The Washington Post’s ABC Afterschool Special Logic.

Once upon a time, when I was a kid, they made us watching morality plays in school to tell us how to think and behave.

And then you’d run home, turn on the television, and then you’d be stuck with yet another morality play.

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This article in the Washington Post is one of those things that reeks of that kind of childish indoctrination.

#MeToo bothers journalists because it exposed their immortality to the world.

And because it is a profession that puts more currency on narrative than reality, it is always trying to spin things into neat little packages, and this is an enormous disservice to people trying to improve their surroundings.

You win battles, you have setbacks, you keep fighting until you win the war. You do not have one victory, and then expect the people who defeated to now congratulate you for putting them in their place.

#MeToo is an army of sorts, and the battle is to go to work in peace, yet it is always being spun as some sort of “witch hunt”, which it never was.

It was a mass reaction to a problem Western society still has not dealt with adequately, if at all.

So you have a woman who created a list of men who abused women on the job, and it was leaked out and her identity exposed. She believes she was naive, but she wasn’t naive: she took on a fight that went on longer than it should have.

When you speak your mind out in public, you will get abused. It doesn’t matter if you expose a child molester, people who also molest children, their enablers, and those who got a pay check from said molester and now are out of a job will slag you in public because you tore down their façade.

If you expose that a so-called reality show is fake — people will do the same thing.

People abuse people in their own homes — their own children, parents, and spouses — so it is to be expected that they bluster and insult strangers.

It doesn’t mean that it should have been exposed.

There is always a trade-off: the problem is Western thought has been trained to believe you can squirt something on a dirty stain — and the stain will erase itself, and you can go back on the sofa and drink beer and watch television.

That’s journalistic narrative. 

Life is not about convenience — it is about pushing forward and understanding there will always be resistance — but you have to push forward, even when others try to push you back.

If life was wonderful, there would have been no #MeToo. It wasn’t as if people were bored and then decided to make themselves vulnerable and reveal they were powerless at work and scared. They confessed in order to make those problems go away.

It worked, but that was one battle — it was not the end of the war.

Except the Washington Post doesn’t comprehend what the movement was all about.

The column offers no reality and no context.

But journalism was never about either…

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.

Musings from the Tower of Babel: It is a tintinnabulation of the most impossible sort.

Welcome to Bedlam where propaganda is fact, sophistry is logic, and ideological cowardice reigns supreme.

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Journalism couldn’t survive in this environment.

The question is why cannot it not resurrect itself?

That is the multi-billion-dollar question.

Because in an age of partisan propaganda, it gets pulled from all sides.

Journalists have a bunker mentality, and they cannot see how they have failed because they would have to venture out of their shelters to see the reality.

They pathologically give themselves countless awards as if they were Halloween candy, and hold symposiums babbling decrees that the public — if they will not buy their product willingly — should be forced to invest in it anyway.

At no time do they wonder how they must change to re-engage the public.

And that is a horrendous obstacle to overcome.

But it isn’t the only noise that shatters the focus.

You have partisan sites such as Townhall decree that (Left-wing) journalism is dead — but exclude partisan Rightist outfits such as Fox News from their list, making excuses that their opinionist hosts such as Sean Hannity are exempt from scrutiny because he proffers opinion, and thus is not a journalist.

But he works on a news channel. He talks about current events. He interviews newsmakers; ergo, he is not exempt from the same criticisms, especially as their journalists and hosts all walk lockstep to the same partisan line. Nice try.

Just as CNN and the Washington Post pounce on Hannity because he isn’t from the Left, Townhall defend his honour because he is from their Right. The arguing is all very convenient — and so hopelessly wrong from both sides of that made-up linear divide.

When you are the mirror image of your enemy, you are the enemy. You are no better than those who hate because you play the same games and are fighting for the same prize. The babbling drowns out the sensibility as journalists pretend they are being informative.

And if that added noise wasn’t confusing enough, through all of that sanctioned propaganda comes sophistry right into the product. It is nothing but sink or swim patriarchal dreck, such as this piece in Aeon babbling about the evils of marriage and that it should be abolished.

The binary thinking is sanctioned insanity that is akin to forcing all single people to be married. If people wish to be wed in a state-sanctioned way, they should be given the absolute freedom to do it. If people do not wish for the formality, they are free to just shack up, and if there are people such as me who love being single, then I can remain footloose and fancy-free. I do not need everybody else to be single to validate my existence.

It all comes down to meddling: forcing everyone else to walk lockstep with you because deep down, you actually are fully aware you are wrong. When you force your opinions on others and preach for marriage — or against –your cult-like bullying is a red flag that you need numbers to prop up your shaky nonsense because you do not have facts on your side.

Your life requirements are yours alone. My life requirements are mine, and do not force me into living your fantasy — and I will not force you into copying my playbook, either.

When we have propaganda, we lose ideological tolerance. We cannot expand or grow because we want artificial confines and false scripts to guide our passive selves. With take no risks, and we do not experiment. We just coast on static rules.

That’s why journalism died, but more importantly — why is can’t resurrect. It is stuck in its own pine box, believing it is a comfort and a fortress of protection.

We need the alternative to journalism — a place that is not beguiled by ideological partisanship and artificial lines in the sand. We need those who understand ideology is a game of logical fallacies and hypothetical constructs, and instead, seeks facts.

It is the simplest method of informing a public. Do not tell them what to think. Do not tell them how to think. Do not give them scripts that turn into props to hold them up.

Thinks facts. The more you have, the more obvious the solutions becomes.

