Off the Media

Who Can You Trust? A Guide To Your Online Media Diet

offthemedia-1

You’re probably pretty aware that you’re being manipulated at this point.

Clickbait. Outrage porn. Shoddy sourcing. Stories being traded up the chain. Fake traffic. Sanctimony. The playbook of online publishers has started to resemble something a 20th century con man might use. It’s suite of ruses, misdirection and outright deception designed to steal clicks here and traffic there. It’s a way of relieving unsuspecting readers of their attention and pawning it off to trusting advertisers.

So if you’re not one of those people, that is if you are finally suspecting and suspicious, what are you to do? Who should you read? Who can you trust?

It’s a question I’ve been asked a lot since I wrote my book. It’s also a question I’ve asked a lot myself — because I’d like to know the answer. Read More

Off the Media

Spare Us The Sanctimony: The Gross Hypocrisy of Online Media in the Nude Photo Leak

offthemedia

It seems to me that we are entering a new phase in our media culture online. It’s post-gossip, post-snark and post-smarm. It is the sanctimony phase.

Maybe it’s an outgrowth of Upworthy and its simple yet holier-than-thou politics. Maybe it’s the natural extension of outrage porn. But you are seeing it quite clearly with the media reaction to the recent trove of leaked celebrity nudes. Read More

Off the Media

It’s War: Scale and Intimacy Duke it Out in the Comments Section

One of the ironies of American “high societies” is that some of its most prestigious institutions were founded by members of what was, at the time, one of the lowliest professions: journalism.

Take the Bohemian Club, the private refuge of many future and ex-presidents, billionaires and captains of industry. It was started by a bunch of dirty staff writers at the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1870s. Read More

Off the Media

Exposing the Racket: A Simple Stunt Reveals How Blogs Will Print Anything for Pageviews

It doesn’t take Noam Chomsky to see that the state of media is bad.

But in 2011, I had the sense that most people didn’t fully grasp the absurd lows the system was spiraling toward. So I set out to illustrate it.

And in the process surprised even myself.

When I sold my first book of media criticism to Portfolio/Penguin, I decided to use the launch itself as an experiment. I even wrote some of the experiment into my book proposal and subsequent deal.

Read More

Internet Drama

Violentacrez Admits He Did It All for ‘Meaningless Internet Points’ on Anderson Cooper 360

(Photo: CNN)

Michael Brutsch, the 49-year-old Texas resident whom Gawker outed last week as the man behind the racist and misogynistic Reddit troll account Violentacrez, is slated to appear tonight on Anderson Cooper 360.

In sound bites published to CNN’s Press Room blog, Mr. Brutsch speaks with CNN’s Drew Griffin about his experiences moderating the controversial subreddit Jailbait, where users posted sexualized photos of minors before it was shut down by Reddit last year. Read More

Internet Drama

Reddit CEO in Memo Leaked to Gawker: ‘We Are Not Going to Ban Distasteful Subreddits’

(Photo: Reddit)

As the story of notorious Reddit user Violentacrez and the controversial subreddits he moderated sinks its tentacles into the greater internet, Reddit administrators–known for their laissez-faire attitude toward site moderation–have remained astonishingly mum. In conversations with Betabeat, Reddit general manager Erik Martin gave little indication as to how Reddit intends to handle the Violentacrez and Creepshots fracas, except to admit that two of the subreddits had been banned by admins.

But a thread published by Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, posted to a private subreddit for moderators and obtained by Gawker, sheds some light on Reddit’s intentions toward the controversial content on its platform: Read More

Internet Drama

Creepshots Reemerges Under the Guise of a ‘Fashion Police’ Subreddit

(Photo: Reddit)

The creeps just can’t be held down. Jezebel reports that the subreddit Creepshots–which has been at the forefront of controversy recently and helped spur a war between Gawker Media and Reddit–is back in action.

The original Creepshots subreddit was banned by Reddit administrators last week, along with “Creepsquad,” a new subreddit which had popped up to collect Creepshots refugees. In an attempt to retaliate against Jezebel for posting the original feature about Creepshots, Creepsquad posted a photo of Jezebel writer Katie J.M. Baker to its front page.

Reddit general manager Erik Martin confirmed to Betabeat that Creepsquad was banned by Reddit administrators, but did not elaborate as to why. Typically, subreddits are only banned if they break one of Reddit’s five rules.

Having been ousted from Creepshots and Creepsquad, Redditors are now collecting in r/Cshots and r/CandidFashionPolice, invoking the term “candid” to justify the photos posted in these forums without the consent of the women featured in them. Read More