The model of journalism was flawed from the get-go: journalists gave the story, but how news consumers decided to process those facts was never really challenged.
Do you believe everything you’re told, like a good little doggie?
Or do you distrust everything the media tells you?
Neither method helps. I find a lot of people go the lapdog route when the story sways the same way they do politically, and shut out anything that questions that narrative.
I have found that Left or Right are, at most, half correct, and that neither side can have any airs of being superior to the other. Propaganda is on both sides, and it is the reason I reject both sides.
However, skepticism of facts is a better way to go. We have to always ask where did someone get the information and how rigorously they tested the information. Even when facts seem right, we still should question what those facts mean. You examine each before deciding if the fact is good, or if it is a lie.
But the lapdog method seems very prevalent among those who see themselves as educated. It is lapdog intellectualism: stick to a few publications that reaffirm your political beliefs, and use those publications as blinders to the actual reality around you.
Harper’s is the lapdog intellectual’s best friend, and the reason I don’t bother much with it, but they are hardly the only ones who preach to the converted.
Because the problem with lapdog intellectuals is they never question how a story is actually put together.
They think processed cheese naturally comes in a gummy, orangey square.
I am reminded of CBC’s The Fifth Estate’s disastrous documentary in 1996 that resulted in them losing a libel case with the judge giving out the largest settlement in Canadian history.
It was bad journalism through and through, with cartoonish heroes and villains cast — and highly manipulative optics and editing.
The “field notes” in the case had clearly shown a bias, and the judge in the case had very harsh words for those involved in the segment.
The problem was executives thought they’d win the case and that they did nothing wrong.
The entire set-up was wrong, from beginning to end, but to those who believe, they will defend it.
You let the facts make the case. You do not have gushy visuals of who you deem “the good guy”, and extreme close-ups of the one who decide is the villain. The facts should do that for you.
Media skepticism is needed: not just fault-finding with one Partisan side, but with the entire journalistic set-up. It makes it ripe for ideological hijacking and blatant propaganda.
But the lure of people who need to be reassured their thoughts are “right” is too much for media outlets. It is pandering, of course, nothing more.
It is difficult to be a radical centrist and hold everyone accountable equally. We don’t actually have that sort of journalism, and it shows.