At Salon, they like the look of Zooey Deschanel in the morning!

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2013

Low-IQ news org targets millenials, 76 million strong: In this morning’s New York Times, Ravi Somiya reports on a recent spate of bogus reports which went viral in on-line “news orgs.”

Why do “news orgs” rush to print these brainless, bogus reports?

At several points in Somiya’s report, horrible chasers of mammon pretend to explain. We don’t mean Ryan Grim:
SOMIYA (12/10/13): [E]ditors at these sites acknowledge frankly that there are trade-offs in balancing authenticity with the need to act quickly in a hyperconnected age. “We are dealing with a volume of information that it is impossible to have the strict standards of accuracy that other institutions have,” said John Cook, editor in chief of Gawker, which highlighted the essay on poverty, by a woman named Linda Tirado.

“The faster metabolism puts people who fact-check at a disadvantage,” said Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post, which reposted the fictional airplane tweets, the letter to Santa and the poverty essay. “If you throw something up without fact-checking it, and you’re the first one to put it up, and you get millions and millions of views, and later it’s proved false, you still got those views. That’s a problem. The incentives are all wrong.”

But Mr. Cook says he thinks that readers can tell which content is serious and which is taken from the web without vetting. “We assume a certain level of sophistication and skepticism of our readers,” he said.

[...]

BuzzFeed, like some other sites, relied on updates and news stories to correct its previous reporting on the Mr. Gale’s story. (Its follow-up story drew more than 400,000 views.) But the site must continue to cover the frantic conversation of social media, said Lisa Tozzi, the news director at BuzzFeed and a former Times editor. This is because it “is where our readers are living,” she said. “Our readers are seeing all of this stuff and I feel like there’s an expectation that we are reporting on the culture they’re living in.”
Our Gawker readers are pretty sharp, the inventive Cook seems to be saying.

Forgive us if we doubt that! If they’ve been quoted fairly, we’d say that Cook and Tozzi have been feeding stupid shit to the rubes and are looking for ways to justify their conduct.

But then, this money-grubbing behavior virtually defines the culture of the modern post-journalist “press corps.” For another apparent manifestation, consider one more report by Salon.

This morning, Salon assails the senses with its latest pointless puddle of piddle. The photo-festooned piece in question runs under this description:
Millennials strike back: No, we’re not just whiny babies!
Stop railing against helicopter parents, or saying 20-somethings can't handle stress. The truth is far more complex
TIM DONOVAN AND WILLIAM GUIDA
TUESDAY, DEC 10, 2013 07:43 AM EST
Are millenials “just whiny babies?” We’ll admit we’d never heard that! Then too, we don’t waste our time with brainless treatments of the ways the “generations” can be alleged to exist and to differ.

Do the generations differ? In a sense, but not as such! That said, it’s always fun to go there.

This is the way today’s ardent screed begins:
DONOVAN AND GUIDA (12/10/13): How do you make fun of a highly tech-savvy demographic while trying to dodge the inevitable backlash? Simple: you couch your criticism in terms that seem to come from some other place, while eventually circling around to mark your real target. Brooke Donatone followed this formula to the letter with a recent article at Slate titled “Why Millennials Can’t Grow Up.” Rather than write just another screed about millennials’ legendary self-obsession, Donatone chooses to hurl invective at “helicopter parents,” and their supposedly deleterious effect on the mental health of their millennial children. This rhetorical flourish is little more than a fig leaf for what is fundamentally just another crude hatchet job against roughly 76 million Americans.
Are millennials legendarily self-obsessed? We had never heard that.

Then again, we can’t exactly tell you who the millenials are. Who wastes their time on this generational crap, unless they are self-obsessed?

That said, we’ll guess the millenials include the “20-somethings” cited in today’s headlines. We’ll also guess that Salon’s older, massively overpaid brain trust made a conscious marketing decision at some point in time:

They decided to target those 76 million souls as part of their site’s aggressively dimwitted overhaul.

