And Another Thing: Those Dumb Social Media Guidelines For Journalists Are Going To Paint A Target On Their Backs

from the unintended-consequences dept

Just last week we discussed the alarming trend in media companies for putting in place restrictive social media policies for their employees, including their opinion commentators. In that post, we focused on how this move is both dumb and bad for two reasons. First, restricting the opinions of those followed by the public for their opinions is flatly nonsensical. Second, the goal of these policies — to have the public view companies as non-partisan — is simply a fantasy in these hyper-partisan times. Nobody is going to decide that the New York Times or Wall Street Journal are suddenly bastions of non-partisanship simply because either muzzled its staff.

But there is another negative consequence of these policies that the original post didn’t touch: it paints a target on the backs of the employees it governs. Because of, again, hyper-partisanship that has reached true trolling levels, these social media policies will be wielded like a cudgel by every trollish dissenter that doesn’t like a particular media outlet. The New York Times, for example, is already having to endure this.

You can see what I mean. Because of a social media policy looking to strip anything that might even appear partisan from the social media output of its employees, the New York Times has given true partisans a weapon to wield. A weapon, I might add, vague enough to be a perfect weapon for trollish behavior. When a pair of quotation marks around a word can be used to threaten someone’s employment, particularly when the person threatening has a history of contacting the employers of journalists, we have a problem.

The solution to this is quite simple. Any media property, conservative or liberal, that is contacted by someone like this bitching about partisan reporting, should have but one response for that person: shove off. Particularly in the realm of opinion politics, cries of bias have reached the level of wolf-crying. It’s expected, it means nothing, and it is easily ignored. Again, I mean for that to apply to both sides of the political aisle.

But the social media policy disrupts the New York Times’ ability to flick away the concerns of a partisan booger. Because of the policy, the booger must be heard and, I imagine, the booger’s claims must be validated or invalidated. That, in case it wasn’t clear, is fairly stupid and counterproductive.

Stop arming boogers, media companies.

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “And Another Thing: Those Dumb Social Media Guidelines For Journalists Are Going To Paint A Target On Their Backs”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

The media needs to start regulating itself. A good example is the April 30,2017 BBC story, “Donald Trump: N Korea’s Kim Jong-un a ‘smart cookie'” The story is derived from a CBS ‘Face the Nation’ interview of Trump.

The BBC writer only mentions Trump characterizations of Kim as intelligent for being able to survive in a violent government.

The writer never mentions it is Trump’s plan to rein Kim in. Or that Trump says Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations should have done something earlier.

The story ends up being a great example of a biased journalist being allowed to pass slanted news.. The original video interview is embedded in the story. The first 59 seconds trashes what the writer spews.

Anonymous Coward says:

I love that the bias is on full display today

Now that we know the 4th estate has become the mouthpiece for the other 3 estates, we can ignore them. The fact that Donna Brazile, while working for CNN gives debate questions to Hillary should show that it is time for new media. Also, go to YouTube and search for reporters being sad after realizing Trump won the election. On the one hand it is hilarious to see their reactions but on the other it is sad to see the media is so biased that they have dropped all pretense now.

ryuugami says:

Re: Re: I love that the bias is on full display today

It was both funny and very, very revealing when, a week or two ago, several right-wing politicians and pundits kept complaining about the current “Clinton administration” and the lack of focus on the dastardly deeds of “President [Hillary] Clinton”…

Anonymous Coward says:

Yes, by all means – let’s nit pick the news for any bias against “our people” while ignoring the transgressions of same … because reasons.

What’s even worse is making excuses for the grotesque behavior of people, and it’s not just some politicians. This is disgusting at a level I have not seen – ever, and I am not young.

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

It’s funny watching who goes on about bias the most.

This is actually a result of a twofold problem. One part is as stated in the post. The other part is the prior mistake of giving equal weight to well considered and explicated opinions or facts, and repetitive, loud, and illucid whingeing and pontificating. (Not to say that those with less ability to express themselves necessarily don’t have valid ideas or experience.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Again stop allowing social media

This is not agreeable to people that make money for the violation of there users but is totally a good thing for anyone that is not a VC cock sucker, or you could make it clear that people that want to collect information on people on the internet are sociopaths and should be in jail.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...