MediaFail: Like Digg, but for Compulsive Media Critics

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Brian Stelter at Media Decoder recently took a look at a new site called MediaFail, which is kind of like FAILBLOG (part of the seemingly amorphous I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER intellectual think-tank empire, that involves the word "FAIL" being posted over pictures of humanity "failing" in various, whimsical ways) with media critics.

It's a great idea, but is it one that's slightly doomed for failure?

At the top of MediaFail right now, you'll find no less than three examples of Fox News experiencing a "MEDIAFAIL" and one of the New York Post doing the same. It's pretty typical stuff, and because of its Digg-like interface, it has the possibility to represent more of a consensus than just, you know, a series of finger-wagging media reporters. The composite that is bound to emerge, however, is likely to be no different than any other basic, wide-net argument about how the media "fails" Americans and the world at large: Fox News sucks, The New York Times is full of shit, everyone else is just wrong or crazy, etc., etc.

The biggest problem with media criticism is that when judging the way the media disseminates news, one has to remove personal and political biases from the equation. And yes, maybe the shamelessness of Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann and all the other Screamy News People and Screamy News Networks that put entertainment and the volume at which information is blasted at you before the information contained within it makes this easier. But it's not hard to be concerned that "MEDIAFAIL" might only turn out to represent everyone's personal biases as they occur. Or media companies could just hire people to "game" certain entries, just like plenty of them already do to Digg.

Or it could all work out for the better. At the very least, it's gonna work out for The New York Times in that it's already nicer to them than their own personal FAILBLOG, The NYTPicker, which somehow goes without notice in the MEDIAFAIL post today.

For what it's worth, a comment I made on the New York Times' post regarding MEDIAFAIL regarding NYTPicker has yet to go live, as of this writing. Definitely not a "Media Win" for anyone but them.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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