I have been musing from this Tower of Babel for over twenty years, chronicling its cacophony and mixed messages. It is time for clarity and simplicity, and with a map of facts to get out of that maze and out into the open…

 

Memo to The Medium: No, the Internet did not kill critical thinking. And no, Washington Post, the “crisis” in journalism is not a crisis for democracy. You just can’t manipulate the masses the way you used to do it.

The melodramatic temper tantrums coming from journalists over their demise can get very annoying, especially as they seem to do a lot of whining about their fall from grace these days.

They keep trying to manipulate people and tell them what to think, and it’s not happening.

And they do not know why because they do not know their place in society.

The ones in journalism proper have no clue, and neither do those scribbling their arrogant and oblivious nonsense in university newspapers, either.

When you are sheltered and wear blinders, your sense of reality becomes skewed to the point of ridiculousness.

The Medium is a newspaper for the University of Toronto, and there is one particularly goofy and griping article that shows how little an academic institution understands reality.

The obnoxious drivel has a very chilling headline:

Restoring the Integrity of Journalism

The Internet has killed critical thinking.

Such manipulative drama that has not one ounce of truth — or critical thinking going for it.

Journalism doesn’t have integrity because all they are trying to do is tell people how to think. They skewed war coverage, relying on public relations firms. The presented swindlers as Titans of Industry. They did a lot of damage to the world because they were never empirical.

They should present facts, not narratives because people have different life requirements, and giving facts allows people to use those facts the way they want and need.

But the article makes one very ignorant assumption: that the Big Scam Internet killed critical thinking.

No, it didn’t.

What the Internet did was force those arrogant meddlers who always wore blinders to see that not everyone used the same logic because people have different realities.

The man who had to drop out of high school to work in a factory to support his family has a different reality than the sheltered rich kid whose mommy and daddy pull favours to get that kid a degree and a job.

They have different logic. What works for one person doesn’t work for the other. They may not be fluent in each other’s logic, but do not assume that just because someone uses different logic that they are stupid and inferior to you.

Once upon a time, only certain sanctioned logic was broadcast and published, but the Internet broke down those fortresses and gates, and now the old guard has been sulking and plotting ever since.

Get over yourselves, children, and let’s see some of that tolerance of diversity you talk so much about.

And “restoring” integrity of journalism is not going to force the little people into going back to handing their free will over to you.

They always thought that way, but for the past twenty years, you finally got exposed to their innermost thoughts.

And they are not wrong to think it.

But the Washington Post also cannot deal with reality. They are now talking about a “crisis in journalism” — the popular buzz phrase being strategically used right now, even though journalism is way beyond crisis: it is dead — and how it is bringing a “crisis” in democracy.

No, it’s not. What you see because the gates have been destroyed. What you are seeing is the liberation of thought. Journalism became a way of social engineering; issuing directives instead of giving facts.

The Internet is a window to the world of opinion: it shows us that beliefs are not confined to some binary and sanitized checklist.

That has been the hardest reality for journalism to ever grasp. They keep trying to go back to a time where they had control of the communications tools.

It’s not that world anymore. It is a different one, and it is not going to change just to make journalists feel powerful again. Instead of lamenting about how the world used a platform to speak out, regardless of their realities, backgrounds, confinements, and flawed natures, journalists should have found a new purpose within that changing world.

They didn’t, and the destruction they are now experiencing is entirely their own and of their own making…

Memo to the Denver Post: If you are going to make a case of being needed in your community, try to know your surroundings first.

The Washington Post is cutting slack to the Denver Post for putting the wrong stadium in a story.

It was supposed to be the “Ultimate Guide to Coors Field,” but then the picture was of a stadium in Philadelphia.

It is not a minor error. That’s not even in the same state.

Why is this more important than it first appears? Because this section is soft news, and it is more advertising than actual news — and if they cannot get a no-brainer such as this photo right, what else are they getting wrong?

If you are going to make a case that you are essential for a community, the first step is to make sure you give accurate information to said community, but panic has set in, even though journalism needs to accuracy under even the most trying of circumstances to stay relevant…

The oblivious whining continues: Washington Post thought newspapers could never be replaced. Seriously, fellas, the world is just not that into you for a reason.

This article in the Washington Post is just too emo for words:

A once unimaginable scenario: No more newspapers

Let me get out the champagne and celebrate something called progress.

The standard journalistic narrative has always been that journalism was essential and could never be replaced.

Ha!

Once upon a time, the horse and buggy was Very Important To Civilization, and then something called cars replaced them.

And that was called progress. It liberated people and allowed them to expand their worlds, find jobs where they could once not venture easily, and set the economy on fire.

We got trucks, and then humanity made huge leaps and bounds.

Just as once upon time, people required fire for heat and to see in the dark…and then came electricity, and it changed our world for the better.

So yes, let’s get rid of newspapers, and the sooner the better.

And while we are at it, let’s scrap that worthless propaganda-spewing dreck we called journalism.

We don’t need it anymore.

We have superior ways to disseminate the facts we find, verify, and test.

This isn’t a bad thing.

This is progress.

So do not spin this as something to mourn, but something to celebrate.

Because a new age is here — and it is one with better ways to inform people without patronizing them and telling them to be afraid or how to think…

A bad interview, and a worse column. Journalism’s melodramatic leaps of logic can get really stupid most of the time.

I watched Sunday night’s 60 Minutes program with Lesley Stahl verbally pounding away at Betsy DeVos, the fabulously wealthy woman who became Education Secretary, and then really, really, really did not do well being interviewed.

It really was not a good interview. DeVos clearly is not someone who interviews well at all, and I have known many bad interviewees that aren’t incompetent in their jobs. It is the same reason I put zero stock in campaign debates — at most, it shows who is the best debater, not the most qualified candidate.

