“Journalists and tech executives alike are guilty of thinking Twitter is more important than it is,” said Ms Lessin. “Technology executives take journalists’ tweets very seriously in many cases – but at the same time, it’s hard to have any professional relationship with someone who has been publicly attacking you all day long.”
I’m not sure it’s always as symmetrical as Miss Lessin believed. Silicon Valley ideology sometimes aligns too aptly with its profits to be taken entirely at face value. And the scale and strength of the industry is unmatched.
Ms. Lessin also noted that journalists and tech giants are stuck at this point. Senior executives in Silicon Valley, led by Marc Andreessen, an influential Facebook board member, have spent years wasting their fantasies of replacing hostile news media and appealing directly to their consumers and investors. However, they have yet to find a platform that allows them to surpass independent news outlets when it comes to communicating with their own staff, let alone the general public.
Andreessen’s venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz invested in social audio platform Clubhouse with this hope, but only to see it evolve into an obscure global home for multi-level marketing discussions. The company also launched Future, a media platform amid the tense newsroom. babbling He said the tech industry “don’t need it anymore” for reporters. While the firm’s head of marketing and content Margit Wennmachers (Meta’s!) told me on WhatsApp that both projects are still in their “infancy” and warned against belittling them, the coming months are threatening no one.
Mr. Zuckerberg realizes that he will not be able to completely get rid of the mainstream news media just yet. An aide said that while he only interviewed four broadcasters last week, he quietly briefed more than a dozen major news outlets, including The New York Times.
The tech giants haven’t exactly faded under the scrutiny of the news media, either. Indeed, Ms. Lessin said, covering these companies requires a kind of “split screen”. The businesses of tech companies (in the case of Facebook, ads) have so far been unaffected by all the disclosures and the ensuing government investigations. Shares of the company soared as journalists mocked Mr. Zuckerberg’s metaverse.
And so the conflict between the media and tech industries is increasingly looking like a stalemate. We may not all be spending the next pandemic with Mr. Zuckerberg in Hawaii, but we will probably live with him for a while.