Journalistic paranoia in an age of Trump, and how narratives weakened the profession.

If Columbia Journalism Review’s decree that it is “the voice of journalism” has any merit to it, no wonder the profession died such a slow and horrible death.

Because CJR originates from an academic institution, and they still have no idea how this whole “academic” thing is supposed to work, then the profession had a snowball’s chance of ever surviving. It is all a sham.

Journalism is about disseminating facts. It is a very simple mandate and it should have one of the simplest mission statements of any profession:

Disseminate facts to a general public that are timely, relevant, reliable, valid, accurate, honest, useful, and truthful.

Making facts accessible to the world. What a simple and noble ideal that is, and unlike many other idealistic principles, is actually realistic and attainable.

Because of its elegant simplicity, creating an empirical version of journalism would be desirable.

I have written to various academic institutions, proposing this model for the past two decades.

I have been shot down 100% percent of the time.

Always rudely, dismissively, and arrogantly.

I had proposed a course, for instance, many years ago to UBC on how to spot hoaxes and lies — the head of the department at that time, was quite shrill in her response, telling me very condescendingly that they do such things.

Not a single course offered anything of the sort. I went through syllabus after syllabus, but no mention, even as a single week’s topic.

So that tells you how poor journalism education has always been. To suggest a single improvement is tantamount to an insult.

I wrote Don’t Believe It!: how lies become news to give news consumers what j-schools refused to give their own students: methods to figure out if what they are hearing is true or false.

I had originally intended that book to be a j-school textbook, but publishers sniffed that lies making news wasn’t a problem.

Really?

Is that why I had dozens of new cases sprouting up almost every day?

I could have written an encyclopedia set on it.

That was the state of delusion I have always been up against since day one.

I wasn’t an outsider who had no clue what journalism or j-schools were about: I was in the profession writing about the profession.

I saw the problems, yes.

But I also saw the solutions, too.

Journalism has always been a willfully primitive profession. It never grew or evolved.

It is biased, cheaply for sale, gullible, lazy, bribable, unscientific, arrogant, sloppy, abusive, vindictive, you name it.

So when Trump became president, the press had a meltdown.

Because all of their old tricks ceased to work. They couldn’t shame people into not voting for a man who bypassed the media.

They couldn’t make decrees people would listen to seriously.

They could not foresee their own downfall.

They failed to size up their prey, and they hedged their bets wrong.

Believe me, if the press knew how badly Trump would have trounced Clinton, they would have pretended that election wasn’t all that important just to save face.

But they built it up. They created a narrative about it being inevitable that the next president was going to be a woman. People were supposed to be swept up into that whole yarn, and take their marching orders straight to the ballot boxes.

Some did; others resisted.

And now a dead profession still doesn’t get it.

They are obsessed with the One.

The One who showed them to be nothing.

So when CJR’s piece on studying Trump’s every tweet, and how it proves he has a campaign against the press, I laugh at its paranoia and silliness.

It is just another worthless temper tantrum. The press is still too stupid to understand that those tweets are misdirections — he knows how vain the press are — so he gives them something to consume as they fume — and he goes on to do things that they never bother to notice.

Why do we need a “Twitter spreadsheet”?

Do we have “Grandad’s pull my finger” spreadsheets to clue in to something?

Just how clueless and dense is CJR?

It’s journalistic paranoia trying to make itself into news.

Trump’s tweets aren’t news.

But they proved that journalism’s tunnel vision and obsession with narrative helped do them in.

It is all about a story — a patriarchal story where there is the One: usually, a Great Man who is the hero, and valiantly fights the Bad Guys all for freedom, democracy, and these days, legal and cheap weed.

Trump played along for the first few decades. He was one of the few who was deemed a Great Man — a Titan of Capitalism — and the press lavished on him with the praises and requisite drooling.

And then Trump turned the tables and dumped them.

They were going to re-label him the Freak during the election, making him a silly buffoon, because Saul Alinsky assured them once long ago that ridiculing someone would destroy them.

Trump won all the same.

So the press turned him into the Villain.

And he moves forward all the same.

The press’s narrative gambit is not working. They are still losing their jobs in droves, and publications and broadcasters are shutting down at record speed and in unprecedented numbers.

Because their old tricks are useless.

But good luck trying to make changes or pointing out the obvious to these knuckle-draggers.

They cannot see that they cannot do the same thing and expect a different outcome.

I am still fighting for a different kind of news-gathering.

The propaganda pretending to be journalism is even worse than the old version.

It is more unscientific, less factual in nature, and just plain destructive.

People do not actually realize they have never been so ignorant and uninformed as they are now. The Internet gives an illusion of being informed, because it is still primarily a text-driven media, and people make the mistake that reading means getting informed.

So long as you are informing yourself with reliable and valid facts taken from independently verified primary sources.

But that’s not the case.

The narrative of being informed is a sham.

And that’s when simmering problems explode.

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