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The Neon Lights are Bright on Broadway

Hey, all of you people who have been spending the last twenty-four hours feverishly Tweeting about what happened when Mike Pence went to see Hamilton, I’ve got a message for you and I want you to hear it loud and clear. I want you to understand something absolutely critical about your social media behavior and your nonstop obsession over something like a crowd booing or a cast delivering a message to the Veep-elect.

It’s totally OK.

You’re just some schmo on Twitter.

Hey, you editors who have been following our feverish Tweeting about Mike Pence’s night on Broadway. I’ve got a message about your obsession with this story.

It’s totally not OK.

Don’t get me wrong. Something interesting happened. The president-elect chimed in, and there was a clash of cultures that provided a perfect metaphor for a divided country. It was also a classic man bites dog story. Mike Pence attending a Broadway show is like David Duke going to an NWA concert. And it’s a story that’s easy to tell and easy to relate to. That’s why we were all Tweeting about it.

But you’ve got a job to do. And one the key elements of that job is to decide which stories warrant the top-middle of the front page status. And this story is not one of those stories — especially more than twenty-four hours after the fact (which is when I took the screenshots above).

Yes, we the people were obsessed by the incident. It was trending. But that doesn’t matter. Journalists should use Twitter as a tool to disseminate content, not as a place to gather news. You can’t crowdsource your editorial judgement. You can’t trust us — especially not on a Friday night when we’re half-smashed on booze and Xanax. But we need to trust you.

Don’t trust us. And don’t trust Donald Trump’s Tweets, either. Now more than ever, the American public needs your steady hand to guide us away from the distractions and into the heart of critical news.

The Veep-elect getting booed and lectured on Broadway is a story. But it’s not a massive story. If you give this kind of coverage to Mike Pence going to Hamilton, you’re going to need to dedicate entire special edition to the topic when he goes to see Book of Mormon.

And yes, I know, you can accuse me of extending the story by writing an entire thinkpiece about the matter. But it’s not the same. I’m just some schmo on Medium.

Dave Pell: Managing Editor, Internet

I write NextDraft, a quick and entertaining look at the day’s most fascinating news.

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