When I used to teach public speaking to college students, I trained them how to handle crisis-level questions in front of an audience as asked by me who was a professional journalist when they had no time to prepare ahead. Most of them learned how to handle it. Many learned because they watched their classmates, took notes, and then discussed strategies with each other between classes and breaks, which was the actual, if covert, point of the exercise.

I also had many of those students for my Communications course — and that required a different skill set, in this case, writing reports, letters, memos, and other forms of business communications. I can tell you right now some students were better written communicators, while others could do impromptu speeches without blinking.

Some could do both with ease, and others struggled with both forms of communications.

So that a seasoned national journalist such as Lesley Stahl could make mince meat of DeVos is not actually impressive. She could have just as easily lobbed less hostile questions instead of taking an unnecessary aggressive stance, and gotten a better result. If she were a truly adept journalist, she could have revealed much more about DeVos without the theatrics.

DeVos could easily get crisis media training, and learn how to keep calm under brutal interview conditions. It’s a dirty little secret: people who handle hostile interviews well do so because they paid former journalists and PR firms to show them what to expect, and how to react.

A person who doesn’t buckle during an intense interview could merely have been trained to do it — and your impressions are not actually accurate.

My j-school graduate thesis was on how to use crisis communications to control the message. I wanted to know precisely how PR could take a bad situation, and then regain control of the narrative to bring their clients’ a decisive victory. I interviewed veteran PR specialists for it. I read their manuals, and my advisor owned her own PR firm. By the time I was through, I had created a map of how people in the field eke out victories within devastating defeats.

So DeVos had an abnormally hostile interview. She was unprepared — but it doesn’t mean she didn’t know the answers of questions asked during the interview. Some people freeze, have poor memories under abnormal circumstances (and getting interview for a national television show is a highly unnatural experience, in both the style of communications, and the reasons for submitting to such an unnatural style). What it means is she had a bad interview, and as a journalist, that’s not what you actually want to make a point: you want a fair interview where people can come to their own conclusions because you gave enough space for someone to reveal themselves on their own free will.

You would need to find other confirming or refuting evidence to see if she is that uncertain of information, and it is here that Stahl’s report completely crumbles itself.

You cannot rely on a single hack of being the bogeyman interviewer and then strutting around intimidating a newsmaker — you need to have your researchers find proof that this person has a lack of knowledge in a very specific area, and then show it during the segment.

So, for example, if I were to interview someone who was accused of a crime he denies committing, and I ask him to tell me what he did that entire day, and he had a gap or two during the interview, I could go on that information alone, showing how the intrepid and aggressive journalist “uncovered” the truth with the interview alone.

But that would be very dishonest. I would also have to go back, and interview people who could tell me whether this person has a bad memory, is a private person, actually has an alibi, but may have kept quiet to protect a person, or was ashamed of something and clammed up.

If during the course of my research, I found out the person did have an alibi, but just froze out of fear, the interview becomes a lie.

But if I find out that the person doesn’t have an alibi because he committed the crime — I can now easily run the interview clip — and then enhance that part by showing what else I found to confirm the significance of that segment of the conversation.

This was one of those showy interviews that had a far less going for it than meets the eye.

This is not to say that’s what happened to DeVos in that interview — but interviews with hard anchors at critical points make for news.

As a journalist, I can tell you that I have come across seemingly gotcha parts. Each time, I had to see how much I actually “got”. Sometimes, there was something significant, but other times, the person just didn’t have media training and fumbled.

There is even a term for it: L’esprit de l’escalier. It simply means of thinking of the right comeback or answer after it is too late. As a journalist, I always had to factor in that possibility when working on a story because if someone came back and provided evidence that they were in the right, then my credibility was in question. Sometimes that is exactly what you are dealing with, and other times, it isn’t. You cannot tell until you have confirmed or refuted that contentious segment.

Why is that important?

Because journalism is about facts. An interview is just one source of information, even if the story is about that newsmaker. People not schooled in the profession don’t always see what’s the big deal, but it is a crucial factor. I have interviewed people for potential stories, and then when I tried to verify information from more than one source, things didn’t add up. There was no story; just someone who wanted media attention and gave a stunningly perfect interview.

Which is another problem: often, the people who give the best interviews that are smooth, charismatic, and seemingly logical are, in fact, rubbish. It’s a bunch of lies strung together and then packaged to be media friendly. Bon mots can be like that: they are the witty rent-a-quotes who know exactly what to say, how to say it, and when, but their timing and confidence masks the fact the interview is a hoax.

Or, some of the interview holds up — the parts meant to reassure me that the person is on the level — but the important stuff — the reason for the interview — is just hogwash.

The DeVos interview was a classic Bambi-versus-Godzilla interview, and the problem is that they are pure entertainment. It plays to the partisan, but when you look at it empirically, it is just as flawed as the interview itself. It was like being impressed that a heavyweight boxer punched the lights out of a five year old who is already scared of him.

So I wasn’t not exactly impressed with the quality of the actual story because all the feints and ruses could not deflect my attention away from the problematic omissions of the story; in this case, the succinct and elegant facts that could have made a better case then verbally slapping around someone who honestly doesn’t have to be working for a government when she has that much money and purpose. DeVos is a generous philanthropist. She doesn’t have to do any of it, and I am sure, on some level, she cannot understand the vitriol hurled at her.

There is far more to the story than the fact that lefties hate everyone who doesn’t walk lockstep with their demands, just as righties hate everyone who doesn’t walk lockstep with theirs. That is not news. That’s life.

What is news is more textured: who is Betsy DeVos and why is she pushing through all that abuse when she doesn’t have to do any of it? What’s the motive? What drives her?

