Nothing much to say today...

I have had a lot on the go, and I am tired.

I am still working on the first Chaser arc. I wanted it out much sooner, but I keep researching just to be precise, and then want to write it in such a way that it isn’t too dense.

After that, I don’t want to do heavy things for a spell. I want fun. 2018 was way too heavy, and I want to lighten the load.

But then I scan the National Post and shake my head at their nincompoopity. This column is the absolute worst of the worst. Spinning and justifying is a bad thing. You have a troubling little gathering and you need to acknowledge it, not blame the person who is calling you out on the carpet for those troubling details — and then throwing their past and disavowed beliefs in their face. Not only is it a logical fallacy, it is also completely irrelevant to the charges.

But this is the newspaper that serves as minion PR flunkies for Steven Galloway and Jordan Peterson. Journalism they are not. Intelligent they are not.

Worthless, they are.

Lara Logan is repositioning herself in her career, but she is a day late and a dollar short. Journalism isn’t “losing credibility”; it got destroyed, and it got that way because people in that profession stood together, creating a wall that kept ideological diversity and intellectual innovations shut out completely.

There was no need for it. It chose to be in cages, and not roaming in the wild. Journalists became animals in a circus and freak show, and have no natural instincts for survival.

I plan at least two fun entries here tomorrow, then the the first arc of Chaser.

We will see where my heart and mind wander from there, but today, I went to my old alma mater for a concert with a friend and did lunch at the Phoenix…with this classic as one of the songs played…

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Washington Post sued: How a non-story became the story.

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The Covington Debacle is troubling on many levels, and much of it came courtesy of the press who turned a non-event into national news, and were looking for some iconic image to fit a certain narrative.

And they picked a teenaged kid to serve as that image without thinking of the ramifications of doing so, who is now suing them.

And he has a point about that. What he is known for is set for life.

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He is more than just the article of his clothes.

For the record, I don’t agree with this kid’s politics. I could not disagree more.

But I also do not agree with how the legacy media treated the entire non-news event.

There was no there there. We have a canned event. We have various factions of discontent people engaging in slacktivism. We do not know anything about the protestors — whether they are genuine and organic, or whether they are paid or this is how they build a resumé — and I am speaking as someone who went to many protests as a demonstrator — genuine, authentic, organic — until I realized this isn’t doing anything but expecting some They to do things when I could better use my own talents, skills, knowledge, and resources by being active and going into the eye of the storm myself.

So we have a canned event in a society obsessed with chronicling itself. There was ample to get enough footage to see what transpired, but in the end, narrative trumped reality, and Covington became a serious black eye for journalism — again.

Before social media, this would have played differently. The gate-keepers would not have aired the footage that went against their narrative. They would stick to their guns, and move on to the next news cycle. These days, we have a different system at play, and why Europe wants to crack down on the Internet — they also have their discontent and are trying a backdoor approach to take away citizen broadcasting liberties as they paint critics as liars.

When you cannot manipulate the narrative, you cannot control a populace one way or another.

The old guard are trying to reclaim the power they lost, and this lawsuit would not have been possible unless that critical footage made its way to the public.

And yet the press still behaves as if there would be no mechanism to challenge their narratives.

Remember, the Internet as a mass communication tool has been around for over two decades — and even longer than that in smaller circles in cruder forms.

So a suit like this does not surprise me.

Journalists love to cast themselves as valiant knights fighting for democracy, but it’s just an antiquated game, and the rest of the world doesn’t want to play it anymore…

Fake radio experts? You don't say!

Advertorials are not news. They are advertising made to look like news.

And people still fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

Memo to radio listeners: do not invest your money based on a radio program. The “experts” pay to be there, and they are shilling their services. That the last bunch of grifters used fake names shows you just how outlets do not care.

Not doubling checking the company or the people is on you.

I am serious. Do not invest your money in a sham. Anyone who falls for an advertorial in 2019 has no excuse.

Bullshit sham “committees” looking at “fake news” are gunning at social media — but that they are ignoring legacy media’s role just shows you how rigged and worthless those committees happen to be…

Actrivism, Part Eight: Armchair experts have no idea what goes down or what's up. It is the reason I became an Actrivist.

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Growing up in the 1980s, I was a huge fan of the Eurythmics. I had all of their albums, including remixes, and had to special order In the Garden.

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I never got to see them in concert, but concerts were never my thing as a teenager. I did go, but usually, something extra had to compel me. I went to see Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine in Orlando for New Year’s Eve, for example. I have seen rock concerts in Belograde, such as Zdravko Colic’s.

While some kids went to see Madonna, I went to see Alan Ginsberg perform is poetry in Europe.

I had a big LP collection, and a lot of old and obscure nuggets from every era, but The Eurythmics were my favourite musical act.

Except I was the only kid in my neighbourhood who admitted to liking them.

Other kids always made it sound as if I was some sort of oddball for liking the band. I didn’t buy it. They wouldn’t be putting out multiple albums and having tours around the world if I were the only one, and I said it. They were a Top 40 act, and as special as we all like to feel, I don’t think their record label would go through all that trouble and expense just for me.

And I used to say it.

For years, I would have people ask me, “Do you still like The Eurythmics?”

Hell, yeah, I do.

To this day. I can still listen to Annie Lennox sing or Dave Stewart play the guitar and I am in a better mood.

But now, thanks to social media, you can find fans congregate anywhere and anytime. No one needs to feel like an outsider when it comes to pop culture preferences these days.

Yet, that kind of familiarity does have a downside.

You can find groupings of anything, and then a pecking order begins to form, where someone positions themselves as the “expert” of whatever the group believes.

And that’s a problem now.

But armchair experts were always a problem, and that’s why I became an Actrivist.

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I was a teenager when the civil war in the former Yugoslavia broke out. I didn’t have a lot in terms of experience in adult matters. I was a smart kid. I was an observant kid. I was a kid who studied, and had a gift of researching things and finding obscure sources because I had no trouble picking up a phone or pen and communicating to people in various position of power or access and asking them questions.

Of course, I got shot down a lot of times. I was even called rude because I wanted to know about serious things and went straight to the top. I wasn’t rude. I was curious, and there was no reason to say no to a simple request, or direct me to someone else.

But more times than not, I had big packages mailed to me, filled with all sort of things, and I read it from cover to cover. To me, this was exciting and fun. I couldn’t believe that none of the other kids in school were doing it. Anyone can smoke weed and get hungry and paranoid at the same time. Whoop di do. Not everyone can write to a foreign cabinet minister and get information on their military spending. Go me!

The fun and exciting reasons came grounding to a halt when war broke out and journalists were all parroting propaganda. I found out their source, and I was pissed. They learned nothing from the Gulf War and the babies and incubators hoax.

Maybe there was a reason for it. They didn’t have to learn because their mandate may have been something other than to inform.

But I didn’t know, and I knew I didn’t know.

I could speculate like an armchair expert. That is as easy as smoking weed. No effort, and something else alters your mood for you.

I could also research. That’s how I started.

And I wrote letters, got information, and had banker’s boxes that took up a sizeable chunk of my room — and living room, and dining room, and grandma’s room. These boxes had academic articles, newspaper and magazine articles, UN reports, government documents from around the world, think tanks, responses from reporters and editors, press releases and documents from PR firms, you name it. Every day the mail or courier came to my door. I read everything cover to cover.

I was, at this point, far more informed than an armchair expert. I was also far more informed than any journalist covering the war. I had one anchor from a PBS news program tell me she researched her topic by reading a couple of newspapers, and here I was with boxes piled to the ceiling — and one box alone had cassette tapes of information I got over the telephone.

Yet she got to spew uninformed bullshit, and I couldn’t catch a break.

This was, to say the least, maddening.

But everyday, I would get more information, not just documents, I got video footage of atrocities committed against Serbs. I obtained photographs that also contradicted what media reports were spewing.

If there was an Internet back then, I would have been a teenaged media outlet because in the course of my research about the former Yugoslavia, I stumbled upon other interesting intelligence not about that war or area.

I wasn’t an armchair expert. I was an actual expert.

Yet I was missing a key element all the same.

As much as I read books on journalism, all of it was bullshit. None of it actually aligned with the chasm of what I had and what was being reported. It was like night and day.

When I decided to become a journalist, I had a lot of information already. I knew how to conduct experiments as a psychologist.

But I still needed to know more so I could compare what I had with what the reality of the profession truly was.

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Being a journalist gave me insights that put a lot of those banker’s boxes into context. I learned a lot about the MSM, such as the veracity of a lot of their “experts” and pundits. Far from being unbiased and the most qualified, a lot of them were friends with someone in the newsroom — or their parents were friends with each other, but it was schmoozing, not c.v. that determined who got to speak in a public forum.

Insider knowledge helped a lot. These days, you can listen to a radio station and know that some experts pay advertising dollars and basically pay to be quoted. But even when I was a journalist, a lot of articles were just advertorials — another form of the same practice.

Armchair experts are easy to spot: they make guesses, and because they do not know how news is constructed, they make folksy guesses and make assumptions that are wrong and it shows.

The problem with social media is that it gives an illusion that things are all “out there” and all you have to do is point, click, swipe, or tell Siri what you want, and now you are an instant expert.

But you’re not unless you do things inside that system because what you read is created by other outsiders who also don’t know what’s going on. You have no scaffolding or perspective.

And people think it is all obvious and self-evident. It isn’t.

Quiz them to see just how little they know about the basic mechanics of easily accessed information.

Seriously.

