Once upon a time, journalism used to critique itself. You had reporters do postmortems on their missteps and even fiascos.
The healthier an industry is, the more self-critical they are. You see to improve and progress and not keep making the same mistakes over and over again, making a bad situation the one that sinks your profession's credibility.
But, when the problems are allowed to get out of hand, the situation changes: the more corrupt a profession is, the less they admit to their errors because if people on the outside knew the truth and reality of that discipline, they would shut it down.
The devious and the incompetent have no choice but to pretend they are perfect and beyond reproach as they drop a heavy curtain on their misdeeds.
The problem is when you drop down a curtain on your stage, you are signalling the end of the profession, anyway, drawing attention to the very rot you are trying to hide.
NBC News is such a place that cannot stand criticism -- the problem is journalism is nothing but a profession that criticizes other people and institutions, and if you can dish it out, but you can't take it, you nullify everything you have ever produced.
We had Chuck Todd's diva meltdown in the Atlantic trying to deflect attention away from journalism's own culpability in their own demise, pretending that they have to "fight back".
You may be pointing a finger of blame at someone else, but three fingers a pointing right back at you.
But that's typical NBC's gambit of misdirection.
NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is playing the same disgusting game on Ronan Farrow. Instead of admitting they made a mistake or did something wrong by killing Farrow's exposé on Harvey Weinstein, they keep trying to blame Farrow.
Lack's memo is truly vile. He is now trying to spin a narrative that Farrow was behaving as if he were an amateur and didn't do enough digging.
This is tantamount to professional slander. Lack is accusing Farrow of incompetence, never mind that Farrow's New Yorker article ended up making shockwaves and culminated in Weinstein facing criminal charges and Farrow winning a Pulitzer.
And Lack is spewing garbage, as if NBC's standards are really that high. Their other news reports are nowhere near the factual density as Farrow's piece.
Farrow, of course, is having none of it.
It has already been established the NBC's A-list news talent, Matt Lauer, was of the same ilk as Weinstein: predatory toward female employees.
And NBC didn't do a thing for years.
So NBC's excuses are rubbish.
They refuse to change or admit wrongdoing, meaning they are as corrupt and rotten today as they were when Farrow's piece was nixed.
If journalism was healthy, NBC would have admitted they dropped the ball, publicly apologize to Farrow, do an internal review, and improve as they change because that's what healthy institutions do.
You don't pile up the excuses, pretend your illness is a sign of glorious health, and then deflect legitimate criticism that is backed up with facts.
That's the reason journalism is a sham, and doesn't actually exist.
And an alternative will be one where the mechanism of realistic and honest self-assessment is built in from the start.
Just like a healthy person goes to the doctor for check-ups and goes for tests, they do it because it is far easier to stop a problem early on than wait until it is terminal.
If you have a cancer in you, it is not a sign that you are some defective person as a whole: it is a sign you have to deal with this tumour before it gets terminal.
Journalism stopped going to check-ups, and got nasty when people started noticing how sickly it was becoming, pretending they were healthier, smarter, and nobler than their critics.
They are still playing that game from their coffins.
The alternative can never play that same game: mechanisms for check-ups must be at its core.
It is the way to ensure the lens are not distorted or become cloudy.
If you want to cover reality, then you need a disposition that is primed to see it.
And NBC's childish games prove they haven't been a real news outlet for a very long time...