Posting about privacy earlier got me thinking about how it’s reported, and specifically a new formula that increasing numbers of articles are following. It’s not X, it’s Y!

Take Facebook. Journalists are claiming the social network’s problem isn’t privacy, it’s Mark Zuckerberg… then expand on why he doesn’t get privacy. They contradict their own thesis with a single degree of separation. I’m not sure if this is the journalistic version of claiming a false equivalence, or a distinction without a difference. But at best it’s disingenuous; at worst, clickbait.

Here’s another example. The problem isn’t that articles claim something else is the real issue, it’s the journalists who write them. Because these journalists write articles about something else being the real issue. It’s not a fresh take, nor does it offer any additional insight, it’s tantamount to deckchair rearrangement.

Certain people on social media have pulled this swifty for years: deliver a steamy hot take, roll their eyes at other people’s simplistic interpretation of a current event, and bathe in the superiority of their intellectual prowess. Only, all they’ve done is narrow down to a specific point that does nothing to invalidate what others are saying at all.

Journalists are subtler; perhaps because they’re generally more honest. But I’m seeing it everywhere since I first noticed this trick.