Journalism was always charlatan’s con game, and the Nieman Lab was its happy enabler.
Luke O’Neil’s piece is a prime example of sophistry that reveals why the profession and its satellite cheerleaders still do not get a thing:
Dailies who aren’t already well ahead of the game in terms of reverting back to subscription models, or of significant enough national prominence, or don’t find their own relatively benevolent billionaire owner, will continue to either be neutered or flattened out by conglomerates into content distributors.
This is the heart of journalistic ignorance and why the profession has never been real. It only knows one passive thing: find a sugar daddy to fund it.
They can be denial all they want, but journalists have but a single mandate: find a Great Man and appease him with lavish praise, advertorial stories about him being a “visionary”, and write advertising copy disguised as news stories. It should come as no surprise that O’Neil had been with Esquire magazine: the publication (in all its international permutations) that has all sorts of ways of cheerleading The Boys.
All of that points to the reason why journalism is an inherently misogynistic profession: Great Women do not exist to them.
Hillary Clinton was acceptable to run as president because she wouldn’t be upstaging her husband Bill Clinton because he already been there and done that. It was misframed as being a Clinton Dynasty instead of being called for what it was: the Democrats had to appear to be inclusive, but not with a real feminist or maverick, and a broken-in and broken down Clinton would do. She will always be Bill’s little woman, and little women have no vision or gravitas because they have to stand by their Great Men.
And boy-o, did she have to pay for getting that miserable chance to run for the meaningless paper crown: she had a philandering husband who was preying on a young woman old enough to be his daughter in his office while Hillary was busy cleaning up his messes like a good little woman does.
And when there was no more denying what that Great Man did, she had to go on national television and squawk like a loon about some Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy as she had to come up with campaigns to discredit the female who had less resources, savvy, and experience than her employer.
The press considered her a “strong woman” because she didn’t throw herself off a bridge when she got doused with the horse dung they dumped on her every single day.
No, a strong woman puts up with none of that. She does not make her husband’s career at the expense of her own.
Notice that Bill got to be president first, not her.
The oldest trick in the book, ladies. Remember that one the next time some guy wants something you also aspire to, and he makes a deal with you.
It is never going to be ladies first, but every man for himself. You have been warned, fairy princesses.
When businessman Trump declared his presidency, all the other Great Men seethed with jealousy for not thinking of it first, and those petty little boys threw their temper tantrums.
And the press followed their lead brainlessly.
As they always do.
It it is always about appeasing the sugar daddy with the press.
Nieman Lab has helped entrench this misogynistic narrative and structure for a very long time.
They have made never made a contribution to strengthening or reforming the profession because now they are allowing such Sturm und Drang sophistry about the death of local news on their site.
So there is a decree that the end is already here: big deal, sleepwalkers: I called that long before Nieman Lab did — here, on this web site, and in my books.
But I am a woman. Journalists and editors don’t see my experience, foresight, credentials, vision, or intellect, let alone my theories or my gravitas, and yes, women do have it.
They will first ignore me, then wrongly accuse me of being bitter that I am working from the outside, completely ignoring the fact that I went into the profession to study it, and when I saw the writing on the wall, left to write books about its broken state.
If I wanted to stay in that rot because I thought working in a disreputable profession was a way to validate my existence, I would have not written my exposés, but chosen to gush over starlets’ backsides, poor plastic surgery, and silicon implants as I denied that sexual harassment was a problem in the industry, and dismissed the ways of Mark Halperin, Matt Lauer, and Harvey Weinstein as not that bad.
I would have played their game because it is not a difficult one to crack.
I am hovering above the profession because the stench from below overwhelms. The profession was dead a long time ago.
Once upon a time, I was a doctor who told the patient they were terminally ill and had to make serious changes to survive.
Woman, they scoffed, what a silly little being who is being hysterical.
And now, I am the coroner, telling people outside of the business how that miserable patient died.
For now. I still am an idealist who believes a new model must begin and begin properly.
One that does not mindlessly run to those fake Great Men to stroke their egos — or any other part of their body.
But as a profession that lives in the world and observes and conducts experiments to unlock new information at every waking moment to rejuvenate the world as it grows and understands itself better.
And Nieman Lab is a waste of effort that has no place telling journalists or anyone else a thing.
They can go running to the broken Great Men and continue to do what they have always done: appease and deceive as they fall further into an abyss.