The sheltered relics of 60 Minutes: Fear-mongering, free PR for the Ivy League, and general non-newsiness.

60 Minutes really is a shadow of its once towering self. Watching tonight’s offerings reminded me just how away from news that newsmagazine has gotten.

The first segment “The Data Miner” was just cheap no-brainer pot shots at Facebook, with the standard journalistic fear-mongering. Lesley Stahl came off as some helmet-haired church lady in it, practically putting words in interviewee’s mouths with all sorts of admonishments usually reserved for your grandparents finding out your new squeeze came to the family picnic with alcohol on his breath.

The worst of the segment was pretending that the lack of privacy was unknown: if you use any app on Facebook, it usually asks permission to access your friends’ list, for instance. If developers and advertisers know it going in, and the app’s connecting splash page asks, I am not sure where the secret part comes in.

And as one of those people who does scan the terms of service, this isn’t shocking.

Someone should have given Stahl the memo that the term “Big Data” comes from the mining of mass information and then selling it to various third parties. No babes in the woods, folks.

But apparently journalists were too busy drooling over Kardashians and coming up with cutesy portmanteau’s for celebrity couples to know what was happening in reality.

In any case, the propaganda here was kind of rickety.

The second piece from Scott Pelley is pure advertorial for MIT’s “media lab”, that is really out of touch. First, the awing over the touchscreen computer screens in the 1980s isn’t really all that impressive — Disney World had them back in the day and I should know considering I used to use them to make dinner reservations at the Magic Kingdom.

But the true hilarity is the drooling over computer uses in academia, while completely forgetting that Facebook began at an Ivy League university. If you are going to make a case for people to be impressed with the goings on in Ivory Towers, then don’t bring up Facebook, and if you are going to make the case that Facebook is sinister, then don’t go cheerleading at the same kind of environment that fostered it in the first place. Make up your mind.

In any case, 60 Minutes proves that journalists truly do not understand this whole Internet thing.

The Pelley segment was truly obnoxious — absolutely no critical questions or wondering about the ethics of any of it: it was just a bunch of goll-ee! remarks while giving a free platform to MIT. Science and technology reporting is notoriously just a giant ad for the industry, and 60 Minutes may very well be the worst offenders.

The third segment was the only one with any value, and that it was done by a doctor who has an understanding of empirical methods explains it. Watching the decade-long decline of a woman with Alzheimer’s Disease was truly a heart-wrenching, but informative human interest piece of the consequences of a husband who eventually could no longer look after his wife. The traumas are real and permanent.

The only segment that had worth was the one that neither tried to put a sunny spin on things, nor tried to fear-monger, but one out of three is a very poor average…

 

How does a profession go from objective to partisan to religious? When they lose control.

Journalism has undergone a radical and extremist transformation that has made their demise worse.

They were partisan until it realized neutrality connected with more audiences, and then it began to hit its stride.

And make no mistake: it was once a profitable industry that was rational and objective to a fair degree.

And then as it began to lose clout, it started to become increasingly partisan, going back to its troubled roots.

But when that didn’t work — it became an overzealous and violent cult.

It dictates what people should believe. It openly tries to engage in social engineering. It demonizes those who do not agree with its numerous sermons. It shames those whose life requirements differ than their own. It preaches to its dwindling flock in a binary way.

And then there is that bottomless pit called a collection plate.

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Journalism has become puritanical, always moralizing and preaching, instead of informing. 

It judges outsiders of the flock to the point that I am surprise they don’t call those people heathens.

Who placed them in charge of morality — and isn’t their mandate supposed to be one of rationality? Give us facts so we can face reality and see the truth — not terrify us of being slapped with some sort of Scarlett letter if we do something the press doesn’t like.

There is a peculiar fanaticism that has engulfed the profession and drowned it to death.

But journalism lost control, and then panicked, being so obsessed with being ignored that they are now completely driven by the motive of regaining control, throwing away every pretence so their true intentions and motives are now transparent.

It is the reason we need an alternative — one that passes no judgement or offers any simplistic narrative script. Just the facts.

A profession that has faith in human intellect would be a breath of fresh air — one that is tolerate, peaceful, sensible, empirical, rational, realistic, modest, active, sensitive, and most of all, helpful.

