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Tuning Up: Death to Asinine Clickbait!

Yes, we get the headline irony, but here’s our solemn promise to not shovel you sh!t.

If you spend any amount of time keeping tabs on current events, chances are you’re increasingly nauseated by how inane and clickbait-y “news” has become—and not just the stuff from soullessly ambitious social-media upstarts or wannabe YouTube stars.

In the race for “viral” content (an accidentally perfect adjective if ever there was one)—or hell, even in the increasingly futile race for clicks that give them just a few seconds with a handful of eyeballs—even many award-winning, bona fide news sources with decades in the business are succumbing to the dumbing.

Evidence? Hmmm … how about the fact that coverage of the race for the most powerful office in the land is reduced to a circus more suffused with the qualitative equivalent of elephant-manure emanations than the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Or the fact that, for months on end, the new Star Wars film and its nearly 40-year-old antecedents have become the be-all and end-all not just of human existence, but also of product marketing in literally any category.

We abhor that barf-inducing bullshit just as much as you.

Then there’s this wonderful trend: Headlines that mate a numeral with a celebrity name, a random plural noun, and a fantastically hyperbolic claim are decanted into a digital swill bucket and slopped out to the masses as if the world were full of thoughtless brutes whose love for wallowing in excrement is only rivaled by the vigor with which we clamor for worthless trivia.


To be sure, dumbness in the news is not new. Desire for gossip and meaningless tripe rather than information that challenges, uplifts, and motivates may very well be hardwired into our social DNA. And certainly where there’s easier money to be made off low-hanging fruit, there you’ll always find a crowded marketplace.

But considering how easy it is for supposed news sources to get away with this shortsighted asininity, it’s all the more important to dish kudos to outlets that wear the newsgathering mantle with pride, dignity, and heart. Which brings us to 194-year-old U.K. news outlet The Guardian, whose recent video documentary on a band of young men with autism offers thinking people reason to have hope for the future of journalism. It also prompted us to talk to members of the AutistiX in what for me was one of the most rewarding and meaningful interviewing experiences in my guitar-journalism career.

I hope you’ll take the time to read (and watch) Saul, Jack, and Luke’s touching and inspiring story. Further, I hope you’ll take it as yet more evidence that we here at Premier Guitar also wear our journalistic mantle with pride, dignity, and heart—and that we abhor that barf-inducing bullshit just as much as you.