And I have parents telling me that their grown children are much smarter than “we were.”

There will always be smart young minds around.

But even the smart ones need context to actually comprehend the significance of what they know.

I have first-hand experience in that department: as much as I knew, there was far more I learned by actively working in the profession I was studying. I didn’t fall for the lures. I wasn’t taken in by cognitive dissonance where I began to explain away and justify things just because I had to do them as a reporter.

I was the subject of my own experiment, and with that, I learned a new way of learning and gathering information.

And learned armchair experts are worth the experience they have — which is none…

Jill Abramson getting pummelled by corrupt hypocrites: Just another day in the trash can called journalism.

For a profession that criticizes people viciously, journalists certainly do not like when people criticize them.

Oh, what a shock.

They either suppress information or try to tear into someone if their profile is high enough.

So when former New York Times editor Jill Abramson dissed on the corrupt and dead profession of journalism, the book couldn’t be ignored; so journalists went to attack her credibility like a rapist attacks the victim, blaming her and saying she deserved it.

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Make no mistake: the level of vitriol has more to do that a woman dared call them out for their sins than the actual content.

Also note, it was the white boys who instigated this very coordinated hit.

So before discussing the guts of the allegations, let me point out that Jill Abramson made it all the way to News York Times editor.

A very lofty position in the profession. That’s as prestigious as you can get. 60 Minutes correspondent or head of a network news outfit possibly trump it.

Back then, she was doing the basic same things she did for her entire journalistic career, and she was employed and got promoted.

And that was just dandy keen for years.

But then she was a cheerleader on Team Journalism.

Now she isn’t.

I wrote a book on journalism’s ethics last year and that book was exhaustively researched.

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I had no assistant. I did the entire researching and writing all by myself up in a cottage in Selkirk right on Lake Erie in the winter in the middle of nowhere because it was always my dream to write a book that way.

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For five months, that is what I woke up to seeing every morning while drinking Turkish coffee. I wanted absolute solitude, but The Fabulous Ladies drove up every Sunday for brunch and mischief, and I am grateful. I did take some time out to go to Chicago to get semi-precious stones for my jewelry-making. I stayed at the fun and posh Virgin Hotel and dined at Miss Ricky’s and The Gage, but still brought my laptop to work on my book. I still have my little shower lamb from the Virgin Hotel

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My book was ignored by journalists in public, though people are still buying it, despite the shut out. So much for free speech. As usual, word of mouth can break through any blacklist.

I still did an interview here and a funky one here.

But journalists couldn’t do that with Abramson. They had to stomp on her and stone her to discredit her work.

You cannot discredit mine, however. I did not go into journalism with stars in my eyes, and then turned into a bitter and disgruntled failure. I went in knowing exactly who they were, and wanted to study the profession by being a journalist for real. I conducted unprecedented and exhaustive experiments. My beat was the business of journalism and my audience were people in the profession.

When I had enough information to write an informed and empirically-sound exposé, I walked away.

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I also wrote one on Fox News, and then over a decade later came When Journalism was a Thing.

Abramson was in deep, and as much as she knows about the people in that sketchy profession, those in the profession know all about her.

So those trolls knew where to look and how to strike.

And then went batshit crazy on her in a frenzy tirade, hoping to nullify her revealing of their disgusting dirt.

They nitpicked on a few facts, but even that is under debate. Journalists fuck up on facts all the time. They do not use empirical methods.

But then came the “chargeofplagiarism! Oh, no! Run for your lives! Don’t listen to the scary woman with the book that exposes us!

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It is a pathetic ruse.

The poseur “journalists” at the garbage publication Paste really overplayed the melodramatics:

Jill Abramson Is a Disgrace to Journalism

Yeah, as if you grifters know what this “journalism” is. You are not fooling anybody, you twits. Stop using the movie Reefer Madness as a guide on how to behave. You come off as disingenuous nerds.

The only publication with any sense here is the National Review that has a more accurate take:

Jill Abramson Is a Hack, Not a Thief

I am currently reading the book. She knows who she is dealing with. It is kind of a stretch to call it “plagiarism” because the writing for both are so banal and unoriginal, that really, it is like writing, “Bob likes his new job” and then someone else writes “Robert has positive feelings toward his most recent career” and then make some over-the-top tirade because you both are writing about the same damn thing.

Seriously, no winners here. I would not classify it as a “sourcing error”, either. I would classify this as typical journalism nincompoopity, and it needs to be replaced with a more responsible alternative.

Vice is pure garbage. Sexist pretentious trolls with one who got nabbed for being a drug dealer, and Vice got Canadian government money to boot. What does Vice know about journalistic ethics?

I wrote about Vice in my latest book. They are to journalism what a soiled jock strap is to journalism.

And they’re ranting about Abramson?

And other outlets are parroting their meltdown?

I can tell you straight up my book is exhaustively researched, and I didn’t plagiarize. I don’t need to because my writing is superior to Vice hacks or anyone else in that dead profession. It would be a serious step down from my own abilities.

So yes, the pot is calling the kettle black, but who is the pot and who is the kettle is your choice.

If you want to read a book that tells it like it is that doesn’t pull any punches and fears no angry mob of hacks, read When Journalism was a Thing.

You can even read while enjoying a cup of Turkish coffee — because you haven’t lived until you had a cup…

The media is stoking "great anger" in US? You don't say, Mr. President!

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I'm so tired of people, including members of the media, thinking they can throw around labels and accusations without challenge. Yet they are the first ones to clutch the pearls when it's given back. Wanna know why I go for the jugular? That's why.

— Jacqui Delaney, Tweet, September 4, 2018


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I always said the press in the US had a love affair with Donald Trump until he dumped them for a younger model called Twitter.

This entire attack has always been biased, unprofessional, self-serving, and personal.

And nothing new.

Journalists thought they held all of the cards and all of the power.

They didn’t like that Donald Trump’s campaigned acknowledged there were poor people. The Great Unwashed were not supposed to be told to (a) go out and vote, (b) say that their Progressive Liberal Nation failed them in public, destroying the propagandistic narrative, and (c) have an actual chance of clawing out of their poverty and then compete for jobs with those champagne socialists and limousine liberals.

No, no, no.

He just had to go out there and say those Progressives were morally deficient or snobby.

And he did.

He told journalists in public to their ugly faces that they were liars.

And they are.

They are liars who have psychopathic compulsions to incite wars for ratings and circulation, let alone, image, bragging rights, and cold hard cash.

They fucked up Iraq twice over. They fucked up Serbia.

If only FARA would have kept her big mouth shut.

I went into journalism because I knew as a teenager it was fake news that incited people, murdered people, and ruined people.

So the US President isn’t wrong.

He has dealt with them his entire adult life. He ought to know the lack of content of their character.

So when he says they are inciting people into violence, I agree with him.

They are. They are all hate, all of the time.

It is just their moral masturbation painted them in a corner. They used to go after racial and ethnic minorities, such as the aforementioned Arabs and Slavs, but then they had to live up to their own moral code, and then they kept boxing themselves in until the only safe people to attack were people on the Right, demonizing them as if every one was a fascist.

They way they did with Serbs. The playbook is identical and I recognize it.

If got tripped up by Saul Alinksy’s Rule #4 for radicals:

Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.

They have to pretend they were socially progressive all along. When I covered the newspaper industry in the early aughts, diversity in the newsrooms just wasn’t a real thing: only when the industry began to crumble did the outlets then go hiring more women and minorities.

Oh, whoop di do.

And they were sexually harassing women and liberally using the casting couch.

They steal ideas and blacklist people.

They gossip and report lies as news.

And this is their last kick at the can: maybe if they start a civil war in the US, maybe it will be a blockbuster hit like the movie Independence Day.

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If they can’t have power and control, then nobody else will.

This is how vindictive that press has become.

And why the world needs an alternative.

Not this petty shit with bitter assholes who are abusive control freaks.

Even in Canada, the Right and the Left have decided pretending which one of their fucked up ideologies is less fucked up is worth destroying their own country, and the middle class people, the ones with the most to lose, aren’t telling them both to shove off.

Journalism isn’t functional anymore. There is no more question of being able to save it. It is done. They lost all sense of perspective.

And why an alternative is needed to take its place…

The re-launching of Chaser News, Part One: Good knight, and good luck...

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I am not a big television watcher. Now that my grandmother passed away, I currently haven’t streamed or watched a show in months, but my grandmother loved game shows, and I would watch with her.

Strangely enough, she did not like Deal or No Deal, but one time she decided to watch it was a classic one that I still remember very clearly.

Here is a guy who begins with seven million dollar briefcases in play. The game goes on, and at one point, there are two one million cases left, but one that has just a buck.

What does he do?

He keeps turning his nose up at the generous offers, convinced he has a million dollar briefcase. At one point, the offer is over six hundred thousand dollars. He balks. It goes on until he winds up going home with $1, the second-lowest amount on the table.

There are many, many factors at play, and I could write a book on the matrices of logical and emotional errors colliding here.

And make no mistake: this is a case study of the interaction of logical illiteracy colliding with emotional illiteracy.

But I want to discuss one of those interactions: self-entitled superstition.

It has a subtext of a narrative where the individual is destined to get the maximum prize if he sticks to his guns and perseveres to the very end. There is an obliviousness to all reality-based factors: a game show is rigged. The $1 suitcase is never out of play throughout the entire game. What the player sees is seven chances at $1,00,000, and he thinks that the odds at the start equal the odds throughout the game.

