Saturday, May 13, 2017

How the mighty press has fallen

The New York Slimes

All the news that’s bullshit
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Back in the late 1980s when I started my career in mainstream media (after nearly two decades being involved in underground press,) I went back to college to brush up on my reporting skills and journalistic ethics.
My professor and old school journalist from Rochester turned off the spell-check on our classroom computers, telling us that reporters needed to know how to spell.
While I never completely got the hang of spelling, some of the ethics sank in – which is a lesson as lost to contemporary mainstream journalism as the ability to spell is with me.
Some news organizations are worse than others. National Propaganda Radio makes no pretense at being fair – which explains why President Obama gave them a medal for bushwhacking Nancy Reagan years ago.
Crap News Network is so distorted that it could easily service as one of those trick circus mirrors or a lyric for the Rolling Stones song in which cops are criminals and sinners are saints – almost everything it reports is largely the opposite of what it seems, with its news copy crafted by some low level intern from the National Democratic Party. Diogenes would have burned his lamp out long ago seeking anything honest in their broadcasts.
The Washington Puke is even worse, if only because its publishers are seeking to recover old glories they briefly found while investigating Watergate in the early 1970s. Their whole purpose in life is to search under every rock for some possible Republican scandal they can uncover the way they did in the pace, and so desperate are they, they are not above creating a conspiracy where none exists.
Many people have higher hopes for the New York Slimes, because it’s hype always painted it as “America’s newspaper” when most of us in the alternative press knew just how inaccurate a perception this is, and how opportunistic Slimes has been, much like the recently fired FBI director, who played all sides in an effort to retain a position of power, its editorial content leaning towards whatever power broker that promised to give them clout, a conservative paper in the 1960s when most of us were against the war, and now a proponent for giving President Obama sainthood while giving the GOP a much hotter place to reside in its slanted reporting. While Slimes still prints an occasional brilliant piece from time to time, you often need a magnifying glass to find it and a lot of toilet paper to deal with open prejudice behind its eloquent purples prose that quickly fades into yellow journalism.
Yellow journalism has always been with us. Even Ben Franklin has a touch of hepatitis. But these days, jaundice appears to be epidemic among mainstream media where in the past it was generally on the fringe or the invention of some ego maniac with ambitions to be so powerful he could start a war with a bottle of ink, though even then this was considered a shameful abuse of power in the eyes of his peers.
The big difference is that nearly all of mainstream media wants to become Citizen Kane, and there is nobody left to hold them accountable for their abuses.
President Donald Trump claimed media is biased and unfair.
He’s right. It is. Nearly every news outlet in the county has taken sides in what is largely political theater, creating conspiracies, spreading misinformation or innuendo with no shame or apologies. But it is not up to The President or any elected official to hold media accountable, it is up to media, and we are not doing it.
Press associations are so consumed with protecting the First Amendment they left these outrageous media outlets get away with murder, and still blame cops and others for their blue wall, when media has a wall many times thicker and more dangerous than any Trump could build along the Mexican border.
Part of the problem is the concept of The Fourth Estate, which lets loose on the world brainwashed college kids who have all the clout of elected officials but none of the safeguards, nor any checks and balances except for greedy publishers consumed with internet clicks and equally biased editors who learned to spell but learned nothing about ethics.
The high and low point of contemporary journalism came at the exact same moment in time: Watergate.
Two men along with a host of other brave and dedicated journalists stood up against one of the most oppressive and corrupt regimes in American history, and brought it to its knees, an act unparallel in contemporary journalist history – but one which came with unfortunate consequences, inflating the ego of the Fourth Estate so that we mistakenly believed we had a place on Mount Olympus along with the political gods actually elected by the people. Instead of being guardians and watchers over the public good, we came to assume that we were a political power ourselves, and so as a result of years of inflated ego, we have out of control media outlets such as CNN, The Washington Puke and the New York Slimes all seeing to repeat what honest hardworking journalists accomplished when they did their jobs the way they were supposed to in the 1970s.
Watergate also changed the rules of journalism. The reporters that investigated Nixon used relatively new tools that later – and continue to be today – became abused by reporters and editors with far fewer ethics and far less talent.
What made the Watergate investigation work were the internal rules set by a remarkable publisher and an outstanding editor of the Washington Puke at that time, which were designed to uphold ethical standards and to limit mistakes. While mistakes were made, and innocent people’s careers suffered as collateral damager, on the whole, those reporters performed admirably.
But the Washington Puke has since resorted to all the bad habits typical of yellow journalism, not seeking truth so much as a repeat of its former glory, looking for dirt first, not objectivity.
Worse can be said of Crap National Network which has set itself up as some kind of moral barometer and truth-sayer when it lacks morality or truth or even the basic ethics my old professor expected from the most novice student reporter. It is difficult to know if CNN is deluded or corrupt, but its reporting certainly implies both.
Since National Propaganda Radio has little credibility when it comes to objectivity, I am not surprised or disappointed at its continued bias. Whereas the New York Slimes like the Washington Puke, demonstrates just how far our noble profession has fallen, and since they are both arrogant and unabashed in their prejudice, I can’t see their recovery any time soon – especially because we all know power corrupts and absolute unregulated power corrupts absolutely – because there is nothing for them to be accountable to except a sales chart.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Report from the front:how the press fails us