As a result, we get silly, navel-gazing pieces by a succession of underdeveloped 20-something not quite writers. (Other people can’t tell that I’m gay! I drove all around the Midwest!) The latest example is the pitiful shit about the fact that we the millenials really are not self-obsessed.

As with Cook and Tozzi, so too here. Potemkin “news orgs” shovel this shit at dimwitted targets as part of a marketing move.

By the way:

How cynical will Salon be as they throw this feed to the herd? Forget their famous click-bait headlines. Consider the click-bait photos they run with today’s piece.

By all accounts, Zooey Deschanel is plenty “cute.” Her name doesn’t appear in this silly piece. But out in its listing of articles, Salon is running her photo to get you to click on its work.

Also pictured: Mark Zuckerberg, Mindy Kaling. They aren’t mentioned in the article either!

We’ll use a term we never use, a term of which we don’t approve. At the new Salon, the “whoring” is general. But then, the chase after Mammon defines the vast sweep of our failing, post-journalistic “news” culture.

Who is Mindy Kaling: According to the leading authority on her life, Mindy Kaling “created and currently stars as Mindy Lahiri in the FOX sitcom The Mindy Project.”

Go figure! This morning, her photo is used to prove that 76 million people really are not self-obsessed.

29 comments:

  1. Who's saying terrible things about millennials? Must be those Xers again. Twenty years ago, when the first millennials were still in dignity pants, I had to listen to Xers harping on "selfish" Boomers (selfish ever being in the eye of the beholder). Good God! You'd think these brats grew up in the depression, fought WWII, and built the post-war economy, the way they griped about BBers. It's the Boomers' ugly fate to be surrounded by disdainful generations. But then, perhaps that's the fate of every generation.

    Oh, wait, just like everybody else, I forgot about the Ys. Who were they anyway? Are they truly a lost generation? Did they disband and join other generations?

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    1. Jeeves -- Sorry, I'm honestly having trouble figuring out which direction you're aiming your sarcasm (I have trouble with tone and context when reading online comments).

      But just for the record, I'm in the Generation X age group and I don't recall saying or hearing many complaints from my peers about selfish Boomers. The "Me Generation" complaints were peddled in the media by the generation before Boomers, not us. If members of my age group were calling Boomers selfish, it was likely because that's what we frequently heard about on TV in the 70's and 80's.

      I do recall a lot of the 1990's media (dominated at the time by Boomer aged pundits) complain about how lazy and disrespectful we were, and how we took everything we had for granted.

      Now the media pundits of our generation are doing the same to the Millennials. And so it goes.

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  2. If the millennials are selfish, then they're really bad at being selfish. We oldsters receive very generous Social Security and Medicare benefits paid for by younger Americans. Yet, demography shows that when the millennials reach retirement age, their benefits will be much less generous than ours.

    For those buying individual health insurance policies, Obamacare is designed so that millennials pay much more than their fair actuarial cost, in order to subsidize the middle aged.

    I wonder whether Salon will explain to millennials just how badly their getting screwed?

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    1. Oldsters paid in full for their Social Security and Medicare by holding up their end of the social contract we have in this country. The only people receiving anything "very generous" in this equation are the price gouging medical service providers, the care facilities for the acutely and chronically ill, and the pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies.

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    2. Mike, the programs are presented to the public as you stated, but it's not correct. Today's oldsters didn't pay in full for our SS and Medicare. The actuarial value of our benefits is much higher than the actuarial value of what we and our employers paid in. And, our benefits aren't paid out of the money we paid it; our benefits are paid out of money currently collected from workers and their employers.

      Note also that the various proposals to cut SS benefits generally leave us oldsters alone and cut benefits, say, for people under age 55. Because of our political clout, we oldsters will likely continue to take advantage of younger employees, even if SS is reformed.