At the point where there are two $1M cases and a $1 case in play, is the time to check out. That the offer is in the upper-six figures is a hint that he should take the offer and bow out. This is the optimal outcome, and at this point, there is no bad deal: you avoid the $1 whammy altogether, and cash your chips. There is a one in three chance you have the dollar briefcase, and the same chance that if you switch your briefcase, you will still get a buck.

This is a good windfall for a day’s work. You are weighing every element of reality, realize you cannot riddle out what is in your possession; so here is the point where you have gone as far as you can go.

He pushed his luck, and the next case was the $1M, still leaving one $1M case in play, but also the $1. He has a fifty-fifty chance, but he doesn’t. The offer goes down by two hundred thousand dollars. This is another bad sign that he has put himself in a precarious position, but logically, this is the wake up call that he has lost $200,000 based on a single bad decision.

But he is expecting the cavalry to come to the rescue. Fate has decreed him to be special, regardless of his shitty decisions, and will vindicate him. He sticks to the narrative without logic or rational emotions.

He comes out with $1.

His narrative blinds him to every warning sign that he is playing a dangerous gambit based on a gamble, and not on risk, and when it is a gamble, you have absolutely no control of the situation, nor are you trying: you are passively assuming your luck will give you things because you are special.

Risk is an entirely different game. It is active, and based on truth and reality. You keep monitoring that reality in order to revise your strategy.

Deal Or No Deal, is, in essence, a sucker’s game. The misdirection is the $1M suitcase. The reality is that the usual sums on the board are dismal.

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Nineteen suitcases have paltry amounts out of twenty-six.

We can also think in terms of landmines: the lower the amount can be replaced by a powerful landmine, the lower the number, the more powerful the explosion.

The “safe” areas are denoted by larger numbers — so, for every big amount that gets knocked out of play, your chances to reach complete safety of the place marked with $1M gets lower.

That is obvious when it is life or death. But put a fantasy-spin, those with self-entitled superstition ideation can no longer read the map or care to read it because all they believe is that the map does not apply to them.

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One of my favourite practical books of all time is called Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed by H. Anthony Medley.

I had it since I was a kid, and it is not about journalists interviewing people, but about getting interviewed for a job. In the section about making false assumptions, he relays a story he read in another book, but I will mention the fable here about a “man who had one horse and one son…the horse ran away and the neighbours commiserated on his bad luck.” The rest of the story goes like this:

“Why,” the [man] said, “how do you know it’s bad luck?” Sure enough, the next night the horse came back to his familiar corral…leading twelve wild stallions with him!…The neighbours heard the good news and came chattering to the farmer, “Oh, you have thirteen horses! What good luck!”

And the [man] answered, “How do you know it’s good luck?”

A few days later his son broke his leg falling off one of the new horses, and once again the neighbours tried to console him on his bad luck.

And the wise father answered again, “How do you know it’s bad luck?”

Sure enough, a few days later, a…warlord came through town and conscripted every able-bodied man, taking them off to war, never to return again. But the young man was saved because of his broken leg.

That is a story about understanding the difference between randomness and luck, but also a the conditions of a gamble and a risk. The father of this parable didn’t see his situation as fate or luck. It was a random occurrence that could bring in good things or bad, depending on the conditions of reality. While the father was a passive agent — what he was in the story was the curator of reality.

Compare this scenario to the Batman Gambit, a trope that hinges on a character’s plan going perfectly to plan with no flaws because the hero knows everything and the mind of everyone the plan hinges its success on.

This is a narrative that confuses gambles with risks: the hero seems super-prepared, but a domino effect is not always a surefire way to operate.

It can work only if you are (a) dealing with a rigged system, and (b) no one suspects there is a rig, or knows how to be subversive enough to thwart it. It is a covert form of self-entitled superstition because in a hero’s narrative, the Chosen One will win no matter what.

Batman was the Hero for the last twenty-years, but within the last few years, his popularity has been waning. He is too alpha male and too patriarchal, but now seems more unrealistic simply because those kinds of rigs are no longer in play, largely thanks to social media that has disrupted that simple narrative that enabled self-entitled superstition.

That is the reason why narratives could confuse gambles with risks, and randomness with divine order.

These stories were rigged to justify why a designated Chosen One got to be a chosen one: not because daddy was rich and pulled the strings, but because he was special and lucky.

This was fine when things were rigged and tightly controlled in the pre-Internet days: journalists could anoint Chosen Ones who did not have to know what is a risk or a gamble, nor did they have to know reality from fantasy — or even randomness from divine decree.

So long as they were useful to sell a narrative, they were propped up by the press who had the clout to keep it going.

Then social media changed the game and those rigs became rubbish.

It is the reason journalists and academics alike are fear-mongering, telling the little people that they are barbarians who suck and are having slap fights because they don’t have the news media to do their thinking for them.

It is an arrogant thing to suggest, but it explains why the press had has Trump issues for so long.

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Trump was their villain for usurping the Hero’s Journey narrative, while Hillary Clinton played the same game as that contestant on Deal or No Deal. She gambled as she took no risks because she suffers from an extreme case of self-entitled superstition. It was her turn to wear the paper crown, and it went to the billionaire in the red baseball cap.

The kicker, of course, is that MAGA mantra: Make America Great Again.

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Trump proved the press was rubbish with their self-entitled superstition — but as journalists condemn him for saying MAGA, they are actually saying the very same thing when they keep telling the Great Unwashed things would be more civilized if everyone went back in time and let journalists control the communications avenues and just told everyone what to think.

They are spewing MAGA all the time. They are always looking at the good old days when they held all of the cards, and didn’t have to know the difference between a gamble and a risk or randomness and divine decree.

That is why they have crashed and burned.

But that is no reason to go back to the past.

It is time to go forward to the future with a roar.

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We just need better tools of measurement on this journey. We need our compasses, roadmaps, and watches. We need to understand with is truth and a lie, but also, what is reality and perception. We need to understand raw information versus narratives. We need to know what is a gamble, and what is a risk, and what is randomness and what has logic and reason behind it.

It is why we need Method Research, Matriarchal Structures, Radical Centrism, and F.R.E.E.D.

We don’t know what is good luck or bad luck or for whom. Our story should take that father’s words to heart — but not just be a curator, but an active participant.

We need facts. We need to know which warlords are planning to come into our hearts and minds, and kick them out long before they have a chance to restrict our choices and freedoms.

We do not need scripts or masks. We do not need lies. We certainly do not need self-entitled superstitions.

It is a balance in a world that is a laboratory, a stage, and a never-ending story machine. We have choices. We have freedoms. We have options.

We should stop pretending that we don’t. We are blessed with a bounty of ideas and kindness in this world — we should not squander them with anger or temper tantrums. We should not destroy them with ingratitude or arrogance. We should not use fear or hatred to drive them away, let alone wallowing self-pity to drown them.

F.R.E.E.D. is the art and science of constructive realism. We liberate with every fact as detectives, scientists, and knights. We create with every seed of knowledge we plant to reap the bounty of wisdom as educators and builders.

The Western Left have chosen to sulk and to spew. It is their right to be miserable, but their choice is not my choice.

And I hope it is not your choice, either.

A good knight brings good luck to the world.

But only if the knight uses tools that are mightier than the sword, not to cut open wounds or divide, but to heal with information and context…

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Memo to API: If you use the empty phrase "accountability journalism", you have no business being in it

Seriously, this job ad is one for the books:

API is hiring a Director of Accountability Journalism to help newsrooms report on people and institutions in power

If journalism wasn't being accountable for their own sins and lapses, then the phrase "accountability journalism" is mere Orwellian propaganda.

Really? You allow journalists to lie, exaggerate, crib press releases, and now you want to bolster yourselves and hide your own irresponsibility in this pathetic manner?

Journalism is still dead, and relabelling rot with doublespeak doesn't alter that reality...

Atlantic tries to spin the rotten state of journalism: No, Sharp Objects knows precisely how your cabal operates. And it is ugly.

The Atlantic is propaganda for the middle class of a bygone era trying to seem learned.

It is sophistry, plain ad simple, with some simplistic, childish view of the world.

Journalists have been a lazy breed in the last twenty years, and I know as I have watched them up close, researched on it, written books on the feints and ruses, and worked as a journalist so I could observe them.

It was a disgusting job watching the numerous hacks and cheats used, and then reporters crowing in front of rolling cameras about how hard they work.

Except for covering garbage news, like reality shows.

And cribbing from press releases.

And attending canned events.

And liberally using PR firm spin without telling their audiences who inculcated them.

And hanging out with partisans and political parties, and currying favour in the hopes of patronage appointments should they lose their job.

My first book, Don't Believe It!: How lies become news, chronicled all of the fake news reporters presented as real. As in, never verifying obvious cons.

My second book, OutFoxed!: Rupert Murdoch's war on journalism, showed how on particular outlet slanted coverage, from the kinds of guests they booked, rigging perceptions, to issuing memos on how the news would be covered.

My fourth book, When Journalism was a Thing, chronicles how all of these deceptions brought down a profession.

There is no wiggle room to deny it.

But journalists keep denying it hoping people are really that naive.

The Atlantic keeps trying to present journalism as some sort of noble profession, but that crown was lost a long time ago.

They are taking umbrage at Sharp Objects, a show that shows a female protagonist who is a journalist behaving like many in the profession behave.

Vulture calls Amy Adams' character, the world's worst reporter, but typical is the actual reality.

