The long, slow death of the Communications Industries: It is not just print music journalism. People cannot see past their own selfies.

There is a cultural shift in North America that bodes ill for many industries that hinge on progress, and you see it in countless little meme posters that have a very passive and static belief system that is best described by this one:

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Never improve your lot because you should be grateful. Never look at the negative or what is missing or you will never be happy. Never change yourself because you are perfect just the way you are.

Welcome to the selfish mindset of the Fairy Princess whose very symbol is One with social media: the selfie. It’s all about you, and anyone who veers off your personal heroic narrative is to be dismissed as a villain out to make trouble.

The problem is the one who does not make personal changes in any narrative is not the hero. It is the damsel-in-distress, who needn’t lift a finger for an outside force to get her out of the scrapes of her own making — and since she is rewarded despite her numerous mistakes, her dysfunctional ways are rewarded with safety and even romance, and she doesn’t need to alter herself in any way. The hero does all the work, and yet she is right up there with the hero at the end, all smiles and mugging for the audience.

That narrative has leeched into to modern Western ideology. You can never improve on things because you see curses as blessings. You never have to question your own selfish and toxic ways because people you hurt are the villains for not drooling all over your arrogance. Things are good enough just the way they are.

And so, when you crash, be grateful for it and don’t change the circumstances or yourself.

Never take a risk. Never be an innovator. Never question yourself. Never push your limits. Just dream, be happy, and accept fate because karma will take care of the rest.

It explains a lot about what happened to journalism.

It bought that garbage for the last couple of decades, always seeing the positive side to everything, inside of looking realistically and seeking improvement.

Because you are perfect just as you, you can make all sorts of unreasonable demands on the public:

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Why would we make her famous? Why does she deserve it? Who owes it to her?

No one.

If the meme gives their best argument, they missed it. These are me-focussed things. Einstein changed the world with his work and contributions to the world. He wasn’t famous until he did something of value to earn it.

This has been the unfortunate byproduct of the socially engineered cultural shift brought about by social media.

You plaster your social media feed with your selfies, and then think you are on the cover of some magazine, and deserve things.

No one owes you fame.

Once upon a time, the American Dream was if you worked hard and made the world better for others, they would reward you with fame as a token of their gratitude for your contribution to the evolution of humanity.

Now, it has completely foregone the hard work and altruism, and just wants to grab the fame just because the person is stupid enough to believe they are special.

Journalism has had this mindset entrenched in them, and their hubris began to infect the information stream.

You have Torstar demanding that the government fund their newspaper just because they are the Toronto Star. There is huffy indignant bluster at the suggestion that they ought to be questioning themselves, seeing their flaws, and then trying something fundamentally different to be more in tune with the present landscape.

But because social media has completely taken away the currency of fame and broadcasting, the value of notoriety has almost completely vanished. Part of the power journalism once had was to reward fame to people, and then designate them as a Titan of Industry, a Visionary, and even a Great Man.

Now, it means very little.

You see it in the decline of craftsmanship in music, writing, dance, storytelling, and acting because everything is now good enough. Hollywood now recycles old television shows the way the recycle old movies for remakes. We are supposed to be impressed that a movie that once had an all-male cast has been redone with an all-female cast. It is meaningless and a cheap stunt.

True progress would have women making their own studio and original content done in original ways that differed from the old guard.

But the brand is good enough, and those new faces are squatting in broken down structures that no longer had the power to hold up to modern sensibilities.

It goes deeper than that. When Vice Media got in trouble for their structural and brazen misogyny, the company decided to replace on make co-founder with a woman. The shallow window-dressing is just good enough. There is no hint at improvements because everything is good enough as it is — bring in someone from A+E even though that’s the network that’s brought nothing original that has a shred of utility, let alone dignity, and let’s hope no one notices that nothing actually changes.

It’s a mere cosmetic airbrushing, the way people airbrush their selfies.

