What it's like working for a right-wing outrage site


Let’s be fair. It’s probably much the same at Daily Koz. The big difference is that progressives at Koz have reality and facts for sources. Never a shortage of right wingnut ignorance, bigotry, paranoia, and downright stupidity these days. Plenty to write about without making stuff up.

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Rob, transgendered is not a popular term from my experiences with the trans community - people aren’t homosexualled, maled or femaled. It seems to convey some passive, transitive consequence like someone went at them with a carving knife. Transgender is preferred as it describes the state of moving across the gender spectrum. thanks.


[Edit - removed some needless comentary. No one replied to it, so I hope the faux pas will be forgiven.]

It is no revelation that the employees of an organization are not uniformly ideological. Labor and clerical workers (as opposed to management) are not in my experience expected to advocate for the company, only to do the job assigned, and the job the author describes is in this category. In my experience, the overt and covert pressure to say and think the right things grows as one rises in the management chain. That’s one of the things that would interest me: do the owners/managers of the site seem to be true believers, or are they also pragmatic cynics (saying and doing what the need to for the job)?

Other questions: What if any influence do advertisers have on editorial content? Is this any different than non-outrage journalism? What types of companies and organization advertise at these sites? Is there any interaction with political parties, PACS, or candidates, or is it a purely commercial business? Does working this type of job shift one’s ideology, or at least soften one’s opinions of those who disagree (e.g. by exposure to the arguments or by exposure to ‘nice’ people who hold contrary views)? These are things I would want to know about working for a right wing outrage site.

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Actually, I’ve found the Outrage Industrial Complex to be pretty active on both side of the aisle. Drumming up fury over purposely misreported crap for the purpose of making money does not have a political bias.


Yeah, I’ve heard that, and I try to respect it and follow that convention because I’m not in that boat - I’m not the one owning the reasons for the request.

But I still don’t personally buy the logic behind it, perhaps largely because I’m a horrible grammar pedant at heart:

The ed suffix in lefthanded, redheaded, or big-bottomed does not imply that someone has done something to the person so described - it implies that the person possesses a dominant hand that is left, hair that is red, or a bottom that is big.

Transgendered could, I would think, follow the same logic - possessing a gender that is ‘trans’ - across from - their genetic sex. Using the noun ‘gender’ as an adjective just feels weird to me.

The reason we don’t say someone is homosexualed is nothing to do with its being a condition vs the result of an operation. It’s simply that the suffix ual - meaning ‘of or pertaining to’ - at the end of the noun ‘sex’ already makes it into an adjective, and stringing a second suffix for making nouns into adjectives onto it would be awkward and pointless. Similarly we don’t say maled simply because ‘male’ is already an adjective, and doesn’t need a suffix to make it one. We could say ‘penised’ or something I guess.


I think my first comment was sloppy regarding grammar/morphology and I understand your point with the exception that as “a homosexual person” the homosexual is an adjective but common usage has made homosexual also a noun: " I am a homosexual". Likewise “I am male” and “I am a male”.

Trans people might describe themselves “I am a transgender person” and/or “I am transgender”. Both of which are indeed adjectival usage.
Clearly I am no expert on linguistics but the sense I get is that adding the -ed suggests a condition as a result of an action - in the case of trans people this hasn’t happened, it is simply an ongoing state of affairs.
The input I have had from trans people is that they feel the -ed creates an air of analytical judgement as if something has happened, been done or is the result of something rather than a description of the nature of that person.

And that’s what I mean with my not owning the reasons for the request. I don’t have the experience of being trans, so I can only really defer to those who do.

I’ve read pretty much your phrasing of it before, maybe even from trans people - so to the extent there’s “sloppiness” there, it’s not just you. And really, experience trumps grammar at some point…

Yep, I agree. “-ual” and “-ed” both take the same action for a word. It’s a lot like “inflammable” and “flammable”. The words mean exactly the same thing, and those extra letters aren’t needed at all.

It’s also my understanding the reason that the community is opposed to the term “trangendered” is because it sounds like something that may be done to a person at any time (and therefore may be undone).

Here’s an old Yahoo discussion on the topic, and on the idea that a person who is Trans was born that way and will be that way no matter what state their body may be in. It also discusses the idea that certain sites use the term “trangendered” to describe only someone who has gone through a full sex change. Unfortunately that doesn’t resolve the fact that people may live their entire lives without changing sex, but always feeling trangender. The title of the discussion is “Have you been Lesbianed or Homosexualed?”

