Gone rogue

After Donald Trump’s inauguration, a number of self-described “rogue” accounts started popping up on Twitter: @RoguePOTUSStaff, @RogueNASA, @AltNatParkSer. They all supposedly were accounts run by government employees who are outraged by the Trump administration. This quickly became a fad, as demonstrated by a Twitter list of dozens of such accounts.

In this age when Republicans immediately label any news that they dislike as “fake news,” and when Democrats complain loudly about the conservative social media bubble, I find it infuriating that liberals are religiously retweeting anything these so-called “Rogue” accounts post.

Let me say this. All, or most, of these accounts are fake. They’re phony. They’re liberal wish fulfillment. They’re telling you what you want to hear. There’s evidence that they’re fake. It’s fiction, like a social-media West Wing repackaged for the resistance, confirming your biases and giving you the (phony) gossipy thrill of insider knowledge.

And, further, let me say this: even if every last one of those dozens of Twitter accounts were real, they would serve absolutely no purpose. An anonymous Twitter account is not going to take down President Trump. No information shared on those accounts is going to have a real effect on the real world.

These rogue Twitter accounts are what happen when we as a society allow actual journalism to atrophy. They deliver the same thrills as a Woodward-and-Bernstein takedown without any of the actual content. They’re taking the place of investigative reporting in our circles, but without any real-world consequences. It’s entertainment disguised as journalism.

If you want to hear actual reports from inside the White House and other federal agencies, you should support journalism. Real journalism makes a difference. These Twitter accounts would never drive a Trump administration official to quit. You know what can drive a Trump administration official to quit? The quality sourced investigative journalism you’ll find at the Washington Motherfucking Post.

I blocked these rogue government accounts as soon as they started proliferating on Twitter, and it was the best social-media decision I’ve made in 2017. They’re a distraction from reality — bad fiction to make you feel good. If we want to change the world, we have to support truth and transparency, and that means prioritizing good journalism over ineffectual fan fiction.