But it is not just journalism that is suffering from the strategic self-absorbed passivity. Communications in general is a victim to its own hubris coupled with the ennui of an audience who no longer desire to make other people famous when they are comparing the Instagram likes to celebrities.

A recent column laments the demise of print music journalism (as Frank Zappa once quipped, “Rock journalism is people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read”), and yet it should be no surprise. Any garbage band can had a Twitter feed and their own web page promoting their own music. Anyone can live out their fantasy, and any attention is good enough, and is a blessing. You may never make any money from it, but it is enough to boast and admire as you look at your selfies on the screen at the tattoo parlour as you get your band’s latest logo seared on your chest.

It will all be good enough. It will all work out in the end…the propaganda meme says so.

Social media built a stubborn fortress that has cult-like properties of pushing away the evidence of reality to find truth.

Journalists created that fortress first, however. They led by example. They never sought to improve their methods, and when social media came along, people used a template, and what they had was a single one: the one that never saw past its own notoriety and never admitted to a single flaw.

Journalism preferred fame over facts, and narrative over logic. People forgot why we had journalism in the first place because journalists forgot first.

We are now living in times where no one needs to admit they were ever wrong. They can airbrush their selfies and admired them as they stare at their smartphones. They can pretend having a hundred likes or a thousand followers means people actually looked at what they presented on their walls.

The apathy can only go so far for social media — journalists embraced passive positivity and selfishness to their own destruction, and the disconnectedness of social media is beginning to show. People buy fake followers, for instance, to prop up and cover the truth about their notoriety.

Sooner or later, there comes the revolt against that disconnect and lack of progress — because when you are not progressing, you are not merely stagnating, but regressing — and will be forced to look at why. The finger-pointing begins — but as no one thinks they are doing anything wrong (calling their blunders heroic and amazing), they will villainize those who see their deficits, and then the clashes explode.

Humanity goes through these cycles. The question is whether there will be a new form of communications that can pick up the torch from the one that lost its clout and credibility, and will come soon enough before clashes turn to war because no one had the courage to see where they were going wrong, and what they could change about themselves to improve the world around them without expecting applause or fame for it.

Memo to Vice: Canada should not support journalism. Period. Journalism failed the people. We need a replacement — and not a temple of misogyny that calls itself Vice.

Journalism had been to reduced to paupers fighting for government handouts.

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The old newspaper relics are throwing childish temper tantrums, demanding to be saved because they are essential for the survival of mankind.

Yeah, civilization is doing just fine without your meddling, and that is the reason they are leaving you in droves.

Now, the other media want in on it, and Vice is now trying to make a case for Canada not supporting newspapers, but journalism.

No.

If journalism as a model worked, then newspapers would be just fine because out of all four media, they did it the best — and still screwed up to the point of no return.

And what’s Vice besides a sexist pig sty? It’s not journalism. It’s smug trash that pretends to be on the top of some phantom pecking order. You’re not fooling anybody.

Journalism — as in the entire state of journalism — is dead. D-E-A-D. The end. Period. The fat lady sang and left with the ship that sailed far away, never to return.

What kind of journalists are you if you don’t see it?

Canada should not support a dead profession. The government should not be allowed to meddle in a new form of it, either — if we need facts, then it helps when one of the behemoths that needs to be accountable does not control the purse strings or set up a system that is rigged to give it a free pass.

But Canadian journalism always had an addiction and dependence on the government to function, and it is the reason our journalism was destroyed first in the Western world. We are so used to be being nannied, that we do not know how to rough it, and how to stand up to authority, who have an enormously unfair advantage — they set the rules, control the wealth, and rig the system to give themselves near immunity on almost every matter imaginable.

A new form of fact-gathering has to be rebellious by nature — the contrarian who always questions why. It cannot look for support nor validation — it has to have the confidence and the shrewdness to not fall for the lures of an authority supporting or praising it.

The fact that Vice is looking for support shows its bravado is all for show — their façade does not match the mindset, and it glares.

Enough of the talk of needing to be kept to thrive. If you want people to need your product, make it useful and valuable.