Elle also is griping about the accurate portrayal, but it is right on the money, but considering how Elle merely spews whatever fashion houses decree should be worn by women, they are not ones to opine on the matter. They are advertising for celebrities and upscale retail, so butt out.

The manipulative spin here is trying to say the show is somehow sexist because the bad protagonist is a woman.

Nice try, but women didn't improve journalism. They played the same game as the men.

But The Atlantic list of grievances is particularly humorous:

She  multiple potential sources. She’s permanently inebriated. She breaks ethical boundaries and lies to her editor about them. She rarely documents any of her interviews. (In the picture above, observe that she’s apparently listening intently to someone and yet her notebook is closed.) Even worse: At the end of the most recent episode of Sharp Objects, “Falling,” Camille slept with someone who’s 18 years old, a murder suspect, and one of her primary sources.

These are things that routinely happen in journalism. Sobriety is a problem in journalism, and I wrote about it in Editor and Publisher. I have even dealt with inebriated editors and reporters while they were on the job.

Drug use is a real issue, and the reason why so many newsrooms had drug testing at one time or another.

Reporters tell lies so often that I wrote an entire book on it -- and was careful to use acknowledged instances; so there would be no denying it later on.

Many reporters don't document their interviews, making up quotes and then denying they made it up, and when challenged, cannot even produce notes. I had once been accused of making up a quote, and merely handed by tape recording of the interview.

It should be noted the person who made the charge was an editor of a daily Canadian newspaper. Why try that gambit unless you know the chances are great the reporter didn't bother recording the interview?

Reporters constantly break boundaries. It has become the norm.

And they have bedded sources. Ask Ali Watkins. It was recent, and she is a New York Times reporter.

Oh, and female.

So why the Atlantic is trying their hand of bad damage control is obvious: they are trying to lie and pretend they are offended by reality being presented.

They want to try to sweep all of the rot under the rug and pretend they are the avatars of morality. Not a chance.

Sharp Objects is an excellent and accurate portrayal of a typical journalist, male or female.

Women are not above being called out for their moral lapses.

The Atlantic is serving as their professions own propagandist -- but reality keeps getting in their way...

National Post's Man-aganda continues, but they ain't the only cowards in journalism.

I

Jonathan Kay may not have the ability to understand that women's chromosomes in no way prevent them from spewing man-aganda, but then again, that fourth and last stage of Jean Piaget's is a tricky one to reach.

The National Post thinks it has some sort of legitimate way of spewing misogyny without being called on the carpet for it.

No, only someone with bigoted filters would think there are intellectual, moral, or philosophical differences based on external features.

Memo to the National Post: if men can be feminists, then women can be self-loathers, too, especially those without talent who just do whatever the Big Boys tell them because courage and original thought take real guts, talent, and ovaries to pull off.

The suggestion that it is otherwise is a very bigoted assumption that convicts them of the charge, but no one could ever accuse anyone at the Post of being a deep thinker.

Maybe if you actually spoke to everyone and informed them with actual information and not dumb sophistry, you would not be reduced to whining in public about how you cannot make ends meet because people are not buying your product.

The Post is a man-agandist publication. Nothing else. They hold the trembling little gonads of those scared little boys who need to know they are not to blame for anything just to reassure them.

Fox News Channel perfected it, and it is something I took apart in my book OutFoxed: Rupert Murdoch's war on journalism.

Some men are men: they do not fall apart if their employers are women. They do not harm anyone, male or female because they have courage, compassion, intelligence, ability, morals, and bravery. They get ahead on the job because they are competent and innovative. They actually know how to behave and are fantastic people because their testosterone is not afraid of the presence of estrogen.

Others are little boys. They thump their chests, but run to mommy and daddy whenever someone sees their bullying is just to prevent those of quality from besting them. The Post enablers those men who hold society back and force the rest of us to waste time and resources cleaning up their messes.

And considering how badly the Post's fortunes have fallen, they are trying to hold on to as many little boys as they can. They give free front page advertising to Steven Galloway as if his self-pity was Very Important News. They are forever running around like irrational chickens, screaming #MeToo is a witch hunt ecause they are too thick to get it. The irrationality has gone overboard, and their propaganda blinds them to the obvious.

But they think they can fool people into thinking they are some sort of legitimate news outlet.

No, you're not. You spew man-aganda, even if you have a few chicks and broads willing to do the dirty work for you.

The sex of the one who spews propaganda is immaterial and does not legitimize your slop.

It is the content of your argument, the structure of your arguments, the scope of your vision, the facts you choose to ignore, and the inherent rigs of your work that actually determines whether or not you are a legitimate news source, or an apologist for incompetent men in power.

The race and gender of those puking out your sophistry is not some sort of protective force field. It is a misdirection, nothing more.

Christie Blatchford happens to be the Post's loudest man-aganda and gets a pay check regardless of how many lives get mucked up because of primitive thinking.

Like this piece of silliosity. I love the preface of that video:

Trudeau’s #MeToo moment has once again proved that if women are going to come forward with allegations, it should be in the courts not in newspapers, according to Postmedia columnist Christie Blatchford. The courts are the one place where both men and women can get due process.

Due process? You may cover the courts, but doubtful you have been sucked into that mindless machine and been eaten alive.

Child molesters get a couple of years when they are convicted of assaulting scores of children for years. The End to the argument of Due Process. No due process. Just a game of make pretend as we torture people and waste their lives and raise their hopes to get spat at with their own tax dollars. If there is any definitive proof that we allow society to become heartless psychopathic barbarians, it is how we run our courts when it comes to sexual assault trials. 

Let's just take today's legal news and see how great the Post's theory applies. In this case, a judge dismissed a sexual assault case against four teenage boys who were accused of assaulting an intoxicated teenage a girl, and they were cleared because she was drunk at the time.

And according to Blatchford, this is reasonable because an Authority figure decreed it so.

Let's see: if you are intoxicated, your judgement is acknowledged by the law and scientific research to be so bad, that:

1. You cannot give consent to drive and if you do, you are arrested because you do not have the mental capacity to operate a vehicle.

2. You cannot operate a plane or boat, either.

3. Children's Aid will take your children away from you until you go into rehab.

4. A drunk police officer, judge, teacher, lawyer, doctor, and babysitter caught on camera while intoxicated on the job would cause a scandal.

Why?

Because your ability to make decisions is garbage when you are bladdered.

But the judge seems to set a double standard when it comes to teenage girls:

"The issues here focus on consent," O'Donnell said. "Was the complainant capable of consent? For example, did she understand the nature of the acts in the car to the degree that she could reject them or agree with them?

"This is an area in which judges have come under criticism in the past, but we must remember a drunk person can have the required capacity to consent to sex. The person can even be quite intoxicated and still have that capacity."

Okay, that is Authority decree, but let us replace some of his words with something just as important:

This is an area in which judges have come under criticism in the past, but we must remember a drunk person can have the required capacity to operate a bus full of schoolchildren and drive them home. The person can even be quite intoxicated and still have that capacity.

In fact, if that is the thinking, we should ban any law against drinking and driving entirely. I think police officers should be allowed to be intoxicated while handling firearms, too. They can even be quite intoxicated and still have that capacity to fire a loaded weapon.

The judge's Authority logic decreed it so; so, obviously, it must be true.

Let us make it all legal so that at least we can be consistent with our primative sanctioned lunacy.

So, we have, to put it mildly, a legal system that is run by whim that has no basis in evidence or fact -- but mostly on whatever lobby groups do a superior job to convince lawmakers to back off with certain laws or at least water them down.

And the National Post thinks this is a good and glorious thing, and too bad the populace is meddling by making some demand for rights or something.

No wonder the National Post's colour is Minion Yellow.

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Appealing to Authority is what they do best, after all. No wonder they are upset that the current federal regime didn't give them money to enable their incompetency. They sucked up to them and everything!

Because that's how passive cowards navigate through the world. Whatever the Man tells them, that's good enough for them, male or female. Equality means equality.

Once upon a time, you had journalists risk their lives and cover dangerous things. Some would reject anyone who decreed to be an Authority, regardless of political affiliation.

But then came the dregs who thought appeasing Authorities and praising them was the way they could get ahead. Short cut your way into a "career" as a "journalist"!

They were the ones who had no talent, just a conniving nature, and they would in no way go out and do real and dangerous work, because they knew they could not handle it.

Like those hiding under the National Post banner.

But they are hardly the only ones.

II

#MeToo was a social media-based movement. It exploded among educated, white collar women in the US who endured the war strategies of incompetent men who distracted their competition by terrorizing said competition by various means that would do the most emotional damage.

Sex had nothing to do with it. Sexual harassment was not about the sex: it was the way of gaining dominance by creating an invisible barrier to make rivals hesitate and feel inferior enough not to go after the same brass ring.

So when the Post frames this issue that this is about sex, this is mere smoke and mirrors. This is about workplace terrorism and sabotage.

You had previous generations of women endure this degradation in silence because they thought if they did endure it and broke barriers, their daughters and granddaughters wouldn't have to put up with it, too.

That was a big tactical error.

These were the same women who wanted Hillary Clinton as their president. Clinton was a symbolic choice on many levels: she was an Endurer (but she was also an enabler, and the reason I never cared for her), and the reward for endurance and patience was to finally reach the top.

Except she got easily clobbered by Donald Trump.

But not just clobbered: her supporters leaked that infamous tape of him crowing about being able to harass any woman he wants with her blessing and impunity. 

If all that dung-swallowing was actually worth it, people would have been outraged, not vote for Trump, and installed the first woman in the White House.

It didn't happen.

