[James] Poulos holds that the old mass-media mandarins are trying to “encode” their ethical dreams into the new digital-media world, before it is too late. One can see this most clearly in the moral panic about social media and which speakers get a platform on it. The New York Times doesn’t report on what is being said on new social-media networks such as Clubhouse; it reports on what shouldn’t be said there….
The new digital media has its own biases. It also has elements of fantasy. But its currency and legitimacy — its value as a business — comes not from ethical dreams, but the secure database management of events, which it interprets as truths. Many Silicon Valley founders and thinkers have intuited this and tried to make themselves fall in love with the idea of hard and unpleasant truths — the things that cannot be uttered ethically at places like the New York Times.
The conflict between one clerisy and another is just beginning.
I try to avoid looking at Media Twitter as much as I can; spending more than a few minutes in that space leaves one needing to decontaminate as if recently exposed to radiation. So I don’t know for sure if this is true. But I’m going to make the easiest bet in the world and say that media Twitter loves [Cade] Metz’s [hit] piece [on Scott Alexander]. And they loved it because, again, Alexander is not one of them. He’s not in the New York media social rat race, so he’s not a part of their culture. He’s not on Slack. He doesn’t tell the same tired, shitty jokes that journalists make on Twitter literally from the minute they get up to the minute they go to bed. He’s not performatively filling his feed with only women writers and artists, because he’s just not that interested in cishet men anymore, man. He doesn’t make references to whatever shithouse bar in Nolita media people used to go to after work to snort coke. He doesn’t use Twitter as an outlet to scream his dedication to BIPOC to the world, knowing this will look good on his resume. He’s not a thirty-three year old white person who speaks like a Black teenager, like half the journalists on Twitter. And most importantly, he jumped the line. He didn’t get paid $250 a week by Refinery79 for 60 hours of work for two years to climb the latter. He had the audacity to think that he could circumvent the system and challenge the official narratives….
Again: Alexander is an outsider. His readers don’t pay the Times for access to their shitty recipes. He’s probably never heard of Clubhouse. Unlike everyone on Media Twitter, he’s got a real job. He’s a lost cause. They will always hate him because he’s indifferent to climbing their rancid social hierarchy, the thing they care about the most in the whole world.