The businessman Elon Musk believes that journalism needs to be revived, and he says he has the answer.
Enraged by the media's negative coverage last week about its Tesla car company, the technology billionaire proposed a rating system for people to vote on the credibility of journalists and news sites.
Tesla has faced negative press reports for several months over the bottlenecks in the production of its Model Three sedan, the accidents of its cars and the doubts raised by Wall Twin carriageway about its cash position.
The ambiguous belief of Musk provoked a storm of tweets through enthusiastic comments made by obsessive fanatics, even though their explanations have not been sufficiently profound.
"The problem is that journalists are under constant pressure to get a significant number of clicks, and with them earn a good amount of money. If you do not do it, you play your job. This is a complex situation, since Tesla is not announced, but fossil fuel companies and gasoline car companies are among the largest advertisers in the world. "
The reality is that the world of journalists does not work that way. They are not under public pressure regarding the news they report and, in fact, strive to be critical of what they write.
Musk should continue with his conception of colonizing Mars through his company SpaceX.
Additionally, a conglomerate of organizations trying to fight against the unsuitable news is emerging ; the same corroborating data published by media and / or revealed by politicians during speeches.
Every day a new organism is added thanks, in part, to Donald Trump, as a result of the presidential elections and its multiple tweets with which it confuses not only the United States, but the world as well.
On the other hand, we must recognize that the information industry deals with an avalanche of misinformation, propaganda and lies on social networks. That is, its environment is toxic. If we add to this the belief that newspapers, previously considered the most reliable sources, are inside the spiral of death, the problem is more worrisome.
Among the organizations that try to avoid the unsuitable news are: the Google Trust Project and the Knight Foundation; the News Integrity Initiative of the School of Journalism of CUNY; and the Trust and News Initiative of Duke University.
The names of the entities are similar and therefore can be confusing, therefore, the Harvard Laboratory Nieman makes a directory of all of them.
What happens in the group of newspapers that are owned by Digital First Media, for example, the Denver Post, is something that should be considered as an awe: the owners of the capital belong to the Alden Global Capital vulture fund. One day they decided to reduce the non-public of the newsroom to a terrifying rate regardless of the damage that the structure of the newspaper would have.
Brian Tierney, a Philadelphia investor who once tried to negotiate the Philadelphia Inquirer's preserve an eye on with the shareholders of Alden Global Capital, told me he was surprised by how little they knew about the newspaper, and how little that they cared about the social service that the newspapers perform.
"When you talk about civic good, they say 'Eh?' It's not your world, it's a piece of meat with printed words, "Tierney said.
Over time, the Philadelphia newspapers, the Inquirer and the Each day News , became managed by the Lenfest Institute, a philanthropic organization that has given them some stability after many years of confusion.
The phenomenon has reached small newspapers, such as the Salt Lake Tribune , which are experiencing brutal cuts: the newspaper is losing one in three of its staff.
The newspaper Buffalo News , which I edited for many years, is going through huge cuts of its staff, despite being owned by a company that is chaired by Warren Buffett, a character who understands very well the role played by newspapers in the community . Buffett was on the board of The Washington Post for many years.
In a tone of desperation and an anguished rush, Buffett analyzed the future of the newspaper business during a question and answer session at the recent Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting.
"Nobody, with the exception of the Wall Twin carriageway Journal , the Recent York Times and now, probably The Washington Post , has presented a digital product that can really replace significantly the lost revenues printed newspapers by the double fall, in sales and advertising, "said Buffett, who bought dozens of local newspapers in 2011." It is very difficult to imagine how the disappearance of printed newspapers can be avoided. "
He added, about the problems of the newspapers that his gigantic company owns, that "the economic importance for Berkshire is almost insignificant, but the meaning for the society I believe that in fact it is enormous".
Therefore, the vision of Elon Musk is something more than regrettable, and perhaps sad for society.
His distrust of the media seems cynical to me. After having conducted multiple investigations on the news published by local media that generate trust among its readers, I can say that they are precisely credible media.
As Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute has observed, when people say they do not trust journalism, it is much more doable that they are talking, for example, about cable television news than about the newspaper in their hometown: Americans prefer their own local media. "
The evaluation system in which Musk is thinking, I would call it pravda , a Russian word that means "truth". His vision leaves aside the critical situation that more than 1,300 local newspapers in the United States are going through.
If a Silicon Valley billionaire really wanted to improve their confidence in the media, it would help to reinvent the economy of the local media so that they do not stop doing their job the largest.
The City Hall, Mr. Musk, is closer than Mars.
On May 22, Musk recognized faults of his car Tesla. "With more adjustments, we can improve the braking distance beyond the initial spectrum. Tesla will not stop until the Mannequin three has a better brake system than any other comparable vehicle, "Musk wrote.The User Stories magazine reported that it would not recommend the Mannequin three, an economic vehicle seen as key to Tesla's profitability, because the brake system generated slower than the company's truck.