It didn't happen.

A lifetime of pretending getting abused on the job was the price to pay to pave the road for the next generation was proven to be a con game.

And those well-educated, white collar women who got abused, and even raped on the job and said nothing, snapped and revolted because they suffered a real and terrible shock that not Everything Will Work Out In The End.

All those affirmative sayings they plastered on their walls at home proved to be the same horse-dung they swallowed on their claw and crawl to break a glass ceiling that wouldn't break.

And so #MeToo exploded on the scene and resonated, but its epicentre was the US.

It is a legitimate movement. It is not a witch hunt. It is what happens when an entire generation without their own war manual get disillusioned and are forced to face reality when their own home-grown strategies prove to be worthless.

But in Canada, we are not in the same place because we are a nannied and sheltered people.

If we lose our safety net and are forced to survive on our abilities and wits for real, the shock will be far greater than what spurred #MeToo.

And we are there.

Canadian journalists are beyond there, but because their lens is that of a coward's, they are still in the denial stage. 

Because if they saw reality for what it is, they wouldn't be supporting and begging governments for anything as they sucked up to Authorities, hoping for a paltry little patronage appointment.

They would be rioting on the streets.

Really, that sad and pathetic lot have nothing left to lose.

Because those Authorities they drool over so much have played those arrogant and oblivious empty-heads for the fools that they are. Fish in a barrel, nothing more.

The problem is they think they are still something special because they get invited to a cocktail party here or there, or because they hang out in the corridors hanging on the every word of some Authority to report about it to the little people.

But because #MeToo is a social media movement, journalists could not stop the movement from making damage to their own profession.

CBS had their Charlie Rose problem, and it should not be surprising that one of their bosses ran to a law firm that brags that they "kill stories" about the deeds of delinquent little mediocre boys pretending to be Great Men.

Oh, and the one of the principle members of that legal cabal doing the story killing is a woman.

Which is the go-to sex many sexual predators run to in order to make it seem that they are not predators. As if.

Journalism did not fare so good during #MeToo. Despite hiring legal enablers to sweep their sins under the rug, the tiny fraction that did slime out was ugly enough.

It was the biopsy that proved why the profession no longer had any credibility left.

They were no better than the people they labelled villains over the years.

They were never for the people.

They weren't for the poor, the sick, or the dispossessed.

They weren't for people with darker pigments, or people who toiled in blue collar jobs.

They weren't for people whose sexual orientation was not heterosexual.

They weren't for children as they never bothered reporting anything to them.

They weren't for over half the population who are women.

They weren't for foreigners.

They weren't even for most men.

Just the well-heeled ones.

Man-aganda

And only if you were the right sort of man. Not the used up and broken souls who lost their health in factories.

They did away with Labour sections and called it Business, you sillies.

And when their snobbery got the better of them, they ran to those Great Men to bail them out.

Memo to the Post: they no longer have any use for you.

You relics went out with the trash years ago.

But when it is garbage your little boys and girls are spewing, it is very hard to notice the difference...

 

Why journalism cannot correct itself: Their ideological corruption consumed the core. Sorry, Whole Story you just can't get it right.

When I wrote Don't Believe It!: How lies become news way back in 2005, I had advocated that journalism should have been reinvented as an offshoot of psychology to become applied psychology. I showed how journalism's lack of knowledge in human behaviour made them vulnerable to lies, hoaxes, propaganda, and the like.

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When I went to j-school in 1995, I was first student the program accepted who had a psych degree, and I was told that no student ever applied with one, either.

I was their first.

In 2003, I also wrote a commentary in my alma mater's magazine about how journalism and psychology went hand-in-hand.

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And before I forget, I had given a speech before that about how the psychology helped the journalism -- the psych faculty at my alma matter asked to reprint my entire speech for their website, and, in turn, one editor of a psychology text asked to reprint part of that in their textbook.

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So let us get that fact out of the way.

And now that we have established that Alexandra Kitty has been publicly advocating the fusion of both psychology and journalism for over twenty years, let me also establish that when I had insisted on this fusion to both j-schools and the industry, I was ignored and rudely dismissed.

I was not dismissed by people in the Psychology field. I was not dismissed by other academics.

So it is not as if I had a bad or silly idea. I had an innovative and original idea that was accepted by others, but not the very people who needed to hear it.

The Whole Story is a web site that is just another pseudo-journalistic sophistry machine that thinks doublespeak can cover up the blatant sophistry:

Our mission is to spread the practice of solutions journalism: rigorous reporting about how people are responding to social problems.

Except it is the same old garbage repackaged with some differently-worded babble.

"Solutions journalism" is as Orwellian as one can get. Journalism is not about feeding "solutions" to people. It is about giving people facts so they can make use of those facts to find or make their own solutions -- if they wish.

Because you cannot assume you actually know what everyone's solutions will work for them.

The Big Brother vibe here is not pretty. It is patronizing and presumptuous. Even the name The Whole Story is a misleading form of authoritarian doublespeak: it makes a grand assumption that they can give a "whole story." Nice try. This is a very patriarchal mindset.

Patriarchal is all about the One. The Whole Story: we will spoon-feed it to you, children, and you need not bother to look any more than what this site presents to you.

It is a vile assumption that only goes downhill from there.

But there is one article that is particularly instructive on how journalists are trying to exploit the Age of Propaganda. The very title itself says it all:

Complicating the Narratives

What if journalists covered controversial issues differently — based on how humans actually behave when they are polarized and suspicious?

So right off the bat, we see a very deliberate skewing that is instructive and is trying to rig a board.

"How humans actually behave when they are polarized and suspicious?"

Wow.

That is a very distorted and loaded assumption, which is doublespeak for "how can we persuade people who voted for Trump to think the way we want them to think so we can go back to lording over people the way we thought we did in our glory days?"

It goes back to the same obsessive journalistic tantrum of November 2016: journalists were going to swagger in, tell the little people to vote for Clinton, and they would listen. All of them. Every single one.

Everything spewed from US journalism since that election has a single mandate of getting back at the man who proved that journalism is no longer a thing. It is the reason the profession has zero credibility now.

To immediately classify people as "suspicious and paranoid" means you believe these people are mentally unbalanced

That is one hell of an assumption to blare as a headline.

It would be akin to calling a woman who was tortured and raped "suspicious and paranoid" whenever people tried to blame her for being tortured and raped because they do not want to imagine a world where anyone can be harmed out of the blue.

Right in the headline we know this is not an article to inform. It is pure propaganda that cannot even hide what it is, but thinks it has mastered the facade of neutrality.

It is no different than asking a man when did he stop beating his wife.

The article gets more manipulative with its base assumptions from there.

The very long and rambling piece begins with discussing a 60 Minutes piece that interviewed people who supported Trump and Clinton, and the writer of the article thought it was boring:

What went wrong? How could one of the most successful, relatable interviewers in American history create such uninspired television?

Uninspired? What? No Kardashians? No pundits making things "pop"? Perhaps some CGI or car chases?

Do we understand that the point of informative disciplines is not to entertain, but simply inform?

And reflect reality.

Journalism has lost its credibility, and hence, lost its power. To discuss an interview as being "uninspired" misses the mark. A corpse has uninspired behaviour -- it just lies there rotting away.

So what went wrong?

An entire profession imploded but are still too arrogant and oblivious to see it because they are still chasing after trivialities looking for inspired.

It is reminds me of house hunters to pass on a solid house that has dated wallpaper and buy the rotting bricks that has chrome appliances.

But the sophistry and backwards thinking has just begun:

As politicians have become more polarized, we have increasingly allowed ourselves to be used by demagogues on both sides of the aisle, amplifying their insults instead of exposing their motivations. 

This is "people are brainless sheep" theory that journalists believed. Politicians pander. They are not visionaries or original thinkers because if they were, they would be too novel and unfamiliar and people will not go for something untested. They are like the therapists who merely repeat what the crowds express is their primary concerns.

If people have no jobs, they are going to look for someone who promises to spark jobs. It is why politicians bribe voters with their own money: people name their price and the politician who can read the zeitgeist and ortgeist can win.

Because that is precisely why Hillary Clinton lost. She tried to (a) vote shame people into choosing her, (b) had a platform that did not speak to what certain critical voting blocs made absolutely clear they needed and wanted, and (c) then decided to insult those people who were screaming for political attention as deplorables.

If you are dependent on the goodwill of the masses to get a position of power, then you cannot risk belittling them. Clinton made the same structural assumption as the author of the drivel did, and she lost an election that should have been an easy coup for her.

Clinton's own incompetency prevented a victory. The Left should have seen it coming. Journalists should have seen it coming. Clinton keeps making the sae mistakes, but expects a different outcome.

And now people who put their money on the losing side are angry that a Sure Thing wasn't a sure thing.

There is no polarization. The people who are pretending to "resist" and be "woke" are slumbering dutifully in their own delusional fantasies because that is their own rote habit. Most of the world would celebrate if they had the same freedoms, opportunities, and prosperity as the Left is enjoying right now. There is nothing to "resist": you have a country with countless organizations, lobby groups, PR firms, social media, laws, special programs, and elections that can help people steer their politicians in the direction they choose, and they are behaving as if they are living in some destitute Third World dictatorship that has no human rights, elections, or even running water.

And who are these "resistors"?

Wealthy Hollywood actors whose careers have faded.

Rich people ranting in limos is not a "resistance."