      On average, young workers are now 30 years old when they first earn a median-wage income of about $42,000. So people of age 20 to 30 are helping to support Social Security for my wife and me, which amounts to around $60,000 for the two of us. Not to mention Medicare. In short, poorer millennials are helping to support richer retirees.

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    3. What do you mean David, who is proposing to "cut SS benefits"?

      The only proposals I keep hearing about are for "entitlement reform". Are you saying what they really mean is cutting my SS benefits?

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    4. DAinCA,

      You just can't help making shit up, can you? "Oldsters" receive Social Security benefits paid partially by younger people still working, but they also have the Social Security Trust Fund that they paid into while they themselves were still working.

      Demography is on the millennials' side. When they retire, the population bulge of the Whiniest Generation will be gone. Benefits are not slated to be less generous. Where do you get this crap?

      Obamacare is not designed so that millennials pay more than their fair share, and you don't have any data that says so. Except, of course, under the definition of "fair" that says that if you're not going to get sick this year, it's unfair that you have to pay premiums for health insurance. The ACA, like any insurance plan, is designed so that the lucky (in this case, the healthy) subsidize the unlucky (those who get sick). An outsize share of the expenses in health care in this country go to those in the last year of their lives. Most of those are not middle aged; they're on Medicare.

      All of us are "screwed" when we subsidize the most expensive and often the least effective form of medical care -- emergency rooms. All of us are "screwed" when a large population of workers cannot afford treatment when they get sick and when they're forced into bankruptcy when they get seriously sick.

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    5. Social Security has a dedicated tax stream which has paid for Social Security benefits in full up until now and there is a trust fund which has accumulated from that dedicated tax stream which will likely allow benefits to paid according to the current benefits schedule into the 2030s without raising tax rates or tapping funds from general revenues to do so.

      Because economic policies are shifting more of national income into the unearned income column which are exempt from Social Security taxes and, because more of total earned income is going to a smaller percentage of workers, more earned income is exempt from from Social Security taxes because of the cap on the income subject to Social Security taxes. This dynamic may require some minor adjustments as to the income sources to be taxed in the future for Social Security and the the payroll tax rate for OADSI in order to fully finance Social Security benefits from around 2035 on. So what?

      Again, for nearly 75 years, Social Security has been able to pay all its benefits from its own dedicated tax stream while increasing the benefits scheduled over those years to those who are owed them. When, in the future, more of the society is elderly as a percentage of the total population, more of the resources of society as a percentage of the total should be going to the elderly so I'm not seeing what's so hard to grasp about any of this. By the 2030s some adjustments may need to be made as to what amount of what types of income should be taxed to finance Social Security in order to maintain, or increase, the benefits it pays out in the future.

      Under all scenarios with Social Security fully funded by dedicated taxes, the income going to the non-elderly in the 2030s, and beyond, on a per capita basis will substantially exceed the total per capita income going to today's non-elderly. Everyone in their 20s and 30s today can expect to be receiving more in real Social Security benefits when they are retired than people do today who are similarly situated to them in terms of the wages relative to the national average they earned during the years that they worked . That's the wonder of Social Security's social contract, it takes advantage of the increasing GDP growth which capitalism promises to create fairer outcomes than people otherwise could achieve for themselves as atomized individuals.

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    6. deadrat, Bear in mind that I'm an actuary.

      Yes the Trust Fund currently contributes some amount of money to SS, but that amount is quite small, relative to the total benefits paid. I'm kind of busy today, I will leave it to you use google and find the exact figures, if you want them. SS is close to a pay as you go system.

      Mike, your argument is shown not to work, when you use actual numbers. SS would need a big increase in assessment to continue current benefits. At that same time, Medicare will need a big increase, Obamacare will need a big increase, and city, state and federal governments will need an increase in ordinary taxes to pay unfunded and underfunded employee pension costs. Also, interest on National Debt will be higher. Furthermore, we cannot keep printing over $1 trillion of new money each year.

      The combined effect of all these things is that today's millennials will be treated less generously when they retire, even though there's no specific proposal to do that.

