Rabbit Hole: "Room Rater" is What's Wrong with the Media
It tickles the egos of journalists and pundits, who gleefully play along. But that's not the worst part.
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I’m often jealous of people who are not on Twitter. It must be a more satisfying existence. If you weren’t on Twitter, you would not be familiar with an account called “Room Rater,” which goes by the handle @RateMySkypeRoom. The account is pretty self-explanatory - it rates the backgrounds of cable news talking heads.
Like many terrible new additions to our culture, this started as a result of the COVID pandemic, when the country locked down and everyone started doing TV hits from home, using Skype or Zoom and trying to make a presentable backdrop. While the pandemic is over, media companies realized they didn’t have to pay for TV studios for every one-off reporter or pundit appearance, so these home set-ups have remained an element of news broadcasts, even in 2023.
And so Room Rater continues, unabated. It has amassed 400,000 followers. How? Well thanks to the egos of the journalists and pundits who it tags in its ratings, and incessantly share the scores they receive. So thirsty for likes and followers, so glad anyone in the world is watching them and giving them semi-positive feedback. So detached from the reality of the masses, who thankfully aren’t aware of this gross exercise, because they spend their time with family, or friends, or outside.
(These problems with the press are discussed at length in my new book, Uncovered, which is out on Tuesday — still time to pre-order and receive it then!)
I mean, just look at this. “My life is complete!” one reporter tweets. “It only took three years, but finally made it,” says another, in response to a 10/10 score about her MSNBC hit:
If it were all just an embarrassing example of the self-absorption of our modern media, who think of themselves as “influencers” and are begging for approval rather than doing their jobs and being annoying pests to those in power, than perhaps it wouldn’t warrant much further inquiry. The media of 2023 is full of self-important narcissists. What’s new?
But that’s only part of the problem with the Room Rater account — and the media’s obsession with it. Because Room Rater is not an interior decorating account, or an objective analyst of background lighting.
It's a political operation run by a Democratic #Resistance grifter, who could accurately be described as a 2016 "election denier."