Oh sure. Now you get all sciency and objective about things. Heresy! I demand that you turn in your lefty progressive credentials at the nearest food co-op.

I’d rather use terms that generate minimal confusion and tangential aggravation, so “transgender” it is!


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I agree–I wanted to hear more about the inside workings of the site (as you mention), but the writer doesn’t seem interested in providing any such detail. The person said as much in the Gawker bit:

It’s just that, it turns out, there weren’t really any secrets to spill. One time I found a couple massive portraits of Ronald Reagan in a coat closet. Otherwise, everything you needed to know was right there on the page.
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“Friend works for the Trak News Agency—‘We don’t report the news—We write it.’” -Burroughs, The Soft Machine, pp. 147-48

The “news” these days (media in general) has a few problems to consider before taking it at face value. Really, it’s best to get information from multiple sources. Here’s a discussion of some of the problems:

First, information spreads so rapidly that fact checking is problematic. Stories will hit the air only to be altered - sometimes dramatically - in a very short amount of time. Competition to “post first” is high, so media outlets can’t afford to break stories late, but they really also do need to show responsibility in having sound information before saying anything.

At the same time, satirical news sites have become popular - and this is becoming a problem. Major news outlets have often repeated stories from satirical news sites - and they have trouble keeping up with who is and isn’t making a joke. When sourcing material online, they’re dealing with the world as a possible source of false news (so why would they know an Irish site for a fake paper is fake?). When one major outlet repeats a false story, it’ll get picked up and run with by others. Suddenly everyone believes that “Kim Jong-un Is the Sexiest Man Alive”. Satirical sites do have disclaimers, but they often get missed.

Another very serious problem rests with U.S. courts and their leniency toward news outlets and their responsibility to report the truth. According to the Florida Court of Appeals and the FCC, the media can legally lie. A news outlet can tell an employee to not disclose facts or to alter facts as they so choose. In some cases, this may be to withhold incomplete or unproven information - but not always.

Then you have to deal with the fact that there are now so many people producing blogs and other forms of opinion-based “news” sites. They may report a news story, but they’ll do it as an op-ed, and people need to better understand the difference between hard news and op-eds. Since all news is now portrayed as infotainment, it’s harder for people to make the distinction.

That’s ALL before you even get to the fact that our hundreds of television outlets are really only owned by a few major players, and some of those have vested political interests.

EDIT: Corrected court.

If only this glut of sites were actually satirical, and not written by humourless dolts who think The Onion just makes shit up for clicks.

But as for supposedly real news sources making things up–Freedom of Speech is vital but it has limits. At what point does a news organisation’s false reporting become straight up fraud? As a society, what do we do when the news businesses have more loyalty to their cartel than to the public?



I was writing up just why it is that these days people need to be extra-super-careful when accepting any news story at face value - even from a trusted source. Those trusted sources may be careful, and have themselves gotten their information not from a satirical site, but from AP after other news outlets incorrectly reported a story. So anytime a story seems “off” somehow, it’s best to check around.

My apologies - I was writing about SCOTUS directly prior to this, and didn’t write the correct court. (I’ve become my own example.) As stated in the link, this decision was finalized through the Florida court of Appeals decision, and then finally through the FCC - who ruled against Akre in 2007. When that decision came down, a lot of people, (including some serious news outlets) were not amused. Big money was behind the case, because the original story covered by the case involved Monsanto and it was covered by a FOX News outlet. The whole thing stank.

(I’ve edited my original post.)

Even though it’s a lower court, it still matters, because it changes law. The FCC and the Appeals court both ruled against Akre even though both she and Wilson repeatedly claimed the only story they would have been allowed tell would have been (in his words), “in fact false, distorted, or slanted.” Here’s the wikipage on Jane Akre.

This legal decision is why news networks now feel so free to serve up news items that are heavily skewed and emotionally weighted - and it’s why you should question them more than ever. As I wrote, people don’t even realize that they aren’t experiencing hard news, but op-eds most of the time. The drive to make news “entertainment” for the sake of viewers has resulted in (often) less valuable news sources.


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I’d like to think that if I found myself in the position of trying to troll my way out of a job, I might like to go a bit further with it. Take up the cause of the transgender child as one of the tyranny of Big Government forcing this child to use one restroom over the other in violation of Individual Liberty or something. Make a right-wing argument for gender neutral facilities.