      Stein's Law applies here: If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.

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    7. If younger people's benefits are lower than ours, it will only be because they bought into the inevitability of them being so and didn't fight for them. Which seems like a distinct possibility, unfortunately. But it's up to them.

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    8. David in Cal,

      Both my Medicare and my Social Security arguments work:

      [QUOTE]>>>>>From no less than Peter Orszag, former king of the deficit scolds:

      *********
      Orszag cites a "little factoid": If Medicare costs continue to grow at the same rate per beneficiary as the average of the past five years, "there's no increase in Medicare as a share of GDP despite the coming retirement of Baby Boomers, the entire long-term fiscal gap in that program disappears and therefore most of the long-term fiscal gap facing the nation disappears."
      **********
      <<<<<[END QUOTE]

      And, according to economist Dean Baker:

      [QUOTE]>>>>>Even if no changes were made to Social Security, the trust fund could always pay close to 80 percent of scheduled benefits, says Baker, and while it would be unacceptable to pay people a smaller benefit than had been promised, the scheduled benefits for new retirees are projected to rise by 1 percent a year in excess of prices.

      “This means that in 2036, the average scheduled benefit for a new retiree will be more than 25 percent higher than it is today,” Baker says. Even if no changes are made to the system, new retirees in 2036 receiving just 80 percent of their scheduled benefit would still be receiving a benefit that is larger than what retirees get today.

      <<<<<[END QUOTE]

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    9. DAinCA,

      Bear in mind that you're an actuary? Nope, not gonna do it. Is it impossible for you to be an actuary? No, but anyone can play an actuary in cyberspace, and the only evidence available is that you're an abyssal ignoramus on just about everything you post. Would a real actuary use year-to-year, current dollar amounts to declare that the US GDP used to grow faster between 1947 and 1967?

      You're kinda too busy today to back up your arguments with "exact figures." Imagine my surprise. And aren't you retired and living the high life off poor twenty-somethings? How busy could you be? The answer is that you're always too busy to actually look up the facts.

      How about this golden oldie? You claimed that Obama ordered exemptions from ACA requirements for political reasons in contradiction to both law and the Constitution. Didja ever produce the slightest evidence for this charge?

      I won't keep you in suspense. The answer is no. How many times did I prompt you? Consider yourself prompted again. I'm pretty sure there will be no answer. There never is with you. And you won't produce any evidence for your Social Security claim either. I'm not an actuary, so I have to rely on the actuaries who work with the Social Security system. Now maybe I should rely on someone like you who sometimes takes his information from white supremacist web sites. But, nope. Not gonna do it.

      Let's dispose of your smokescreen of claims: Will Medicare need a big increase? No one knows. The ACA is supposed to fix that possibility. We won't know for a few years. Will the ACA need a big increase? Who knows? Most of the law hasn't even taken effect yet. Will pension funds need to be bailed out? Maybe. Of course that's got nothing to do with the topic of this conversation. Will interest on the national debt be higher? Who knows? It's close to zero now. Can we keep printing money each year? You bet. We've been doing it since 1837.

      Is our national financial health guaranteed forever. Of course not. Apparently the only thing we can count on is your ignorance. Millennials are slated to retire between 2045 and 2065. Is anybody sure about what will happen to them? Nobody but you.

      And who are you? An actuary or an ignoramus? You know what I'm gonna go with.

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    10. "Didja ever produce the slightest evidence for this charge?"

      Rush Limbaugh's black "sidekick" might have mentioned it once.

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    11. Your contributions here are always appreciated D in CA.

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  3. This post is evidence that for Somerby the crisis is not generational, but gender related. Like many American men, he needs more friends.

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  4. David in Cal, don't know where you got your numbers about most young workers are 30 before they earn the median 42K a year. In my state, in the "higher paid urban areas" the median wage for all workers is 35K. I have a college degree, have worked the same job for 17 years and I will make 39K (including benefits) this year.

