Clickbait.

This happened earlier today.

While scrolling down my Facebook feed, I noticed a headline on Facebook.

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Someone actually deemed this very story—the same story essentially being reported from Congresswoman Waters—newsworthy. Disclosure: Since people like taking things out of context and rolling with what is sexy rather than what is factual, let me be clear on something—I’ve got nothing against Auntie Maxine. Let’s not get it twisted here.

But for the love of God, can we please do something else?

Seriously, folks. When will enough be enough? I’m about fed up with these absolutely useless stories about public figures/celebrities saying literally the same thing everyone has already said about that scumbag. If I had a dollar for every time a celebrity “DESTROYED Trump,” I wouldn’t have to raise money for school the way I have been. Journalism has atrophied in the post-Obama era. I hate the fact that this nonsense persists. It needs to stop.

This brand of sensationalism is destroying the profession and the industry. It’s no better than the trashy click-bait headlines that could have easily been marketed properly with good, dynamic penmanship. Trump-related click-bait is just as a bad as the other garbage on the internet.

At this point, I’m about ready to give up on any and all Trump-related news. I wish there were a way I could block it all from my browsers (and even Twitter—though ‘s feed has continued to fascinate me as a student of the law). It’s gotta stop, this nightmare. All of it.

We’ve all been let down by mainstream journalism, enablers of this scourge on society. It granted Donald Trump the platform needed to activate the disgusting part of our society. Perhaps this is all for the best, in order to properly cleanse this hatred and ignorance from America.

Perhaps this is the bright side—the exposing of long-felt beliefs many attempted to sweep under the rug for so long. I can wax poetic about how more people are angry about being called a racist or white supremacist than the harmful systemic effects racism and white supremacy, but no.

I’ve done that before and I’ll likely do it again. No sense in revisiting that again here. If you follow me, you likely have (at least) some understanding of these problems. It’s why I view sports and other avenues as an escape, but something remains in spite of all of this.

I may view sports as an escape from reality in a sense, but when reality still bears the marks of systemic oppression, white supremacy, racism, and classism, these things bleed into the arena. I am an African American male. I cannot escape these realities—even in sports.

My privilege doesn’t afford me these opportunities. Many of our athletes—as African American men and women—still have to face these realities every day. As Jay-Z mentioned in “The Life of OJ,” it doesn’t matter if you’re rich, successful, talented, or even politically influential—you’re [still a POC] in society’s eyes.

 

It’s damning, but it’s true. We cannot escape these things, but we can push back against them. We, as African Americans, do not have the luxury of simply turning off the television, looking away, or changing the subject to something else. I am always one bad encounter or misunderstanding away from being a hashtag.

Sometimes, we have the sort of journalism that allows us to peer into these injustices. Other times, we have arrogant, self-important armadillos with the audacity to champion their alleged belief and fealty to Yĕshúa Melekh ha-Mashiach while also being absolutely miserable to other people.

Liars and champions of misunderstandings, emotional gas-baggery, and the clear prioritization of a misguided agenda over journalistic integrity. They’re everywhere in this profession, as we’ve seen. And then there’s actual that preys on low-information news consumers.

They target the intellectually lazy, the sort of people that are comfortable with the first batch of information they receive, so much so that the concept of intellectual curiosity is one that—perhaps—is too much (or even taboo) to apply to that which they are presented with.

It is constantly pounded into their collective psyches to the point that the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred, thus creating a bastardized view of the world that rejects even factual, scientific explanations to pertinent issues facing the world we live in today.

We’ve long seen now how ignorance functions as a societal disease. We’ve witnessed how painful the concept of cognitive dissonance appears to someone rendered stupid by the atrophying of the mind. The inability to understand reality and rejection of long-held beliefs. It hurts.

We have to fight. We have to resist. We have to object. We have to inform and educate. We have to demand more from our journalists. We have to champion and lift up those still dedicated to improving the craft. There are still many good journalists out there with integrity.

We cannot continue to entertain political click-bait and demand that our amazing journalists (and their editors) rededicate themselves to informing the general public again. We must rebuke blatant biases on all sides. We must demand truth in reporting and accountability in writing.

It won’t be easy—these sorts of things never are. But they’re possible. It requires concerted organizing, collective resolve, and direct action. We have the ability and opportunity. It can—and will—be done. We have to believe. But we can’t continue to tolerate this. Journalism must do better.

Journalism will do better, and we as a general public will be better—both with and for it. We have a lot of work to do, and some of that will involve moving the pursuit of capital from the dissemination of knowledge—a once-sacred endeavor. Ad revenue drives much of this nonsense.

I know that’s what drives the clicks and click-bait. I understand it. But it’s merely another symptom of a systemic problem desperately in need of deconstruction and social repair. This too shall pass when we organize and revolutionize the way we approach our social theories.

Long story short, a better world is both possible and necessary.

 

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