The Blinders of Journalism, Part Two

I was listening to Newstalk 1010 this morning to their panel of opinionists (called a Roundtable), and it is always interesting: spewing know-it-all decrees with panelists wearing blinders and giving no context is supposed to be informative entertainment.

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When I was writing When Journalism was a ThingI used to listen to it just to break down the ways journalistic blinders tainted the news product. I had my fill of it, but as things are slowly beginning to ramp up over here, I began to listen to it again.

This morning’s offering was particularly instructive.

Hollywood’s sexual harassment woes aren’t going away just yet, which it shouldn’t. Decades-long workplace abuse should be hashed out in public. In a world where news cycles are too short to be helpful, this story is a throwback to an era that had a longer attention span.

The morning’s prattle revolved around Kevin Spacey getting scrubbed out a movie. (This article is skewed as its author pushes a little too hard cheering the move, which is not surprising given that Hollywood is a business filled with attention-seeking narcissists who must be having a prolonged trauma being called out on the carpet for their tolerance of uncool behaviour, but I digress).

But to hack Christie Blatchford, it was all too much, and she whined about the “saturation point” of this ongoing story.

Mind you, it was all too much when it first broke out to her. The implication was that somehow, this was all a “witch hunt” — a very popular phrase for people who were happy sweeping the rot under the rug. Blatchford is in the same boat as relic Gay Talese who said actor Anthony Rapp should have “sucked it up” and kept quiet at what Spacey did to him when he was fourteen because it ruined a letch’s career.

Truth should not be reported, according to these alleged journalists, because it ruins the lives of people who ruined the lives of others, and who are we going to invite to the next dinner party so we can all pretend everything is wonderful, wonderful amid the fake laughter and hors d’oeuvres the wait staff spat on prior to serving them?

Blatchford’s illogic for being offended by the story was that — get this — she alleges that since she was never sexually harassed at work…that somehow this story was getting blown out of proportion.

This isn’t even thinking. This is what sheltered and judgemental helmet-haired women who wear white pantyhose even in the summer say at church when a kid complains that the priest molested them. “Well, the priest didn’t molest me; so, therefore, he didn’t molest you, either.”

I have worked with people who were beyond nice to me, but they weren’t nice to other people. Abusive people don’t always abuse every person in their wake. There are families where a relative sexually abuses one child, but not others. Just because you (a) weren’t sexually harassed, (b) thought you weren’t sexually harassed, but were used to being abused in that way to the point of thinking this was normal, (c) know you were sexually harassed, but keep quiet because you don’t want to burn bridges or tarnish an tough image, and keep quiet, or (d) made your way up on the casting couch thinking it was your idea, but were too gullible to know that you were being primed and groomed to think it was all your idea to crawl through gutters for a nothing gig that let other predators know it wasn’t your brains or talent that got you that job — doesn’t matter — people get abused on their jobs, and abused frequently.

Getting a job in Hollywood is seen as coveted. Billions of dollars are at stake, and we are supposed to believe all these camera-mugging egotists are always professional? In a place where there is heavy drug use, anything can and does happen.

There may be a lot of smiling in front of those cameras, but actors never struck me as being particularly happy people. Women get lousy roles, and show a lot of skin as they chase after and drool over men in storylines. It never particularly appealed to me as a form of entertainment. I can’t remember the last time I went to a movie theatre. I binge watch shows from time to time, but I haven’t watch a single American program once the scandal hit, and knowing me, I don’t think I will for a very long time.

It’s not a boycott. I just have other things I would rather do, and don’t feel like giving attention to that industry right now. I can always reassess at a later date.

But Establishment journalists who blindly follow the idea of the Great Man, such as Talese and Blatchford, have their preset narratives, ready to cheer those who hold power at any cost. Defending those in power may be their thing, but that isn’t journalism. It’s spin, and it has no place in the news world.