Cheap media and #MuslimRage

If you give people a way to act on their desire for autonomy and competence or generosity and sharing, they might take you up on it.

That’s Clay Shirky in his book, Cognitive Surplus. The Atlantic’s Megan Garber recalled that quote in dissecting the cynicism behind Newsweek’s latest grab for cheap thrills in the magazine’s cover story about “Muslim Rage.”

To make matters worse, Newsweek saw fit to promote conversation through a neato hashtag, #MuslimRage.

The ridiculous move prompted the very expected outrage and satirical backlash that ridiculous editorial moves always prompt in this age of  EVERYTHING MUST BE SOCIAL.

More to the point, though, Newsweek is showing its readers that it hasn’t got a single fuck to give about serving the truly social elements of good journalism. As the Arab Spring evolves, there’s ample opportunity to discuss its burgeoning historical, cultural and political implications.

But just like when Newsweek zealously followed the Huffington Post down the social media shithole during the Todd Akin story, it’s clear that this magazine’s digital staff just doesn’t get it.

Or maybe they’re right on point. The opium of the masses and all…

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