More whitebread propaganda from the Hamilton Spectator and the Toronto Star

Canada is a country that fears change and standing on your own two feet. It is a nation with wobbly training wheels going around in circles day in and day out.

A pair of related articles in the Toronto Star and the Hamilton Spectator are rank propaganda, but they both suffer from the same cowardly confirmation bias that is short-sighted and doesn’t look at the real problems plaguing society: they are pandering to the chicken littles, nothing more.

Let’s start with the Toronto Star’s garbage first.

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Why are you protesting e-learning? What do you actually know about it?

Here is a simpler question: Have you ever heard of Bloom’s Taxonomy?

If you are a parent or student and you are griping about your “education” and you never heard this concept before, shut up.

I mean it. Do not get haughty and indignant about education if you do not know what system we are running and have been since the mid-1950s. Go do some basic research before opining about something you do not know anything about — but should.

And in the last decade or so, education has evolved and we now have a revision in the form of Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy.

What this means is simple: e-learning has come a long way. A very long way. It is how I got certified in Higher Learning through Harvard University and upgrade my art theory through Oxford University. I use e-learning, and as an educator with a graduate degree, I know quality education. Get with the times, kids.

Because I don’t actually think most of you do your own homework, but your parents meddle and do a lot of it for you — and if they aren’t computer savvy or you have to go school to learn online, you don’t have people being able to prop up your work.

And this isn’t anything new. We used to have correspondent’s courses — and when I was fast-tracking in high school, I had to do two my credits that was in order to finish one year early. It is not a big deal. Stop throwing temper tantrums because things have to change. That’s life. Deal with it.

So you have reactionary teenaged geezers whining because things have to change. That’s called life, children.

But the Star’s obnoxious whitebread wallowing has nothing on the Hamilton Spectator with this piece of trash:

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Memo to the Hamilton Spectator: people lose their jobs every fucking day. The Spec is so immoral that they do not do the same thing to those on the streets or shelters, putting a “face” on those poor people who lost their jobs and now have no home to go to anymore.

Hamilton is a city littered with panhandlers — all those people had jobs, but we don’t seem to give flying fucks about poor people.

Teaching has been seen as a safe career: great pay, job security, and benefits with a strong union. The problem is Ontario is too public sector heavy: when people working for the government are doing far better than the private sector employees, sooner or later, you no longer can afford the system, and you have to cull the fold. You don’t get to bypass the dues paid by those in the private sector who get laid off or let go during economic downturns.

And private sector employees are the ones who bring fresh money into the tax base. People who work for the public sector are, in fact, recycling government money when they pay taxes, meaning they are always a deficit. They give some money back in taxes, but not enough, and when your tax base ends up being public sector employees, you are going to be in serious debt, which is what Ontario is in.

So the Spec’s lazy propaganda suffers from a severe confirmation bias on every imaginable level: it is not looking at why we have a province with too many civil servants, forty percent of private sector workers earning minimum wage, and how do we deal with those real problems.

You interview a few sulky people. Big deal. That’s emotional manipulation. It’s not news. News is asking why we have over 115,000 teachers in this province in the first place. Do the math on their salaries. Look at how many of those educators are on the Sunshine List. Look at how top heavy their administration is, and then go from there. You are not going to get people working minimum wage feeling sorry for these people. You are not going to get precariously employed people feeling sorry for them, let alone small business owners, or people working the private sector busting their tail hustling with a fraction of the pay and with no benefits feeling sorry for them.

Losing a job is life. Hamilton is a city where the majority of people who do well financially work for the government, in healthcare or in education. That’s a dangerous problem and one that came from myopic and shitty leadership. And Hamilton went NDP and we do not have a single cabinet minister — just a single rookie MPP who is in the outskirts of the town.

Hamilton cannot blame Doug Ford for any of its woes. These wounds were entirely avoidable and self-inflicted. The Spec is pure worthless garbage. Let’s have a pity fest seems to be their way of brainlessly waddling through life, and no wonder they are an empty shell.

No one seems to be thinking or using any skill you should have learned in school in the first place. This province needed to do things differently and change on its own before change was imposed on them, but that takes courage and proactive thinking, which doesn’t really speak well of anyone around here…

An update...and laughing at the deluded trash the Spec is passing off as "journalism"...

I am still alive, conscious, and coherent!

One book manuscript is done, and I am taking photographs for it. The other book is over a quarter done, and should be done in a couple of weeks.

After that, I will need a bit of a rest and recalibration.

Lots of garbage passing off as journalism and politics, but most have not compelled me to break my hiatus.

I came across this two-part knee-slapper about the murder of a Dundas couple from the Hamilton Spectator and it is pure delusional and arrogant bullshit.

It is typical of journalistic stenography when Establishment types who want to intimidate a target — regardless of innocence or guilt — by using a media campaign against them. Journalists, like good little puppets, always comply.

When my family sued the city after what paramedics did to my grandmother, all of a sudden, our case was slapped on the front page, even though it was not actually newsworthy. There were and are other cases of paramedics being sued in Ontario (I know because I went down to the courthouse to have a look) and for the exception of one, most never made news.

But the Spec drooled over the stronger and wealthier side, of course, meaning City Hall. Our lawyer advised us not to talk to the paper, but I wouldn’t have anyway. I know who these people are because I wrote a column for them and saw everything up close. The paper quoted one source who also went on to defend some shady criminal characters as well, which I have written about here previously.

