When Journalism was a Thing, Part Eight.

Journalists have become passive lumps of nothing.

Never in the history of our species did we have the tools and conveniences that we do today. The car, the Internet, medicine, education, human rights, peace, North America never had as many educated before in its entire existence.

We have never had so many wealthy people who had the level of wealth that they do.

We have so many supports and tools available, and so much knowledge at our disposal, that you would think believe that journalism would be very strong.

But you cannot have a strong profession when those who go into it are as weak, passive, and self-entitled than they are.

Here is a very pathetic article about how newsprint tariffs are hurting the already dead US newspaper industry, and the article has so much whining, whinging, and wallowing that you would be hard pressed to believe that these people were literate, let alone carriers of university degrees from Ivy League schools.

In journalism, we have an unprecedented level of absolute stupid.

This is a profession that expects some benevolent group called They to do all of their research, solve all of their problems, and then fawn and drool over them for being brilliant.

It would be so easy to feel sorry for them if you are the gullible sort.

It would also be too easy to think journalists always had dung for brains and garbage for attitude, but I know my journalism history extremely well, and the level of derring do and brilliance journalists once had was astounding.

Back in the day when many did not even have a high school degree.

My own dean from j-school Peter Desbarats was one of those kind of people. He dropped out in Grade 10, and went to work as a journalist. The laundry list of his accomplishments was extraordinary, and I can say he was one of the smartest people I ever met.

But there were many others in another time and place.

If you want to know how clever and even cunning some newsmakers were, pick up the book If No News, Send Rumors.

It is the must-read to remind oneself that journalists used to be resourceful and brave.

The late television producer and pionner Don Hewitt, who created 60 Minutes had numerous solutions to problems. When a plane accident was across a river, he charted the lone boat and got the scoop. He had tried to convince on news anchor to learn Braille so that he didn't need anything else to read a news script. The anchor said forget it.

You had censors during war, and journalists made up codes to hide the facts from them as they slip real information through ruthless gate-keepers.

You had photojournalists such as Dickey Chapelle who died covering war up close. You had Nellie Bly infiltrate dangerous places to do undercover work to expose horrific conditions.

Watergate had it's own two young journalists who pressed and pressed and took on a president, but not like cowards cowering behind a schoolyard bully. They did it with facts and their secret source Deep Throat.

Back then, there were far more obstacles. There were more problems and less knowledge. There was far more racism and sexism in newsrooms, and yet we had the Nellie Blys and the Lillian J. B. Thomas Foxes break barriers. We had Ida B. Wells who was an investigative journalist in the 1890s, exposing corruption by reporting on the horrors of lynching, even as her life was threatened and her presses were destroyed by cowardly mobs who wanted the truth to be hidden, making her Person #7 of people everyone should know.

ida.jpg

And now, in 2018, we have journalists crying in their beer and weed clouds how horrible it is for things not to go their way as they passively sit on their duffs waiting for the Journalism Fairy to wave that wand and make it all better.

Journalism was made strong by people who actually fought to do their jobs.

Wells did not bellyache when racist white men who had far more rights and powers than she did destroy her presses.

She soldiered on and exposed them. They were all banded together in their little security mob, and they were no match for her fire.

That journalism was a glorious thing back then? Not surprising.

That it is no longer a thing in 2018? Again, not surprising.

Journalism did not have the empiricism, but it had the humility, morals, bravery, agility, and cunning to soldier on.

And then it turned to arrogant and cowardly mush.

We need active people who actually fight, and that's not what we're getting from that profession.

Pity...