Give Thanks Today That You Aren’t Mike Hudack


Today you should give thanks that you are not Mike Hudack. Early this morning he decided to deliver an epic rant on his Facebook page:

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….Evening newscasts are jokes, and copycat television newsmagazines have turned into tabloids….Meet the Press has become a joke since David Gregory took over. We’ll probably never get another Tim Russert.

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….And we come to Ezra Klein. The great Ezra Klein of Wapo and msnbc….Personally I hoped that we would find a new home for serious journalism….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.”

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

This would be of little note except that Mike Hudack is director of product management at Facebook. For that reason I take this kind of personally. You see, I used to be a director of product management, and I would have fired a product manager working for me who unloaded 500 words of bellyaching about why BuzzFeed does what it does with apparently no clue that the reason is his own product. Facebook. Stupid click-baity headlines rule the internet largely because Facebook’s promotion algorithm chooses them for internet fame.1 Conversely, 10,000-word deep dives into the need for better regulation of the shadow banking system are hastily shoved down Facebook’s memory hole. As Alexis Madrigal says:

We would love to talk with Facebook about how we can do more substantive stuff and be rewarded. We really would. It’s all we ever talk about when we get together for beers and to complain about our industry and careers.

The irony of Hudack’s clueless rant is pretty obvious, and so far about a million people have probably pointed this out to him. I doubt that most of them were as polite as Madrigal. So be glad today that you aren’t Mike Hudack.

1In fairness, it’s ultimately because this is the kind of thing most people want to read, which isn’t Facebook’s fault. It’s been true for millennia. But Facebook does a pretty good job of aiding and abetting this particular failing of human nature, and surely this is something Hudack is aware of. I hope.

And as long as I’m delivering asides, somebody should also tell Hudack that Tim Russert is no hero of great journalism. By my reckoning, he played a large role in ruining Beltway journalism. So be careful what you wish for.

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This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

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