The reporter pretty much got everything wrong, of course. The article did nothing but rely on authorities and parrot them brainlessly. It was free advertising about how grand, glorious and hard-working paramedics are, as if we were lazy do-nothings.

No, assholes, we were working 24/7 looking after a woman whose catastrophic injuries made her completely disabled and bed-ridden. They are just paramedics, not saints. They also have cushy government jobs and often make the Sunshine List. My mother and I weren’t living it up changing my grandmother’s diapers and feeding her because she could not feed herself. She was a prisoner in her own body, but fully alert and aware.

My mother was upset by the coverage. I knew what the city’s gambit was, and also knew that the Spec cannot give away their newspapers; so I took it in stride.

But my mother, months later, got in touch with the reporter and gave her side and wanted to show the results of what happened to us. Needless to say, they never bothered with a follow-up.

We weren’t the Man, after all.

So back to the articles of pure trash about the Dundas double homicide.

This passage is pure deceptive doublespeak and arrogance:

In recreating the night of the fire that killed Alan and Carla Rutherford, the search for a suspect in their deaths and the ripple effects the fire and the killings had on others, the Hamilton Spectator spent months speaking to multiple sources with knowledge of the family and the case, along with experts.

Some sources are confidential because they fear reprisal.

The Spectator independently verified all details.

The Spectator has also examined public financial, property, court and employment records and sifted through social media posts.

No, you didn’t. How are you exactly qualified to “independently verify” it? Are you trained or licensed? What empirical methods did you use? Are you police? Forensic psychiatrists?

No?

The fact that you needed to puke that passage out tells me everything I need to know. This is a ruse to sound as if you did something different and were authorities whose word meant something, and it doesn’t. This is a manipulative tactic and a feint, nothing more.

And how did you define “independently verify”? Talk to a second cop? Read a press release? That is an empty, garbage term. I do not recall you doing that when discussing what happened to my grandmother.

Did you see the photographic evidence we had? Did you read the hospital reports or spoke to experts on the matter?

Nope. You interviewed irrelevant parties who had no knowledge or expertise on the matter. They were there as cheerleaders to the men who dropped my grandmother, and you never once independently verified a thing.

But the faux authoritative babble of the Rutherford murder is cringeworthy. You looked at social media posts? Any motherfucker can do that. That is not an actual thing.

The purpose of articles such as this one is simple: put the pressure on the target, in this case the man arrested for the murders. You try to taint public perceptions in a bid to isolate that person and make them do what you want them to do. It is a strong arm psychological siege and the press always dutifully complies. You will always notice that everything is from the perspective of the Authority’s narrative, not the facts, and certainly nothing presented that ever refutes the theory.

The Spec is not an actual investigative body. It is just a few writers who suck up to police or government sources and then puke out whatever will make the source happy. When it is criminals involved, most people don’t care, but they should because this practice is deceptive and makes the press sound as if they are something they are not or have any business of being: Authorities who determine what narrative is socially acceptable.

I can talk about the glaring flaws and holes of both those articles, but I won’t. I will save those inconsistencies for another day, and even another book. The Spec cut my pay check in the 1990s. I wrote about them for Presstime in the early aughts. My family was traumatized by them a few years ago when they kicked an old, diasbled woman as she lay dying. I know who these people are and they do not impress me or have one grain of my respect.

I do not buy their self-serving decrees. It is a ruse, and one that is easily deconstructed. Real experts frown on using journalistic sources for a reason.

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I feel sympathy for Julian Assange, however. He was sheltered and naive in thinking the Middle Class would rise up against the psychopathic tyrants who manipulate and control them if he just exposed their slave masters.

That’s not how the middle class roll. You are telling them that they made a mistake and are defectively unenviable, and in that, they will never forgive him.

At least he understood what journalism should have been. This is not an assault on journalism because journalism never was as honest, organic, or brave as WikiLeaks, but the Guardian is trying to make a false comparison as self-serving vultures always try to do. WikiLeaks certainly isn’t the low-class garbage the Spec pukes and then pretends is real. I am writing about Assange in my latest manuscript; so it is the reason I am not mentioning anything here.

I am off again to go back to writing about war propaganda. It is a very depressing subject to tackle, especially when I am writing about it in the dark all by myself at 3 o’clock in the morning, but I am writing it from both ends to keep a positive balance. Sure, things are broken, but broken can be repaired to be better than new.

Life is meant to be Kintsugi, and it is an art that sings beautiful love songs to me; and I am grateful.

Til then…

xoxo.

Actrivism, Part Nine: Immerse yourself in wavelengths. Learn to ride in someone else's soul.

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Nicola Tesla was a smart man. He’s #35 on the List of People Everyone Should Know.

And I took a lot from his ideas, particularly about understanding the deepest truths of the universe by understanding energy, frequency, and vibration.

Or, riding on the wavelengths of other people and groups.

When I decided to study the ways of journalism by becoming a journalist, what I was doing was riding on the wavelengths of this collective, how the justify their beliefs about themselves and how they process the world around them.

In-groups have their own little set of arrogant ideals, and they like to fancy themselves as superior, even when they are seen as underdogs or undesirables.

Look at CBC getting haughty because Fox News didn’t air someone who has gotten a lot of free press opining about the rich and their taxes.

CBC has conducted countless interviews that never made it to air.

When you interview a lot of people to make a narrative, some do not perfectly “fit” your pattern, and you will exclude it.

I have had editors cut out people I interviewed for articles, and I never found out until after publication.

