The hypocrisy of the media’s “moral outrage” over Facebook is something to behold, says Matt Taibbi in his Substack newsletter. Whistleblower Frances Haugen has been drip-feeding supposedly bombshell documents to more than 17 news outlets. (The Slack channel journalists created to co-ordinate stories on the leak is sardonically titled “Apparently we’re a consortium now”.) Every one of those outlets is taking the same line: “That Facebook is choosing, gasp, to make money off ‘divisive’ and ‘sensationalist’ content.” Sound familiar? Facebook is simply doing what all media companies are doing, “only better”.
For six years now, The New York Times, CNN et al have been treating audiences “like roulette addicts”, keeping them at the table with dire warnings of “existential threats” and constitutional crises. Readers and viewers “wake up knowing nothing”, and by noon they’re demanding “the biggest available policy weapon be fired” at problems they’ve literally only just heard about. Then, just as quickly, they move on, “trying on new terrors like shoes”. The news outlets that pump out all this toxic stuff – raking in cash as they do so – are the “real architects” of our new “panic era”. Not Facebook.