Nobody Knows Anything

Back when we were in journalism school, back when it was still a career you could expect to exist when you retired — hell, back when you could expect the world to outlive you — the most important class we took was libel law.

Or, as we called it: How to keep your publisher out of trouble. Those deep pockets they’re coming after aren’t yours, man.

The benchmark was 1964’s Times v. Sullivan, interesting in itself for its glimpse into the civil-rights era, but operative for the profession in what libel ultimately amounts to: Not just getting facts wrong, but “reckless disregard of their truth or falsity”.

Reckless Disregard has been the bumper sticker ever since. It’s a perfectly turned expression for the purpose, commanding a good-faith effort to get shit right. And, if you take it to heart — as we did — it entails not just factual accuracy, but representing the story, the whole story, or at least your best understanding of it. That means getting at the reality of the story you’re telling, not the “both sides” of an issue.

Yeah, it can be Rashomon out there sometimes, but that’s just the job.

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Additional Cybertruck Safety Features

“[The Cybertruck] doesn’t have a brake pedal. Why? We didn’t have to do that. It doesn’t need one.”
–Elon Musk

  • You’ll feel no pain when your head smashes into the shatterproof windshield.
  • Framed notarized certificate and titanium wallet card declaring your dick isn’t that small.
  • The optional Westworld android to cheat the diamond lane during your commute definitely won’t kill you.

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Number One with a Dagger

Congratulations to Junior’s book “Triggered” for being #1 on the New York Times bestseller list!†

Wait, what’s that dagger doing there?

If you’ve followed the NYT Bestseller Game over the years, you know the dagger is equivalent to an asterisk on a baseball stat: Something’s fishy there. Maybe the batter was juiced. Maybe someone bought a ton of copies to goose sales reports. Happens all the time.

That’s why the dagger exists, of course. Once upon a time, the NYT caught publishers gaming their system, and… continued to let them get away with it. Triggered is still #1, after all. Just because bulk purchases undermine what the list purports to express, that’s no reason to disqualify them. Just add a “Not really!” that everyone is free to ignore.

Like, you know, the relationship between American citizens and their government.

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I’m OK Boomer, You’re OK Boomer

We’ve hated our generation since Disco.

You need to understand this about us, the resentment we’ve harbored for kids our age from the moment kids our age were swept away by Saturday Night Fever. You need to understand this about that moment, that pre-Internet moment, that pre-cable moment, when there was no escape from what everyone was watching and listening to.

The previous generation got the Beatles. We got stuck with the Bee Gees.

Don’t call us a Boomer.

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The Agony of Defeat

But his Buluva watch survived!

Stick to sports, they say.

That’s what they told Deadspin. Deadspin, a website founded on the premise of not sticking to sports at all. They, in this case, being the guys who own Deadspin, the guys who own it after the previous guys owned it, the guys who bought it from Nick Denton, who sold it because some billionaire set out to destroy Gawker.

Stick to sports. Stick to the game.

Deadspin’s rise and fall was the game.

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Things Fall Apart

Time was when we thought it would be enough to keep a list.

Keep track of every policy he enacted, every policy he reversed, and come 12:01 pm January 20, 2021, switch them all back.

We actually thought that. We knew it wouldn’t undo all the damage he’s done, but at least it would help contain it.

It’s not gonna work that way.

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The New Normal

Which one was it? Oh, right, this one:

“Trump Busts Another Norm; GOP Responds with Silence, Support”

That was the AP headline the day Trump called on China to investigate Joe Biden. The Financial Times weighed in with a full accounting: Of the 53 Republican senators, “not one of the members responded via their staff to express any concern”.

And this was news.

It was December 2016 when news broke that, as the Washington Post put it, “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House”. It was December 2016 when Republicans responded with silence and support. It was December 2016 when we got a tad pissed and called them traitors for their silence.

December 2016. Almost three years ago. And not a damn thing has changed.

Only now it’s news.

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