But even in j-school, when one CBC producer came to lecture us, and we were given a real-life scenario, and we had to pick and choose which interviews made it and which ones were excluded.

So let’s not pretend. I have been interviewed for stories, and I never made it in the final product.

If you do not align perfectly with a narrative, you are removed.

I wrote OutFoxed: Rupert’s war on journalism, and I recount how the FNC is careful who they air, but it is not just the FNC.

Whenever you rely on narrative, you are going to do that sort of thing to keep the mindset in place.

Once it happened to me when I was writing about women who broke the law to appease a mate. I included a young woman who murdered a perfect stranger because her boyfriend asked her to do it.

The reason I included that case was to show it wasn’t some sort of romantic notion or that every woman was duped. I wanted a textured story, but the editor lopped it off, and the nuances of the story completely changed. I was not happy.

But that is the mundane reality of the newsroom.

I bet you do the same thing on Twitter and Facebook — cherry-picking articles and propaganda posters (that is what a meme poster is, kids) that fit perfectly with your beliefs with no dissenting perspective and stories.

But you take it for granted.

I didn’t.

I wanted to ride the wavelengths of the profession.

But once I began writing books about my findings, I wanted people to be able to immerse themselves the way I did.

So I did something very subtle: I presented the facts objectively through structure, but in such a way the mimicked the mindset of those I was writing about.

I did it with all of my books. You are going inside the mindset of the profession, feeling the same rhythms and frequencies as those working in it.

But a funny thing happened.

Some reviewers didn’t get it.

One was upset that I took the same “pot shots” at FNC pundits that they took on others, while completely missing the point.

The same goes for my latest book, When Journalism was a Thing.

The mimicry of the energy, frequency, and vibration completely went over some reviewers heads.

Not everyone was clueless, mind you. A lot of people understood the point.

I remember when I was a relationships columnist with the Hamilton Spectator, and I did the same immersion with a short 600-ish word column about money.

Someone wrote in, and got it. As in, felt it.

I set up a stage. I get into character — but not a fictitious character. It is Method Research, and I am a Actrivist.

I will upload the column and response another time.

But even back then, I would reflect the frequencies of those I was writing about.

That requires not being so me-centred. It is a you-centred exercise.

This is how you deal with the emotional aspect of covering people or events.

That’s how you walk through Infinity with someone else’s heart and soul to see their perceptions and go through their motions as if they were your own.

There is no Us Versus Them. You become the Them.

Outside and inside. You are both. Above and below. Left and right.

This method is the way of the Radical Centrist. You learn by becoming, and you gain energy by allowing its essence into the very stuff of your soul to see what are the problems and the core of their cause.

By becoming part of the problem before transmuting yourself into the solution…

What to election campaigns actually measure? Ability -- or theatrical performance?

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Consider this passage of this Toronto Star article from November 9, 1994:

Rowlands under fire at debate

…Hall and Meinzer peppered Rowlands for being absent at the crucial times when Toronto residents needed a calm, reassuring voice that said, "Someone's in charge." Two incidents support the view, they said.
Rowlands, 70, carried on with a city council meeting while Toronto residents watched Yonge St. erupt in violence in May, 1992, after a peaceful demonstration outside the U.S. consulate over the verdict in the Rodney King case.
And Rowlands didn't know a band of youths had terrorized merchants and swarmed people for several hours along Yonge St. this Halloween. She was caught off guard when asked about it the following day at an all-candidates meeting.
"It's important to have a mayor who knows what's happening in this city. You've missed the boat, June," said Hall.
Meinzer called it "inexcusable that the mayor, 16 hours after the event, doesn't know" the swarming happened.
Hall said that "after incidents like the so-called (1992) riot on Yonge St., the mayor has an obligation to speak" to the public right away. "I also believe it's important for the mayor to know what's happening in the city."
Rowlands said she was busy holding a council meeting during the 1992 incidents. But after the violence, she said, she "met first thing in the morning with black leaders and issued a joint communique which cooled out the situation."

Rowlands, not surprisingly lost the election. That was a turning point.

Now consider this latest faux pas from federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh when asked about Chinese Ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye’s article in the Hill Times (where he wrote “The reason why some people are used to arrogantly adopting double standards is due to Western egotism and white supremacy. In such a context, the rule of law is nothing but a tool for their political ends and a fig leaf for their practising hegemony in the international arena. What they have been doing is not showing respect for the rule of law, but mocking and trampling the rule of law.”):

“Sorry, who accused who of white supremacy?”

It didn’t play well, but considering the Liberal opponent just stepped aside given her own comments, political memory can be short. Rowlands bad luck was the debate happened too close to voting day and her opponents avoided stepping in the dog shit she did.

But campaigns are pretty much canned events and photo ops that don’t do very much unless the politician in question really screws up. The Hamilton Spectator once waxed on it during the last federal election on October 3, 2015:

There was a time when election campaigns were…spontaneous, intimate, passionate. Politicians said what they thought, and actually answered questions…
Reporters were allowed more access, and were discreet and respectful, sticking to the issues and overlooking what might then have been considered none of their business.
Today, those rules are gone and the campaign is a highly scripted event.
Journalists are kept at a distance, the farther the better. Questions are few; answers are evasive.
Politicians are told what to say, when to say it, how to say it, and to whom. Every line is memorized, rehearsed and focus-grouped. Any attempt to go off-script is dangerous, sometimes suicidal.
No matter how unpredictable the question, there is always a predictable response.
Unlike the stump speech of another era (so named because politicians stood on a stump to see above the crowd) today's are controlled, with picturesque backgrounds and obedient onlookers. The Conservative party events are by invitation only. The party even tried (and gave up) to put a gag order on attendees, making them promise not to transmit "any description, account, picture or reproduction of the event…"
The result is that today, voters are left with - well, they're left with the campaign we see before us: three leaders mostly unchanged in the polls since the day the election was called…
None of the leaders make many - if any - gaffes. But neither do they say anything remarkable. They do not use journalists to get their message out; they use social media or blanket the airwaves with multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns…

In other words, everyone was slumbering, and too deferential to dig. Now that social media allows a finer refinement, politicians are trying to rig the canned event so that no one can see, hear, or witness what is really happening.

