People love false hope these days. From the notion that President Trump would not be inaugurated, to today, we keep hearing people fall in love with ideas that aren’t rooted in reality. I’ve lost friends over that false hope, and for being the messenger that gets shot.
Engadget refuses to correct an article that falsely claims that if 50 senators vote to rebuke Commissioner Ajit Pai’s retraction of the 2015 Open Internet order, that their interpretation of Net Neutrality will be back in action.
Not true. At all. First, the Congressional Review Act requires bi-cameral motions. In other words, the House of Representatives (that pesky second half of Congress – which people usually refer to as… Congress), would also get to vote. Where they would certainly vote it down. Even if they did vote with a Senate majority, the president would then have the option to veto. If the president did veto, both houses would have to override with a two-thirds majority.
In other words, the media took a line from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and turned it into a one-vote-away situation. False hope, that got the media attention. And clicks. And page views. And profits. There’s a financial incentive for them to not retract the story, so they won’t. And when repeal of Net Neutrality doesn’t happen – or when the pressure gets too high – they will have made their profits on the false story. The pressure/punishment for botching the coverage, and refusing to quickly retract, is minimal… especially compared to the profits for keeping the story up.
When people wonder why “fake news” is such a thing today, this is why. I would pardon Engadget for getting a story wrong. To err is human. But when they refuse to retract, that’s not excusable. Multiple people have contacted Engadget seeking retraction, and they refuse to act.
Update: In the wake of this factually-brutal teardown, which appears to have been sent their way at least a few times, Engadget did offer a formal retraction.