Alt-Right publications have been trying to make the case of being legitimate news. They are not, of course, but partisan propaganda. Take Brietbart’s Jack Hadfield was was caught being in a very offensive closed Facebook group, as an administrator, no less.
He is now primed to be in a glowing New York Times profile, if I am guessing correctly.
It is easy to dismiss those partisan vehicles because they are obvious in their skewing. It is not as if they do not have facts in their stories, but the context is questionable, to be charitable about it.
But it is easy to breathe a sigh of relief and think the mainstream press is something better.
But then there is a story wondering about what will happen to Charlie Rose’s pieces on 60 Minutes since he was booted for being an abusive rutting pig around his female coworkers.
As if his stories had merit, considering what he thought was acceptable workplace behaviour.
One boor is not morally superior to the other boor, and yet when a bad reporter is exposed, very rarely do we go back to his body of work and question the filters and narrative.
And yet, we have to question those stories. Some facts may survive, but how we interpreted those stories may be radically different.
We can see what information was omitted and the real reason why.
When it is a partisan outfit, we already have the answer to that question.
But when it is a mainstream one, we go in with an unfounded assumption that there was no ulterior motive on the part of the reporter.
Racism is not a worse quality than sexism. They are equally horrific and destructive.
Journalism needed discipline. It needed to set itself so far apart from its unreasonable facsimiles; so that partisan tactics would be glaring and off-putting.
But that didn’t happen. When the very best is no better than the worst, an industry is beyond crisis mode.
Journalism is at the once unthinkable place. It took a long time for journalism to fall, but there is no question that it has.
The time for denial is over. We need to figure out how to start again — with a better focus and standards than the last time.