The Present Age
In a just world, publishing such confidently incorrect pieces in an actual newspaper would result in the author’s career in opinion journalism coming to an end soon after. This is not a just world. The Post, a real newspaper that people read to learn about the important issues of the day, doesn’t seem to care if their columnists know what they’re talking about.
Trolling the libs for clicks is one way the media makes money. Making money is a higher priority than accuracy.
The Soapbox
It’s very important that people understand this: We reside in a media environment that promotes—whether it intends to or not—right-wing authoritarian spectacle.
Current media coverage relies on the idea that both parties want a functioning democratic government. That has changed and this premise is giving cover to Republicans.
The incomparability between the Trump and Biden “scandals” is almost too obvious to mention, but not mentioning it in a story about the Hunter Biden case is journalistically criminal. I’d recommend something like “Despite attempts by Republicans to liken the legal perils faced by Trump and Biden, Trump faces a slew of incredibly serious criminal charges including for conspiring to steal a presidential election; Biden has been credibly accused of nothing.”
Both sides journalism has become a parody of itself. What was once a way to maintain objectivity is now an offensive way journalists appease media owners and mislead everyone else.
Indeed, the article does not even bother to inform readers what the Republican demands are. The audience is left to assume that whatever it is Republicans want, Democrats should meet halfway or thereabouts.
This is a good explanation of the artificial debt ceiling media story that blames both sides for political dysfunction when it’s clear Republicans want a broken government.
The nation is not “barreling toward default,” nor is it “careening,” or even “drifting” there. It is being pushed there by Republicans.
The media has had since at least 2016 to figure out how to cover irrational politics and they haven’t. They still imagine a world where Republicans want a functioning government—they don’t. Default is a win for them and stories should reflect that.
This unbroken stream of Musk blarney and BS should be enough to deter the press from automatically reporting the tycoon’s publicity hounding. But as with Donald Trump, the press seems unable to resist splashing coverage on Musk’s unnewsworthy high jinks, even though the stories have now become as common as dog-bites-man.
They're easy stories to write that people love to read. I'm not sure how people can break out of that feedback loop. I know I have no trouble hearing about the antics and I'm not even on the SS Twitanic anymore.
"Now is the time for the real news media to publicly and definitively distinguish between Fox and actual journalism. That means explaining journalism’s core values and how Fox does not share them. It means never again allowing anyone – the public, the pollsters, the funders, the political parties – to confuse the two."
I'm not holding my breath but this recent round of Dominion/Fox revelations does have a different tone. This article has some steps besides circling the wagons that journalists could try to make it clear Fox is operating in a different way from traditional journalism.
The Reframe
"It’s almost gotten to be boring, the degree to which people believe that what they refer to as “free speech” should not only allow them to say whatever they want (which it does), but should also prevent other people from understanding them to be the sort of person who says those things."
Your periodic reminder that free speech does not mean speech that is free from consequences. I'm sure this mediocre cartoonist will have a career on the right's "victim" circuit. He should be shunned by everyone else for his repulsive racism.
The Onion
We just made Quentin up, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean stories like his aren’t potentially happening everywhere, constantly. Good journalism is about finding those stories, even when they don’t exist. It’s about asking the tough questions and ignoring the answers you don’t like, then offering misleading evidence in service of preordained editorial conclusions.
Sometimes an organization is so cartoonishly evil it takes a comedian to point it out. The Onion nails the tone of the bigoted NYT response to criticism of its reporting on trans issues.
"Concerns are, indeed, growing. A regular reader of the Times might conclude that the paper itself is cultivating those concerns—even when the “data is sparse.” With the story about social transitioning in schools, in the past eight months the Times has now published more than 15,000 words’ worth of front-page stories asking whether care and support for young trans people might be going too far or too fast."
NYT continues to be awful and push a harmful agenda.
Popular Information
"In the piece, Fuller recounts a time in 2016 he saw a man grab “a handful of beef jerky” and walk out of a Walgreens. Based on this five-year-old anecdote and a statement from Walgreens, Fuller declared a “shoplifting epidemic” and called into question a sentencing-reform measure that reduced some thefts from felonies to misdemeanors. The piece, notably, does not include any data on crime rates in San Francisco."
The media wrote dozens of stories about a retail theft epidemic but it wasn’t based on reality. Why does the media choose to write about some topics frequently based on hearsay? Why aren’t there consequences or retractions with the same volume?
Current Affairs
"To ignore Musk is to sacrifice the precious clicks that a new Musk prediction will inevitably garner. Thus a for-profit tech journalism website faces a conflict between its financial self-interest and its integrity. In a time when it’s tough for media outlets to survive, it’s hard to turn down the clicks."
Good rant. Bullshit pays for the media (among others) but causes significant problems for society. Seems like an intractable problem.
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