Starting over in a Post-Journalism World, Part Twenty-Five.

The Toronto Star is a newspaper that has used the feint and ruse of gravitas and bravado to seem more enlightened than it ever has actually been.

It never learned humility or reality. Just take this advertorial packaged as a column:

A new era of ethics for journalism

It is pretentious and over-the-top hard sell, and is quite amusing as it does not align with reality in the slightest:

Most important, in this new era of misinformation and dwindling trust, when journalists must work harder than ever to earn the trust of our readers, I believe strongly in the accountability and transparency of having a well-thought out guide to journalism standards – and of making it easily accessible to readers. To that end, a link to the guide is now embedded on every piece of content on thestar.com. Links to the guide are also published on all other Torstar news sites

There is no “new era of misinformation.” We have always had the same misinformation, and more importantly, the same kinds of misinformation. I wrote the book on journalistic misinformation in 2005, and I covered decades of ground. It is not as if the Internet is actually any different than a wire service or a PR firm disseminating a press release — both reach hundreds and even thousands of outlets globally, and they in turn disseminated that information to a worldwide audience.

The first Gulf War was predicated on a lie. The entire planet was fed this lie. Journalists were wholly responsible for disseminating that lie without question.

The civil war in the former Yugoslavia had multiple PR firms spreading lies and misinformation, and the entire planet of journalists parroted those lies without question.

So where is this “new era”?

There isn’t. That itself is a deception meant to fear-monger and uses both a sink or swim logical fallacy, as well as an appeal to authority: Trust the Toronto Star, little people, because there is the same old dreck coming from us, but we are going to repackage it as we try to convince you to give up your freedoms and mindlessly defer to us.

There is no “new era” of journalism ethics. It’s a dead and antiquated profession that wore out its welcome, and some in the profession have finally clued in why, though they could have just read my latest book that already outlined that reason.

The Star likes to strut and crow as it marvels at its own inflated sense of worth. If there truly had been a “new era”, there would be radical educational overhauls, governing bodies, empirical methods, and a whole slew of other things, but as nothing has changed in the profession, it is just trash talk.

But the Star thinks that if bluffs and decrees it so, people will buy the hype.

And that is a highly unethical gambit to play.

Journalists have become partisan propagandists who pretend to be activist crusaders, even though they are uninformed, untrained, and unskilled. They are shallow and are reactionary, issuing stern and puritanical Victorian decrees without evidence or context.

That is precisely why they have lost all sense and credibility.

The alternative is not about chest thumping or pretending that you are superior to your audience. It is about being First Among Equals in terms of fact-gathering.

There is no “crusading” or “activism”. That is a poor man’s form of lobbying, and lobbying was never an ethical profession. Telling people what to think and how to think is the stuff of egomaniacal and exploitative cult leaders and war-mongers, not information disseminators.

Keep your self-serving and partisan opinions to yourself. No one cares. Just find the facts as you understand their atomic essence.

That is where journalism utterly failed: they never understood the currency or lifeblood of their own profession. They have zero understanding of what is a fact, let alone truth, reality, perception, and interpretation.

So no, there is no “new era” in the ethics of journalism.

But there is new era of an alternative to journalism: one that is molecular at its core, as it builds and expands to the Infinite…