Look, I love click-bait. Getting hits is, to a blogger, like crack. We live for it. It validates our existence. It boosts our ego. It also translates into ad revenue.
Buzzfeed, Gawker, and similar sites have made a business model of “You’ll never believe…” and “5 Things Your…” type headlines. What these sites tend to lack is serious, in depth thought.
Ken Ellis wrote a guest post a bit back bemoaning the recent trend of Foreign Policy to follow a similar model with regard to defense issues, with pieces similar to those at Medium’s War is Boring and Wired’s Danger Room.
Warships from the U.S. Navy will someday be sailing alongside the Royal Canadian Navy supply ships HMCS Queenston and HMCS Chateauguay, perhaps on a NATO exercise or a humanitarian relief mission. That might get awkward if a historically minded American sailor notices that Queenston and Chateauguay are battles where Canada defeated America in the War of 1812. Yo, Canada, what’s the deal?
Of course, anyone with the most meager knowledge of US warships immediately realizes that any number of US warships have been named after battles we won during our Revolution or the War of 1812 (say, the USS Yorktown, the USS Lake Champlain, and the USS Cowpens) and we never asked ourselves how our Canadian and British cousins would react. Indeed, one suspects our cousins understand quite well that navies the world over tend to name ships after significant battles.
And indeed, if you bother reading Michael Peck’s linked work above, he notes exactly that.
And that’s fine. For a site like Medium or Wired.
But Foreign Policy used to be considered a site with at least of modicum of serious content.
Indeed, Raymond Pritchett (aka Galrahn) of Information Dissemination has wondered aloud just what it would take to get a gig writing for FP. I may often vehemently disagree with Raymond, but for damn sure he’s put more intellectual effort into any number of posts about naval warfare and the naval establishment than the click-bait above. If four-stars and service secretaries know his name based solely on his writings, maybe FP’s readers should too.
Heck, CTR2(SW) H.L. Gauthier III (newly appointed to the USNI Editorial Board) is capable of doing a better job of bringing understanding and knowledge to FP’s readers.
It is to weep.