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Home / Business / Elon Musk wants to reconcile media mistrust with a stupid rating system. There is a better way.

Elon Musk wants to reconcile media mistrust with a stupid rating system. There is a better way.



The businessman Elon Musk considers that journalism has to be repaired, and he has only the answer.

The tech billionaire, angered last week by the negative media coverage of his Tesla driverless cars, suggested a rating system where the public would vote on the credibility of individual journalists and news sites

Musk's all, the sketchy idea brought rave reviews from its obsessive fans, though its explanations (by Tweetsturm) of how journalism works show that it goes far beyond measure [19659004] "The problem is that journos are under constant pressure It's a tricky situation because Tesla does not advertise, but fossil fuel companies and gas / diesel locomotives are among the biggest advertisers in the world. "

That's how it works not that one. Journalists have no pressure to earn ad dollars through their messages, and they even do everything they can to avoid ̵

1; or even write about – the advertisers of their company.

Musk should stick to his plans to colonize Mars with his SpaceX project.

In addition, the field of those seeking to boost media confidence is already overcrowded as an industry grapples with an onslaught of misinformation, propaganda, and hoaxes that could have flooded social media platforms and impacted the outcome of the 2016 presidential election ,

There's the Trust project from Google and the Knight Foundation. There is the News Integrity Initiative of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. There's the Trust & News Initiative from Duke University.

There are so many of these worthy efforts and the names are so confusing that Nieman Lab at Harvard gave seven of them a pseudoproted leader: "So what is that, um?" All of these projects also speak of the troubling situation of News media today who have been suffering from a lack of confidence for many years.

Meanwhile, local newspapers – one of the most trusted sources of available news – are in a death spiral that seemed to increase their speed over the last month.

It feels like the beginning of the last act.

The horrors of what happens to newspapers from Digital First Media, such as the Denver Post, are well-known: The owners of Gultur-Kapital from Alden Global Capital are shrinking the editorship at a frightening pace, without it being obvious Respect for the important role these papers play in their communities.

Brian Tierney, a Philadelphia investor who once fought Alden Global Capital investors for control of the Philadelphia Inquirer, told me he was stunned by how little he was stunned – or the role of the public service of newspapers ,

"When you talk about the bourgeois estate, they go 'huh? It's not their world – it's a piece of meat stamped with the word newspaper," said Tierney.

Finally, the Philadelphia Papers would be directed by the Lenfest Institute, a philanthropic organization that provides a welcome level of stability after many years of unrest.

But even newspapers with well-intentioned local owners, such as the Salt Lake Tribune, are experiencing brutal cuts: the newspaper loses one in three editorial staff, a few weeks ago.

And papers like the Buffalo News, which I edited for many years, make deep cuts. Though run by Warren Buffett, the company understands the role that newspapers play in a community. Buffett spent many years on the board of the Washington Post.

Buffett sounded almost hopeless over the future of the newspaper business in a question and answer session at Berkshire Hathaway's last annual meeting.

"Nobody but the Wall Street Journal The New York Times and now probably The Washington Post have come up with a digital product that really replaces the revenue lost while printed newspapers lose both circulation and advertising." Buffett said papers in 2011. "It's very hard to see … how the printed product survives over time."

He added about the issues in the newspapers that his Behemoth company owns: "The economic importance of Berkshire is almost irrelevant, but the importance to society in my opinion is enormous. "

It is also deeply sad, for many reasons.

One of them is the question of public mistrust, which Elon Musk cynically claims to be able to deal with.

I know from my own research and other local news tend to be trustworthy news.

As Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute noted, when people say that they do not trust journalism, people talk about cable news rather than about their hometown paper: "Most Americans like their own media very well."

A poorly thought-out rating system – Musk says with a grin he would call it Pravda, Russian for "truth" – can never begin to touch the value of about 1,300 daily newspapers who are now gasping for air.

Local philanthropy and possibly charitable status are probably part of the solution – if any.

If a billionaire billionaire from Silicon Valley really wanted to improve confidence in the news media, he would help re-invent the economics of the city and city news agencies so they could do their vital work. The Town Hall, Mr. Musk, is much closer than Mars.

For more of Margaret Sullivan, visit wapo.st/sullivan


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