When you are all those things, people will come to you because they can trust you. They can trust you with the truth. They can trust you to tell them what they need to hear. They can trust you not to manipulate them. They can trust you will not judge them or blame them. They can trust you are brave enough and honest enough to give them the facts as they are so they can make their way in the world.

Journalism could have been the most beautiful calling in the world. It could have been Edenic. It could have averted wars, fears, hatred, and anger. It could have opened up our eyes so we can see the world outside of us — and within us.

It couldn’t have, but it went down a horrific path.

But it doesn’t mean we cannot try again, in earnest this time…

Trojan Horse Alert: NewsGuard is old school journalists trying to fool the public by doing the same thing, only under a different label.

Steven Brill once had a very mediocre magazine about journalism called Brill’s Content. It was a bust and folded.

Now he is trying again, this time with a self-styled alleged “fake news hotline” called NewsGuard.

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It is nothing but a Trojan horse of a dead profession trying to regain power by means of a feint.

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Nice try.

The description of this self-appointed police state of news is a real knee-slapper:

NewsGuard, a new service that uses trained journalists to rate thousands of news and information sites, will announce that it has launched a secure, encrypted digital and telephone hotline for political candidates and members of the public to report suspected fake news sites.

“Trained” journalists? You mean the very people who destroyed their own profession and all corrupted themselves out of jobs? Those people? What? They couldn’t get a job in a PR firm; so now they are going to tell the little people what to believe? Really?

You are the people who alienated millions of people with your narrative, propaganda, and personal vendettas — we don’t need you telling people what to think.

But the lunacy only goes downhill from there:

A “SWAT team of NewsGuard analysts will operate 24/7 to identify suddenly trending news sites that NewsGuard has not yet rated and assure — or warn — internet users about them in real time.”

A SWAT team? Just how deluded and tyrannical are you? What are you? Some sort of whacko militia going to force people into believing you?

Who put you deluded meddlers in charge? No one.

And ratings? Based on what empirical criteria? Oh, I see, just partisan ones.

This is as deceptive as an organization can get: the reason there was a proliferation of fake news was that legacy news was so shoddy that no one could tell the difference.

And I have proof.

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And more coming this summer:

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These are the same people who polluted the information stream — and now they want to continue meddling and social engineering by telling you what to believe. I do not care what side of that linear divide you are — you have a right to have those beliefs. Campaign ads should be ignored — and the best course of action is to directly visit each candidate and ask them point blank what will they do when they are elected — and see where they stand on what you need the most.

This is just trying to get a foot in the backdoor.

Notice the violent and divisive subtext of this entire farce: they present themselves as “experts”, and then set up a snitch line — dividing people with spin, rather than merely informing with facts.

It is a Trojan horse, nothing more, and it won’t work — social media has given people the freedom to believe or not believe without anyone playing Big Brother — or “SWAT”.

Really, children? Just keep your Orwellian creepiness to yourselves…

When will we get the press we deserve? When we walk away from journalism and begin the alternative model.

Conrad Black has an interesting column in the National Post about the divide between the press and governments — and the press and citizens.

Journalism has become so partisan and out of touch with reality that they have zero connect with people, meaning whatever they report is so tainted that it is unusable.

But Black asks a simple question:

When will we get the press we deserve?

There is a two-part answer to it:

  1. On the opinion side, we already have it. We call it social media. The world has a say now. We can easily get a feel for both the zeitgeist and the ortgeist.
  2. On the fact side, we can get it up and running tomorrow, if we walk away from traditional journalism entirely.

We can develop an alternative that is empirical by design, that focuses on facts, verification, and walks away from narrative and opinion. It can be innovative and completely different, taking account that our world has evolved. It can be based in peace, be matriarchal by design, and experimental, using the world as a laboratory. It can be done by Method Research and be unlike the old model in every way.

It is there on the table right now. It just depends on much people want a better press than the dead version they have now…

Games Washington Post opinionists play.

Let’s get one thing out of the way first.

No reporter has been able to figure out the future in any way, shape or form.

Nor are they able to social engineer the little people the way the once did.

They did not predict a Trump victory. They tried to override it in 2016, and it didn’t work.

Now they are floundering, but still playing make pretend that they matter.

Joe Scarborough, a very partisan opinionist, is trying to make the case that Trump won’t run for president again.

If your little tricks to prevent his victory in 2016 didn’t work, this gambit won’t work, either.

