The following headline is among the news items currently on Yahoo’s home page: Internet Outraged By Photo of Shaved Husky.
Don’t spend too much time analyzing anything other than the first two words of that caption. Obviously, anyone who would shave a Husky to satisfy their curiosity about what lies underneath that beautiful coat is an asshole with far too much time on their hands. But that’s not why I’m bringing this headline to your attention. A Google search yielded this selection of recent headlines from various news outlets:
Internet Outraged By Woman Straddling Century-Old Tortoise (NY Daily News, 3/2/17)
Internet Outraged Over Man Carrying Pizza Vertically (Daily Mail, 4/5/17)
This YouTube Prank Has The Internet Outraged (eBaum’s World, 4/15/17)
Theresa May Broke Into Welsh and The Internet Is Outraged (New Statesman, 3/1/17)
Internet Outraged Over Mother Who Posted Photo of Baby Smoking (Rock 105.3 Online, 5/30/17)
And to come full circle, here’s Cosmopolitan’s take on the shaved husky incident:
The Internet Is Absolutely Outraged By This Photo of a Shaved Husky (Cosmopolitan, 6/14/17)
Merriam-Webster tenders the following definition of the word “internet”: an electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world.
Here’s something fun to do if you’re bored: replace each occurrence of the word internet in the headlines I copied above with the dictionary definition of the word. Electronic Communications Network That Connects Computer Networks and Organizational Computer Facilities Around the World Outraged Over Man Carrying Pizza Vertically.
Are online journalists trying to ease us into an inevitable future when computers develop self-awareness to the point that one of their embedded programs is capable of getting pissed off? Perhaps, but not likely. What headlines like the ones shown above actually illustrate is the piss-poor state of journalistic integrity in the internet age. It’s as if people have already conceded that technology is smarter than humanity and therefore, continued attention to proper grammar or even composing statements that aren’t complete nonsense is no longer worth the effort.
But at least the shaved husky headline had a story attached. More and more frequently, I find “articles” about some recent piece of breaking news that begin with a paragraph or two describing the event, followed by endless screen captures of celebrity’s tweets about the event. Twitterverse Reacts To Cosby Guilty Verdict. Don’t get excited, I just made that one up. But if I were to see something like it in tomorrow’s news feed, my satisfaction at justice being served might momentarily supersede my disgust at the journalistic laziness of its presentation.