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Clickbait Country

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clickbaitYou may or may not be old enough to remember when the Internet was a new thing, but for a long time, web pages were not considered “credible” sources. If you were a serious person trying to make a serious point, you cited books, academic journals, established magazines and venerable old newspapers. 

Books are still books, but publishing is more accessible, and more people are aware that a publisher is just someone with a bank account and some means of printing and distribution who is willing to put up some money and do some of the work of publishing for a share of a book’s potential profit. Academic journals are still an arcane, exclusive racket, but a lot of them are just web sites now, too.

Newspapers and magazines have been forced to compete with web sites, and they are losing. Why would anyone bother to subscribe to a newspaper when they can read it online and get updated news in real-time, for free? For the ads and coupons? I’ll admit they are handy for getting coals started when I want to grill a steak, but that’s about it. Brown paper bags work just as well, and they probably burn cleaner.

Certain magazines are still worth keeping around if you have the space. National Geographic, or something special like Lapham’s Quarterly or even VICE. Glossy design magazines are still better than their online editions, if you’re into that sort of thing.

But major news magazines and newspapers have become printed slaves to their online editions. They have to compete for traffic every day with trashy click-bait sites like Upworthy, Gawker and Buzzfeed. Over the past year or so, this seems to have accelerated, and the old printed institutions are becoming indistinguishable from their yellow counterparts.

I have a copy of TIME from 1970 that shows Yukio Mishima’s death scene, with his severed head still sitting on the floor facing the door where he wanted it. The cover story was a forward-thinking report on the organic food movement. TIME famously explored the Nietzschean question, “Is God Dead?” in 1965, opening with a reference to Jean-Paul Sartre.  It was always a mainstream magazine, but it at least pretended to be a magazine for serious people.

Last week, one of the big stories at TIME online was “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture.” Reactions to this ridiculous screed about sassy faggots with stolen head snaps were published at New York MagazineNPRSlate (A Washington Post property), The Daily BeastHuffington Post, and every smaller web site that wanted to tap into the related “outrage traffic.”

Meanwhile, at The Wall Street Journal, we learn “Why We Need a Female Thor and a Black Batman.” This is now what passes for a “national conversation.”

I checked out the rest of the TIME site while I was writing this. There were some hard news items about politics and real human tragedies abroad, but among their top 10 most popular stories were “10 Excuses Unproductive People Basically Always Use,” “10 Things Millennials Won’t Spend Money On,” Credit Card Companies Really Hope You Don’t Notice This,” “Beyoncé Teases Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer on Instagram,” “The World’s Second-Richest Man Thinks You Should Work Only 3 Days a Week” and “How Overparenting Makes Kids Overweight.” I especially liked, “For Nerds, This Video Is Absolutely Everything.

As of this writing, The Atlantic seems to be having a semi-serious Sunday, but monthly cover stories this year have included “The Fraternity Problem,” “Closing the Confidence Gap” (On women in business), “The Overprotected Child,” and “A Case for Reparations.” Most of them have been designed to draw attention, surprise or provoke outrage, like any click-bait headline. I don’t even think most black people take the idea of reparations seriously, and with percentages of male enrollment in college lower than ever, an article about the trouble with frats is just another invitation for spoiled college girls to gossip about boys.

I have a hard time believing that the people who write this stuff are even sincere. They’re going for the big story, the most shares, the most tweets, the mention on late night television.

I’m not complaining. In fact, I welcome this development. I love that the mainstream media is getting trashier and easier to dismiss.

It makes people more willing to consider what non-mainstream writers have to say.

American newspapers and magazines started out as soap-boxes for entrepreneurs and ideologues. Hearst drove sales with sensational headlines. Every paper was as unapologetically skewed as The Huffington Post. For a few decades, journalism gained a veneer of respectability based on an assumption of objectivity that was probably always more of a charming fiction than a reality. Now the industry is returning to what it always was — a commercial enterprise catering to base elements of human nature and whipping up madness in crowds.

As the “reputable” papers and magazines become increasingly indistinguishable from TMZJezebel, Upworthy, or Thought Catalog, they burn credibility as legitimate sources and gatekeepers of ideas. They’re down here with the rest of us on the digital street corner, shouting, trying to get people’s attention. If everyone is spinning everything shamelessly and sensationally, people can just pick the spin they like the best, instead of looking to the mainstream media for “serious journalism” and “reasonable viewpoints.”

In 2012, one Gallup poll (whatever that’s worth) found that 60% of Americans don’t trust the mainstream media.

When no one trusts the mainstream media, what happens next could blow your mind . . .



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  1. Br Julius Evola
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    True, white Americans don’t trust media like they used to, but does that mean it is any less effective in neutralizing dissent? I would argue back in those WASP-dominated days of the 50s, or even up until the 80s, American media had the veneer of respectability and the overwhelming majority of white Americans believed Dan Rather was an honest spokesmen.

    Now, many average people believe in a conspiracies and don’t trust the government, but one could argue on every front, socially and racially, the consciousness of white America has drifted severely left in the last three decades. I can remember even ten years ago America was extremely hostile to illegal immigration; now it’s a foregone conclusion that the hispanics will take over (and deserve to). Gay marriage is another issue that the media has moved the needle on to the left in a matter of years. ‘Diversity’ and ‘multiculturalism’ are words I here spotted out of the mouths of corporate drones I work with all the time.

    Generally speaking, the revolution in media is bad for the white masses (and only serves to cement the party line of Multicult-America)… it’s only good for those who are independent-minded and look for alternative worldviews. The idea that ‘there is more information and perspectives available today than ever’ is meaningless for whites who have been processed like raw material by the school system.

    • Phil
      Posted July 30, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      I can remember even ten years ago America was extremely hostile to illegal immigration; now it’s a foregone conclusion that the hispanics will take over (and deserve to).

      It’s not a “foregone conclusion”, damn it! The only thing these illegal alien hispanics deserve is DEPORTATION. This is “da house dat White man built” and don’t you forget it!

      These wimpy, spoiled, soft, cowardly whites think they’ll be able to continue to live in their quiet, peaceful, clean, diversity-free neighborhoods once hispanics take over? Ha, I’ve got news for them! Countless Pedros and a fecund Consuelas and their obstreperous spawn (more than a few when they grow up become gangbangers) are coming to a neighborhood near you! Then they will spill over into YOUR neighborhood which ceases being a neighborhood because now you’ve been surrounded by aliens and transported into a Latin American hellhole with all its noise, filth, disturbance, crime, etc. ! Just look at Los Angeles, or even New Brunswick, NJ where I live which is 80% hispanic!

  2. Walter
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    “I’m not complaining. In fact, I welcome this development. I love that the mainstream media is getting trashier and easier to dismiss.”

    That’s my thought as well.

  3. R_Moreland
    Posted July 28, 2014 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    I got rid of my television years ago. Call it unplugging from The Matrix.

    One reason I increasingly read websites like Counter Currents is that they provide real news. I don’t mean in the sense of traditional reporting. That is long since dead. I mean news on the underlying struggle for the current era–the ongoing war against White civilization and the resistance to this assault. All other stories pale in significance–an embassy sacking in Benghazi, sabre rattling in North Korea, the terrorist bombing in Boston, an airliner disappearing in the South Seas, Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson…

    Maybe there was a time when the mainstream media could be counted on to provide stories which had real import. Compare TIME magazine of today with that of 50 years ago (accessible in archives and online). In the mid-20th century and even with a liberal slant, TIME could be counted on to cover actual events. Today? It’s a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy.

    No wonder the Men in Black get their information from the tabloids!

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