Campaigns have never been empirical. They have always been theatrical. Even if someone makes a gaffe, often it is not a real gaffe; it is a mere flubbing of a line that looks bad in the context of a performance.

The qualities we ought to consider are slumbering we ignore because there is no way to measure it. Instead, we revere the irrelevant, and that’s a case of sanctioned insanity. Every once in a while some out-of-control vice explodes in spite the choreographed scripts, and they stand out.

Until someone even worse upstages it.

That is the question. Journalism played along and then got shut out when they couldn’t deliver voters.

The alternative to journalism has to create the measurements in order to empirically measure what is out there, and what it means.

Because in a Zero Risk Society, we take unwise gambles for no good reason at all…

As the federal Liberal regime bribes journalism outfits, they ignore Canada's violence problem.

When I worked as a journalist, I had repeatedly tried to pitch various stories to various media outlets, both in Toronto to a national audience, and in my hometown of Hamilton about the serious gang and mob problems Canada was having and how it was all coming to a head.

I was repeatedly dismissed as being alarmist because having a story with actual research that wasn’t sunny spinning rot and garbage was scary to these outlets.

I knew a lot of things from my research in art crimes in Canada, another topic no one in Canadian media would ever publish. I knew, for instance, that stolen art was criminal currency, and there was a lot of art theft going on at the time I was looking into things.

There was a link between stolen art and gang violence, and had I been given the green light to pursue it, I could have found out much more.

But, no, no, no: we have to pretend that Canada doesn’t have a violence and organized crime problem that is worse than the US.

And make no mistake: Canada’s problem is worse.

I warned some publications, such as the now defunct Saturday Night, that the gang violence in Toronto was going to spill into civilian life. The editor thought I was exaggerating, and then, as I predicted, it spilled into the streets on Boxing Day in Toronto, and a teenaged girl named Jane Creba was murdered in broad daylight.

But journalists here would rather play free Hollywood publicists and fellate celebrities at TIFF than do actual journalism.

The federal Liberal regime is buying media coverage right now, wasting money thinking that getting good publicity is going to secure a second term for them.

But Canada has a severe violence problem that is now catching the attention of people in the US. Our homicide rate is the highest it has been since 1992, before there were all those gun control measures put in place, and the year isn’t done yet.

Gang violence has gotten out of control, but it is more complicated than that.

This is a problem that is global in origin, and has deep roots in international organized crime, but as the federal Liberals have turned a blind eye and have been, to be blunt, incompetent, it is a problem that is not going away.

And don’t look at the federal Conservatives to be any better as we have seen what kind pervy self-indulgent antics their politicians such as Tony Clement have played on Canadian taxpayers’ dime.

We have no one in the federal cabinet remotely qualified: we just have the morally masturbating Chrystia Freeland holding childish vendettas against the US and Saudi Arabia for not giving her a lollipop and not pretending she is in any way intelligent, when, in fact, we have serious problems that originate from outside our borders, and that there is no way for it to be contained from within our borders.

In other words, Canada’s violence problem has gotten away from us, and, just like our legitimate businesses, they are mostly foreign owned and it is not Canada that calls the shots.

We have a vassal state that is a puppet regime spending money it does not have as it borrows from outside interests to bribe the press and lull the public as its own resources have been co-opted by other countries who do not give away their autonomy the way Canada has.

We don’t control our own wheat board.

And we do not own bread of a different kind.

I can see what is happening very clearly. We have a serious violence problem because we have a government who do not want to see how badly they have managed Canada, and we have a press that never does its job properly.

If you thought 2018 was violent, 2019 will take it out in the streets once again because that cancer was left untreated, and it spread.

Dundas, Ontario has beggars out in the streets now. So does Oakville, Burlington, and Ancaster, once considered the cradle of the upwardly mobile middle class in this province.

You cannot have that kind of rampant poverty and not think that vulnerability is going to cost you human life.

When you have close to a million people in Ontario on social assistance, they are not contributing to the economy.

When you have over a million people who worked for the government, they are also not creating an economically robust ecosystem.

And if you have fifteen percent of a large province on unsteady ground, you have a problem.

And this doesn’t factor in children or pensioners.

The scaffolding is weak and unstable.

But you have people deluded into thinking they are rich because their rubble of a shack is over-valued, and they don’t see the storm up ahead.

The postal strike did a number. US tariffs are dong a number. The retail sector is doing worse than what is being let on. We have a violence problem that is now catching the eye of the foreign entities that lend us money. The ones who are buying Canadian properties to park their wealth who are artificially jacking up the prices of housing.

We have a serious money laundering problem. We have a serious organized crime problem. We have a serious gun problem. We have a serious human trafficking problem. We have a serious gang problem.

We have a serious violence problem.

We have a serious criminal problem made worse by the fact that Canada is notoriously bad at making bad activity illegal, and if it does, having no teeth to do anything about it.