Donald Trump has been one of the most unpredictable public figures in modern life. He didn’t buckle when he had to file for bankruptcy. He didn’t buckle when his affair with Marla Maples became a scandal. He didn’t buckle when the press marched against him lockstep when he ran for president. He isn’t buckling under the threat of impeachment.

Sooner or later, you would think those in the profession would have just enough intelligence to realize all they are doing is spewing hot air.

Trump is the rare soldier who literally can be an army of One Man against the world, and win.

Journalists aren’t like that by nature. They are cowards who can only function by mob and collective.

It is the reason they are insanely jealous of him to the point of complete irrationality.

Trump can easily win in 2020 because he can thrive in chaos.

But he is not the only opinionist mistaking wishful thinking sophistry for fact, explaining why journalism confused itself to death.

Here is a very childish piece about the alleged “flaw” in the — get this — “anti-anti-Trump cohort.”

You see, pointing out the irrational flaws of haters is flawed.

Because, of course, these Anti-Trump people are absolutely flawless and morally and intellectually perfect, just as the Catholic Church once marketed itself to be.

Because while nothing is working for the anti-Trumpers, they are grasping at straws: it’s working! they claim.

Limousine liberals are marketing themselves as resisters, which is an insult and a joke. You are not a “resister.” You are a temper tantrum-throwing brat who is having a fit because you didn’t get your own way. The end.

But the stupidity doesn’t end there.

The author of this propaganda piece clings on to the fact that Democrats have won some seats.

So what?

The usual cycle of US politics has mostly been checks and balances: when a president wins, usually his party also captures the Senate and the House, but as time goes on, the Senate and House go to the other party, and the president usually wins a second term, even though the Senate and House do not align.

It happened to Barak Obama and Bill Clinton. It happened to George 43. You cannot cite a civic habit as evidence of anything.

The fact that people in journalism do not know their own system of governance or how their citizens votes tells you how absolutely clueless they are to reality.

The American collective is a shrewd one. They work by shifting waves, forcing both parties into bringing changes they need to make. Barak Obama brought social change, but at the expense of economic prosperity. When people couldn’t make use of those freedoms because they were broke, they went for Trump who promised to focus on economic growth.  You can have all the rights, but if you are homeless, you can’t take advantage of them.

Bill Clinton was shrewd enough to try to market himself as the hybrid of both, with mixed results, but results nonetheless.

But as this “resistance” movement is an artificial one, the press’s harping on it comes out as insincere, and people know it. It is a mere misdirection form the Left because Trump managed to tap into genuine poverty-striken voters from the Rust Belt — and now the Left — who should have had a plan to include their plight from the get-go — is instead pandering to champagne socialists who want to be nannied because self-reliance is too hard.

The Anti-Trumpers merely have a very bad case of sour grapes. They didn’t need the melodrama. All they had to do was concede they ran an elitist campaign, rethink their strategy with dignity, and then have a better and more inclusive platform the next time.

In other words, be an adult, and take advantage of the wonderful intellectual and emotional capacity that comes from being fully developed as a human being.

Journalists are trying to stoke the fires, but they are merely giving has-been celebrities the false hope that if they babble uninformed political babble in public, they may reignite their careers — or at least get a supporting role on a Netflix series.

But the Washington Post is just playing games. They are not informing people. They are trying to cause division so that everyone is distracted and looks to the press for salvation.

It’s not working because there is social media. They still don’t need — or want — journalism.

Nor should they want it. It is too ideologically violent and bigoted to be of any social value. It wants societies to be divisive so they have something they can speculate over with zero facts.

But society deserves peace. We have suffered long enough.

Journalism once could take targets down with one punch. Then came the Internet.

If you ever read or watched One-Punch Man, you will know Saitama’s peculiar dilemma of being such a strong superhero, that he can take down any baddie with one punch, making him depressed because he is a hero with no challenge.

He is average in every other way, however. Average height, build, and looks, but his one supreme gift is also his one supreme curse.

But at least he is a restrained hero. He doesn’t kill opponents, only knocking them out.

It was his dream to be a hero, but once he became one who had no challenge, it began to weigh heavily on his soul.

In the Patriarchal narrative, we don’t think of the One Punch as a bad thing, but a glorious bit of heroic hilarity where one hero can defeat another with one punch with iconic results.

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To always be right and justified is the dream for many.

In journalism, it is their default narrative that they are always right and can take down anyone who displeases them with One Punch.

And they never tired of it.