The New York Slimes

All the news that bullshit

Right wing media is filled with paranoia over how slanted the so-called mainstream media has become – possibly because with outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN slanted their news coverage, Fox can no longer take credit as the “bad boys” of Journalism, and by comparison, Fox even looks and sounds reasonable. This is a remarkable accomplishment that should be mainstream media some comfort since they have ranted and raved for years about how slanted Fox was.
Perhaps we ought to award the mainstream media a Pulitzer Prize for this, except in accomplishing this feat, mainstream media has completed gutted journalistic integrity and violated every possible principle of journalistic ethics.
News reporters working for these organizations should go back to college and get their money back. They obviously learned nothing while at school, except out to use a thesaurus to help manipulate the general public into believing a skewed point of view. Any weekend edition of The New York Times becomes a lesson in how not to be an objective journalist.
You can’t blame NPR or any of its affiliates since they never pretended to be objective, and has also been something of a minor league of news where second rate reporters go to earn a living or washed up mainstream reporters go to die. NPR has been so unobjective over the years, some of its reporters even earned citizenship medals from President Obama for slanting their news to the left – such as the medal awarded to the host of Fresh Air, whose claim to fame was bushwhacking Mrs. Reagan in the 1980s.
NPR hasn’t improved; mainstream media, envious of NPR’s ability to slant stories, has moved to the left as well, largely becoming the propaganda arm for the Democratic Party.
Why is this happening, you might ask?
There are a number of theories, among which is that media has become full of itself, believing its role is not to merely report the news (well or not) but to influence public opinion, elevating itself as the Fourth Estate to a role that historically required an election and oversight, and a balance of power among those who govern.
Media has no oversight. It operates on its own rules. Attack it, and it bands together like a pack of rats, much the way the American Medical Association does anytime anyone criticizes a bad doctor or the way members of a mob family might when one of its own is threatened.
Editors no longer demand objectivity. In fact, they seemed determine to interject personal opinion into news pages, making frequent use of yellow prose that will not-so-subtly force readers to accept as truth their opinions. Any accurate study of a Sunday Times will show this abuse as the purple prose proliferates every section from real estate to entertainment in a non-stop attack on the current administration. Since The New York Times is considered the bible of journalism by many, far lesser news organizations such as CNN and The Washington Post become poster children of outrageous violations of journalistic ethics – partly as a Harpers Magazine article recently noted – the reporters and editors see themselves on social par with the people they are covering – a ludicrous idea at best, and a dangerous one at worst.
Corrupt reporters have always been a fact of life, reporters that are on the take from one party or even the mob (as made clear in the movie The Godfather), but in the past, there were internal checks and balances, responsible editors and publishers, some who still remembered the ethical boundaries that keep the news industry honest.
This is the big change – partly due to the sometimes brilliant and yet clearly flawed reporting that brought down President Nixon in the aftermath of Watergate.
Now, every news agency thinks it has the power to bring down a government it does not like – and so leaps into each edition with both feet.
Even that would not be horrible if it was done innocently and fairly, attacking all leaders regardless of party affiliation.
Some right wing radio hosts believe the real cause of this shift to the left comes from how news organization recruits journalists. New journalists do not learn their craft in the newsroom so much as in a class room, and so some people feel, they get indoctrinated by a largely left corps of left wing professors long before they actually put pen to paper (a lost concept) in a news room.
There may be some truth to this since we see a similar left wing propaganda infecting other graduates such as the proliferation of those with Masters of Fine Arts that parade the world without any real vision of reality and no sense of social purpose other than the one injected into their naïve heads while in the classroom.
But empty-headed artists are far less dangerous than a similar breed of journalist who comes into the newsroom with preconceived notions and no notion of objectivity. This would not be as serious even were the newsrooms occupied with a better breed of editor, whose world experience might temper these misguided newbies. The problem is that editors are of the same ethic-illiterate breed, and publishers – seeking to supply fodder for a particular audience – allow news to be distorted to fit the preconceived opinions of their target audience.
So we get an invasion of gonzo journalists, combined with unethical editors and unscrupulous publishers in a perfect storm of bad journalism – paving the way for a kind of propaganda even Stalin might have envied, unchecked by any other real power, attacking anybody who dares call their journalism unfair.
On top of all this is the idea that media organizations believe it is their duty to take political positions – outside the editorial pages – blurring the line between fact and opinion in an effort to steer the public in a particular direction – checked by nobody, not even journalism organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists who should be but won’t criticize their own or hold them accountable for the gross misconduct that we now see as main stream media news.
And God help anyone who is not a journalist who dares to tell these news dilatants that they are wrong.
Never mess with anybody who buys ink by the barrel.