The Legacy Media Doesn’t Understand the Rules of the Internet
All of the pundits have been discussing Peter Thiel’s statement that Trump should be taken seriously not literally. This is all part of the post-election flailing about that the legacy media has been engaging in. They are having a hard time coming to terms with the realization of their own impotence and irrelevance. But for all the endless discussion about taking Trump seriously not one of them has been able to figure out how exactly to do that. Before the pundits can understand how to take Trump seriously they first have to realize that our society is operating by a new set of rules, a set of rules that they seem to be wholly ignorant of but that Trump understands intimately, the Rules of the Internet.
There are many Rules of the Internet and they are widely known. Ask any 18 year old commenter on Reddit and they will start rattling them off.- There are no Girls on the Internet, Goodwin’s Law, The Streisand Effect, etc. etc. Now all of the Rules of the Internet are important in today’s world and the pundits need to sit down and study each of them but there are two in particular that the legacy media most desperately needs to get their heads around- Cunningham’s Law and Gaben’s Speech.
Cunningham’s Law was articulated by Ward Cunningham, the father of the wiki. Every technician has experienced the frustration of going to a message board with a technical question and being unable to get an answer, or worse yet, getting attacked for asking a stupid question. What Cunningham realized was that the same experts who wouldn’t bother to answer questions would trip over themselves to quickly correct any bad information that got posted on their message board. Thus Cunningham’s law was born-
The best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it’s to post the wrong answer.
What Trump has done is to apply Cunningham’s Law to the media and it is driving the pundits crazy. They don’t understand what is going on. Whereas the pundits see Trump telling an outright lie, the Internet sees Trump stating an obviously wrong answer in order to take advantage of Cunningham’s law. He has done it countless times, but let’s take a look at a recent example- he said that there were three million illegal voters in the presidential election. Now three million is unquestionably the wrong answer to “How many Illegal voters were there?” So what is Trump up to when he is uses Cunningham’s Law in the media? How does he benefit by broadcasting wrong answers?
There are three ways that Trump benefits. First off, regardless of how the legacy media reacts Trump benefits by shifting the Overton Window, the window of what is acceptable to talk about. In this case he has the entire legacy media talking about illegal aliens voting, an issue that they usually keep off the airwaves. Trump also benefits if the legacy media responds in the way that they should. If the legacy media wants to regain some semblance of legitimacy and relevance they should start responding to Trump’s invocation of Goodwin’s Law by providing him, and the public, with the correct answer. In this case that would mean doing impartial investigative journalism to develop the best estimate possible of how many illegal aliens voted. But that is not going to happen. If they were to report that any illegal aliens voted, it would result in stricter voter ID laws which the globalist owners of the media conglomerates do not want. So the only other option the legacy media is left with is to not provide the correct answer. But this is the absolute worst course of action they can take, yet they do it again and again, and again. What the legacy media doesn’t understand is that by not providing the public with the correct answer they are violating the Gaben’s Speech Rule of the Internet.
Gabe Newell runs Valve, a company that sells video games over the Internet. Gaben, as he is known on-line, probably understands the Internet better than anyone. Gamers are the worst pirates on the planet; it is a big part of gamer culture. It doesn’t matter what type of encryption you use they will find a way to hack it. If necessary they will take out their soldering irons and build an electronic device to crack digital protection. They can pirate absolutely anything; nothing can stop them. And every gamer out there has a huge collection of movies, music and TV shows that they didn’t pay for. They watch leaked movies and TV episodes weeks before before their release dates. Gamers pirate everything they can get their grubby little hands on. Everything, that is, except for games. Games they spend hundreds of dollars a year on and they buy their games from Gaben. The best way to learn about the Internet is to study the man who figured out to how get very rich off of selling easily piratable video games to the worst pirates in the world. He obviously knows what he is doing. If the pundits want to ever be relevant again they have to read Gaben’s Speech. Then they have to read it again and then they have to read it again. They have to keep reading it until they can recite it word for word-
You have to stop thinking that you’re in charge and start thinking that you’re having a dance. We used to think we’re smart […] but nobody is smarter than the internet. […] One of the things we learned pretty early on is ‘Don’t ever, ever try to lie to the internet – because they will catch you. They will de-construct your spin. They will remember everything you ever say for eternity.’
You can see really old school companies really struggle with that. They think they can still be in control of the message. […] So yeah, the internet (in aggregate) is scary smart. The sooner people accept that and start to trust that that’s the case, the better they’re gonna be in interacting with them.
Just look at all the ways the legacy media tried to lie in response to the three million illegal voters comment. How many times did we hear, “We’ve entered a post truth world. These stupid Trump supporters will believe any lie he says and it is ruining our Democracy.”? None of that is true. Trump supporters aren’t stupid for one. Secondly, no Trump supporter believes that there are 3 million illegal voters and third, Trump wasn’t lying. Trump gave a wrong answer in accordance with Cunningham’s Law and unlike the legacy media, the Internet understands that is what he did.
Of course the biggest lie the legacy media is telling is that there were no illegal votes. How can they think for one second that the internet is going to buy that?
All you have to do is google “California Illegals Vote” and you immediately have a wealth of information about the situation from all different points of view. California passed a law that gave illegal aliens driver licenses. California also passed a motor-voter law automatically registering people to vote when they get a driver license. And regardless of the whether the motor-voter law is registering illegal aliens to vote, California does not have safeguards in place to keep illegal aliens who are willing to commit perjury from voting. Anyone on the internet can get this information in five minutes, so when the legacy media tries to spin us saying that “there have been no reports of voter fraud” no one buys their implication that we don’t have a problem with illegal aliens voting. How can the legacy media expect the Internet to believe that not one of the radical La Raza protesters committed voter fraud? Just admit it. At least one illegal alien voted in California. But they won’t. No talking head will ever go on TV and say,
“Well yea, maybe that one protester on TV who had his face covered with a Mexican flag bandanna . . . you know, the one who was chanting ‘We didn’t cross the boarder the boarder crossed us’ . . . yea the guy who told the reporter that the US stole California from the Mexican people . . . well there might be a non-negitive chance that maybe, he conceivably could have committed voter fraud.”
And they will never come out and say that because if they admit that at least one illegal alien voted, then where are we? We are in between one illegal alien and three million illegal aliens, right where Trump wants us to be asking, “Well exactly how many illegal aliens did vote?”
Admittedly, it is a paradox and paradoxes are hard to get your head around. But these are the new rules, the Rules of the Internet. And no matter how much weeping and gnashing of teeth the legacy media engages in, the rules are not going to change. The way the world works now, Trump can lie as long as he does so in accordance with Cunningham’s Law, but if the pundits try to spin they run afoul of Gaben’s Speech. Furthermore, every time the legacy media breaks the Gaben’s Speech rule they lose credibility and viewers. There is no going back to the old rules so you had better familiarize yourself with the Rules of the Internet. They are going to be governing public discourse for the foreseeable future. Get used to it.