does any journalist, anywhere, fail to knuckle under with the female pronouns? And Black Lives Matter is a benevolent association, Joe Biden is a centrist, Hillary Clinton the world’s smartest woman and oh, look! Biden’s up double digits in the polls!
It’s getting so the definition of “sucker” is anybody who believes anything he hears from the nooze media.
But what the heck, it’s all about clicks now, isn’t it? My own headline, up above, wouldn’t pass muster with the Sacramento Bee. It should’ve been something like “Nude Journalists Caught Performing Human Sacrifice.” And watch the clicks come rolling in.
Asked to choose between reporting the news accurately and only reporting it in ways that help the Democratic Party, America’s noozies have made their choice and made it clearly: it’ll be helping the Democrats every time. They want to shape the news, not describe it. They want to be kingmakers. They’re in the bag for the fundamental transformation of America.
I wonder what they expect to get out of it. The Party will jail them last? Some dictator will pat them on the head and say “Nice noozie”? The first American Hugo Chavez clone will declare he couldn’t have done it without the New York Times?
They have no one but themselves to blame.
I have discussed these and other topics throughout the week on my blog, http://leeduigon.com/ . Click the link (oh, boy, a click!) and walk right in. My articles can also be found at www.chalcedon.edu/ .
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