That is the first and most important part of the story: setting the framework of this highly unusual woman. You do not have to like her or hate her, but you do need to understand what drives her. Is it the paper crown? Is it her part of her core beliefs? If so, what are those beliefs?

What brings this person to this spot?

You then have multiple ways you can take the facts: what has she done? How is it working out so far? How does her machine operate? Some people are factualists and can recite every piece of data off the top of their heads. Other people are fuzzy thinkers, and they are broad in their approach.

The problem with the Stahl interview is we don’t actually know if DeVos is a fuzzy thinker, a person who doesn’t interview well, or not fit for the job. People who hate her will go to option #3 without bothering with hard evidence.

But an outsider will wonder more about evidence. If you are a true journalist, you have to bring facts that refute alternative explanations.

If you are a partisan hatchet queen, you just attack. Stahl just attacked. This will not sway DeVos’ defenders. It will not push outsiders to draw the same conclusion. Do not preach to a converted flock. Show, don’t tell.

So what viewers were left with is a hot mess: a person who obviously doesn’t interview well up against someone who is all show, and a lot less substance than what she ought to be.

Stahl discussed how certain test scores for students were going up, and not down, and I found that argument interesting, but not exactly damning.

If you have test scores going up — or down, then you have to account for the quality of the test — is it reliable, valid, useful? Are the questions relevant to gaining mastery for eventually employment? Is there cheating? How are these tests administered? Is it across the board? Have the tests been diluted?

Very often, tests are dumbed down to reach certain quotas. If you are making the case that test scores prove that schools are functioning fine the way they are, then you have to prove it. You do not appeal to authority, and tests are a form of authority.

If the point of the story is to say that unequivocally, that this person is making horrific damage and there is empirical proof, you have to make an iron-clad argument. The haters will be satisfied with just a meme poster.

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The problem with 60 Minutes is that they do an awful lot of authority deferring, and tests aren’t always as definitive as they first appear. There are many tests to detect psychological disorders, but some of those tests count everyone has having a form of a disorder, regardless if they score zero or the maximum, and many of those tests cannot differentiate one disorder from another.

Math tests may not have those issues, but they can have other issues. Are students training to pass that test at the expense of learning more than what’s on a test?

So, if you are going to make the hypothesis that DeVos is going to make things worse, you then have to spend the bulk of your research establishing the current educational landscape first. You can’t just take one set of tests score then think that’s all there is to it. It’s a confirmation bias.

Even for the brevity of a television news segment, you can still do this kind of research. You build a structure as a reference point, and then find several facts that decisively confirm your hypothesis — but should you find any that refute it, you still have to give it credence to give an accurate account of reality. So someone may be mediocre at one part of the job, but their strength is somewhere else, and then the news consumer can balance it out for themselves.

If that were the only faults, I doubt I would have even mentioned the report at all because almost all 60 Minutes’ follow the same formula, but then the Washington Post stuck its nose in it, and then got all stupid about it in this silly opinion piece.

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To say the piece is a ridiculously unwarranted leap in logic would be an understatement. Betsy DeVos gave one really bad interview where it was an uneven bar fight, and now the commentator decrees that is the reason rich people should never meddle in civic affairs.

That is prejudicial thinking to say the least. What if a raging sexist decided that no woman should be in positions of power based on that one interview as well? It is the same primitive thinking.

The sophistry spewed in the piece is melodramatic, but doesn’t actually make her case. You have people who try to contribute something more, and then they don’t do it right because they don’t have the same experience in navigating through it. That doesn’t speak poorly of those willing to try, sometimes with hundreds of millions of their own dollars — it speaks very poorly that we have a system that is rigged against novel ideas from atypical people who are willing to get pummelled on a national news program because they truly believe in what they are doing when they could be doing things that are not stressful or potentially humiliating to them.

Western thinking is highly bigoted in that regard. It is xenophobia that keeps alternative ideas from being added to systems, making fairly logical theories turn out to be disastrous because we have people sabotaging the person at every turn, distracting them so that they do fail. We have come to the point that we want those people to fail just for the selfish purpose that they may be right, and then we cannot get the glory from it. It’s the selfie mindset.

We don’t have ways to experiment and test new methods, making it hard for us to take advantage of changing landscapes because our rote models of doing things try to ignore reality. You cannot shut out the wealthy from civic life just because you are a petty little soul who is jealous of their money.

Just as I believe you have to look after the whole of the society. We don’t have the terminally ill in charge of a healthcare portfolio. We don’t recruit the poor when it comes to elevating their financial precariousness.

We have lost nuances of thinking and have become binary machines.

So both 60 Minutes and the Post offered nothing of value to the public discourse. The worst of it was that there were several more sensible and useful ways to make a stronger case, but when people are too in love with themselves and pay no mind to the reality swirling around them, it becomes an empty theatre where nothing is truly learned, and we are no better off before the show than after.

Bad science journalism: being stenographers to an industry is not journalism, but that’s what happens when you appeal to authorities and have no instinct for the world around you.

I always had issues with news stories that recounted studies or research from universities. It always deferred to studies, rather than question them.

Just because you question a study, it doesn’t make you anti-science. If the study is sound, the authors of the study can back up what they claim. If it isn’t, there may be fraud or some other problem that needs to be exposed.

Once upon a time, you had journalists who didn’t applaud every insight coming from the Ivy League. Betrayers of the Truth is a book that is a must-read for anyone who wishes to gain a more realistic perspective of how sometimes academia isn’t flawless or always right.

We have competing theories and schools of thought. There is debate, but to be more objective in reporting science, you have to be able to know how to read a journalism article and know how to determine a good study from a bad one (a starting point is here, here, here, here, and here).