That’s there where we are right now.

And we have a regime whose leader wears kiddie socks and takes selfies as he calls people who point out the rot as “ambulance chasers.”

This is all aided and abetted by a dead profession that just got a slush fund right on the eve of an election.

The fun and games have just begun, but it will be interesting to see what happens when the implosion happens, and why it will make the impact that it will.

Because you are not getting a warning of what is happening from either the feds nor the press.

Expect more violent temper tantrums next year, and one that will no longer be so straightforward to clean up before an election…

The Tantrums: How whining became mistaken for news.

When I had my relationships column in the Ego section of the Hamilton Spectator in the mid-1990s, one of the editors of the section told me that their most popular feature was "What's Your Beef?" -- clearly a pre-social media feature where readers could call in, gripe about whatever they wished, and the paper would print it as is.

It was cheap and easy filler. No research, no work, no verification, no paying an employee to write up something.

When the Internet took off, you didn't need that kind of section anymore, because Troll Scroll took care of it.

But now we have media outlets who still rely on tantrums being presented as news, except now they have bylines to go along with, trying to present them as news.

The temper tantrum from BlogTo is amusing enough: Toronto should secede from the rest of Ontario to make their own province!

Good. It's about time junior got his own place.

Toronto has serious infrastructure problems. They have a serious violence problem. They have a homeless crisis. They have a green space problem. They have a corruption problem. They have an immigration dilemma. They are too expensive to upkeep, and they are draining resources from the rest of the province.

There is no reason why Ontario shouldn't spin off Toronto so it can depend on its own resources.

The rest of the province is not dependent on Toronto. There are many cities that have actual wealth and people with serious disposable income, and they are not big cities: Ancaster, Burlington, Grimsby, Niagara-on-the-Lake, London, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Kingston, and the like.

There are highways and tourist attractions. There are plenty of universities and factories outside of Toronto, and as someone who taught art classes over the years, people from Toronto had the least money to spend, while people in Burlington had by far the most. As someone who also has a serious addiction to Re-Stores, and have been to them all in the Golden Horseshoe, Burlington has seriously impressive and expensive furniture, while Toronto's is nowhere near the level of class or quality in their offerings.

Ontario is a big province. It can afford to be annexed. Toronto is expendable. It is not as if the province would fall apart without Toronto, but Toronto is dependent on the goodwill of the other regions, but if they wish to leave, they know where the exit is. Life goes on without them.

But this is not an actual article: it is a temper tantrum directly squarely at Doug Ford who won a majority government without Hogtown, and now the city knows all of the graft they reaped from the Grits for years is about to be yanked away to be given to the regions who voted for the Tories.

That the NDP are frightened and stooping to calling Ford a "dictator" is not surprising, especially as many NDP candidates get a boost with name recognition and connections by first running for city council of big cities because they do not have other means to do so (they don't run established businesses or are employed in broadcasting, for instance). It's their signature hack that they coast on, and now it is being taken away in a single swoop.

The NDP are having a meltdown because a rig they counted on is under attack in a political game -- and in the world of political games, you need to keep changing your strategies because you are not entitled to them in a democracy, or anywhere else for that matter -- and now their dependence on a single gambit is backfiring on them.

But for an article to thump its chest is unprofessional. In life, you do not always get your own way because other people have rights just like you do, and the answer is not to scream that you are going to take all your toys and go home, especially when those aren't your toys to take. It is a temper tantrum disguised as an article, and worse, fear-mongering propaganda.

But it is not just a little blog that plays those gambits; so too does the New York Times, with this whiny Op Ed piece how horrible it is for mothers to be expected to look after their children and not let them out of their sights.

And when their benign neglect is not applauded, but criticized, then comes the howls how judgemental people are.

The phrase "free range" does not manage to put a sunny spin on rot. You free range live stock, and if you see your children as стока, you really are not getting this whole parenting thing.

But it is an interesting filter the author of this tantrum piece uses: it is much safer for white, upper middle class children to go to the gated park with their nannies without mommy having to worry about things such as gun violence, abductions, molestation, and murder, but not everyone has that luxury.

I grew up in the 1980s in a new middle class area, and we got multiple letters from our schools over the grade school years to give to our parents because there was more than one child molester luring kids on their walk home.

It really isn't safe for kids out there, upper middle class white women! Who do you expect to look after your children? Some group called They?

I have known people who boasted about having "independent" kids who went out to who knows where, and then years later, have a meltdown because every single kid was molested multiple times by multiple people.

Hello! Children have targets right on their foreheads because they are society's most vulnerable demographic.

For too many kids, childhood is hell.

You do have to raise kids. They do not raise themselves, no matter how "smart" they are because they do not have fully developed brains and bodies, are weaker and less experienced than adult predators who have practice, and do not have ways of defending themselves because they have a more optimistic worldview and cannot imagine someone and something can exist to cause them harm. They drown in pools, get hit by cars and trains frequently, fall off balconies, and get lured by evil adults who need new fodder for their child porn business. How many times I went for a walk near parks where there were children, and skulking in the bushes were grown men taking pictures of them is too numerous to count.

I have taken down their license plate numbers and called police with a description, but unless that perv nabs a kid and traumatizes him or her for life, the police will not step in.

Kids get abducted from their bedrooms, let alone bus stops, backyards, and department stores.

Code Adams and Amber Alerts weren't suggestions of some hysterical overprotective mom.