And we have Millennials having, not any "woke" impulse, they have gotten old before their time. When you have advertisers pushing kids to grow up early, they still go through the same cycles of life, only sooner, and yet it is a youth-focussed society. Add the inflated expectations of being able to be rich and famous through social media that never materialize, and burning out youth with endless lessons and camps that focus on arts for fame, you have people with broken fantasies throwing in the towel at the age where they should be still clawing.

If you ever watched the third season of The Killing, the minor character of Twitch best reflects what happened to those twentysomethings. 

They are now having an artificially-induced premature mid-life crisis, and this champagne socialism phase is merely the same rants their parents are having about social security.

This isn't the beginnings of a social revolution, let alone a precursor to civil war.

This a rare time in history where the Left are the old burned out reactionary youth swapping places with the older Right who were using social media for different purposes. One wanted to use it for themselves to make themselves famous with a me-focussed message; the other used it to disseminate a more you-focussed message.

And journalists hedged their bets wrong, and are now trying to incite a generation who are limping their way into rocking chairs left open by older generations who got off their duffs and went to the voting stations. Youth are grousing about the government the way well-heeled retirees living it up in Florida did during brunch quaffing mimosas and downing key lime pie.

This is not a question of "polarization." This is mere societal growing pains and confusion that is happening because humans have to still adjust to the liberation of communications, otherwise known as the Internet.

Journalism is trying to exploit a mirage because they never had to actually actively think or observe their surroundings. They are banking on a write-off generation who indulge in life-sink activities on their smartphones and then honestly wonder why their lives aren't fulfilling.

This isn't a question of politics. This is a question of gullibly believing a bill of goods you are sold to pacify you in order not to ask hard questions.

Had journalism bothered to ask hard questions, we wouldn't be seeing the rapid aging and deterioration of a lost generation: they would know what was out there, and what they could realistically achieve given their talents, environment, skills, education, and attitude, and what would be a healthy timeline to have to earn their place in the world. They have now aged to be older than their own parents.

And when you age before your, anyone older than you who has an eternally youthful and ambitious disposition is painful to endure.

Those "Indigo" children are imploding, not exploding. Socialistic tendencies is not a sign of rebellion, but a sign of defeat and exhaustion, and if you have youth who are exhausted this early and when they have opportunities, supports, and comforts no other generation of the history of mankind ever had, that means they are a write-off, and it will be up to those older and younger to pick up their slack, and neither side will be able to relate to them.

We always had two groups in society: the ones who push forward, and those who retreat. That's not politics; that's the cycle of life. The only difference is the young and old have switched places, and with new generations growing up, they will not behave in the same manner because they will have the middle generation of their morality tale of what not to do.

In other words, where journalists see "polarization", what they actually see is a cycle of life. They are the ones who are trying to create polarization. Politicians pander. The public makes their demands based on their wants and needs.

It is journalists who try to present it as something binary and patriarchal, making this observation from the article a dubious one:

Long before the 2016 election, the mainstream news media lost the trust of the public, creating an opening for misinformation and propaganda. 

Creating an opening for misinformation and propaganda? Darling, the press were the creators of misinformation and propaganda.

Don't Believe It! proved that hypothesis over a decade ago.

But their verbal sleight of hand to make it sound as if journalists were some sort of victims doesn't play in the real world.

Which makes the next quote instructive:

“Conflict is important. It’s what moves a democracy forward,” says journalist Jeremy Hay, co-founder of Spaceship Media, which helps media outlets engage divided communities. “But as long as journalism is content to let conflict sit like that, journalism is abdicating the power it has to help people find a way through that conflict.”

That is an interesting assumption that journalists do not stir up conflict or have vested interests in presenting reality as conflict-based. Wars are sparked by journalistic propaganda. Many wars could have been prevented if the press presented facts than sensational brawls.

And then the arrogance explodes:

But what else can we do with conflict, besides letting it sit? We’re not advocates, and we shouldn’t be in the business of making people feel better. Our mission is not a diplomatic one.

If there is conflict, you should present the facts of it. You are not a social engineer. That's it. The mandate was always to present facts. 

Not pick sides, editorialize, or misinterpret reality.

The article is not to inform, however. It is a sell, and an indirect sell, and usually the indirect sell has a purpose: to try to persuade people into a bad deal. If the sell was a positive one for the audience, then just spit it out.

And the sell of the article comes like this:

To find out, I spent the past three months interviewing people who know conflict intimately and have developed creative ways of navigating it. I met psychologists, mediators, lawyers, rabbis and other people who know how to disrupt toxic narratives and get people to reveal deeper truths. They do it every day — with livid spouses, feuding business partners, spiteful neighbors. They have learned how to get people to open up to new ideas, rather than closing down in judgment and indignation.

Yes, speaking to patriarchal authorities who have had a very bad history of brokering lop-sided deals. For anyone who had to go up against authorities with any of those professionals, you know going in that those people are not going to step on the toes of institutions where they have to keep having business to do with them long after your problem is resolved by decree.

So, in other words, here is a reporter trying to advocate for a pro-authority status quo.

Let's go back to the good old days, kids, where journalists had clout, told the Great Unwashed what to do, and they would do it without question, regardless of what a bad deal it was to them.

It is an indirect approach for a reason.

It is not impressive to speak with Establishment-enablers for months. 

That is appealing to authority.

What journalists have always been doing.

And here is an article pretending to do something different than other ones.

But the author must love the way she writes:

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve been a journalist for over 20 years, writing books and articles for Time, the Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal and all kinds of places, and I did not know these lessons. After spending more than 50 hours in training for various forms of dispute resolution, I realized that I’ve overestimated my ability to quickly understand what drives now people to do what they do. I have overvalued reasoning in myself and others and undervalued pride, fear and the need to belong. I’ve been operating like an economist, in other words — an economist from the 1960s.

Memo to Amanda Ripley: you obviously did not learn a single thing in those fifty-plus hours. Not one. You are doing the same thinking you did before, and the same thinking that destroyed journalism.

Then she pulls the same studies way too many writers use as a hack:

For decades, economists assumed that human beings were reasonable actors, operating in a rational world. When people made mistakes in free markets, rational behavior would, it was assumed, generally prevail. Then, in the 1970s, psychologists like Daniel Kahneman began to challenge those assumptions. Their experiments showed that humans are subject to all manner of biases and illusions.

Kahneman and Tversky were two psychologists who conducted flawed, but not entirely useless studies. Their work on heuristics was my first psych essay I wrote as a first year undergrad so that I wouldn't have to be a guinea pig in a grad student's experiment. When a writer wants to sound as if they know something, they break out those names, without questioning the studies. It is just a given to parrot them, especially out of context.

A hack or a shortcut, in other words. Just throw those names out there and you can believe you sound as if you did research and cannot be questioned. Don't kid yourself.

And notice that the author states that to believe that humans are rational is a wrong-headed thing, opening the door to the assumption that people need a better-quality of person to guide them.

Nothing new, but the author seems to be trying to find a way to repackage the old with a new spin by comparing the flawed assumption of economics (who never quite see when a crash is coming) with the dead profession of journalism:

Journalism has yet to undergo this awakening. We like to think of ourselves as objective seekers of truth. Which is why most of us have simply doubled down in recent years, continuing to do more of the same kind of journalism, despite mounting evidence that we are not having the impact we once had. We continue to collect facts and capture quotes as if we are operating in a linear world.

You are not having the same impact because the Internet broke down your gates. If an isolated town has but a single restaurant, everyone will go there, no matter what slop is being served. Open a dozen more who a superior menu and choices, and the old dive goes out of business. The End.

But the sophistry takes a chilling turn:

If we want our best work to have consequences, we have to be heard. “Anyone who values truth,” social psychologist Jonathan Haidt wrote in The Righteous Mind, “should stop worshipping reason.”

Social psychology is fraught with problems, which I will not go into here, but this is a clear advocation of social engineering journalism. We should stop giving facts because they are boring. We have irrational audiences who aren't listening to us, and we should stop using reason in our work, as if we ever did. 

You want to be a politician without having to run for office. You want to make decrees. that people have to obey. This is as close to being a manifesto advocating propaganda as you can get.

And it gets worse:

We need to find ways to help our audiences leave their foxholes and consider new ideas. So we have a responsibility to use all the tools we can find — including the lessons of psychology.

Hello, Ms Ripley! Why are you assuming that just because people do not believe what you believe that they live in a foxhole? How arrogant are you? How unfeeling?

Who are you to tell them what to believe? Shame on you.

#MeToo was a rebellion by women being told they live in a foxhole just because they did not want to be sexually harassed.

And if you are hoping to use psychology to help manipulate the little people, it doesn't work that way.

And the writer's penchant to quote other people as if someone else's words would bolster a shoddy argument, let me counter-quote from those fabulous punk Swedes the Hives form their song Dead Quote Olympics:

 It doesn't mean it's good 'cause you found it at the library

The article goes at length to appeal to authority and commit one confirmation bias after another. The hypothesis of this manifesto is flawed and self-serving, and everything that follows does nothing to prop it up:

The lesson for journalists (or anyone) working amidst intractable conflict: complicate the narrative. First, complexity leads to a fuller, more accurate story. Secondly, it boosts the odds that your work will matter — particularly if it is about a polarizing issue. When people encounter complexity, they become more curious and less closed off to new information. They listen, in other words.

There are many ways to complicate the narrative, as described in detail under the six strategies below. But the main idea is to feature nuance, contradiction and ambiguity wherever you can find it. 

