The American Conservative has a silly article about how journalism is dead because the Left-leaning press killed it.
The headline says it all:
The Nunes Memo and the Death of American Journalism
It is not the first “death of journalism” headline coming from Right-leaning publications.
They are half-right, and the article above has a severe case of a confirmation bias: it ignores all the things the Right did to also kill journalism.
It takes two hands to strangle someone: a left hand, and a right hand.
But the Right has a tendency to ignore facts and co-opt ideas as they remake them into their own image.
Like this image:
It should because it originally was my book cover way back in 2005:
Except the thesis of my first book wasn’t that Left-Leaning media was evil, but Right-leaning ones were good.
It was that journalism in general, regardless of sway, had serious problems.
And, for the record, I had no say in that placard or was told about that case of unsanctioned image appropriation.
And if you think I don’t go after Right-wing media as well, let me introduce you to another book I wrote:
If my publisher wanted a book critical of CNN or MSNBC, I could have easily delivered. The structural problems do not just plague Fox News: it plagues them all.
I am not someone who follows someone else’s confining script.
You can see me as being a political atheist, or a radical centrist: I believe in balance. I believe we always have to question ourselves, and experiment to refine those ideas.
I believe in the power of having facts.
And over time, journalism became opinion, and worse, nagging and patronizing dreck telling you what to think and how to think it.
We need factualists, not opinionists.
Have the Left-leaning outlets been trying to spin the Nunes’ memo? Yes, they have. They have been absolutely patronizingly horrid to the point of being propagandists.
But the Right is doing it from the opposite perspective.
One side is no better than the other. Journalism is dead, and it’s dead because people in the profession have become meddling little control freaks who pretend they are never wrong and know everything — and know it better than news consumers.
If we had journalism, we wouldn’t have annotated memos are reporters being presumptuous trying to explain away a memo.
They would be reporting on it, and finding more facts. They’d find confirming evidence, but also refuting evidence.
We’d have journalists having respect for their audiences, and always giving credit where credit was due.
They wouldn’t be stealing ideas. They wouldn’t be thinking they could just tell people what to think because they had all the answers.
They don’t even have the answer of how to better do their jobs or resurrect their profession.
If they were radical centrists, and knew that the structure of power hinges on propaganda over facts and reasons, they wouldn’t be in the mess they find themselves in.
Politics has no place in journalism. Science, on the other hand, does.
But we don’t have empirical journalism. We have the stench of a dead profession with the dead blaming the dead from the other side of killing them.
Journalism could have been so much more. It should have been more.
But what we got was a sucker circus and a freak show without a single original act to interest an audience.