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Clickbait Culture

October 14, 2021 2 min read
Bright light from a laptop screen

Since the advent of printed news, headlines and stories have been designed to catch the eye and ultimately sell copy and promote advertising (the more salacious the better). The famous headline of the New York Post, “Headless body in topless bar,” is usually considered the gold standard of alluring headlines. With high-speed internet, this reality has only increased rapidly. The genre of “clickbait” has emerged: content specifically designed to be clicked on, manipulating the consumer into ridiculous, gossipy, or shocking stories. Even the news in general focuses on the extremes and the unusual.

This shift has not been limited to tabloids and seedy sites that exist to promote clickbait alone. It seems rather that we have embraced in our mainstream media an obsession with the unusual and a fixation on the exception. The norm has shifted in the public eye, and the new trend is to advocate for any issue, no matter how small or isolated, to be included in the new norm. Violations against the trend are not tolerated on social media or by the corporate media and their allies.

See, for example, this article in USA Today about trans abortion rights.

Or Superman's new announcement.

In the meantime, comedian Dave Chappelle pushes back.

The Biden administration has nominated a new ambassador to the Holy See.

Nancy Pelosi visits the Pope.

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