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The same old tricks.

Often known as gotcha journalism, but not always.

Then social media came along.

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And that One Punch didn’t work, nor would have a hundred of them.

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It is akin if Saitama suddenly could no longer defeat any opponent, no matter how many punches he threw.

If he was depressed before, he would be in the shock of his life if the opposite came true.

To journalism, they went from One Punch to No Punch.

And they still keep wildly throwing punches knowing that once upon a time, they had the gift.

And now they don’t.

They do not understand their punches are useless because punches aren’t what’s needed in a changing world.

And when you keep throwing your punches at other heroes as often as the villains, you begin to become the tyrant you proclaim to go after.

And when your punches never land, everyone sighs in relief, knowing that siege has ended…

The inherent violence of journalism: It was always about war. It is time to create the communications of peace.

The Monkees had it right with the song Zor and Zam.

It is an astute song of two little kings who decide to declare war on each other; except no one shows up to fight.

Because the only people who benefit from war are those who call it.

The song could very well be the anthem for the radical centrist — and political atheist.

The one who doesn’t pick sides because it is a rig and a ruse with the same end result of dragging you into a battle where you lose your free will and then are discarded.

Politics is a form of war, but so, too is journalism.

It has always thrived in wars, even if the coverage is pure propaganda.

Especially if the coverage is pure propaganda.

Journalists love a patriarchal narrative the breeds wars: good guy up against the faceless enemy who has no redeeming qualities, and victory is the complete submission and subjugation of the villain.

Look how journalists are going after Facebook and Russia — would you think either had a single positive trait if you went by the news stories?

Or that journalists ever did anything wrong?

We are now seeing the most extremist coverage in journalism in the history of its existence. I study propaganda and have since I was an undergraduate psych student, and I have read hundreds of journalistic war stories over the decades.

And nothing compares to the extremist narrative journalists are churning out every single day.

The question is why.

Simple: because journalists know their fortunes tend to rise when the use that patriarchal and antagonistic coverage that sparks wars, suppresses common sense, and incites people to cheer the destruction of complete strangers who never did any harm to anyone.

But a very weird thing has been happening: the war cries aren’t doing it.

Their secret deadly weapon suddenly isn’t doing its trick. At all.

Which presents a very interesting shift in the world that hints at some sort of evolutionary upgrade: that old method is now out of tune with us, making journalism obsolete.

But it doesn’t make information obsolete.

The problem is we now have a void where we need some other structure and form to get informed.

And journalism isn’t it anymore.

Because journalism itself is inherently violent. It discriminates, demonizes, manipulates, and forces rigged choices and outcomes.

Like Zor and Zam, their influence is gone and their spell is broken.

Because it is time for a communications based in peace, not war.

One where war is exposed as are all of its tricks so that we all can benefit from the bounty that comes from the tranquil chaos of peace instead, of being at the mercy of the greedy who thrive in secret order of war…

 

The war on journalism is over, and journalism lost. Time to hold that intervention.

So much sophistry going on.

The CBC is wondering if there can be too much transparency in journalism because ABC released all of its transcripts.

That is hardly transparency. How they landed the interview, what parameters were set, how the questions were constructed and why would be transparency.

So no, ABC News wasn’t all that transparent.

Because what ABC News did was give an hour-long informercial to Comey’s book. I don’t recall any real fact-gathering or verification happening there.

When I did Chaser News, I was very transparent. I disclosed everything, including why I pursued the stories I did. I didn’t shill anyone’s book. I interviewed people and revealed all before I did my actual stories. I discussed how the interview went, my sense of the questions I asked and the answers I got, if I thought I made any errors or omissions, and then discussed each finding as I came across it.

Then after all that, came the actual story. I didn’t treat information as a spoiler or reveal. When putting the various facts together, those facts changed meaning.

And ABC didn’t do any of it — yet CBC is treating them as some sort of “trailblazers”. Even Wired and 60 Minutes have given more information to their stories online than ABC did here. I did it before any of them, but in a completely different way.

The Globe and Mail had some sort of point to make in a column about how the “war on journalism is only getting worse.”

No, that war was fought a long time ago, and journalism lost. That ship has sailed.

And had journalism been a little more alert, humble, flexible, and disciplined, they would not have lost. They failed to grasp this whole Internet thing. They thought they had power when what they had was public goodwill with their monopoly.