But journalists have some sort of notion that if it comes out of Harvard, it has to be perfect, and often, it is anything but. They also have a notion that no study is flawed, let alone fraudulent.

They do not question who funded a study, for instance. They do not critically examine studies.

And even if the study is not fraudulent or bad, whether it is even necessary.

This study from MIT comes in this category. It is a Captain Obvious study that suggests that Twitter (who paid for the actual study, making it more market research than a study) has fake news that is more likely to come from people spreading fake news than bots.

You don’t say!

Even stories from bots come from people because it is people who program bots to spread them. They just use a more efficient way to do it (reminding me of that car commercial where the spokesman asks people whether they want to chop wood with a hand saw or an electric one). One is just more grassroots and the other is organized.

But the study got a lot of unquestioning play, from CBC to the Washington Post. It is not news, but stenography. The Post article has lots of babbling, but never actually assumes that there may be flaws with the study — or that it is merely stating the obvious — or that as it is funded by Twitter, its purpose may be to deflect criticism over the Left’s paranoid conspiracy theories why all their campaigning in 2016 gave Republicans victories across the board.

Journalists always go in with the assumption that academia has all the answers, and is beyond reproach. There has been major cases of fraud over the years, and we have replicators and meta-researchers for that reason.

We need critical and investigative journalism here — not flacks for STEM-based industries. The good ones will hold up, and the bad ones can be exposed, but as most who cover the industries are not schooled in the ways of experimentation, they are too intimidated to challenge anything at all; so they appeal to authority and then pretend it’s journalism.

So this study is fair game to ask hard questions — just like any other study. We need to know things, but we need to have critical eyes looking at studies, not adoring ones that can spread bad science and make trouble for those desperate for answers and think they found it reading the accolades of something that needed to be torn apart.

I do not care for Marine Le Pen’s politics. I do care that the French government’s manipulative charges for her disseminating reality are being used to distort reality — and that journalists see nothing wrong with it.

The Washington Post is a useless publication, and this article shows their banality of evil with this headline alone:

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen charged for tweeting gruesome ISIS images

We have people who commit murder who do not get charged, but the French government criminally charges someone for showing evidence of murder? The charges are disturbing, but those on the Left will justify it, never thinking that tides shift, and that it is inevitable that they will also be charged for showing evidence of abuse, torture, and murder, and they will be cast as villains for it.

Do I agree with Le Pen’s views? No, but I do believe in forcing people to see both reality and truth unfiltered. I do not believe in sheltering people so they believe their untested life theories are correct. That’s how industries and societies implode.

Le Pen, regardless of her beliefs, had every right to show what murderers do. I believe those vile and sickening images are necessary for the sheltered middle class to see. You have to have people see the ugly side of life because you have industries such as Hollywood that are immoral enough to glamourize and glorify some very sick things.

Quentin Tarantino is making a movie about human trash Charlie Manson with all sort of aging A-list white men attached to it.

And for all the arguments that Le Pen is exploiting death, remember, so is Tarantino.

If we, for instance, revealed how brutal Manson’s machinations truly were, you wouldn’t have the Tarantinos of the world be able to co-opt that story and then spin that gore into something entertaining. Sharon Tate was pregnant when she was slaughtered. Everyone that night was terrorized and slaughtered. Manson was a cult leader, woman abuser, and a manipulator so adroit, that decades later, he could manipulate female professors who studied him, knowing who he was (as I had discovered firsthand when I was working on a story for Elle Canada about the phenomenon of women who broke the law to please a boyfriend).

You can never find solutions unless you deal with truth and reality.

Le Pen is an extremist, but the images she showed were truth and reality that showed that there is a real element of hate out there that thinks nothing of slaughtering people. One extreme is reacting to another. I find it very interesting that the French government does what governments have been doing for hundreds of years: when you have two conflicting sides, you whack the one led by a woman.

To charge her for showing evidence of barbarity is the greater act of barbarity. They just proved her point for her by doing so. The French government merely showed itself to condone violence by punishing those who expose it.

Under no circumstances can one use the excuse of morality to charge someone for showing genuine images of an atrocity. As someone whose own family were annihilated by fascists in the Second World War, I believe you have to show just how sick those sorts of being can be.

Over the years, I have seen videos of extremist’s torture and murder of soldiers, hostages, and civilians in war and in concentration camps. The perpetrators were not always Muslim, but sometimes they were. Some of those sadists were Christians, such as Catholics. As someone who studies propaganda, I have seen highly disturbing images to understand a point in time as it is. I may not be able to sleep for nights after, but it also ensures that I am not deluded when I confront problems of psychological manipulation.

The French government’s own extremist actions are being spun as being patriarchal: Daddy Government has to protect those little children known as the middle class. It’s not, of course: it is meant to hide reality from them so when it comes time to make decisions at the ballot, those who are the least informed vote for them, thinking that they know something.

The infantilization of the middle class is deliberate. It is a form of propaganda itself. If we are not exposed to reality, then we do not know how bad it is, and a government can impose any narrative it wishes. That is a social group that holds no true position of power, has no expertise, and their knowledge of complex concepts is shallow at best. They are educated just enough for competency in the workplace, but not enough to be able to understand the jargon and nuances of anything that can make a true impact of industry or governance.

It is not as if those people couldn’t understand it. Their minds are not inferior by any stretch, and there are many that would be superior to those running the show. But when information is skewed and censored, their lack of experience and exposure prevents them from seeing how dire a situation truly is.

