Note from the author: all articles cited with a hyperlink go through “do not link” to prevent the outrage porn enthusiast’s site from gaining higher search ratings.
Scrolling down your Facebook feed you stumble upon a cascade of negativity begging for your click. “7 reasons why America is going to hell,” “7 reasons why conservative can’t get laid,” “ 6 reasons why Obama is destroying America,” “7 reasons why chemtrails, 9/11, federal reserves, vaccines, ancient aliens, and Jews are all connected.”
Each list garners immediate outrage, and it’s meant to do so. This is the job of the professional blogger. Every day you open up your laptop and reach out for clicks. You scroll through the news, seeing what you can generalize, punch up, exaggerate, and put into list form. It’s not about giving out the facts; it’s about creating the clicks. Clicks equal ad revenue—clicks are all that matter. What these people know is that pissing people off will get them to share the article—nothing makes a man look more self-righteous among his internet peers than a takedown on Facebook connected to the article.
A bad article against some topic gets written, a debunking article is written after that, and then an overview of both is written after that, and every site just made money off of our drive to spread the “truth.” Every article got a share, and they’re all playing the same game.
Bruce/Catherine Genner, feminazis, MRA’s, social justice warriors, confederate flags, Donald Trump. No matter which way you feel about these topics, if the article is flagrant enough you’ll share it. In fact, you’re more likely to share it if you disagree with it. If you disagree you can deliver your own twist to convince everyone how smart you are, and the cycle continues. When a “news” agency really wants to get your jimmies rustled, they’ll add in the words racists, bigots, and/or homophobes. As a result, conservative get mad, re-post, and state “so is everything racist now? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING WRONG WITH MY COUNTRY?” And the cycle continues.
The easiest way to get traffic is to have one top news site slam another news site for their bad news. For instance, Fox News runs a Business alert episode that makes fun of Caitlyn Jenner , Huffington Post responds with “Fox News Coverage Of Caitlyn Jenner Is What Transphobia Looks Like,” and then Alex Jones responds with “Caitlyn Jenner Distracting Us From Obama Civil War.” Mind you, though it may appear that Alex was the only one trying to push us away from the Caitlyn Jenner circus, it didn’t prevent him from talking about it here , here , and here .
On the left the greatest purveyor of this form of journalism is Salon.com. Let’s look at a few choice examples:
On the libertarian right you have Alex Jones, the Libertarian Republic, and Lew Rockwell:
SPACE INVADERS: FEMINAZIS NEUTER MALE SPREAD (http://www.donotlink.com/fzl5)
I can’t completely blame the news outlets for peddling fear, because I know what it’s like. I’ve made Youtube videos’ called “respecting other’s beliefs is bullshit,” “trigger warnings are bullshit,” and a series of other videos which use the term bullshit which I’ve since changed. Sorry for that, but it’s hard out there for a content producer.
The pseudo-outrage articles can end up taking a toll on readers—a toll which prevents actual change in society from occurring. “Narcotizing dysfunction” is a theory that as media inundates readers on an in issue they become apathetic to it, and they substitute knowledge for action. Essentially, because a person is sharing terrible information and shamming the original person for writing it, they come to believe that they are helping in the solution. You essentially have a shame death spiral where everyone feels self-righteous, nothing is actually done, and a few media outlets make money.
Though this form of internet money making seems new, the cynical fear-mongering is not. Throughout history things have continued to get better, and the majority has thought things were getting worst (http://www.donotlink.com/fzn8). Which direction you feel things are getting worst doesn’t matter, because there will be a news agency which panders to it.
“Outrage is like a lot of other things that feel good but over time devour us from the inside out. And it’s even more insidious than most vices because we don’t even consciously acknowledge that it’s a pleasure. We prefer think of it as a disagreeable but fundamentally healthy involuntary reaction to negative stimuli thrust upon us by the world we live in, like pain or nausea, rather than admit that it’s a shameful kick we eagerly indulge again and again.”
So how do we stop this? Do we blow up Salon, The Libertarian Republic, Fox News, and Huffington Post headquarters? No, mainly because most of their writers work from their laptops at home. The only way to stop it is by no longer feeding it. That means to stop clicking, stop sharing, and stop commenting. Ostracism, according to many libertarians, is the best way to deter bad actors. These bloggers are bad actors, and run off a bad platform. These articles need to be ostracized. Fear and doom attract the fearful, and the fearful don’t change the world. Fear led to religion, it led to the state, and we must remove its shackles lest we continue perpetuating a world run by it.