As of the time of this writing, we don’t know whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden won the election. But we do know that the media lost it.

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The winner of the 2020 Presidential election remains unclear. But one thing became clear very quickly after the polls closed on election night: the election that that pollsters, pundits, and the press spent months forecasting was a mirage.

It simply did not happen, and it is the second time in twice as many years that the tone, assertions, and projections of the American political commentariat were exposed as deeply out of touch with the American electorate. …

We don’t need these things. These things need us.

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Apps.

One of the major stories of the 2016 election was social media’s role in serving as a platform for the spread of misinformation. Right now, we’re living through the sequel, and like everything that 2020 touches, it sucks.

Half a year ago, Twitter slapped a Trump tweet with a first-of-its-kind on-tweet fact check. More followed on his tweets and others’, and across the platform, Facebook has been increasingly flagging posts deemed false or misleading.

Yet the biggest development in the misinformation wars came just last week, when both Facebook and Twitter, with no initial explanation, suppressed a New York Post article reporting on the contents of a recovered laptop that allegedly belonged to Hunter Biden. Those who attempted to share the story quickly found that their ability to do so was restricted, and that this restriction was accompanied by no explanation. …

And it works.

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It was a forgone conclusion that, for most of my life, I would be a diehard fan of The Killers. “Hot Fuss” — their paranoid synth rock guy-liner’d debut — was released in 2004, just as I was getting old enough to start exploring alternative music on my own, and the circuit-breaker synths and bombast of “Somebody Told Me” utterly blew my curious thrill-seeking suburban pre-teen mind. To this day, I remember when and where I was when I first heard the song. It was electrifying.

But, of course, that’s not the song that catapulted The Killers to superstardom. No, that honor, as you’re likely well aware, belongs to “Mr. Brightside,” which, contrary to popular collective memory, was initially released to relatively muted fanfare — or, at least, relatively muted compared to legacy it has now. In the sixteen years since its release, “Mr. Brightside” has cemented itself as maybe the defining Millennial generation anthem — our “Born to Run,” our “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” …

It’s their right to regulate their own platforms as they see fit. Just don’t expect them to do it well.

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It was the fact-check heard ‘round the world. On May 26th, 2020, Twitter slapped a big ol’ “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” on the above tweet from President Trump, and the social media world exploded into a tizzy of pearl-clutching partisanship.

It was an “absolutely batshit crazy” move! No, it was the right thing to do — “finally!” They have to do more! Wait — no! You how dare you try to “deplatform the President of the United States!”

Look, you want rank partisan outrage mongering about whether or not Twitter should or shouldn’t have stuck that fact check on Trump’s tweet? Go get it. …

Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden are trying to game the system amid the chaos.

Last night, with exactly zero precincts reporting, Pete Buttigieg made a calculated decision to declare himself the winner of the Iowa caucus. It was a brazen attempt to steal an election, and it was despicable.

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Pete Buttigieg in Iowa (credit: Gage Skidmore)

In the hours since, we’ve learned that Democratic National Committee and the Iowa Democratic Party and had partnered with Shadow — a mysterious Silicon Valley tech firm run by former Clintonites — to create an app that the party would use to tabulate the results of the Iowa Caucuses.

The New York Times reports that Shadow’s “app was quickly put together in the past two months and was not properly tested at a statewide scale,” and for reasons still not entirely clear, party authorities last night allegedly noticed “inconsistencies” in the data as they started tallying results. Time-consuming “quality controls” were initiated to supposedly ensure the validity of the results. Thus, the release of any official results has been delayed, and as of the time of this writing, nobody in America knows who won the Iowa Caucuses. …

Nothing in America today is as commonly expressed and widely celebrated as the value of moral outrage

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A debate is raging in America today over what role, if any, incivility should have in American culture, politics, and public life.

Many offer the argument that incivility and outrage should reign; that those on the wrong side of certain issues should be subjected to public shaming, harassment, and humiliation.

This debate is trivial, however, as the larger issue has already been decided: Americans have spent the last few years, both consciously and subconsciously, fixing moral outrage at the very center of society.

Incivility is merely an outgrowth of outrage culture, and today, outrage culture dominates everything.

As human beings go about defining and expressing our values, our values have a funny way of, in turn, defining us. C. S. Lewis put it this way: “we are what we believe we are.” If observing how a culture behaves enables us to discern and interpret its values, it is inescapable that, in recent years, moral outrage has stealthily but authoritatively emerged as America’s newest and most central core value. …

It’s my hope that, years from now, we will look back and talk about social media the same way our parents talk about smoking cigarettes.

Almost a year ago, as I was scrolling through my newsfeed one day, an unshakable question popped into my head: “Why do I even have a Facebook account?”

I rationalized that Facebook helps me stay in touch with friends; that it helps me feel close to people I care about who are physically far from me; that it’s a quick and innovative way of receiving useful information, from big breaking news to small updates from friends. But despite all those flimsy rationalizations, the honest answer is that I signed up for Facebook ten years ago because everyone else was signing up for Facebook ten years ago, and I’ve maintained an account since then because after signing up I never really thought twice about it. …

“My life is my music. They would beat me on the mouth if I marched, and without my mouth I wouldn’t be able to blow my horn…they would beat Jesus if he was black and marched.”

That’s how Louis Armstrong — challenged by his critics to stand with other black men and black women as they marched for equal rights in the 1960s— justified his refusal to march in protests during the Civil Rights Movement. …

American families dance together in an unspoken national choreography.

Are Americans good?

It’s a simple question, and I’d bet only a decade or so ago, the popular answer would be an obvious and emphatic, “yes.”

But given the deluge of national pessimism and political hysteria to which our country has been subjected in recent years, one could be forgiven for taking a second to ponder it. Indeed, for some, temptation to lean away from the affirmative answer is likely at an all-time high. …

“Down along the creek / I remembered something.”

I’ve spent a good amount of my life around creeks, or at least around bodies of water. My hometown’s essentially just a 1.2 square mile year-round campground that might actually have more water within its limits than dry land. …

About

Dylan Gallimore

Writer + Director

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