Shielding Western citizens from the mindset of ISIL has nothing to do with combatting Islamophobia. In fact, the primary victims of these terrorists have overwhelmingly been the Muslim population native to those regions. So to suddenly suppress this information is itself an act of Islamophobia and revisionism. The French government’s ignorant logic is truly shocking. ISIL is not about Islam. That is a blind, and the excuse. This is about a cabal of brutes who wear the cloak of religion to take the spoils of war for themselves and to gain power.

Besides, every religion and political group ever created has its extremists. That is a given, but many governments truly fear that if one group’s dark deeds are exposed, they are then free to retaliate — not by violence — but exposing comparable acts of the other group, showing them to be hypocrites trying to misuse the confirmation bias to their advantage.

Shutting down people such of Le Pen proves that the French government is an anti-democratic one, trying to oppress free speech and truth. She did not manufacture those images. She merely showed a literal snapshot of reality.

I am a diehard believer in free speech, regardless of a person’s worldview, opinions, and delusions. I believe in finding truths by allowing the free distribution of facts, data, and evidence. You have to be aware of the true nature of reality. I do not believe in shielding liars, control freaks, the gullible, or cowards from it.

The French government has much to be ashamed of, and not just this barbaric act of pure self-interest. It is itself a form of propaganda: slander and distract a political opponent for your own personal gain. They are worse than Le Pen with this one act, and now have proven themselves to have a fascist bent themselves.

I am a radical centrist: you are not going to recruit me to mindlessly cheerlead your deluded agenda, Left or Right. It’s not all about making life convenient for your conniving majesty at mine and everyone else’s expense. The incessant nose-tweaking and manipulations from both the Left and the Right is obnoxious and completely unnecessary, distracting everyone from finding a solution that does not exclusively benefit those in power.

Because those disturbing images should be exposed so we can finally be able to ask the right questions: who are these people? Where did they come from? Who trained them? How did their victims cross their paths? How much do these terrorists know about our government’s not-so-noble methods? How does this game stop?

Those images are fair game. The suppression of history serves no purpose other than to lie to a frightened public. Had we dealt with the ugliness right from the start because the world had a real and honest news media, no one political side would be able to co-opt those images to serve their own political aspirations. We wouldn’t be running to Mommy and Daddy Government to tell us how to think or save ourselves; we’d be forming functional and rational plans to deal with it.

Better still, if we always dealt with reality with a real and honest news media, we would have seen the danger signs long before the formation of the cabals of hatred and fear, and we could have intervened to ensure that no group’s own wrathful agendas did not take root and grow, ruining the lives of millions for absolutely no good reason at all.

The French government’s absolute tyranny is also proof that governments have no place in information dissemination — or what was once called journalism. They cannot be trusted not to meddle and then set their narratives why they are suppressing information that is unflattering and inconvenient to them.

It is the reason why we need an alternative to journalism: one that defies tyrannical regimes who think of nothing to misuse the law to silence truth and reality for their own political ends so that everyone knows exactly who and what they are dealing with so they can find solutions to their problems that will actually work, and not place their faith in corrupt governments that make decrees with no shred of proof that their methods do what they purport to do.

That the Washington Post completely missed the point and sided with the oppressors of free speech shows that US journalism has lost its sense and purpose. The shallow and superficial political dividing line that dictates that people who believe things that are different from what we believe can never have the facts we need to know.

It is a feint, of course. Truth and reality applies to everyone equally, regardless of their beliefs, and it is time to face that truth as we create a method of finding those truths from everyone.

The fall of the titans: journalism once dictated our perceptions of war. But 2018 is a different world.

I

To say that Western journalists made a mess of their coverage during the Civil War in the former Yugoslavia is an understatement. Many journalists should have been convicted in The Hague for their gleeful abuse of their profession. When I was an undergraduate at the time studying psychology, I spent my Friday nights writing letters of complaint, as well as working my fax machine. I had amassed banker’s boxes filled with evidence that showed media reporters were wrong, exaggerated, and even fraudulent.

You may think I was looking at looney and fringe sources, but no. I read UN reports, for instance. I conversed with professors at various universities, reading their well-researched work. I found information through FARA. I talked to people who were in the region during the bloodiest of battles. I had video footage. I had pictures. I read trade publications for the intelligence community. I deliberately went through conventionally “credible” channels for a reason.

But I also vetted the so-called dubious sources. Some were out to lunch. You had people claim that Serbs were engaging in cannibalism. It was classic war propaganda.

And then there were other sources I went through that took a certain appreciation and mindset to digest, let alone try to verify.

From my research back then, I could say that the Western media got a sum total of one fact correct: that there was a war going on. They got everything else wrong. It was a shock to me, but it made sense.

Journalists covering the conflict did not speak the language. They were so poorly educated, that they could not even get the religion right of Serbs. I remember one ABC “special” that called Serbs Greek Orthodox.

Try Eastern Orthodox.

Speaking of religion, it was interesting how the press framed the issue: they called one side Muslims, one side Croats, and one side Serbs. They should have been consistent: Muslim, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, but then again, no one would dare pick any side if it were based on religion alone. It was a linguistic sleight of hand to dodge criticism.

It is extremely difficult to cover a war — any war. Journalists like to be pick sides, regardless that to have a war, all participating parties are killing each other. No babes in the woods here. I had relatives on all warring sides — and that is not unusual as the intermarriage rate prior to the war was high.

Of all the factions, Serbs took the biggest beating in the press coverage, mostly because Serbs did not have a PR firm representing them to the public, and the other two sides had several firms working to massage the optics. While Hill and Knowlton were the ones who got the US to invade Iraq during the first Gulf War, the Yugoslav factions upped the ante and had their full assault in the press.