Some kid had to get tortured and killed for people to think of it. Oh yeah, kids get hurt easier than an adult, maybe we should do something about it...

Sometimes when someone tells you something negative, there is a reason for it.

Because perhaps they were the recipient of harm as a child and are doing what they know how to prevent it from happening to someone else.

Did you ever consider that, your majesty? 

No, because it didn't involve your selfie.

Again, not an Op Ed piece. It is a Op Ed piece written by someone with blinders on puking stupid.

It is not a feminist issue. We have a very violent society -- one where kids can get shot and killed on the streets, in the parks, and in their own schools. Maybe not in your tony neighbourhood, but not everyone lives the same way you do.

The What's Your Beef? filler is alive and well. Whining tantrums are being reimagined as articles and opinion pieces.

They are neither. Just people throwing a hissy because not everyone is praising and applauding their selfish theories that are rigged to benefit them -- and no one else...

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Why is journalism dead? Because they truly have no guidance or sense to resurrect themselves.

I

It is an Age of Propaganda where you have journalists becoming paupers relying on their various regimes to financially support them. The Guardian got all happy because New Jersey will throw some pennies to prevent journalists from facing the consequences of their own ineptitude. ($5 million for an entire state's print media? That won't do anything but make the taxpayers of the state five million dollars poorer).

The moralizing spin that newspapers are important for "civic health" is rubbish. Journalism is a business and not a public service.

And the Internet has taken over what journalism did when they controlled the flow of information. The idea obviously stems from a bygone era -- and when you think in the past, you have no future because you have no idea about the state of your present reality.

Worse still, why are you forcing taxpayers to pay for a product that -- if they wanted to support -- could do it directly?

And why throw money in a black hole -- you are just encouraging the same bad behaviour that brought a profession to its ruin?

What will change? Nothing because you cannot throw money at a problem and expect a miracle.

You need fundamental changes -- and it is easier to start fresh with a game plan and expertise going in, than part with taxpayers's money on a lost cause.

And with strings attached, those paupers are not going to reporting on anything that will threaten their sugar-daddies.

Start fresh. Have a plan. Get expertise.

And see the reality of the situation.

If journalism was functioning, it wouldn't have died. It was sick for a real, and it got sicker because people in it never thought they had any flaws.

But reality and journalism have been on the outs for a long time now.

II

The stupidity does not end there.

Vox, the partisan online site that drowns itself in sophistry, has this oblivious review:

Journalism has a trust problem. The podcast In the Dark proposes a compellling solution.

The terrific series, examining flaws in the criminal justice system, stands up for old-fashioned reporting.

Todd VanDerWerff's puerile ramblings begin with the same perpetually oblivious and profound lack of industry self-awareness:

In an era when the media isn’t trusted by huge swathes of people and when the president himself cries “fake news” at every opportunity about stories he doesn’t like or finds inconvenient, I’m fascinated by how different outlets are trying to navigate the shoals of reader distrust and confusion.

It could not possibly be because journalists did many things to undermine their own credibility.

And of course, arrogance as the next utterance proves:

I frequently find myself wondering if many publications are written less for their readers than for other journalists. They rely heavily on a certain amount of savvy not just with the subjects journalists cover, but with the mechanics of journalism itself.

Of course, journalists are too smart for the dumb rubes they are forced to rely on for their living.

Memo to Todd VanDerWerff: you do realize some of those audiences you alienated have graduate degrees, have white collar jobs, and are doctors, professors, researchers, lawyers, engineers, judges, psychologists, authors, teachers, accountants, pilots, and other educated professionals who are not stupid?

You obvious lack the savvy you have fooled yourself into thinking you have. Get over yourself.

It gets worse:

In my chosen field of entertainment journalism, there are certainly publications where the intended audience is incredibly savvy about these things. A piece I write about the economics of the television industry will have to cover more of the nuts-and-bolts basics than one in, say, Variety, because the presumed audience of Variety is made up predominantly of people already in that industry, whereas my presumed audience probably doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about who’s going to get the streaming rights to Killing Eve.

First, "entertainment journalism" is not hard news. It is soft news. And Variety is a trade publication, which has a completely different mandate than general outlets. I wrote for both.

Second, your job in both cases is to speak to your audiences and inform them, not down to them. There is no excuse not to do it.

I had no trouble taking an audience's experiences into my equations. How hard is it to tell the people that certain diseases have no cures? Or that a law will cost taxpayers's more money? Or that a country has no laws against a certain danger?

Where is this nonsense coming from?

I laughed at this part:

This is one of the reasons the podcast In the Dark works so well. Each season tackles a new unsolved crime as a window into problems with the American justice system. The show’s reporters are invested not just in presenting their findings to the audience, but in showing the audience all of the work that went into them — sometimes quite literally.

You mean how I did Chaser News way back in 2007?

You mean like that? Except in this case, there seems to be a lot of filler unimportant ambient sound effects that have no purpose except to pretend that people are doing work and want applause for it.

No real facts.

There is some serious disconnect from reality here because this is nothing but cheerleading advertising for a journalism product, making it rank propaganda.

And none of it would remotely have saved journalism. The structure of the podcast is no different than anyone else.

To the author of this fluff piece, the solution is to go back in time when we have technology that makes that obsolete.

Just how credulous is Vox?

Credulous enough to have no clue who this journalism thing was supposed to work.

III

Perhaps the worst opinion piece I have ever read on the matter is Nelanthi Hewa's drivel from The Hamilton Spectator with this oblivious headline:

The search for truth in journalism must also consider humanity

As consumers, our eyes are incredibly valuable. Maybe it’s important to know when to close them.

