|American Police State||
Over the years, CNN.com has become a mainstream news website that many people turn to for top-notch reporting. Every day it is visited by millions of people, all of whom rely on “The Worldwide Leader in News;” the slogan for the most crucial up-to-date information on current events. So, you may ask, why was this morning’s top story, a spot usually given to the most important foreign or domestic news of the day, headlined “Miley Cyrus Did What???” and accompanied by the subhead “Twerks, stuns at VMAs”?
It is a good question, and the answer is rather simple. It was an attempt to get you to click on CNN.com so that they could drive up their web traffic, which in turn would allow them to increase their advertising revenue.
There was nothing, and I mean nothing, about that story that related to the important news of the day, the chronicling of significant human events, or the idea that journalism itself can be a force for positive change in the world. For Christ’s sake, there was an accompanying story with the headline “Miley’s Shocking Moves.” In fact, putting that story front and center was actually doing, if anything, a disservice to the public. Come to think of it; this was probably a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of people dying in Syria, those suffering from the current unrest in Egypt, or, hell, even people who just wanted to read about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
Boy oh boy did it get them some web traffic. Which is why Meredith Artley, managing editor of CNN.com, put the story in the top spot. Those that were watching on Google Analytics saw the number of homepage visits skyrocket the second that salacious image of Miley Cyrus dancing half nude on the VMA stage was put up. Here’s where it gets great though: They don’t just do a top story on the VMA performance and call it a day. No, no, they also throw in a slideshow called “Evolution of Miley,” which, for those of you who don’t know, is just a way for you to mindlessly click through 13 more photos of Miley Cyrus. If they got 500,000 of you to do that, well, 500,000 multiplied by 13 means they can get 6.5 million page views on that slideshow alone. Throw in another slideshow titled “6 ‘don’t miss’ VMA moments,” and it’s starting to look like a pretty goddamned good Monday, numbers-wise. Also, there are two videos, one of the event and then some bullshit two-minute clip featuring their “entertainment experts” talking about the performance.
Side note: Advertisers, along with you idiots, love videos. Another side note: The Miley Cyrus story was in the same top spot they used for our 9/11 coverage.
Now, let's get back to why they put the story in the most coveted spot on their website, thereby saying, essentially, that Miley Cyrus’ suggestive dancing is the most important thing going on in the world right now. If you clicked on the story, and all the slideshows, and all the other VMA coverage, that means you were probably on CNN.com for more than seven minutes, which lowers their overall bounce rate. Do you know what that is? Sorry for getting a little technical here. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. If they can keep that bounce rate low, and show companies that people don’t just go to CNN.com but stay there, then they0 can go to Ford or McDonald’s or Samsonite or whatever big company you can think of and ask for the big bucks.
So, as managing editor of CNN.com, Merideth wanted readers to know this: All you are, and all you will ever be, are eyeballs. The more eyeballs on their content, the more cash they can ask for, period. If they are able to get more eyeballs, that means Merideth has done her job, which gets her congratulations from her bosses, which encourages her to put up even more stupid bullshit on the homepage.
I don’t hesitate to call it stupid bullshit because we all know it’s stupid bullshit. I know it and you know it. We also know that you are probably dumb enough, or bored enough, or both, to click on the stupid bullshit anyway, and that you will continue to do so as long as they keep putting it in front of your big, idiot faces. You want to know how many more page views the Miley Cyrus thing got than their article on the wildfires ravaging Yosemite? Like 6 gazillion more. That’s on you, not them.
To be sure, It could have been argued that Miley Cyrus’ performance merited the top spot on their website because it was significant in terms of what’s happening in the world of pop culture; or that her over-the-top theatrics are worth covering because they are somehow representative of the lengths to which performers must go to stand out in the current entertainment landscape. Who the fuck am I kidding? Truth be told, anything at last night’s VMAs short of Lady Gaga beheading Will Smith with a broadsword belongs tucked away in the entertainment section, far from the homepage, far from the top spot, and far from the eyes of anyone who logged on to their site this morning to see what was happening in the world. Then not nearly as many people would have seen it, which wouldn’t get them the page views they want, which wouldn’t get them the money they want, which wouldn’t get the them congratulations.
So you see, there’s no stopping this, and what is this, you ask? Modern-day journalism, and what is modern-day journalism? Getting you to click on their link.
Original post by the Onion News, edited by Sean Crystal