Over the weekend, a new media platform called Verrit launched with little fanfare. That is, until it was endorsed by Hillary Clinton.
That Clinton would throw her considerable weight behind an unknown entity should come as no surprise. Verrit bills itself as a “media platform for the 65.8 million,” a nod to the number of Americans who voted for her in last year’s presidential election. The site itself is the brainchild of Peter Daou, a former digital strategist for Clinton who continues to be one of her most virulent supporters on social media. Its mission, according to its website, is to become the “trusted source of political information and analysis” for Hillary supporters and to “provide them (and anyone like-minded) sanctuary in a chaotic media environment.”
In other words, Verrit wants to become the de facto antidote to fake news, a home for anyone who feels disillusioned by the current cloudy state of media. So how does Verrit plan on achieving said goal? It’s pretty simple, really. The site acts as something of a mood board for liberals, offering up infographics or cards with easily digestible facts andquotes that can be downloaded and shared across various social media platforms. Each card comes with a seven-digit authentication code, which can be traced back to what it claims is a legitimate source.
EPA Head Scott Pruitt Wants Science Out of Government Policy https://t.co/DXBMIH26DP— Verrit (@verrit) August 29, 2017
Unfortunately, we live in an age where authenticity is in the eye of the beholder. It’s unlikely that a Verrit card citing CNN as a source would have any intellectual impact on a Trump supporter. That makes Verrit no different than any of the online echo chambers it hopes to counteract.
It’s also worth noting that Verrit’s aforementioned mission to become a “trusted source of political information and analysis,” is immediately handicapped by its format. The issues currently plaguing our country are complex and need to be examined with the right amount of nuance. The cards found on Verrit are more bold proclamations than thoughtful discourse.
It’s no wonder the rollout has been met with snark and cynicism criticism from both sides of the aisle.
So Verrit is like BrainyQuote for Democratic partisans with a little “authentication” fact check code no one will ever use? pic.twitter.com/GskjMNsOJE— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) September 5, 2017
I was skeptical of Verrit before but this definitely makes me take it seriously https://t.co/nxQd7OOvX2— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) September 5, 2017
what the fuck are you supposed to do with this pic.twitter.com/dvG9PPN6wM— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) September 4, 2017
Daou however, seems unfazed. “When you lose a shared reality, where the definition of a fact is in question there’s no longer the possibility of civil dialogue anymore,” he told Business Insider. “If the person you’re arguing with says, ‘I’m not going to concede that a fact is even a fact,’ you’ve got nothing left.”
If Daou can somehow convince people that Verrit serves a purpose beyond a kind of therapy for Hillary supporters who are still suffering from election-induced PTSD, it could be a worthy addition to an already cluttered intellectual battlefield. But with the crucial 2018 midterms fast-approaching, time isn’t on his side.