It was no secret. I found out as a Canadian university student studying psychology. Journalists knew, of course, because they were getting press releases from those firms with their letterhead on it — and ever so conveniently, those same stories appeared on the news as is. 

It was unprecedented. I was a witness to propaganda up close. I would always ask the same question whenever a news story broke out: who is the firm representing the factions? Whoever had the most money, always got to the hero halo, and it didn’t have to be a war for it to happen.

It is the reason people such as Harvey Weinstein got away with trollish behaviour and undeserved accolades and Oscars for years — he paid for the coverage and the accolades, and he got them.

Even these days, “Big Tech” is under fire — but the real question will always be who is paying for the press coverage?

It is pure capitalistic consumerism.

II

There is a difference between confidence and arrogance. When you know what you are doing, you are confident. If you don’t and have to wing it, you are arrogant.

A confident person admits that he doesn’t know everything, and is willing to learn, and modify or even change their theory, depending on the evidence. They are dynamic and active in thought. An arrogant person never admits he is wrong. He makes up all sorts of excuses and reasons why he is right, despite the evidence, and his thinking is static and passive, mistaking a hypothesis with fact.

The problem with the Yugoslav coverage was that you had journalists parachuted in and then look for cheat sheets. They knew absolutely nothing about the most basic stats of the regions, and it was that ignorance that skewed everything from the get-go.

In Bosnia, for instance, Serbs were more likely to be farmers. They had a smaller population, but owned a bigger percentage of the land. The other sides were city dwellers, more populous, but owned far less. We see this divide all the time: in my province of Ontario, for instance, there are many more Torontonians, but being stacked up in condos gives them a smaller spread of land, than let’s say, people who live in rural communities. One has numbers, the other has lots.

Now, if Toronto wanted to separate from the rest of Ontario, I am certain many people from the rest of the province would gladly throw them a good riddance party, but only if those in Toronto were content with leaving with the land they owned.

But what if Toronto decided they wanted the entire province for themselves because they also wanted to separate from Canada and declare themselves a country of their own?

That wrinkle changes everything.

Those in Hamilton, Kingston, London, Windsor, and Niagara Falls may scoff at the notion. Mississauga may wish to stay put as well, being happy to be Canadian.

But Toronto crowing it has more people makes them feel entitled to the lot of the province, and decides to drive people out of Ontario who are not from Toronto.

That was the Yugoslav conflict in a nutshell.

Will there be bloodshed? You better believe it. There will be panic, terror, and rage. You spend generations on a single parcel of land that strangers have now decided belongs to them.

And you had headless journalists jumping in and deciding those who didn’t want to lose their land or their citizenship were wrong and evil. The idea was insane.

If the coverage was accurate or sane, there would have been basic questions: who is funding the drive for separation? What is there to gain from declaring your rock a country? Are they actually entitled to do so? What happens to people who didn’t want to separate?

You look at the money trail. Nationalism is a feint and a cover to steal and plunder. We have seen countries get looted for their oil, for instance, but the cover of freedom and democracy downplays the spoils of war.

The Yugoslav conflict had nothing to do with nationalism, or “blood and belonging” as Michael Ignatieff mistakenly, and very naively believed — it was all about the Benjamins.

Yugoslavia was up to its eyeballs in IMF debt. It had a high unemployment, a worthless economy, and a currency that was essentially worthless. You had people with multiple university degrees who could not find stable work.

Yet they had natural resources, and plenty of it. Some of the regions’ leaders thought if they declared their rock a country, they could get the US to give them money as they dodged that crippling debt.

But Serbs wouldn’t play along. They never do. They are a people not impressed with the West. In fact, they do not impress with anyone as a general rule. They are seen as stubborn, but what they are is complicated and self-confident.

Their history is a bloody one where they were nomadic mercenaries. They made the trek away from the Ottoman Empire to the Hapsburg Monarchy to finally put down roots. They revere family because they have lost too many loved ones over time.

They also were victims of genocide during the Second World War — a genocide that has never been acknowledged by the West. Serbian children were placed in their own concentration camp, and the Ustashi were very proud of their barbarity, taking numerous photographs of their torture and murder of Serbs.

Many Western scholars do not understand the emotional literacy of a people who have known obstacles of that magnitude. Some of the more ignorant have some childish notion that Serbs see themselves as victims.

What they see is their history of losing their homes and lives. It would be akin to telling Holocaust survivors to suck it up, or tell African Americans to stop whining because their ancestors were slaves to whites who managed to erase the knowledge of their own history, or even to tell LGBT community to stop whining about being labelled as mentally ill in the DSM.

But Serbs are too exotic for Western patriarchal narratives. They have their own mindsets and independent narrative structures because they have spent hundreds of years separated from other Euro-centric cultures.

But Western journalism is not about plurality or acceptance of diverse mindsets. It saw an exotic people who were independent thinkers who reject a given script, and xenophobic reporters attacked. It would be the punishment for not sucking up to the West like good little foreign people were expected to do with a frozen smile on their faces.

III

When I was collecting the list of gaffes and lies coming from Western journalists, I was taken aback at how much of it didn’t make even physical or logical sense. Often, even their own footage contradicted what they were narrating. Places where Serbs allegedly “attacked” had their symbols all wrong. 

That is not likely to happen to natives, but very likely to those not familiar with the culture, but trying to make their best guess at how it looks, and, not knowing the meanings, let alone nuances, widely missed the mark.

