Mutus Praestrigio: finding the silent feints that manipulate narratives.

In my early days in journalism, I was listening to a group of reporters who were praising one young newsmaker excessively. As in, off camera and heaping on praise for this person, which isn’t something you would expect. It was truly uncritical, and me being me, a person without a filter, said, “I wonder who his parents are.”

The conversation ended right there. I know that no poor newsmaker is going to get that kind of praise. Somehow, this person had to have had some serious doors opened because not only would this individual — had it truly been some regular Joe — not get national players to heap on praise, getting any coverage, even local, would not happen. There are a lot of people who fell into that category, and to get attention of that magnitude would require some serious strings because it wasn’t actually newsworthy.

As my grandmother used to say, “Nothing special.”

Maybe it wasn’t the parents who were the ones with clout. Perhaps it was the grandparents or uncle and aunt, but behind every “accidental” newsmaker, there is a first-degree relative who has the money and the connections to choreograph the spectacle.

I was watching some bullshit story on television this evening that got me asking the same questions, but in a very different angle. The story was presented in a certain way, but key details of the newsmaker were left out: how did this person get such a lucrative position? When things went south, how come they received resources that average people in the same situation never do?

Who’s your daddy?

Sometimes the question isn’t that, but What did your wife really do to ensure that you became the Great Man?

Wired finally got around to asking that question — only after the façade of one alleged Great Man was exposed to be a gross exaggeration. Only when things are revealed does the press acknowledge it. Not one second before. It is always downplayed or completely ignored.

The subtext of that kind of article simple: Yeah, we were lying to you all along.

Journalism’s silent swindle always involves manipulating facts to support a false narrative. From the special ingenue with star quality to the Titan of Industry, every journalistic profile fudges the facts one way or another. Grifters such as Bernie Ebbers and Kenneth Lay were praised in national publications. It still happens.

Only when bad things get leaked out that we start hearing about all the facts not in evidence in the court of public opinion.

We often forget to ask about the things not mentioned in a news story, and often asking questions destroys the narrative just enough for the reality to show itself and go against the lies that make news…