We are reliving the Partisan Press era, and this column in the New York Post is instructive.
Within every institution and organization, there are layers. There are people who make decisions…and the people who make deeper decisions away from the prying eyes of the public — and their masters — or so they think.
I do not doubt that every government has one or a few renegade cells. It’s human nature. People always have an agenda, and if the boss says “no”…they find ways around it.
It’s nothing far-fetched. How many everyday stores have something going on in the back, for instance? Like a secret smoke room where B-level power players make deals that the main bosses are unaware of because they aren’t taking place in an office or conference room.
They operate independently and have conflicting agendas, but make no mistake: they often work in the main institution’s favour — let the minions do the dirty work and cover all of your bases, and should the splinter group pose a problem, you expose them, clean up the mess as you throw your little rebellious group under a bus, all while assuring people it’s just a tiny group of troublemakers who were no match for your cunning. You keep your hands clean as you keep control. It allows the conniving faction to think they are clever and cunning, all the while they are being played and exploited.
It is the equivalent of the Amnish’s rumspringa: let the little cocky tykes run off and be naughty and wild, but you know you have them under your control the entire time. It allows for controlled scapegoats and sacrificial lambs.
And then the next batch comes in, thinking they’re more cunning than the last set of players, and it all gets reset.
Everyone loves a secret club within an elite group.
But the Post’s indignant response is interesting, particularly as it takes Left-wing media outlets, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post to task for their resistance to the idea of releasing the memo, and their desperate spin to contain the damage.
It shouldn’t be surprising: they curry favour to the Left, as the Post does the same to the Right. Both sides have chosen a narrative, and they stick to it.
Which results in them cancelling each other out.
The press had this problem before. You had very biased factions battling it out for patronage appointments to the government.
This strategy greatly limited an outlet’s room for growth and influence. After all, party strength waxed and waned.
When articles became more sensible and neutral in tone, the base broadened.
That was how objectivity came to be: it was always a capitalistic concept, not a moral or ethical one.
Or an empirical one.
And it work for a long while, until it didn’t.
Had objectivity been explored properly, journalism could have improved itself, and not begin to falter. The stagnation turned objectivity into a problem.
So it went back to a partisan method, and allowed itself to exploited by various factions.
It is a hard way to make a living.
You’d think the press would have the futility of allowing various groups to use and abuse them, and become radical centrists.
As in, not falling for any partisan ideology, as it all falls back on the same confining structure of control.
Two competing sides that are at war with each other, use war tactics, and you become a pawn.
Or, you rise above and observe it without getting dragged into the battle.
That’s what journalism could have been: the creators of the maps of reason.
Instead, they enlisted in a war they could not win.
Because they are trying to appease factions that look down on journalists, and will always betray them.
The way their masters ultimately betray them.
Because war is just a misdirection so that people do not have to do the very things they need to do to get the job done.
Journalists should know that trick by now.
But they didn’t, and it’s one of the reasons they collapsed as they lost credibility with the public.