They misidentified soldiers as Serbian, even though Serbs weren’t wearing that uniform, but the other sides did. They misidentified mass graves as Muslim, even though Muslims in the region weren’t burying their dead with crosses or Cyrillic writing — bonus points as the markers had very Serbian names written on them — and then when confronted with the inconsistencies, you had culturally illiterate believers explain it away as some sort of “conspiracy theory” on the part of Serbs who would be in a position to know what they wore when they fought. I have even had people literally run away from me when showing them photographic evidence of their arrogant lunacy. All I had done was hold two photographs in my hands and asked them point blank to explain how their theory could explain that discrepancy.

There is no greater coward than a liar.

But those cowardly journalists had bigoted filters throughout the conflict, and had no clue what a Serb even was. They were told by vested interests that Serbs were the aggressors, and that was good enough for them. Serbs were willful, unruly, idiosyncratic, and unimpressed with American journalists. Serbs were a people who survived on their wits for hundreds of years, and could spot a disingenuous lightweight a mile away.

Journalists were running to the white tents set up by PR firms to feed them information, and never bothered to inform their readers and viewers of it. They didn’t understand mothers and fathers standing guard with their soldier offspring. American parents weren’t fighting alongside their grown children during their conflicts; and hence, the sight of a father with his children as their mother cooked and kept shelter was jarring and unnerving.

They did not ask a single important question. They didn’t know the region’s history, and had they been historically literate, they would have seen it.

They would have also seen that as the prisons in the former Yugoslavia were unguarded, the worst killers were out in the open, preying on everyone, and not particularly caring whose throat they slit.

They would have seen how many foreign mercenaries were parachuting in and hijacking the battles. I had seen videos of Serbian soldiers being tortured to death as their bodies were placed on a spit by the same terrorists who would eventually form AlQaeda, and later on, ISIL. Western soldiers trained those killers who returned the favour to their benefactors by slaughtering Americans.

And Western journalists stood by and let it all happen as they spewed their daily propaganda. When I had challenged more than one of these reporters on their coverage and gave my proof, they would retreat, and shrug it off with, “Well, the first casualty of war is truth.”

No, the first casualty of journalism was truth.

IV

Sooner or later, truth gets her revenge. Journalists see their games in the former Yugoslavia as the good old days when their trusting audiences still believed a word they said. Had there been social media back then, I always said I could have easily posted the discrepancies online. I wouldn’t have bothered writing hundreds of letters to various media outlets. There would be no need.

Since then, journalism turned to the same rubble as what NATO had done in their punishing temper tantrum in their bid to gain strategic control of a region that had once been savvy enough to keep out of that organization’s clutches.

But now NATO is playing a new little manipulative game. They have “unfinished business” with the Serbs — the same people they maligned and bombed — and wouldn’t you just know it? they are still standing and rebuilding. Serbia had a hellacious time, but now they are on the verge of real breakthrough and renaissance — all without the West.

And without Western journalism drooling all over them.

But NATO needs an excuse to exist, and they never were competent enough to lift a finger unless they harmed other people who had things to take. But Western journalists never had the cunning or the courage to stand up to NATO, and so, they continue to parrot whatever that self-styled authority figure decrees.

In this case, it is all about trying to link Serbs with Russians without a shred of proof — but there is plenty of evidence that this is a propaganda campaign. It is also a bigoted attack against Orthodox Christians. The press’s “proof” is the mere say-so of authority figures who have vested interests in riling up the little people to do their bidding without having to give said little people anything in return. By trying to establish a link between the two nations, the game is simple: demonize the Serbs with some fake news, and perhaps people will sign up to die in the name of us.

But 2018 is very different from the early 1990s. For one, journalism is a dead profession. It has no respect, and it is a global problem, not just a Western one.

cartoon

It no longer carries any authority.

CNN, once the world’s most energetic and powerful war propaganda machine, has become a repulsive joke, and those nerds of the news are in a bind of their own making. Their childish war against Trump makes it impossible for them to support any military action he could make against Serbs. They have already painted him as an extremist lunatic that Left-leaning people must fear and distrust, as has the New York Times, another hawkish media outlet.

But now there are outlets where alternative voices can step in thanks to the Internet.

It is not difficult, for instance, to find out who is funding this latest push against Serbs who are usually seen as allies to Russians, though Russians did not come to the aid of Serbs during the war, and it has not gone unnoticed. It is not the same landscape as was a quarter century ago. NATO has countries with their own ethnic and economic precariousness, and they do not have the same pull as they did during the Civil War.

Serbs in Bosnia and in Serbia proper are still more likely to be rural, and still hold more than just generational land: they have resources that many NATO countries could use to fill their own empty bank accounts.

Serbs are still exotic, unimpressed, rebellious, independent thinkers, and stubborn, as they are shrewd and many have learned their lessons from the last conflict. There is a sizeable Serbian population in the UK, for instance, that were refugees from the war. In an era of political correctness, painting an entire people as evil is not going to happen so easily, especially those who have a platform to remind a public of all of the misinformation the West had spewed the first time around with evidence to show the ridiculousness of those once serious claims.

There are other factors, but the most important one is that the tool of the hawk — the news media — has been destroyed by its own ignorance and hubris. When media outlets have become paupers begging for an audience and the funds to attract them, they lost face. They are not authorities anymore.

They are their own casualties. They cannot blame the Serbs for their own downfall.

They can blame their own arrogant nature, however, their rush to judgement, their gullibility, their dependence on authorities to tell them how to think, and their own sloppiness and narcissism. NATO is behaving as if it is the 1990s, and all they will have to do is bluster and make a decree as the media gets everyone to walk lockstep.

It is a world of anarchy. It is not the same landscape. Serbs do not have to play the villain for an intellectually inadequate press any longer.

And despite all the mud-slinging on the part of that dead profession, nothing is sticking, and the rest of the world spins along without paying any attention to their decrees.