THE WAR ON PRIVACY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

THE WAR ON PRIVACY

My colleague Glenn Greenwald hit the nail on the head this weekend when he wrote about “tattletale journalism,” in which media reporters for the largest companies spend their time attacking speech, instead of defending it. The miserable trend just reached its apex when Taylor Lorenz — a dunce of historic proportions unleashed on the world by the New York Times — attended an invitation-only Clubhouse chat and not only reported that Silicon Valley entrepreneur Marc Andreesson used the word “retarded” in a discussion about the GameStop uprising, but published the names and faces of those who were guilty of being present and silent during the commission of this heinous crime.

Lorenz was wrong on three counts. One, Andreesson never said the word. Two, the person who did say the word was merely relaying that the Reddit users betting on GameStop “call themselves the ‘retard revolution.’” Lorenz was confusing reporting on speech with actually speaking, the same error that’s led to crackdowns on videographers like Jon Farina and Ford Fischer, punished for shooting raw footage of people saying and doing supposedly objectionable things (a story mostly uncovered by these same media priests).

Thirdly, WTF???? Private utterance of the word “retarded” is news? As Greenwald points out, this would be joke behavior coming from a middle school hall monitor. Such deviance-hunts however are now a central concern of media reporters like Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy of CNN, Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny of NBC, and Mike Isaac, Kevin Roose, Sheera Frenkel, and Lorenz at the Times. Somebody, somewhere, is saying or thinking a bad thing, and this crew seeks the rot out, with the aim of publicly shaming those individuals.

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