Thursday, July 03, 2014

media trolls | I'm looking at you Daily Beast

The Daily Beast headline read:

DANCING WITH MOLLY connects the story, harvested from the Boston Globe, to MDMA — methylenedioxymethamphetamine Ecstasy, as they say. 

The Daily Beast-generated text beneath that bit of clickbait read:

Club drugs! Out-of-control teenagers! Culture in collapse! Hair on fire!

The trouble is, as people are coming to expect from the Daily Beast, the connection between MDMA and the medical interventions at the show was conjecture, unsupported by the story to which they linked. The Boston Globe included reports from people at the show of drunkenness, high temperatures in the venue, crowding on the floor, dehydration, and an 18-year-old's statement that he saw some people taking what he believed were drugs.

And they may have been drugs. Or not. The Boston Police Superintendent in Chief and Boston EMS Deputy Superintendent said maybe, "but none have been identified."
I'm no apologist for club drugs or drunkenness. I am an advocate for teenagers as a class of human beings and I vigorously defend the importance of careful and accurate reporting of any story that represents or affects them. 

The Daily Beast can and should raise the game beyond water cooler speculation. I'm looking at Daily Beast, but they're not the only ones I'm thinking about. Can any of us be trusted as observers, reporters or commentators if our observations, reporting and cultural commentary don't reliably elevate the conversation above the level of gossip?

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