Ah, summer, when everyone whose job relies on news should have a three-month vacation. But almost none of us do, so we of the media have to fall back on old standbys like animals, folk heroes, strange crimes, the gruesome quirks of the elderly, overly obsessive coverage of celebrity weddings, and, of course, mass hysteria of a non-life-threatening nature. In a non-presidential-election summer, a writer can ride a Steve Slater story, with all its “developments,” all the way to Labor Day. (And believe me, we all will.) And honestly, as a reader, slow-news-day stories can be the most fun, especially when the other news is depressing. Here’s a sampling of the milking-it news memes — let’s call them Montauk Monsters, for old time’s sake — of the summer of 2010.
Facebook didn’t tiptoe to avoid poking the bear on the left. They went right up to the bear and stabbed it repeatedly. And then goaded the right’s bear to join in the stabbing.
The power of leftist outrage mobs has been well-discussed. The power of conservative outrage mobs to affect corporate and political policy, even from left-leaning organizations, is arguably less acknowledged.
In no small part to placate the right, the liberal company Facebook misled the nation again and again about the nature of Russian interference in the election. They repeatedly fed right wing conspiracies while waving away criticism from the left. It’s hard to see how an ardently Trumpist company could do much better.