Memo to the Conversation: You neither have the academia right, nor the journalism. Bad politics is the reason why you cannot have a public model of journalism. Why reality scares those in journalism.

The Conversation brags that it has “academic rigour, journalistic flair.”

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This is doublespeak for “we do not want to deal with the rigours of reality; we want to pontificate on the taxpayer’s dime.”

Nice try.

The proof they are clueless about reality?

This article.

The headline really says it all:

Bad politics shouldn’t sink good ideas for public interest journalism

Actually, “bad” politics is the very reason why it should torpedo it.

Journalism is not academia. If you are to have a hybrid, then it is the journalist who takes the lead, not the academic. The academic gets public funding, and can be squirrelled away for decades researching.

That doesn’t fly in journalism.

If you miss the story, it’s over.

You do not notice that there is a sudden increase of young people being indoctrinated in toxic and violent ideology today, you are stuck with having to report on home-grown terrorism months later.

You do not see that a man is abusing his position of power today; you are grappling with the fallout of #MeToo tomorrow.

Governments pass bad laws. Governments are dysfunctional, tyrannical, and once they get their way in the legislature, it’s too late.

Bad politics happens every single day.

And whatever government is funding it, they are not going to fund if they are being challenged. They will meddle, and then people will not see what is happening to them.

Journalism was never a public service, and there is a very functional reason for this: if you are sheltered from market forces, you have no understanding of the reality, nor do you have empathy for those are stuck in its undercurrent.

Because you have no sense for reality.

The mandate of journalism is the chronicling of reality. You cannot have cushioning. You cannot be shielded from the truth.

In Canada, there is a lot of government doling out for  communications, and they aren’t funding poor authors, for instance. The location of the Ontario Arts Council, for example, is in a posh district of Toronto, a stone throw’s away from Tiffany’s.

And it should be no surprise why our publishing industry is pathetic.

If a government has access to journalism, it isn’t journalism: it’s propaganda. Journalists are meant to struggle in order to get the proper perceptions of reality.

You cannot realistically expect a government not to use every weapon at its disposal, including journalism.

Those who do not know reality, miss its every nuance. I have watched public broadcasters cover wars.

It is a pathetic joke filled with propaganda. There was one Canadian news report where the journalist and the camera crew were in a war zone, all pretending to be very quiet at night so that enemy forces do not know they are there filming.

Except their lights were on, lighting up their entire area.

Yeah, those soldier have good hearing, but are completely light blind.

Taxpayers already have enough they have to pay for as it is. They can choose to buy a newspaper.

If the news is not what they want, it is their right not to fund it.

There has to be a separation between the public purse and journalism.

That journalism needs to be more academic, yes.

But not in the way academia is run. There are elements to incorporate, but not in the way an academic needs or wants.

Academia has no understanding of speed. They have no understanding of an unbuffered reality.

And the title “The Conversation” shows how out-of-touch their reality is.

There is no time or space for a conversation.

There is too much talking, not enough listening, observing, movement, or silent analysis.

Academia can be a junior partner, not the one making decrees, and the fact that they do not see how absolutely toxic and devastating government meddling is makes me question their academic creds.

Bad politics is the very reason why we cannot have public journalism. I had a wonderful child psychology professor who wrote a first-rate book that I still have on my shelves.

She made an observation in her book that I still use as a gold standard: if we discount bad side effects when we are conducting an experiment, then drugs such as Thalidomide would look harmless.

The very headline is arguing to give pregnant women Thalidomide and asking people to ignore bad politics.

The bad politics is the exception that scuttles the theory.

There is no guarantee that there won’t be bad politics or a bad regime — and then what?

We have no reliable and valid source of information when we need it the most?

That’s the problem with academic-led model of journalism: sometimes it’s bad science that drives the academic.

And bad science — and bad politics that do all harm, and no good for journalism.

Journalism needs more academic rigours, but not from those who do not understand how horrific this world can be.

Journalism is not a platform for pontifical philosophers to muse and make decrees how the world ought to be, according to them.

It is about reflecting reality and truth as they are right now, how it got there, so everyone can see what needs to be done to create their own functional future.

And any publication that sees the journalism part as “flair”, really has no business opening their mouth about the profession at all.

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