No, the lesson is get rid of the narrative. Complexity is mere illusion and a fortress people build to deflect attention away so they will not have to change their behaviour. Nuances are grains used as a misdirection so a person gets dragged in deeper into the rabbit hole and create an illusion that a situation is more difficult than it is, and that there are bigger differences between groups than there actually is.

Just as the author of this drivel is doing with reckless abandon.

This is an ineffectual propagandist's manual on trying to manipulate people, based on a fairy princess narrative. Find out what people are thinking in order to exploit it to push an agenda. There is babble about breaking narratives, and yet the writer of this piece wants everyone else to break a narrative, save for those in her own dead profession. It is a truly chilling and mystifying piece as it is infuriating.

But it all goes back to sticking it to Donald Trump for showing the world journalism has become a sham.

Experimental psychology has many benefits, but only if it is used properly in its structure and core mandate. Ripley wants it to be some magic wand to Make Journalism Great Again.

It is a self-serving piece meant to play the same toxic games, but present it as being more enlightened: maybe if we have some psych, we can manipulate people into obeying us again.

The ship has sailed, and it couldn't speed away fast enough.

That is the reason journalism cannot correct itself: the core has been corrupted beyond repair. You don't eat rotten meat and expect to get anything of nutritional value: you are lucky if you don't die of food poisoning.

Once upon a time, you had idealists in journalism. You had beautiful souls who understood it was about facts and risked their lives to get them to people. They pushed and pushed.

You had Nellie Bly go undercover in the worst possible places to find the truth. You had Daniel Pearl who died digging for the truth. You had reporters who had no trouble with this concept.

If you had those people in a more empirical structure, their work would have been more powerful. We would be in a very different place, and Alexandra Kitty would have been happily writing a book called Why Journalism is a Beautiful Thing.

The problem stemmed from the lack of evolution in the industry, and then it became overrun with people who decided journalism was their castle and they crowned themselves kings and queens, issuing edicts to those little peons and plebs.

Journalism used to be a thing, but it's not anymore. It is articles like that one that is infuriating as it is ugly.

It is because of that horrific thinking that journalism has nothing left to give: it is diseased beyond curing.

You want to inform a public?

You need a clean slate. You need a new mandate, focus, method, structure, and goals so that it is not infected by the same corrupting arrogance and expectations of a profession that destroyed itself.

And still doesn't know it cannot be saved...

How unprofessional are journalists? Let's ask Ali Watkins.

I have said two things for a very long time: (A) journalists's Trump-hate is personal, and (B) Trump knows exactly who the news media happen to be as he knew how to play them for years as he got great publicity from them once upon a time.

When he realized he can bypass the news media, he ditched them, and then unleashed, letting the world know who they really were, and the press never forgave him for speaking the truth.

If journalists were in a stronger position, they would get back at him for telling the world how rotten they are. 

I won't recount New York Times' reporter Ali Watkins' horrific ethical missteps mixing business with having affairs with political sources. Of course, she succeeded at a faster rate than the more honest variety of reporter. You can get the memo herehere, here, here, and here, with a pathetic attempt to spin this as a "chilling effect on journalists" narrative here -- and with BuzzFeed once again proving it has no resemblance to an ethical news outlet as it knew all about it, but kept that transgression to themselves.

This episode is beyond bad. It is unprofessional and cannot be #MeTooed. It cannot be deflected in any way because a journalist cannot bed a source. It corrupts the journalist and rightfully calls into question their motives and angles.

It also gives the government the absolute right to snoop into the faux reporter's emails, notes, and phone records. We do not allow judges to bed witnesses because it would taint the trial beyond repair.

And Watkins tainted her product beyond repair in a different way, but for the same underlying reasons.

Journalists are now seriously worried about the optics -- and as the Washington Post confessed:

Yet this particular reporter-source relationship was also a romantic one, a twist that introduces questions about journalism ethics and could buttress Trump's characterization of reporters as creatures of the Washington swamp who will do anything for scoops.

Not could. Did. 

This proves that journalists are untrustworthy and have underlying motives for doling out positive press -- and negative press.

Watkins is not the only one. She was just stupid enough to get caught. That she is a New York Times reporter sullies the Times and gives them no clout to go after others because they allowed it to happen. They should have caught the liaison and promptly turfed out Watkins on her backside.

But they were too busy focussed on hate rather than facts. While they were outlining their nemesis's every sin, they blithely ignored their own when they were in no position to do so.

This scandal doesn't just make the profession vulnerable to governmental enslavement; it merely reinforces what alienated audiences believed all along...

The Ethics of Journalistic Narcissism: When you're a journalist, it really is all about you.

When journalists talk about themselves to the public, they all say the same thing as they all walk lockstep with each other.

And it has nothing to do with reality.

That is one of the biggest reasons the profession collapsed: it is too self-absorbed to see anything else because those big egos keep getting in the way.

I have written books about the reality of journalism since 2005, and I worked as a journalist doing so. I was working as a scientist and observer, looking at the dynamics of the newsroom as I studied those in the profession.

It was like watching someone running toward a cliff with a steep drop and missing all the signs, completely convinced that nothing bad would happen to them because they were just that special.

And they fell off the cliff.

They fell off a cliff even when people like me were writing books warning them that there was a cliff that did not have the same rig of ground there to prop them up.

Matt Gurney's goofy commentary is a case in point. It is a rambling and babbling piece of drivel that completely misses the point of what happened:

I am consistently amazed by how many literate, well-read people genuinely have no idea about the economic Armageddon crushing the industry. Maybe it’s because we don’t talk about this publicly outside of dry business reports about ad revenue and debt burdens. Is it out of embarrassment? Privacy? Denial? I couldn’t say. But I’m not always sure the modern journalist’s determination to keep a stiff upper lip is doing us much good in the long run.

Journalists don't talk about their economic woes? Are you serious? You make dire threats about what will happen to democracy in your rags every chance you get as you shameless beg the government to bail you out. You have your little Fear and Pity tours that are thinly disguised as "j-talks" -- and this web site had chronicled the endless whining and temper tantrums journalists have been throwing for months.

Like the Denver Post whose few remaining scribes have been throwing loud and self-pitying fits because they are losing their jobs.

You don't talk about it?

It is the only other thing journalists babble about beside Donald Trump rightfully calling the profession fake news.

Journalists are one of the least trusted professions that also happens to be one of the top professions that attract psychopaths.

Do we see how the two are related?

The more journalists talk about themselves, the more people they turn off with their narcissism and the constant dire threats that the world will collapse without journalists. That is the ethics of narcissism: you thump your chest and then make threats to the little people how they need you.

No, they don't.

You are not suffering for your art. You are all hoping this whole Internet thing will just go away, people will dumb down and settle for losing their voices, and all come crawling back to you so you can do the same thing that you have always been doing: shilling skewed opinion as news as you cover the beautiful people hoping to get a patronage appointment.

That is not how one keeps an industry alive and thriving.

It is about questioning every atom of your profession, criticizing it, and them experimenting and improving it.

And that requires shutting up about your boring old war stories, and thinking about something other than yourselves.

If journalists did that even ten years ago, your fortunes wouldn't be in a pine box.

And people like me weren't screaming from the top of our lungs because we wanted a profession to die.

We did it because we wanted it to thrive.

The mortal wounds journalism suffered were self-inflicted.

But that's what happens to people with a selfish mindset: they never see reality because their filters never allow any fact that proves their grandiose theories about their invincibility and superiority wrong....

Have you ever noticed that it's only "Great Men" who get Open Letter Groupies defending them?

Steven Galloway did.

Al Franken did.

Tom Brokaw did -- with the added playing both sides of the issues with this story.

But we don't have open letters supporting women who were abused with all sorts of D-listers chirping in their defence.

The Brokaw petition is particularly demeaning: that a grown man is seen as helpless and incapable unless a group of Stepford colleagues come running lockstep to save their poor little boy.

Really?

How very sad.

And no, ladies: you are not supporters of #MeToo if you play manipulative games like that. Name one woman for whom you did the same thing for with the same zeal.

You didn't?

That's right. You are the dutiful little maids of the Great Men, cheerily cleaning up their messes as you spit in other women's faces because they have less power and clout that you can exploit. 

If you truly thought he was a capable man who had honour, he would be more than capable of defending himself without your obnoxious mommy meddling, and you'd stay out instead of riding on his coattails trying to get a little free publicity at his expense.

Nice try.

But intelligent people aren't buying it.

How does a profession go from objective to partisan to religious? When they lose control.

Journalism has undergone a radical and extremist transformation that has made their demise worse. They were partisan until it realized neutrality connected with more audiences, and then it began to hit its stride.

And make no mistake: it was once a profitable industry that was rational and objective to a fair degree.

And then as it began to lose clout, it started to become increasingly partisan, going back to its troubled roots.

But when that didn't work -- it became an overzealous and violent cult.

It dictates what people should believe. It openly tries to engage in social engineering. It demonizes those who do not agree with its numerous sermons. It shames those whose life requirements differ than their own. It preaches to its dwindling flock in a binary way.

And then there is that bottomless pit called a collection plate.

Photo of a Collection Plate

Journalism has become puritanical, always moralizing and preaching, instead of informing. 

It judges outsiders of the flock to the point that I am surprise they don't call those people heathens.

Who placed them in charge of morality -- and isn't their mandate supposed to be one of rationality? Give us facts so we can face reality and see the truth -- not terrify us of being slapped with some sort of Scarlett letter if we do something the press doesn't like.

There is a peculiar fanaticism that has engulfed the profession and drowned it to death.

