The Chauvinists

The big news is the conviction of Chauvin. That’s what everyone’s talking about. That’s what has been driving journalists, bloggers, and everyone with a keyboard to… well, their keyboards. It’s good news. Sort of. A man is dead, and 64 people have died at the hands of the police during the trial proceedings. I visited my mom before the verdict, and on my way out, she casually joked about possible rioting after the reading. She mentioned that the statehouse had actually put up barriers around their perimeter. That they felt the need to set up protection for the duration of the trial. It seems the only sane option was a guilty verdict. Now, the world is awaiting the sentence, and in the meantime it feels like hundreds of articles are being churned out, both for and against the decision of the jury. How much of it is produced by bots? How much of it is inflated politicking or trolling or some other form of monetization?

The news seems more and more to be a function of generating clicks more than expanding a population’s understanding of their world. There were literally over 100 articles written within the last 24 hours that mention Chauvin. And the way in which we get our news, even, is now produced so heavily by algorithms and marketing measures that I can’t help but wonder how much Chauvin’s death put into the pockets of people telling the “news.” I don’t know if monetization is the name of the game internationally, but one of the top watched broadcasts, Fox, is defending their biggest earner by stating he can’t be taken seriously. Access to information has never been more abundant, and the visibility of information has never been more obscure. How do you choose what you should know? Most of the research I do is through Google Scholar, the sourcing at the bottom of wikipedia pages, and asking the nearest expert willing to talk to me. Information is easier to find and harder to parse, and it leaves me feeling like every tragedy, celebration, and occurence in our lives is reducible to a dollar amount.

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