The same day that the Freedom Phone announced its launch and captured the attention of conservatives around America, the mainstream media began writing its obituary.
Ars Technica, without ever actually holding a device itself, falsely proclaimed that the Freedom Phone had a “breathtaking amount of red flags.”
The Daily Beast, again never having held a Freedom Phone in their own hands, libelously claimed it was a “Budget Chinese Phone.”
The Bulwark took the odd angle of calling the Freedom Phone a “cynical gimmick,” which left most readers scratching their heads and still interested in the Freedom Phone.
The examples continue and stretch from respected media outlets, to obscure blog posts and random Twitter accounts. A hivemind of the upset, all buzzing with rage at the audacity of a smartphone that they couldn’t control. The overarching theme of the baseless attacks against the Freedom Phone is that it was somehow a “scam,” even though the writers had never tested, examined, or otherwise used a Freedom Phone themselves. So how was it a scam?
It wasn’t, and thousands of buyers were able to see through the noise and recognize that the Freedom Phone allowed a new degree of privacy and access to information at a time when it is desperately needed. Just as the vice grip around the free flow of information began to tighten, the Freedom Phone arrived on the scene and offered an alternative.
That alternative turned out to be a gold mine. With 6 million dollars in sales, a backorder of shipments spanning months, and a growing waitlist of people eager to get their hands on a Freedom Phone, it’s hard to call this project anything less than a resounding success. With strategic partnerships secured, cutting-edge software created, and production ramping up, the Freedom Phone is positioned to become an even bigger thorn in the side of Silicon Valley. Good news for Americans, bad news for Big Tech.
Stepping back from the Freedom Phone, the way that the media treated this project is an indictment of how journalism itself is being done today. Attacking a product without ever examining it yourself? Parroting other criticisms you’ve heard without stopping to examine the claims first? This isn’t what journalism used to be, this is just lazy activism.
We deserve better from the media. We deserve actual investigations, hard-hitting publications, and real effort from the organizations we are supposed to trust. If something is a lie, please tell us! But please do your due diligence first and actually prove your case. If there is a scam trying to steal our money, please let us know! But you simply must ensure you’re correct on this one because every false claim just ruins your credibility.
Why didn’t any of these media outlets actually examine the Freedom Phone before attacking it? Probably because facts don’t get clicks anymore, but sensationalism does. This is a problem much larger than the Freedom Phone and is symptomatic of a far bigger issue with how media is funded in the 21st century. We could write books about this topic and still barely scratch the surface, but to summarize: it is a problem, and it threatens the credibility of journalism as a whole.
Unfortunately for Big Tech, the rest of America seems to see right through this weird blend of sensationalism and playing loose with the facts. Fortunately for the rest of us, the Freedom Phone appears immune from these baseless and reckless allegations. If the past few months have been any indicator, the Freedom Phone will become a household name in the coming years – it’s hard to imagine a future where Americans don’t want more privacy and more freedom at this rate.
James Lowe is a public policy analyst and a two decade’s long radio industry veteran who hosts his own nationally syndicated radio show based in Kansas and carried on the Iheartradio App. Find out more at jiggyjaguar.com