You don’t need a government or support to do that — you need hard work, determination, and a plan.

No one in the profession did, and that’s why it died.

=30=

 

Cheap media stunts that backfire: We can draw attention to pay disparity, and hope no one notices it goes on in journalism.

Maclean’s tried a cheap stunt with their covers:

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The nerdy National Post, as usual, didn’t actually get it. They tried, bless their heads, to compare people not buying the more expensive edition with getting paid to say there wan’t pay disparity because people don’t pay for more expensive things.

Yes, they do. They overpaid for their bread because there was price fixing. They overpaid for houses in Ontario. They overpaid for CEOs from Sears and Target who didn’t manage to bring profits over here. They overpaid for lots of things, sometimes because they have no choice, and sometimes to gloat, and sometimes because there that whole thing about a fool and money.

(Oh, and obviously the author if the piece never heard of variant cover comic book covers where people paid a lot more just because the cover was different or rarer, even though the contents were the same.)

Women are underpaid, and paid less than men.

Especially in journalism (something I discuss in my upcoming book with one glaring example).

So much so that Vice Media finds itself staring at the business end of a lawsuit for its actions.

Journalism ought to know how badly it treats its female employees.

And the Maclean’s covers are an appropriate symbol of a profession that always saw women as lesser than men.

Rogers cuts Vice

They do not need the baggage and have parted ways.

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Vice was always hype. Never the moneymaker, but they knew how to hype themselves to journalists who are always on the prowl for something that seems hip and edgy from white boy visionaries. Their television arm was pure sanctimonious and sexist dreck. With streaming being the big thing is cycle, an already unstable marketplace is fragmenting and Rogers has seen the writing on the wall, and got rid of the deadweight.

What killed journalism?

There is a longer answer coming later on this year.

Vice media is a microcosm for one of the reasons why journalism died a slow painful death, and no company purge will fix it.

The nerds at CNN have lost the last shred of dignity, but even if they all got sober, they would still be in a dead profession.

What killed journalism?

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A broken model, for starters.

But a broken model comes from a broken mindset.

Journalism’s mindset broke first, and then everything else fell apart.

If you ever want to destroy an entire profession, go for sabotaging the mindset.

And that is what happened to journalism.

No matter what those in the profession do, they cannot put back together that mindset because its weaknesses did them in.

There were countless times to rectify those vulnerabilities, but nothing was ever done about it.

And then it was too late.

It is a murder mystery where the victim refused to listen to people who told them not to go outside unprepared because danger was lurking outside, and they laughed it off and became cannon fodder.

So what do we do? Reanimate a corpse?

No, it’s done, but that doesn’t mean new life can’t take the place of the old to make a better way…

Why the Great Man Theory destroyed North American journalism.

That journalism has always been a gynophobic hotbed of illiterate and illogical lunacy is an understatement.

I have been accused of being anti-media, but that is not true.

I am anti this media. You need people to be informed, but realistically. You do not build up hope or egos. You do not incite panic or despair.

You give facts.

But North American journalism has an absolute aversion to giving just facts: there always has to be a spin or narrative because, as one big city newspaper editor once haughtily told me, “mere reportage” is boring.

Vice magazine is oh, so sorry that their sexist pig-ism was exposed.

How did junk media like Vice ever get enabled in the first place?

Thank Disney, the most misogynistic place on Earth.

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Home of testosterone-overdrive Marvel superheroes, and the hunter-centric Star Wars series, and good little Stepford Princesses.

They do not go for things like this. Not like I’d give it to them, either.

But Vice isn’t the only offender — just the bottom feeder version of it.

Maclean’s magazine is also vile, but seemingly in a more palatable way.

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It wasn’t always so bad. Former editor Peter C. Newman, once upon a time, had a map of Canada in his office, and he always had pins from coast to coast, to remind him that it was about the whole, not just a few pockets.

How times have changed.