Are you actually serious?

The beginning of the article is absolutely shocking in its tone deafness to reality:

"You're exploiting me," she said. "You're trying to dig something out of me." She didn't hang up. Instead, there were the sounds of the key in her office door, her loud, shaky breathing. 

I whispered an apology and ended the call.

I had been a journalism student at Western University for less than a year, but I was already used to feeling nervous as I planned my questions before an interview, or feeling elated during one when I heard the perfect quote. I was wholly unused to feeling ashamed for doing exactly what I was taught.

Do you actually understand what journalism is supposed to be about?

No, obviously. No, there is no humanity in willfully shutting your eyes.

Memo to Nelanthi Hewa: when you are a chronicler of reality, many people will become angry at you. You are not there to get a pat on the head. That is a highly unethical and immoral expectation. (This is no different than this misguided article suggesting that previous published allegations should be off limits unless a victim signs off on it, regardless of the consequences. Reality rarely is a comfortable experience, and those who comes from the snowflake school of life make things worse by suggesting that people should be weakened. You publish something, you have it on the public record. The end, and it is about time that the Victorian notion of victim's being weakling children be put to rest.)

People throw up the Moral Outrage facade in a bid to hide unflattering things from a public. People do not want the neighbours to know, for instance, that mommy and daddy may have, you know, let the uncle molest the kids and did nothing about it.

And should that kid's screams for help go ignored and that same kid takes his or her own life because of it -- do you really think mommy and daddy are going to answer honestly to a reporter who will destroy their image of being a good mommy and daddy?

No. They will get angry that someone cracked their code. They are going to be enraged to discover they are not the most cunning liars on the planet who can fool all seven-point-four billion of us.

I have dealt with people who pulled that stunt -- yelling at me, insulting my intelligence, you name it. It didn't make them in the right because every one had something they wanted hidden -- something the rest of the world needed to hear.

I once interviewed someone who kept things hidden during the interview, and as I tried to verify each fact I was told, something funny happened: things didn't add up. Every fact did not add up. I went back to check old yearbooks. I discovered a timeline I was presented did not add up. This was supposed to be a minor point in what I was researching -- a throwaway point.

When I found out that there was a deviation and managed to fill in the gap myself, I discovered why it was: because in that gap there was hidden information that put the story in a completely different light.

It was unflattering information, but it went a long way to explaining the story, and how a very bad event got to that level over a decade later.

There is zero humanity in keeping your eyes shut. 

Only people who want to corrupt the information stream with lies and get pats on the head go for that garbage.

When you do that job right, people think you are rude. They yell at you. They threaten to sue you, hurt you, and even kill you. I have gotten all of that when I worked as a journalist. I had executives call me stupid. I have people try to imply their morals trumped mine.

And you know what?

Every single person had something to hide.

On the other hand, I interviewed people in jail who broke the law. Those people got caught, discovered their lies were paper thin, and they outsmarted themselves.

They had lots of time to sit and think as they had to face the fact that they got broken by life.

Those interviews were always more honest.

For the exception of one, they all gave me a brutal assessment of reality. Every feint and ruse betrayed them, and the funny thing was, every fact they relayed to me was both embarrassing for them, but always checked out under the toughest scrutiny.

If a journalist had done their job earlier on, those same people would be throwing fits, playing the Moral Card, pulling every stunt in the book to hide the truth from being made public.

But those journalists could have gotten that emotional thrashing, printed the truth, and prevented many of those people from ending up in jail, separated from their children, losing their careers, and their freedoms.

And there would be people reading those facts who, for the first time in their sheltered lives, would be exposed to something that refuted their life theory that they could get away with very bad things, and give them an alternative.

Humanity is not shutting your eyes. People already do that.

If you are a true humanist, you expose the ugliest of truths by asking the cruelest of questions.

Because angels are demons to the wicked.

This is written by someone who obviously has no idea how this whole journalist thing is supposed to work.

To answer the question you posed:

As I turned to peers and professors for advice, I started to wonder: is journalism exploitative?

Yes, it has been exploitative. And do you know why?

1. It had people pretend to look for facts when they relied on press releases for information.

2. It deified and demonized people to suit their narrative ends without ever actually interviewing everyone they needed or asking the hard questions of those who had something to gain by spinning reality.

3. It let inconsistencies go without pressing people who yelled at them.

4. You had gullible rubes who fell for feints of interviewees who pulled the Morality Card instead of wonder why is this person getting uncomfortable with the questions.

And journalism -- the dead profession -- still thinks it can figure out without any expertise how to save itself?

Not a chance.

Not a chance when you have tripe like this:

We're told that the job of a journalist is to seek the truth. While that search is often glamorized as demanding tough questions of people in power, it also involves asking people with very little power — even over themselves — to reveal ugly, painful parts of their lives. 

Even people who have "very little power" can exploit that power and leverage it to shelter themselves from being forced to answer for their unethical ways. Do not kid yourself.

It is these kinds of cowardices that destroyed journalism. It is not about getting accolades and applause. People prefer comforting lies that will destroy them over the disturbing truths that will compel them to admit wrongdoing, force active thinking, and then make big and small changes to improve the situation.

It is an Age of Propaganda where people are trying to find hacks and easy outs, but still expect to build a solid foundation.

But this is why journalism cannot resurrect itself: it has no idea how badly they messed up. It has no clue what went wrong, and then listen to those who have no expertise or research tell them what they want to hear.