But journalism lost control, and then panicked, being so obsessed with being ignored that they are now completely driven by the motive of regaining control, throwing away every pretence so their true intentions and motives are now transparent.

It is the reason we need an alternative -- one that passes no judgement or offers any simplistic narrative script. Just the facts.

A profession that has faith in human intellect would be a breath of fresh air -- one that is tolerate, peaceful, sensible, empirical, rational, realistic, modest, active, sensitive, and most of all, helpful.

When you are all those things, people will come to you because they can trust you. They can trust you with the truth. They can trust you to tell them what they need to hear. They can trust you not to manipulate them. They can trust you will not judge them or blame them. They can trust you are brave enough and honest enough to give them the facts as they are so they can make their way in the world.

Journalism could have been the most beautiful calling in the world. It could have been Edenic. It could have averted wars, fears, hatred, and anger. It could have opened up our eyes so we can see the world outside of us -- and within us.

It couldn't have, but it went down a horrific path.

But it doesn't mean we cannot try again, in earnest this time...

Beware of opinionists who have anti-Eastern Orthodox bigotry: Guardian, stop demonizing Slavs. Even if the PR firms tell you it's okay to do it.

During the Civil War in the former Yugoslavia, some of the warring sides spent money, and lots of it on public relations firms to win the war. Journalists back then were illiterate to the language, customs, history, geography, and psychology of that region, and took whatever narratives they were spoon-fed by these professional propagandists, and completely got away with it.

Fast forward to 2018, where the profession lost clout, but still crib from PR firms to tell them what to spew.

And they are playing the same old bigoted script.

Such as the Guardian with a piece of manipulative and illiterate garbage trying to sound learned, when it is just demonizing propaganda to once again slag the Serbs who are not kissing up to Western journalists because they have self-respect and exercise free will.

And they are Orthodox Christians, and Western media has an absolute burning hatred for Slavs. Serbs get the worst of it, even though they tend to be the least racist nation in Europe, a knee-slapper of an irony to say the least.

The dreck demonizes Slavs to such a disturbing degree that this is hate speech.

"Chameleon"? Really? What about those pretending to be journalists, who are actually propagandists spewing uninformed hate to poison global opinion with vile babble?

But there is a very selfish reason why the press keeps demonizing Serbs, and Russia has nothing to do with it.

Journalists won the war in that civil conflict. They were the biggest winners and benefitted the most from it. They had actually shamelessly cribbed their propaganda, and got away with it, even though the errors they made in their coverage would be torn to shreds today.

As in, mislabelling mass graves of Serbs as Muslim, even though those graves had crosses with Cyrillic writing. 

But they got away with being hateful and subjective. They got away with having no facts or context. They got away with owning the illogical narrative and financially profiting with raises, promotions, awards, and prestige.

Those were the good old days for that profession, when they could corner a beleaguered nation that was broke and broken, and just slap them around, and get the entire planet to cheer that bullying.

So now journalists are trying to go back to what worked, and they are eyeing Serbs once more as their villains.

But this is 2018, where journalists are weak, and their glaringly embarrassing cultural illiteracy can be exposed, as their past sins are brought back to light.

It is also the reason why the press dusted off the old playbook, and pick on Russians: it worked for them before, and it seems like a good idea to jump start their profession's dead corpse.

And yet, it is not working.

Notice how the Guardian has to always beg for money with every article.

Once upon a time, that kind of propaganda sold newspapers.

And now, nothing.

While journalism's fortunes have crumbled to nothing, their trusty Slavic target of torment are doing quite well for themselves.

The profession would be better off educating themselves on tolerance and fact-gathering, rather than PR firm-cribbing.

Enough is enough.

Boston Globe's Kevin Cullen in the hot seat.

The Boston Globe's high-profile columnist is being investigated for embellishing coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing, and you can read about it here, here, here, and here. Boston Globe Logo

The Globe has had their share of problematic columnists in the past, and my first book chronicled two of them. Earlier this year, columnist Ron Borges was suspended for reporting a hoax as truth.

This is not surprising, given that embellishments are often the way many journalists and columnists operate, sensationalizing information or exaggerating what they have witnessed or experienced, but most are not called on the carpet or exposed...

An interesting twist to the Ontario Election campaign: Is it ethical to fund media outlets in an election year?

The Liberal regime in Ontario has already placed this province in a sea of red, and for their generosity with taxpayers' own money (and all the funds they are borrowing at a high interest rate), they are floundering in the polls, but never say they won't keep spending. brand

Here is a press release from the Ontario government that I find very intriguing:

Ontario Supporting Multicultural News Journalism

New Fund Will Increase Multicultural Coverage of Local, Regional and National News

The timing of this does not pass any smell test. Given there is an election coming up, it is not very ethical to give funding to news outlets -- especially in this manner. It is a way of courting smaller groups strategically, at any rate.

With the collapse of journalism, particularly in Ontario, I was expecting the Grits to play a game like this...

The new beggars: How journalists try to exploit their own incompetence.

If you look at many journalism sites and their various barnacles known as "organizations", you will see a lot of begging for money. A lot.

Not just obnoxiously begging for money, but a manipulative little sob story how giving your money is absolutely essential for democracy to survive.

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 8.06.40 PM

And if it isn't begging for donations, it is a demand and threat to subscribe.

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 8.11.35 PM

This is a gambit: if they cannot get funding through advertising and people wanting to subscribe, then instead of making the necessary changes, passively take out your tin can and howl for cash.

And despite the circulation and viewership declines, the profession thinks a non-profit model will save them.

The New York Times certainly thinks so, making it a habit of musing about it here about the Guardian, openly cheerleading it here, and now doing free advertising for Report for America here.

These methods aren't working because the same corrupt elements are at play. The non-profit is a retreat strategy: they want to do the same thing, but trying to spin the optics to make it seem they are some sort of noble civil servants, and not broke and inept blowhards who still do not see what they have done to the profession.

It is obvious that this is a ruse to exploit their own incompetence into something noble, but to a dead profession, they will play any trick to pretend an archaic system to information corruption can be brought back to life...

Journalists were supposed to be soldiers. How the Bushido Code would have altered its fortunes.

武士道

The way of the warrior.

bushido gold-red

A warrior who must fight with morality.

Journalists never got that memo who they were.

They were soldiers fighting in an intangible war.

They had to liberate truth from lies.

Reality from fantasy.

Logic from sophistry.

Fact from opinion.

Raw data from narrative.

And proof from theory.

That would have made a world of difference. Propaganda would stick out like a sore thumb if we were blessed with the kind of journalism that actually mattered.

But we weren't blessed. We were cursed with a toxin that slowly destroyed our collective knowledge base.

Busido revolves around seven "virtues", but idealism has nothing to do with it: these are tools of rationality to prevent you from losing focus and forgetting the point of the fight:

  1. GiMorality, righteousness, or simply being resolute and focussed on your goal. You have a purpose and you stick with it to the end. For the information-gatherer, it is finding truth in a battleground of lies. You do not become distracted by lies. You seek truth and you do not stop until you have found it.

2. Rei: Respect, or treating everyone with politeness and kindness. American journalism has no rei whatsoever: they are rude, belittling, and vile to the point of causing permanent and traumatic harm to whomever they disagree with. You do not have to be cruel to find the truth. You may challenge someone to liberate a truth, but you must still be respectful; otherwise, you are imposing your interpretation of reality on others, and becoming an ideological tyrant.

3. Yu: Heroic courage, or having the ability to face the facts that refute your working theory of reality. You must have the courage to be benevolent and liberate the truth from lies. Journalism lacks yu to the point of being propaganda devoid of facts and context. Pandering is a sign that the communicator lack yu.

4. Jin: Benevolence or compassion. There is no journalism without jin. Giving facts is a gift to society in order to help them find their right path, even if they wish to take a different path than you are taking. Not a worse path where you can look down on those people, and not a better path where you plot and scheme to thwart them because you are petty and jealous. The profound lack of jin in journalism has resulted in partisan propaganda because the linear divide of Left and Right refuse to acknowledge that different people have different life requirements. It is akin to forcing people with a peanut allergy to eat peanut butter. It has become obscene.

忠義

5. Chu: Loyalty to truth and seeing reality is essential to being a fact-gatherer. You do not sell out the truth because truth is stable, egalitarian, reliable, valid, credible, useful, and loyal to every one of us. You are dedicated to finding those deep universal truths and you are not beguiled by the lure of peddling lies.

名誉

6. Meiyo: Honour, or holding yourself to a real standard to preserve and improve the content of your character. You do not stoop to propaganda or manipulations. You tell facts, not sell a narrative. You do not use fear-mongering or hero worship, either.

7. Makoto: Honesty, the most important virtue of the fact-gatherer. Your word must be your bond. You must verify what you say, and not have ulterior motives saying it. Here are the facts. If you are not honest, you are enemy to truth. You pollute the information stream with lies, and with lies, no solution can be found.

The Art of War told us that war is deception, and yet a fact-gatherer must be the soldier who forgoes lies to liberate the truth. It is a different battle that turns the rules of war over in order to break them.

Journalism never took itself seriously, and it paid the price. The alternative to it must understand that idealism is absolutely necessary for society to progress. There is a difference between being naive, and being gullible for it is the conniving who are gullible, forever believing if they backstab and deceive others, they will win a nonexistent game.

There is a full-blown war on truth raging right now, and if we are to ever free ourselves from the shackles of lies, we must be prepared to liberate truths so that truth can return the favour and liberate us in kind...