After a year of viral hoaxes ranging from snow-covered pyramids to baby-snatching eagles to Nelson Mandela’s supposed death photo, journalist Luke O’Neil deconstructs the phenomenon of modern journalism as a medium fueled by shareability rather than newsworthiness.
“The media has long had its struggles with the truth—that’s nothing new,” writes O’Neil. “What is new is that we’re barely even apologizing for increasingly considering the truth optional. In fact, the mistakes, and the falsehoods, and the hoaxes are a big part of a business plan driven by the belief that big traffic absolves all sins, that success is a primary virtue. Haste and confusion aren’t bugs in the coding anymore, they’re features.”