Tarnmoor’s First Law of the Internet is very much like Gresham’s Law: Bad money drives out good, except in this case news is driven out by dross. In the end, the Internet tends to resemble that garbage dump the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean. In terms of websites that purport to concentrate on informative news, I see this trash as being of five different types:
- Outright clickbait, usually hinting at something surprising or earth-shattering and featuring a picture of an attractive thirty or forty year old model.
- Articles about television series on news sites, not surprising considering that news sites frequently own production companies.
- References to “viral videos” usually featuring cute animals or spectacular fails.
- Links to videos where the video adds nothing to the story and consists of a few seconds buried within a boring talking head sequence.
- Articles about dumb things that wingnuts on all sides of the political spectrum say.
Places where I turn expecting to find something I can sink my teeth into, yield instead a kind of digital styrofoam containing no intellectual nourishment. Instead, one finds what I call WABAW (WAste of BAndWidth). Look what I found on CNN’s website today:
- Odd houses come straight out of ‘Flintstones.’
- Reason #1 not to pose for a selfie with a rattlesnake.
- Mother duck guides her ducklings past swerving cars. (Awww!)
- Water balloon explodes with man inside.
- See Paula Abdul recreate ‘Opposites Attract’ video.
- What ‘Back to the Future’ got right about 2015.
- ‘Sharknado 3’: the tweets, the cameos, the crazy.
If you want to see even a more determined effort to send you down a brainless rathole, go to Weather.Com. My eyes glazed over when I saw “Ever put coins in dry ice?’ and ‘WATCH: He dropped a basketball of a dam and didn’t expect what happened.’ I presume that if you are reading this, you do not go hunting through multiple windows following an attractive woman who promises to show you something that would really make the IRS, TSA, Catholic Church, or your beloved Lhasa Apso furious.