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Do We All Need a Media Blacklist?

Back in April, a reporter from the NY Times hiked 50 miles through the Amazon rainforest in order to visit and report on a story about the remote Marubo tribe getting access to the Internet for the first time. The original story published two weeks ago told the story of what happened next in multiple dimensions, from how education shifted to what different generations thought. One element of that story noted that some elders complained about how minors could now easily access pornography (a concern shared by parents everywhere else in the world as well).

Unfortunately, this one detail fueled a week of damaging Internet rumors that the Marubo people were “addicted to porn.” The story went viral, reported in hundreds of other publications across the world. This weekend, the NY Times published a follow up story declaring that “No, a Remote Amazon Tribe Did Not Get Addicted To Porn,” and pointed a forensic finger at media outlets like the New York Post and TMZ at fueling the acceleration of this rumor across the Internet.

None of this probably seems new or even surprising. And it does offer an ironic introduction to the reality of the Internet to the Marubo tribe and just how quickly misinformation can spread. The story reminded me of a habit I have adopted for myself but don’t talk about nearly enough: my own media blacklist. Anytime I see a story like this, propelled by a click-hungry media outlet, they go on the list. I don’t click on or promote stories from New York Post, for example, and I will never link to them. I wonder how many of you do the same?

Do you keep your own media blacklist?

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In addition to Non-Obvious Thinking, Rohit is the author of 10 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.

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