The name of reporting beats can tell you a lot about how the profession of journalism sees the world, and when one of your reporters covers “Media and Marketing”, you know whatever the newspaper knows, it isn’t journalism.
Media is the vessel. Marketing is content that often exploits the vessel to promote a third party, but not always. These are two different spheres. You can cover media, or marketing, but putting them together is like having an Internet and Cats reporter because cats happen to be on the Internet.
Journalism very often wants to mimic academia with titles denoting precision specialty, but it’s not actually the case. It is an unreasonable facsimile of it.
But that’s the fault of editors and publishers who create bogus titles for reporters to carry.
The Globe and Mail ‘s article about Google is as deceptive and skewed as one can get. It gets the propagandistic narrative into full gear from the get-go:
With all the hoax headlines, election meddling, clickbait and conspiracy theories, the internet is starting to look more like a misinformation superhighway – and that’s a problem for the digital giants who make billions of dollars a year off that ecosystem and are now facing pressure over its misuse.This week, Google Inc. announced a US$300-million investment in a slate of programs to come to the aid of news publishers – an industry that’s struggling partly because companies such as Google and Facebook control the majority of digital advertising revenues.
Yes, of course, it is all social media’s fault, as if journalists didn’t partake is countless hoaxes, election meddling, and conspiracy theories themselves. As the author of three books on journalism, I know its irresponsible and arrogant side.
When an editorial endorses any candidate, they seek to meddle in the election’s outcome, wanting their votes to count more than just one per person. I always found the practice to be supercilious and outside the mandate of the profession.
And let’s not forget how hard newsman Mike Duffy lobbied prime ministers to give a senate appointment.
So right off the bat, we have an article carefully crafted to focus the blame of the Internet for all this “misinformation”, while carefully dodging the fact that traditional news outlets were doing this and more all along. The author of this manipulative tripe fails to mention how news outlets crib from press releases, which may explain why they sullied the name of a murdered First Nations teenager with a headline; perhaps if she was a rich white girl whose parents had a PR firm dictating the headlines the Globe used, they would have never made that mistake.
What we have is a discredited industry shaking a finger at the industry who humbled them by taking away their advertising revenue because they did it better than the legacy outlets. There was nothing stopping the profession from doing that themselves — once upon a time, their owners had a far more resources to make those investments than did the pioneers of social media. They could have bought and integrated that model within their own products, and then not meddle, but they never could do it right. AOL Time Warner Turner. News Corp. and MySpace. The old guard just could never get their act together and never listened.
The subject of this interview is the head of Google News, and it is instructive to read
in that it is not just banal and devoid of actual information, but it also illustrates how two rival media skirting around the actual issue: that neither side has ever done its due diligence or ever became qualified to verify information. The pull quote used the headline “Google is not the oracle of absolute truth” isn’t damning: it has been the truth about new media and old media alike, and reminds me of this meme:
The Internet is under threat precisely the old relics in charge want people to come running back to them for more manipulation. The problem is their credibility had been destroyed — and then made more galling with their uppity attitude. That kind of oblivious hubris-filled attitude stopped Hillary Clinton from becoming president because not everyone wants a self-absorbed and manipulative blowhard to tell them what to do.
It is a fight between warlords — the old guard and the new guard. That is why there is so much fear-mongering in the news coverage — media power has now sunk to a critical low, not bouncing back, and now it is all about survival. The problem is the old guard do not understand street fighting because they were never poor or forced to think in terms of making it through another day on their own wits alone.
The new guard had an easy ride until now because the old guard kept thinking the kids would tire of their selfies and coming crawling back to the powerbroker. It didn’t happen, the rate of deterioration accelerated, and now it is a fight for survival with the old guard smearing the new with every story they churn.
The Internet will have a new battle, but whatever their fortunes, the traditional media isn’t strong or cunning enough to reclaim what was lost two decades ago…