Facebook’s Mike Hudack On The State Of The Media: ‘Someone Should Fix This Shit’

Facebook has launched several initiatives aimed at boosting media companies’ presence on the social network thus far in 2014 -- Public Content Solutions, aimed at providing its partners with dedicated technical and business resources to build out media solutions on Facebook and Instagram; FB Newswire, a project with social content discovery outfit Storyful to aggregate publicly shared content on Facebook, by media organizations and individual users, to aid journalists in their reporting; and the four new media-centric application-programming interfaces it announced at its F8 global developer conference in San Francisco last month -- but the media industry took a shot across the bow in the form of a long rant posted on the social network by Director of Product Management for Ads and Pages Mike Hudack.

MikeHudackRant650Facebook has launched several initiatives aimed at boosting media companies’ presence on the social network thus far in 2014 — Public Content Solutions, aimed at providing its partners with dedicated technical and business resources to build out media solutions on Facebook and Instagram; FB Newswire, a project with social content discovery outfit Storyful to aggregate publicly shared content on Facebook, by media organizations and individual users, to aid journalists in their reporting; and the four new media-centric application-programming interfaces it announced at its F8 global developer conference in San Francisco last month — but the media industry took a shot across the bow in the form of a long rant posted on the social network by Director of Product Management for Ads and Pages Mike Hudack.

Hudack tore into the media in his post (also embedded below), and some Facebook users issued sharp rebuttals in their comments on the post.

Hudack wrote (unedited):

Please allow me to rant for a moment about the state of the media.

It’s well known that CNN has gone from the network of Bernie Shaw, John Holliman, and Peter Arnett reporting live from Baghdad in 1991 to the network of kidnapped white girls. Our nation’s newspapers have, with the exception of The New York Times, Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal been almost entirely hollowed out. They are ghosts in a shell.

Evening newscasts are jokes, and copycat television newsmagazines have turned into tabloids — “OK” rather than Time. 60 Minutes lives on, suffering only the occasional scandal. More young Americans get their news from The Daily Show than from Brokaw’s replacement. Can you even name Brokaw’s replacement? I don’t think I can.

Meet the Press has become a joke since David Gregory took over. We’ll probably never get another Tim Russert. And of course Fox News and msnbc care more about telling their viewers what they want to hear than informing the national conversation in any meaningful way.

And so we turn to the Internet for our salvation. We could have gotten it in The Huffington Post but we didn’t. We could have gotten it in BuzzFeed, but it turns out that BuzzFeed’s homepage is like CNN’s but only more so. Listicles of the “28 young couples you know” replace the kidnapped white girl. Same thing, different demographics.

We kind of get it from VICE. In between the salacious articles about Atlanta strip clubs we get the occasional real reporting from North Korea or Donetsk. We celebrate these acts of journalistic bravery specifically because they are today so rare. VICE is so gonzo that it’s willing to do real journalism in actually dangerous areas! VICE is the savior of news!

And we come to Ezra Klein. The great Ezra Klein of Wapo and msnbc. The man who, while a partisan, does not try to keep his own set of facts. He founded Vox. Personally I hoped that we would find a new home for serious journalism in a format that felt Internet-native and natural to people who grew up interacting with screens instead of just watching them from couches with bags of popcorn and a beer to keep their hands busy.

And instead they write stupid stories about how you should wash your jeans instead of freezing them. To be fair their top headline right now is “How a bill made it through the worst Congress ever.” Which is better than “you can’t clean your jeans by freezing them.”

The jeans story is their most read story today. Followed by “What microsoft doesn’t get about tablets” and “Is ’17 People’ really the best West Wing episode?”

It’s hard to tell who’s to blame. But someone should fix this shit.

Many of the comments on Hudack’s post pointed to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm and the role it plays in shaping the news people see on the social network. Some of the better ones follow (all unedited).