On May 21, President Trump told reporters, “I’m going, next week, to the rocket launch. I hope you’re all going to join me. I’d like to put you on the rocket, get rid of you for a while!” While Trump was obviously joking, it’s an idea worth exploring, especially at this moment.
It’s not like the media has proven particularly useful for several years. From breathless reporting on Russiagate to obsessing over Trump’s tweets to its current infatuation with shaming citizens for not socially distancing, particularly when viewed through telephoto lenses, the media has an agenda, and it’s not about just reporting the facts.
Seriously, who would be less informed without another explainer on hydroxychloroquine or thinkpiece on how Trump isn’t sufficiently manly? Is the world going to stop if we don’t have more maps attempting to tie virus casualties to voting patterns? Will democracy die in darkness if the media has to take a break from complaining about how Trump talks to them at press conferences?
No, no, and no, and not just because the average person on social media can handle doing all those things himself. And if Facebook is going to continue devolving from a place you can share jokes or pictures of your kids with friends to just another venue for perpetual scolding, perhaps we should load Mark Zuckerberg onto the Crew Dragon spacecraft while we’re at it.
It’s not the partisanship of it. Objectivity is all but impossible. Perhaps if media would just admit their biases instead of pretending they’re above it all, things would be a little less intolerable. Alas, that is not the case. Instead we must suffer zealots armed with the fervor of a college freshman who has just discovered Karl Marx or Ayn Rand.
And thanks to the internet, it’s never ending. We get 24 hours a day of such “reporting,” and we need a break. America is suffering enough from being locked away due to the pandemic. Collective mental health is on the decline. We don’t benefit from unelected elites doing their best to further exhaust us. Plus, spending some time in space might give journalists ideas about something else to discuss, particularly as it would offer the opportunity to talk about themselves and touching the face of, well, not God, but the Flying Spaghetti Monster or something.
So, Elon Musk, please, take your newfound contrarian spirit and your rockets and help us. Americans may be driving less these days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put your creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to good use.
Pretend Trump wasn’t joking. Just as displaced workers were once encouraged to just learn to code, you can help journalists learn to be astronauts and achieve the ultimate level of social distancing at the same time. It’s a win-win.
You know in your heart this will be a good thing. As you said in 2018, “Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda…” As the media has only gotten more awful since then, it’s time to move beyond ratings and into the sanctity of space. For there, no one can hear them scream, and we could all do with hearing a little less shrieking these days.
From defying California’s stay-at-home orders and getting the gears turning at Tesla’s Fremont factory to threatening to leave the state to decrying government overreach during the pandemic, Musk has proven to be more Captain America than Tony Stark.
Wednesday, Musk’s SpaceX will launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley into orbit. But Musk shouldn’t stop there. He should also load the spacecraft with corporate media and give them a chance to slip the surly bonds of earth.