My adventures among the memoir-happy one-percent
THE PROGNOSIS FOR AMERICAN JOURNALISM is not good. In due course, the cancerous forces of Google, Facebook, and algorithmic optimization will complete the terminal ravaging of the journalistic trade from the inside, chewing through it vital organs one newsroom at a time, hollowing out its traditions and lore. Journalists and editors will grieve the demise of their beloved calling, which once nourished the sacred democratic principle of holding those in power to a sustained public accounting—and, on occasion, created a kind of widely accessible art form. Now, however, as journalism slouches toward oblivion, it churns out high-outrage, low-grade content for its web-addled audience, who click and share anything that flatters their ideological preconceptions.
Sundered from all the now-obsolete protections and best practices of a free and independent press, journalists will do what displaced workers everywhere must: get on with the necessary business of making a living. And a select few will fall into what is perhaps the grimmest possible simulacrum of journalistic endeavor: they will join the now burgeoning market for luxury ghostwritten memoirs.
Sean Patrick Cooper, writing for The Baffler, takes a close look at the future of ghostwriting.