The Bottom Line

Can the media regain people’s trust?

In Traffic, former Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith weaves a cautionary tale about journalism focused on ‘going viral’.

In their desperate attempt to “go viral”, digital media succeeded in disrupting and modernising traditional media outlets. But what has the price been?

Has the quality of information been sacrificed for content that will bring clicks and views? Is the drive for outrageous content that will drive comments and debate (“engagement”) tearing societies apart? In opinion polls, why do most Americans feel that the media do not care about people’s best interests?

Host Steve Clemons talks with Ben Smith, former editor of Buzzfeed and current editor of Semafor, about his new book Traffic, chronicling the Age of Disinformation.