It is a vile mindset that got corrupted by the rot of its own death.

Journalism has no idea what it is doing and how it could have corrected itself. None. It doesn't look for critical voices because as the Spec column cheerily suggests, we should all not ask tough questions and shut our eyes to reality.

No expertise. No research. Just beg for money and make no changes as you spew garbage, and then wonder why your fortunes stink...

Useless Canadian News Media: No theory or fact, just narrative and perky propaganda. Four cases where not even the most basic questions get asked.

In my upcoming book When Journalism was a Thing, I talk about how the death of local news was dangerous. First, journalists have fewer places to hone their craft, but more important, many troubles, that begin at the local level are ignored until they explode to become a national crisis. Canadian journalism has always been the weakest of the Western world because it was always the most static and stagnate. Now that everything has gone in a dung heap, no one save for me, perhaps, has the courage to admit it and say it out loud in a public forum.

Journalists rely on narrative, when they should be forming a hypothesis that they can confirm or refute. Then, you verify by finding evidence that can both confirm -- but also deny the working theory. You form an empirical experiment, gathering facts and hunting sources until you have enough to make an educated idea of what is happening, has happened, or will most likely happen.

In 2018 alone, Canadian journalists let three major stories go without asking basic questions. I will go over these again, as I covered them here before, and then I will talk about a fourth story suffering the same willful stupidity.

  1. Marci Ien. Here is a journalist whose column about being pulled over by the cops was about race...until the Toronto police chimed in on Twitter, disputing it, and claiming to have evidence. You had journalists getting defensive and waxing about racism...but not asking one question: If the police have evidence that Ien lied, show it to us. That will settle the dispute. It hasn't happened yet, (and if I was Ien, I would demand that the police release it).
  2. Steve Paikin. Here is a journalist who has been placed on the #MeToo Hitlist, with his fellow journalists dismissing the claims, even though the accuser stated he said it front of her lunch companion in a restaurant...but not asking the one question...Who is the witness to this event, and what does this person have to say about the event in question?
  3. The Hijab hoax did not involve a journalist, but a young girl who claimed her hijab was cut by a stranger of Asian heritage out in the open on the way to school. Journalists never bothered to ask the one question...Is there any witnesses or surveillance footage confirming or refuting this account of events.

A journalist's job is to ask questions. It's part of the package of being a gatherer of information. I worked as a journalist for years; I asked questions because it really helped me find out lots of important facts.

You wouldn't believe the things I discovered. I found out that some people lie when they talk to a journalist. It's so true. I also discovered that some people tell the truth when they talk to a journalist, too. Also so totally true. It wasn't easy to figure out which was which because liars and truth-tellers don't wear signs on their foreheads or come with warning labels.

Which brings us to last night where a bunch of people dressed in black who carried a professionally made sign calling themselves The Ungovernables went on a destructive rampage down Locke Street, causing damage to businesses and cars in the area.

The police came, were blindsided, and then just like their winner colleagues in Florida during that latest school massacre, retreated and let lawlessness run its course.

The local newspaper the Hamilton Spectator (where I had a column way back in 1995-1996) and CHCH, the local "broadcaster" were garbage in their relaying of what went down. There was the perky chirping about the "good news" of being ambushed with violence as businesses and cars get destroyed so they can now see their insurance rates get jacked up or cancelled. Hip, hip, hooray.

No one was arrested.

Do you think Canadian journalists put on their thinking caps to ask some hard questions?

You haven't read this web site for very long if you have to think about that one.

No, of course not. We have to downplay bad news and give positive narratives.

And, true to form, not ask hard questions, such as these two:

1. Why were the police blindsided and unprepared? Did they not monitor social media? How did all these people manage to congregate, produce professionally-made banners (in a print shop or the maker's space at the library), hatch a plan, and then have to go without a hitch?

2. Who are these people? Anarchists? Antifa? Gangs? Terrorists? A cult? Paid rabble-rousers? How did they manage to gather and then be violent for a prolonged period of time without resistance?

Those are the opening questions: we have a police competency question, and an origin question. How old are these people? What is their motive? Why pick on small businesses? How well prepared were they?

We don't know, but if we had competent journalists in Hamilton, we'd start to have some idea of what happened -- and, for the record, why aren't any of them monitoring the underground?

They are useless. Absolutely useless. The journalist on CHCH was far too busy trying to show the positive instead of looking for real facts. There was no positive in this event: you now know that if there is a riot, the city is unprepared. There is no crisis plan in place.

I remember years ago, I had pitched an idea about the simmering problems of street gangs in Toronto. I had no takers, but a lot of lecturing that I was being a hysterical female. Then teenager Jane Creba was gunned down and murdered on Boxing Day in the streets, and then everybody was wringing their hands and blubbering how could it happen?

Easy. You have no guardians holding down the fort because you are too in love with narratives, and averse to posing hypotheses to test with evidence. You have to research, ask questions, and verify. You may be right, or you could be wrong. You modify and adjust, but at no time do you ever stop asking questions or digging.

That perky positive spin destroyed Canadian journalism. It made it useless as people thought everything was great because no matter how bad the news, there was some good news about it; so nothing needed to be done because if it didn't work itself out, They would fix it.

They didn't fix things last night.

You now have an emboldened group of people who are ungovernable. You have a police that retreated and were unprepared of an attack of this magnitude.

And you have press that didn't see it coming, either, and didn't care what it actually meant to their city -- or to their worthless profession.