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    1. Anon 12:01 AM -- here's my source: "Through analyzing about three decades of census data—from 1980 to 2012—the study found that on average, young workers are now 30 years old when they first earn a median-wage income of about $42,000, a marker of financial independence, up from 26 years old in 1980. "

      http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303643304579105450145516622

      deadrat -- you're confusing interest with interest rate. Yes, the interest rate on the national debt is low, but the debt is so large that "In fiscal 2013, which ended Sept. 30, net interest payments on the debt totaled $222.75 billion."

      The interest will grow because the debt will grow. Also, IMHO our low interest rates are likely to rise. A combination of higher debt and higher interest rates will probably cause the dollars of interest to grow a lot.

      Regarding the printing of money, it's quite unusual that we've been printing money at a rate of over a trillion dollars a year. If you read the financial news, you'll see that the Federal Reserve is talking about scaling back the printing of money in the near future. It's their official position that the current "quantitative easing" is a temporary program. E.g., see
      "Fed's Fisher wants December taper, clear path to end of QE3"
      at
      http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/09/us-usa-fed-fisher-idUSBRE9B810020131209

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    2. The interest will grow because the debt will grow

      As our debt increased during the Great Recession, interest rates dropped. At one point, interest rates went negative: people paid a premium to hold US debt. Go figure.

      Net interest payments totaled $222.75B? My God! I didn't realize. That's bigger than the entire GDP.

      In 1944.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Generational boundaries are arbitrary and disputed. Personally, I would consider Kaling (b. 1979) and Deschanel (b. 1980) to be late Generation X. "Millennial" originally meant "those who were 18 or younger in the year 2000," so Zuckerberg (b. 1984) qualifies.

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    1. "Generational boundaries are...." bullshit. How's that for ya.

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  7. Hi
    Nice one! I like the outfit of the characters. Wish i could do the same thing too but im not that techie.i like the outfit of “from farmer to warden”.. really interesting.

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  8. To David and his ilk.
    SS benefits will be lowered in the future IF NOTHING IS DONE.

    Younger people are paying for older people's benefits now, but they are also paying for their OWN BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE, just as us old farts did.

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    1. gravymeister, here's the story. Under today's SS law, current workers (and their employers) are making payments that legally entitle the worker to retirement benefits. However, there are two things to keep in mind:

      1. If you buy an annuity from a non-governmental institution, your benefits are contractually guaranteed. A change in law can't take those benefits away from you. OTOH SS benefits are not contractually guaranteed. A change in law could remove some or all benefits.

      2. The money being paid in today by workers is being spent today on benefits for retirees. That money will be long gone when today's workers retire. Any benefits paid to today's workers when they retire will have to be funded by workers at that time.

      P.S. you said you got your opinions from the SS actuaries. That's good. I hope you regularly read the annual Report of the SS Trustees, which is actually the actuarial analysis. That is, I hope you don't rely on a single sentence from the SS actuaries, that's been cherry-picked to "prove" a chosen POV.

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    2. Here's the story:

      1. If you buy an annuity from a "non-governmental institution," and it goes bankrupt, you can kiss your "contractually guaranteed" benefits goodbye. If the gov runs out of money to pay for Social Security, it will change the law so it doesn't have to pay you. Or maybe Congress will just do it on a whim. Which are you worried about?

      2. "The money being paid in today by workers is being spent today on benefits for retirees." Just like always, except there's extra money in the Social Security Trust fund to help.

      P.S. I'm sure you haven't read even a single sentence from the Social Security actuaries.

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  9. 1. I have the best of both worlds on the pensions I earned from my employers. The pension is contractually guaranteed. But, if ir goes bankrupt, it's guaranteed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty.

    2. deadrat, please look up the numbers. Yes, there's extra money in the SS Trust Fund that contributes to benefits, but that's a small percentage of the payout.

    BTW you can see the 2012 Report at http://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/

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