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.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2017 @ 8:04pm

    That's OK.

    After all, the NYT has always been pretty stupid and counterproductive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 13 Nov 2017 @ 5:19am

      Re: That's OK.

      Not always, but the NYT that fought all the way to the SCOTUS for the right to publish the Pentagon Papers is long dead today.

      All that's left is an impostor baring the NYT's name.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 10 Nov 2017 @ 8:09pm

    Wheaton's Law

    Surely applies to both the media and the whiners.

    Wheaton's Law for those who don't want to google it:

    "Don't be a dick!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 10 Nov 2017 @ 9:31pm

    Anchors having an opinion isn't a new phenomenon, Murrow had one and it was the end of McCarthy, Cronkite had one and it was the end of Vietnam -- The Newsroom (2012) S1 Ep1.

    Should think it applies to reporters as well, I mean, they are human, with human emotions, and human opinions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Túi Lọc Bụi (profile), 10 Nov 2017 @ 11:08pm

    cant think why they did that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2017 @ 2:16am

    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.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39764834

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Nov 2017 @ 4:15am

      Re:

      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 former is conjecture and the latter is irrelevant to his quoted statements about Kim Jong-Un.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2017 @ 10:36am

      Re:

      Wow, this is really the best you could come up with?

      As a not-so-smart cookie would say: "Sad!"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2017 @ 5:10am

    Just ban all use of social media

    Problem solved if people want to troll let them do it in the comments section.. Oh that's right many of these places no longer have one

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2017 @ 5:28am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2017 @ 10:37am

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

      The Breitbart comments are that way.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2017 @ 11:37am

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

      She lost, get over it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        ryuugami, 11 Nov 2017 @ 9:54pm

        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"...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 12 Nov 2017 @ 4:11am

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

          As hilarious as something like that would be it sounds just a tiny bit too insane to take at face value, so got any links to back it up?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2017 @ 6:31am

    Just out of curiosity...

    Is the title intended to be a Douglas Adams reference?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2017 @ 7:15am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      stderric (profile), 11 Nov 2017 @ 8:45am

      Re:

      This is disgusting at a level I have not seen - ever, and I am not young.

      You must not have been paying much attention. It's just louder with fewer syllables now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2017 @ 9:10am

        Re: Re:

        Protecting child abuse, rape, pedo .... ?

        No - I had not seen this sort of "support" aka making excuses for these offenses by so many people before simply because of .... idk - why do they do this?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 11 Nov 2017 @ 7:15am

    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.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    4x72, 11 Nov 2017 @ 9:07am

    Let them be stupid.

    So, the mainstream media is digging themselves into an even deeper hole. As a result, we may see experience 1) a minor reduction in stupidity on Twitter, or 2) an exodus of Twitter-addicted SJWs from the mainstream media. I'm having trouble seeing this as a bad thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    McFortner (profile), 11 Nov 2017 @ 9:54am

    I don't know

    It's kind of funny to see the media's tactics used against them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Charlie Brown, 11 Nov 2017 @ 10:43am

    "Tonight on the programme we have a world renowned expert on the topic. And, in the interest of balance, we have someone who has no idea."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2017 @ 3:49pm

      Re:

      "Oh, sorry, my mistake. Both are editorial writers that will pretend they are truly educated in this topic. So let's all treat their words as enlightening anyways, big round of applause!"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2017 @ 8:12pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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