When you have a national newsmagazine get government grant money to survive, they are not going to do any hard-hitting reporting, but they will tell you all about the Prime Minister’s ugly socks.

Gee, how clever. I certainly got informed about the state of my country today.

Wearing something inconsequential, but loud, is an old misdirection to get people focussed on something trivial while ignoring the real weaknesses you have. It is the reason why magician’s use scantily clad female assistants — everyone looks at the pretty lady, and not the magician who fumbles with his optical illusion.

Or a robber wearing a clown nose so you don’t look at his face.

It is the oldest trick in the book, and the media should have ignored the socks from Day One. Socks don’t make policy.

It really is not hard or newsworthy to do one better than ugly socks.

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But the media cannot help themselves, as they are stuck on a single patriarchal narrative: The Great Man Theory.

It is all about finding narcissists and grifters and elevating them at the expense of everyone else, particularly women.

We do not have Great Women in media logic. You have movie stars and rock stars, and even porn stars, but no Great Women.

Because they will never get that grit of traction that men get with ease.

Maclean’s is wasting taxpayer money on writing about Justin Trudeau’s socks — if that is the very best they can do — the government should cut off all that funding, and use that money to, I don’t know, feed some hungry children in CAS’s care.

But Great Men have the prime narrative of being Visionaries and Titans of Industry.

They never are any of those because the press looks for funny socks.

Just now, the Canadian media remembered to take a good look at murdered billionaire Barry Sherman and realize he was far from being a Great Man.

He made his fortune as a tyrant.

He liberally clogged up the courts with his lawsuits — well over a thousand at last count.

Had he been an average citizen, a judge would have deemed him a nuisance, and prevented him from doing it again and again and again.

But because the tyrant had money, he got to terrorize anyone he didn’t like.

And while he was allowed to sue to his heart’s content as the prices of Apotex’s generic drugs were inflated, other, poorer people — and middle class people who became poorer as a result of being in litigation — were dealt with a clogged court system.

And with his funds, he lavished on politicians, who all came drooling over his casket. He feted Ugly Socks as a guest of honour at one of his lobbying junkets, and was trying to quash that investigation against him.

Sherman cost this country a pretty penny, altering the lives of thousands — from those people who had to pay more for medication than they should have, to people whose problems were delegated to the Nothing Pile by their politicians, to people who had to use the court system — and could not afford to wait due to their own frail health caused by tragedy (Disclosure: many of whom died without ever seeing their day in court, such as my own grandmother, as you can read in a highly inaccurate, biased, not researched, and skewed article here. My grandmother’s prediction was right, as she died with no resolution) — because some vile tyrant decided to become a billionaire by misusing the courts, and being allowed to do so.

Only when he was dead, did the Canadian press let people know that, oh yeah, he was a bully…but it was all okay because he let his wife throw somebody else’s money around at charities.

In 1999, American newsmagazine 60 Minutes had “The Secrecy Clause“, painting Sherman in a very different light. Canadian media, for the most part, have given him the kid glove treatment. Even Canadian Business, in its February 1994 issue, had still, despite his methods, spun him as a Great Man:

Sherman is unrepentant. He’s always been the smartest student, the fiercest critic, the renegade who doesn’t care what others think. For him, there are no shades of gray. “We end up having to fight the multinational drug companies, our generic competitors, the federal government and often the provincial bureaucracies in order to do what is clearly in the best interests of Canadians,” he says. “It sometimes feels like the whole world ends up being our adversary.” Sherman against the world–you get the feeling those are the kinds of odds he likes.

So brave, so fearless!

And so never questioning the rigs: he sues, he manipulates, he gains wealth, he throws money at politicians to ensure the cycle spins in his favour.

It should have never gotten that far, and had Canadian journalists not keep looking for the next Great Man, he would have learned a humble lesson in what “shades of gray” mean: that you do not always get what you want, and you cannot keep waging war against anyone whose life requirements differ from yours.

Sherman lost his never-ending war against the very world that indulged him, and he no longer exists. The media lost its clout thanks to their never-ending boosterism, and are mere zombies.

