We are suffering a mass outbreak of cakeism. This is, as the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has noted, that desire to both have one’s cake and eat it, too. This is human, greedy, and also logically impossible in some cases. Sadly, the entire journalistic profession is engaged in a frenzy of cakeism.
It began in Australia, where the government is attempting to force Google and Facebook to pay newspaper owners for the inclusion of reporting in their search engines and news feeds. Many journalists paint this as just, righteous, or a last-ditch defense of democracy. That it’s ludicrous doesn’t seem to have struck anyone yet.
What’s actually going to happen is that we’ll all see that Facebook and Google are important to news publishers. News publishers are not important to either company. So, if payment is forced by legal insistence, then we’ll see exactly what Facebook is doing right now: No news on Facebook.
This is driving my professional colleagues in journalism into paroxysms of rage, of course. A certain ego is required to do what we do, and no ego likes to have it proven to the world that we’re just not that important, however true it is.