Most tech journalists are self-entitled pussies who are afraid to ask the companies they cover tough questions because they’re afraid of losing out on a job opportunity with them. This is a fact.
But here’s another fact you may not be aware of: Those same tech journalists, under the guise of reporting the “news,” often push their technology-centric agenda on you, and since this happens at prestigious outlets like The New York Times, nobody really stops to question it. That means we all have the “pleasure” of living in a world shaped by these people.
I’m not ok with that. You shouldn’t be, either. And this isn’t about being a luddite or technophobic, this is about questioning the information we’re being asked to accept, and asking who benefits by having this information pushed. The Geeks don’t, and shouldn’t, get a pass to inherit the Earth. They had their chance, and instead of going all in, they went halfway and then decided to make toys for wealthy white people instead. And then, the Geeks decided to build businesses that rest solely on advertising dollars they can’t justify having without resorting to phony metrics that crumble under any sort of scrutiny. I’m looking at you, Facebook.
That’s not to say that places like The New York Times are perfect, either. You don’t need to google beyond “Jayson Blair” and “Judith Miller” to know that much. But if you were to ask the average person who had more credibility, The Verge or The New York Times, it’s always going to be The New York Times. Even when you ask that question among people who hate The New York Times, the answer is always going to be The New York Times. That’s because The Verge lacks balls, rarely asks tough questions, and comes equipped with the same obnoxious, “we are the future of journalism” attitude that the people at BuzzFeed have. Of course, both of those places are wrong to have that attitude. They’re not the future of journalism. BuzzFeed just wants to be bought by Facebook (this too, is fact), and The Verge is more or less a giant circle jerk of feel-good stories about gadgets and consumer-facing websites with a rare bit of pessimism so they’re not confused with a rag like Mashable.
But I don’t want to belabor this point too much. Every media sector is fucked up. Each and every single one. I’m just more aware and informed when it comes to tech and social media because I’ve been observing that area since 2007. My point here is that I strongly suspect tech journalists suck the most out of an entire galaxy of suck, and obnoxiously, for reasons partly laid out in Social Media Is Bullshit, they’re given opportunity after opportunity to force their bullshit beliefs on the rest of us under the guise of being an official voice for a mostly credible source such as The New York Times.
Which brings me to Nick Bilton at The Times. For the better part of two years, Nick has been using the Bits Blog to push for reform when it comes to being able to use your gadgets on an airplane and keeping them connected to the Internet during a flight. And while I’m sure there are people out there who want this, the coverage screams of, “I’m writing about this because I want it to happen.”
I fly. A lot. More than I ever thought or wanted. And you know what I like most about flying? The fact that there’s no Internet access when you’re in the air. (And if there is, like on Southwest, it usually sucks and is totally unreliable.) If I were an airline, I’d play that up as a perk. “Come fly with us, and while you’re in the air, you’ll enjoy a nice, relaxing, quiet period away from your annoying kids, co-workers, and boss. Don’t worry. We know you’re not as important as you think you are, and we’re not going to tell anyone that. Instead we’re going to let you drop the pretense and just relax while we safely get you to where you need to go.” See? That’s honest and compelling. It’s like a micro-vacation, and we all know how Tim Ferriss worshippers feel about that shit!
But apparently this concept of serenity in the air isn’t good enough for people like Nick. Instead you get stories about how the FAA NEEDS to reevaluate their rules and regulations, and that Senators like Claire McCaskill are pushing the possible new head of the FAA on the issue. And then, and then! In The New York Times, research produced by a lobbying firm that represents the interests of companies like Samsung and IBM is used to justify the need for change in the FAA rules because a few passengers, NOT an overwhelming majority, “forgot” to turn off their devices. Right, because people forgetting to turn off their devices is the same as an open revolt against FAA rules and regulations concerning the use of your device and its ability to connect to the Internet when in the air.
Which brings me back to tech reporters and their absolute suckage. Are we seriously relying on information from a lobbying firm representing major technology companies as a reliable source of information? Well, I guess if it helps push your agenda we are, and since that agenda is being pushed in a place like The New York Times, nobody says anything. Nobody calls it out, and sooner or later these people will get what they want.
So I hope you all enjoy sitting next to someone on the flight who’s screaming into their cell phone and burying themselves in emails that don’t matter and never will, all the while proclaiming to anyone who will listen about how busy they are. That’s the future we’re looking at, and it’s all because of a few people who are incapable of turning off the device they’re married to for a few hours and relaxing.
And we all have people like Nick to thank for this.
Image by Pressmaster.