Once again, New York University lefty journalism prof Jay Rosen shows us why he’s such a d#&k.
The probability that there’s something wrong with your piece when the internet explodes in anger at it? Pretty high. http://t.co/kvXQ3aG47f
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) September 23, 2014
In this case, he’s referring to the NYT‘s column by Alassandra Stanley on TV writer Shonda Rhimes that’s being met with a lot of outrage. And nothing on the Internet gets outrage, right? Over at Betabeat.com, Ryan Holiday writes about something he calls “outrage porn.” He writes that the best, most successful forms include “catching someone being racist or homophobic or misogynistic (or more likely, just old and dumb), accusing someone of being unfair, filming a mayor driving over the speed limit, and pointing out privilege are all great things to be outraged by or to ‘shame’ people for.”
According to Scientific American, Internet anger is little more than addictive vitriol that easily sucks you in. “Psychologists say this addictive form of vitriolic back and forth should be avoided — or simply censored by online media outlets — because it actually damages society and mental health,” they write.
There’s other things to get enraged about: apostrophes on Twitter (TPM‘s Josh Marshall is against them dammit), almost anything from Alec Baldwin, Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) spectacular confessional about his martial troubles on Facebook, NYT‘s Maureen Dowd‘s pot column, The Daily Caller‘s Patrick Howley, those ridiculously rich Kardashians in their low-cut tops, or any move made by Justin Bieber.
Okay, so because something sparks a nerve or gets attention, that’s proof that there’s something wrong with your story? Perhaps there’s something wrong with your head, Jay, because it’s round. (Pssst…Let’s hope your students are only half listening to you.) [RELATED: Rosen Goes After CNN For Writing A Valid Media Story]
Actually, the opposite of Rosen’s premise is true. Sometimes something sparks a nerve and gets people riled because a) It’s true and people don’t tend to like reality, especially when it seems painful or hurtful b) it’s provocative c) maybe it is really “wrong” in some people’s minds, but in others it rings true or d) it’s entered the mindless echo chamber and in 24 hours it’ll pass.
Memo to Rosen’s students: Let what your teacher says go in one ear and out the other. Anger does not equal any “probability” that anything is wrong. In fact, it may be important to explore the nerve and why it was tweaked rather than the fact that it was sparked outrage in the first place. That’s not even that deep — but anything is more nuanced than Rosen is capable of these days in his judgements on high.