I have described myself as a radical centrist. That means I am not beholden to any political party. I am not a follower. I do not memorize other people’s scripts as some sort of life hack. I have an aversion to people thinking one set of rules is perfect and anything that deviates from those ideas is heresy.
Journalism has been an enabler of lockstep thinking, particularly in North America. When the Internet took hold and took off, journalism was the profession behind the times — and they are the ones who are supposed to keep up to keep people informed. No such luck.
I have said repeatedly that modern journalism is dead, and what is being disseminated is rot. CNN’s gaffe this week is not minor. It is desperate propaganda because their motives for making such a colossal error are as tainted as it can be: they didn’t want a Trump presidency. They told the little people to run to the ballot to vote for Clinton. Not everyone did. Trump won. People didn’t listen to CNN.
And now panic and after the fact reasoning. They want to punish Trump at all costs, as if being president of a country in the throes of an identity crisis wasn’t punishment enough. I wouldn’t be there if you paid me. Forget it: I am not your mother; so clean up your own mess, and if we were a civilized society, we would not even need a government.
But now the reporting has gone off the rails to the point that a dead profession no longer can do a job.
The Intercept has a very good analysis of it all here. Glenn Greenwald is one of few who actually gets what journalism should have been. He makes an excellent observation:
U.S. media outlets are very good at demanding respect. They love to imply, if not outright state, that being patriotic and a good American means that one must reject efforts to discredit them and their reporting because that’s how one defends press freedom.
Which has been my point through my various books. You cannot just swagger in and then decree you are beyond reproach and off limits of receiving the criticism you so richly earned.
To be a journalist, you must be humble, and agonize over your job because there can be consequences you have to live with for the rest of your life. As a journalist, I agonized. I stayed up all night, thinking about how every word could do harm and not good.
And then I would hear reporters gleefully demanding that people get bombed.
There are journalists walking free right now who should be hauled up to The Hague and be charged with war crimes for the bloodlust.
Journalism always had a chip on its shoulder, but it got away with it until the gates broke away from them, and then people took control of some of that power, and the profession imploded.
It is trying to claw its way back, but you cannot unring a bell.
So what we are witnessing now is not journalism. It is war.
It is bloody propaganda campaign of trying to grab back the ability to control the flow of information and narratives because it’s no fun when you tell a president to invade a country and he can ignore you without worrying about his poll numbers because of your meddling.
We need a new model of news producing, and it has to be done from scratch. New schools, new mentors, and new ways of gathering, analyzing, and disseminating the news.
Because this is a profession that is willing to do anything to get its power back — anything but what is moral and constructive.
And that is a sign that the games are going way too far.
The only saving grace is that more and more people are ignoring their decrees and demands.