There are some people every person should be required to know from history.
Person #1 is Nellie Bly.
Nellie was a journalist, as in, a real one. She went undercover in some horrible places to write exposés. I would make her work required reading for youth instead of Pretty Little Liars or Twilight.
She got her hands dirty and made herself vulnerable to find reality and truth.
She was my inspiration when I decided to become a journalist in order to write about the shortcomings of the profession.
My Bly Adventure took years, but what I saw was revealing.
Journalism is a mad house, and this one with a psych degree saw all sorts of demented logic choke the senses out of those who fought tooth and nail to make a life in that asylum.
The breakdowns begin in j-schools, but news outlets suffer from the same hubris: these are groups of people who are so used to talking at people, and even more so, talking down to them, that they are incapable of listening.
And because they are always the ones who tell people what to do think and how to react, they cannot see what they are doing and how hypocritical they have become.
Just look at the constant begging Canadian journalists have stooped to as they try to shake down the government to bail them out. You do not hear these people ever mention that perhaps they are doing something wrong. They want money with no strings attached or modification for their behaviour…
And yet they will point fingers at any industry that keeps begging the government for money.
Well, why is it horrible for Bombardier to get government money, but it is perfectly moral and absolutely necessary for the news industry to get it? The press howls at corporate welfare bums, but sees no irony in joining their ranks.
And if they do get their wish, how will their coverage of those corporate beggars change? Will it suddenly be okay to use taxpayers’ money as a never-empty piggy bank?
Journalists and their educators have been passive in their approach, and they do not look inward as to why they collapsed. It is audiences’ fault for not buying their product, but the fact that journalists have managed to alienate people doesn’t even enter their minds.
J-schools corrupt minds by teaching the shallow window-dressing of craft as they tell their students that what they are doing is essential for civilization and what they are doing is important.
No, civilization can easily survive without journalism. It is by the goodwill of the people that reporters can do their jobs. People are gracious enough to let them into their homes and give them time to say their piece.
There are countless ways to stay informed without journalism. It is a form of sanctioned insanity — one that never had the discipline to be a real science — but there are other ways of disseminating information to the public. Stop pretending that society cannot live without you — that’s what controlling lovers say to their prey who try to liberate themselves from their romantic oppressor.
You cannot be arrogant and be a journalist — the second you think you are some sort of divine messenger is the moment you become a deluded loon whose arrogant filter taints everything you see. You become the very tyrant you want to expose.
Everyone is expendable. We are not immortal, and systems may change to accommodate loss, but the world still copes and even thrives. Journalism thought it was irreplaceable, and then the Internet allowed regular citizens to post pictures of car accidents, natural disasters, and police shooting innocent black men for no good reason. Civilians were doing what journalists have consistently failed to do — and what j-school have consistently failed to address.
People became their own news operations, and media outlets were fully aware of this new reality — so they all put their eggs in a single basket marked Trump in order to force everyone’s eyes on them.
But it is not working the way it was supposed to work. Media outlets are now shutting down at an increasing rate.
Sooner or later, the obsession will oversaturate everyone’s conscious, and the backlash will explode.
Nellie Bly’s methods were simple, elegant, and focussed on the dispossessed. She lived the life of those she chose to give a voice. She earned the trust of her audience by taking the hits they took everyday. She was never talking at them, or down to them.
She listened first before she talked to them, and showed that she sensed everything they had sensed themselves: what they felt, saw, and heard.
She opened eyes and new worlds with her writing. She exposed the corrupt, but not at the expense of those who suffered.
Those lessons have been almost forgotten, and journalism is a vile disrespectful defiance of her noble ways.
I didn’t forget, however. When I was first exposed to the extent of journalism’s complicity in deception and propaganda, I remembered Bly. I remembered she was a journalist, and she did it right. I wasn’t out to destroy journalism; I was there to chase out those toxic elements and bring in the ones that made Bly essential to her readers.
She was grace, but those posers claiming to be of the same ilk as her, are not. They are arrogant, ignorant, conniving, and tyrannical. They do not walk among people, but as if they are above them.
And that’s how journalists became separated and disconnected from their audiences who learned that they can do just fine without them.