Once those rigs were gone, journalists had to quickly retool the profession to stay in the game. They kept pretending that nothing changed and they got pummelled.

And instead of facing reality, journalists began to spew propaganda full-time, making their fortunes worse. The Guardian, a once decent outlet, has now lost all common sense and seems to be having a collective meltdown, running around like chickens without heads screaming about Russian propaganda as if no other country in the world didn’t partake in it, too.

Journalists want to blame someone — Trump, Facebook, Russia, their grandmothers — anyone they can get a hold of and shame without coming off as racist loons.

Except they are coming off worse than that. They are hysterical and panicking as they try to pretend they can still be rational.

But they are not rational. They have lost all sensibility because it is starting to dawn on them that they are done.

It’s time to hold that intervention. It is not a “golden era” of journalism. It is not going to be saved for becoming a nonprofit. It is not going to be saved with government money. It is not going to be saved bashing the American president.

And it is not going to be saved blaming others for the profession’s demise…

Why journalism cannot come to grips with their demise.

Michael Goodwin has an interesting article in Imprimis about how the 2016 US Presidential race harmed journalism, and although there is much to go for it, Goodwin doesn’t get it.

Journalism had it easy for one reason: they owned the flow of information and speech, and he misses this point from the get go:

I’ve been a journalist for a long time. Long enough to know that it wasn’t always like this. There was a time not so long ago when journalists were trusted and admired. We were generally seen as trying to report the news in a fair and straightforward manner.

People had no choice back then. They gave not so much their trust, but their goodwill to the press. They complained about coverage even back then, but as there was an alternative, they let many things slide.

But the second they could bypass the press, they did so as fast as they could.

That’s when journalists began to panic, and I agree with Goodwin that legacy media, such as the New York Times did go down the propaganda gutter — but the difference was they were so focussed on regaining power that they forgot to hide their true motives: they weren’t covering the news: they were rigging the flow of information to get the outcomes they thought worked int heir favor.

They could not keep up pretences and fight to reclaim their past clout at the same time.

Donald Trump won because he tweaked his nose at the press — he has an uncanny ability to read the pulse of the collective — something good sales people can do with ease — and he used that untapped energy to win. He did what people wanted to do to the news media for decades, but couldn’t.

It is like the servants being forced to listen to putdowns by their employers, and then go spit in their food.

Trump spat in the press’s food in font of the world — and the world cheered.

He merely stated what people had thought for years, but were too terrified of saying it.

The press saw Trump as a joke and dismissed him the way they dismissed all those broken down unemployed people in the Rust Belt — the press created a kinship, but it was Trump who could read the crowds and the press and ride on those wavelengths.

He used Twitter to show how useless and powerless the press truly was, and now that same press is in a tizzy because they were exposed for being unworthy of the power they once held.

There are points going for Goodwin’s piece, but his optimism blinds him in one significant way: he thinks journalism can be resurrected, but it cannot.

Journalism is unfixable and too corrupted. It is antiquated and not aligned with reality or the current state of technology and the world. Worse, journalists had a taste of that power and they will always be scheming to get that power back — and that’s not the point of their jobs. It is not about issuing royal decrees: it is about informing people with facts.

You cannot go home again. Journalism had problems long before the US election: what Trump did was hammer the final nail in the coffin, but the body in that coffin was already decomposing when he hammered.

What we need is an alternative to journalism — something that gets away from the old rot so we do not have to have a replay of the ugly propaganda and social engineering that has held the world back for far too long…

Exploiting trust: if you have to bring attention to it, you probably lost it ages ago.

The Toronto Star has articles about their articles.

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They call it the Trust Project, though really, it’s just a vague story about covering stories. You don’t actually learn anything or have a point of reference.

Their latest instalment is how they covered bad weather.

It comes off as an advertorial, not a genuine news article, and that is the source of the industry’s woes.

When you have a paper constantly use their platform to lobby the government to give them free money, you have done something untrustworthy.

It is akin to going to the doctor’s because you are genuinely ill, and he uses his examination room to get you to sign a petition to demand that the government give him more free money.

You can no longer trust that doctor, even if he gives you pamphlets telling you how he examines his patients.

Yeah, we know what you’re doing, and that brochure is not going to nullify the fact the trust was broken.

Having a little checkmark in blue is all the rage on social media, but it means absolutely nothing when your actions break a spell that reveals the truth about your trustworthiness…