It is a well established fact in the young Internet community that Adrian Chen hates Reddit. It is a hate that is seething and which defies all logic. He despises the news aggregator website so much that he was willing to write a completely egregious article demonizing its users as racist homophobic woman-haters.
Associating President Obama’s ‘Ask Me Anything’ thread with these heinous images was little more than a very public temper tantrum that most ten-year-olds would have already outgrown. His outrageous headline was titled, “Obama Grants Interview to Racist Teen Nude Picture Website,” which sounds like he frequently surfs the site looking at naked teen pics. He seems to know an awful lot about the site he claims to loathe, after all.
The fact is, Chen is obsessed with Reddit to the point that the vast majority of his material comes from the site. It’s useful for him when he needs it, and when it’s not, he rails against it. The question is, why would he throw President Obama under the bus over a petty vendetta he has against it.
He called Redditors “internet nerds,” voiced his opinion that he hoped the racists would come out (they didn’t), and admitted to feverishly refreshing the page just in case some juicy tidbit was revealed (there wasn’t). His main beef with the entire thread centered on two things: a couple of guys corrected the president’s spelling, and that in the entire 30 minutes, he only managed to answer eight “softball” questions, including one pertaining to the official White House beer.
When you take into consideration the fact that the president’s AMA caused Reddit’s servers to crash for about half of the 30 minutes he was on, it’s any wonder he managed to answer any questions, much less in-depth, at all.
So, why does Adrian Chen have such a stick up his ass about the popular site he admits he frequents? According Urlesque, it started when a girl tried to raise money to help a loved one dying from cancer. She wasn’t a scammer, but Reddit users were skeptical and called her a liar. Chen talked to her on that thread and four days later created a fake identity on the site called LucidEnding.
As LucidEnding, Chen portrayed himself as a man dying of cancer, and having only 51 hours left to live before choosing to end it using Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. The outpouring of emotional support he got from the community was in stark contrast to the girl who was trying to raise money for her loved one. The result was an angry community, many of whom felt betrayed by his misrepresentation.
Chen didn’t prove anything, though. He went about his witch hunt entirely wrong. If he wanted to make a point, he should have asked for money, like the young girl did in the first thread. Instead, all he did was ask for good thoughts and support. No one guessed his ruse. In fact, he outed himself on Twitter, delighting in his grossly misguided belief that he’d revealed some horrible fact about Reddit users.
Ever since then, the site and Chen, who writes for Gawker, have been at odds, with Chen creating even more ridiculous and bizarre claims about Redditors. At end of his article he completely nullifies what little credibility he might have had by writing: “In conclusion, the internet is awesome, traditional journalism is dead, vote Romney.”
Traditional journalism isn’t dead. Just switch the channel to PBS. Yes, the Internet is awesome. And with his last two words, he revealed that he’s as partisan a reporter as any of those found on Fox News.