When "News" Isn't. Yes, A Rant.

Utterly. Infuriating.

Bear with me. I’m going somewhere with this.


Every day (or so it seems), new “news” sites show up, each purporting to be just what “we” need to understand the world around us.

A recent much-publicized project is Vox.

What is Vox? According to the "media kit" page at its (complex) site:

Vox.com is a general interest news site for the 21st century.
Its mission is simple: Explain the News.
Vox is where you go to understand the news and the world around you. It treats serious topics seriously, candidly shepherding people through complex topics ranging from politics, public policy and world affairs to pop culture, science, business, food, sports and everything else that matters. Amassing over 5MM unique visitors in just over a month, Vox's unprecedented inception represents one of the most successful launches in digital and proves that this new kind of news site is truly fulfilling the previously unmet demand for explanatory journalism.

(And for even more, um, information, listen here.)


And yet — here we are, neck deep in the digital age and even such much-lauded sites are devoted to — what, precisely?

Clicks. Audience. Profit (of course, and no knocking that). Etc.

How to get such? By pandering to the lowest common knowledge denominator, by going for the gloss and fluff rather than substance. (Thank god, seriously, for the New York Times. Seriously. It’s not perfect, but by comparison? oooo weeee! )

Evidence? Exhibit A from Vox: This series of maps purporting to explain "food in America."

From which I learned: “Robot overlords.”

Uh, what? Say wha???

This food-in-America series is so inane, so pandering-to-the-lowest that I don’t even know where to start. (*1)




But I digress. Because the point of this rant is not the inane content of those lovely graphics. Rather, my point is this: No wonder people like the Food Babe are going to town. Her most recent escapade (the beer thing) wasn’t novel or even interesting. The only interesting thing  was that the media, mainstream and otherwise, glommed on to it as if it were gospel from on high and spread her good news far and wide.

Without even a whisper that, gee whiz, kids, she might be a charlatan.

And here’s Vox with its own simple-minded, let’s-pander take on food politics. (“Vox. Explains everything you need to know in two minutes.”)

Look through this series of graphs and charts and you’d conclude, with no other information, that the decline in farmers has caused the fast food explosion which in turn caused the alleged obesity epidemic which in turn is due to whatthefuckever and hey! we’ve got robot overlords producing our food.

Folks: I give up.


*1: Oh. Wait. I do know where to start. The series doesn’t include the one piece of crucial information: urban growth. The shift of population to cities led to a decline in farmers which led to —- extraordinary growth in technology so that few farmers could feed many urbanites (because city folks don’t grow their own food).

Instead we get “robot overlords.” And how all of it’s for meat.