Both had the same incurable addiction to the romantic ideal of a Great Man: the fantasy world of a hero who does whatever he wishes as he creates his empire — no matter who he pummels or drags through the streets on his quest to oblivion.

 

 

 

Memo to the New York Times: Vice media was always worthless trash. It was never cutting edge. When will you yokels ever learn to deal with reality? Yeah, some exposé on Vice.

The New York Times is an oblivious entity, even when it tries to do an exposé.

It was publications such as the Times that drooled over garbage-bin worthy dreck like Vice media.

It was founded by white men. Ergo, they must be Great Men. Visionaries.

So Vice got a free ride with its sexist sophistry since the mid 1990s.

Vice is not journalism. It is propagandistic misogyny disguised as cutting edge journalism. If it were science, it would be junk science.

But the mainstream media loved its trash because it oozed of slimy attitude and had a swagger.

And swagger is just a sleight of hand trick of deflection so you do not look at the actual product.

So, now there is a “big revelation” that a sexist media empire treated its female employees like garbage and toilets for the boys to make various attempts to relieve their urges.

Anyone who uses Vice (like, big spoilers in the title, kids!) to be informed is uninformed and supporting misogyny.

Vice was just attitude, the way Fox News is just attitude. No substance, just arrogance masked as something that is not repulsive.

And even now, the Times is still going on how Vice was all these forward-thinking things in terms of product.

No, it wasn’t. It was a sham.

And you yokels, as usual, fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Any media outlet that does not respect women is a propaganda mill. The end.

I didn’t think I would keep writing on this site, as I have other things to attend to at the moment, but I wasn’t going to let this go — Vice is trash with no journalistic value whatsoever, and the New York Times is just silly.

Why is the Times surprised that sexual terrorism went on in that workplace? Do you not know how to read? Every article reeked of gynophobic babble. Their testosterone is too scared of estrogen and it shows.

What took you this long to see the obvious? What cave do you live in? That is Vice’s filter and lens — and it is not an “empire” worth standing. Period.

The Problem with Alt Media: It’s no better than the traditional media: Why Vice isn’t journalism’s answer

I never cared for Vice. 

vice-og.pngSmug, shallow, pretentious, patriarchal, and with misogynistic subtext.

It proclaims to do things differently, but if bad science is what is defined by differently, then they can keep it.

When there is some artificial story about women, it is always some pseudo-feminist wallowing that sees women as perpetually victims. 

Not cool or even remotely accurate.

It is not surprising to me that the outlet is facing accusations of having a work environment that is hostile to women.

Ya don’t say?

It’s not learned, or hip, or edgy, or cool. It’s bad journalism with blinders on. What it offers is something worse than the gold standard.

Journalism always suffered from smug ignorance and a lack of focus and discipline. That is the bottom line of why the profession smothered itself to death.

So having alleged indie media that upped the smug ignorance, and wear their lack of focus and discipline as a badge of honour…well, don’t expect any miracles for a journalistic resurrection.

We don’t have good journalism out there right now. One or two guerrilla fighters are left in the field, and Ronan Farrow is just about the only one out there right now who can actually call himself one.

I have been an author and media critic for a very long time. I have always fought for good journalism, but when people keep adding the same toxic ingredients in their own recipes, they cannot expect anything but a poisonous product that infects an information stream.

And that is the Internet’s greatest shame and dilemma: it has corrupted the information stream. It has allow toxicity from both the Left and the Right to pollute information, making information consumers sick in the bargain. They can’t seem to stand back, and realize they have to scrap everything they know, and start over.

Vice is a very appropriate name for an outlet that has not contributed a single thing to journalism, save make it more radioactive than it was before.

Misogyny has no place in a newsroom. You cannot expect real change from some place that made its name peddling arrogance, and was rewarded with its own ways.

And it is a problem that is not going to go away by throwing a tantrum on Twitter or expecting the nebulous They to do anything about it.