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...

Memo to The Atlantic: Just because you still have j-school students, doesn't mean they have the ability to save a dead profession. They are the Rote.

As I have commented numerous times here and in my book, journalism schools have not done one real or substantial thing to save journalism, and continue to teach using the same flawed theories and models with suckers and pigeons lining up to give money to what is essentially an academic scam. I have even used articles written by j-school students to show just how dysfunctional this segment of journalism is. The one place you would expect revolution and change is sputtering along in the same jalopy down the same garden path.

The Atlantic is doing what journalism always did: see a few people cluster together, and then decree it a trend. Their article about young Rotes enrolling in j-schools is a classic case of being shallow and not seeing the big picture.

Rotes are young people who memorize, mimic, and model with no creative input or output. They bring nothing to the table, but are conniving enough to think if they just march the way other people march, they will fly under the radar and get somewhere on someone else's ingenuity and hard work. They follow scripts have have no reasonable understanding of reality. They look for a paved path and march lockstep dutifully, believing that just because they have made a decree, that reality is going to bend to their fantasy and will.

It is no different than #NeverAgain. They do all the same things previous activists have done: blindly shill a side without looking at the facts that refute their own decrees. You have youth violence. You have kids murder other kids with guns.

But if you take away the guns, the problem doesn't solve itself.

So do you just want people not to have traditional guns? They can make 3D guns or eve make their own metal guns. They get smuggled guns or use a knife, a bomb, or even poison.

So why do we have youth activists go for the easy and lazy solution?

Because they are following their parents's scripts.

Doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome.

It would be more impressive if they called for action to see why their generation is murderous. It would be refreshing if they wanted to explore facts to find out whether the movies and games they consume are trashing their psyches -- and if not all of them are getting riled up by consumption of those media -- which ones are at risk, and what are the game plans?

That would show a proactive youth, but it is not. It is not even an active youth.

But a passive one going through the motions as a middle-aged spouse in a loveless marriage and a dead-end job.

So you have a cluster of followers go to j-school, and willingly submit to garbage education to get worthless degrees in a dead profession.

Whoop di do.

Most people who get a j-school degree never get to work in journalism, and of those who do, almost all of them have pay so horrid, they have to get jobs in other fields.


Because the education was always horrifically flawed, and did nothing to rejuvenate the profession.

Youth are not blameless and their blind fantasy is mistaken for idealism and optimism. It's not.

Optimists seek to transform, create, invent, and innovate. The ones in j-school haven't been doing that -- they honestly think that their partisan and propagandistic demands mean they have morals and being biased and with an agenda will force journalism to resurrect themselves and they will have better luck converting people to their skewed and self-serving demands than their fledging blogs and tweets.

You do not see demands for alternatives in journalism from this group. Ask hard questions, and watch the tantrums fly with snide and snippy remarks as they decree they are on top of a nonexistent moral pecking order than those who point out the obvious flaws in their theories.

You would think you had a generation see the collapse of journalism, and then want change in the profession. That would be the case if the motive wasn't primarily driven by an ego and a need to manipulate and meddle.

Older generations who destroyed journalism have a lot to answer for and should be forced to do so.

But younger generation who follow in the same footsteps also need to be held accountable for enabling rot. They may not have experience or a fully developed brain -- but they do have eyes and the ability to compare and contrast to see the reality of a situation.

J-school students who go into those programs have already proven to be incapable journalists: if they cannot see the reality of the situation and go in all the same with no plan to create something functional than the dead model, then how can they possibly be expected to resurrect a dead profession?

They can't.

If you had a generation have the courage and the morals to demand the alternative because they saw what an outmoded model of journalism did to societies, it would be glorious and a breath of fresh air. It would be a true revolution and a sign for progress and improvement.

This isn't it. This is a group of investors sinking their money in Enron stocks just as the company was exposed to being a fraud just because older people got rich in it a few years ago.

It is the same logic and lunacy. Nothing more.

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.


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.


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.

psych at work.jpg

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?"


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...

Memo to the Atlantic: Facebook doesn't get journalism. Neither do you.

The Atlantic is snooty propaganda that seems to come from a conniving teenager who thinks he is the smartest person in the room just because his parents never tell him that they know he is lying to them.



They are whining that Facebook doesn't know journalism. It's true as I have repeatedly stated here.

But neither does The Atlantic.

The Atlantic has been trying to win a war journalism has already lost, and they lost it doing the same thing Facebook is doing now: being overtly partisan.

The slap fight is tiresome and that two Left-of-Centre institutions want to wear the paper crown is nothing new -- or productive to anyone...

Ideological Cleansing in an Age of Propaganda

During the Civil War in the former Yugoslavia, there was a PR-spawned and media-happy buzzword used to describe the fighting: ethnic cleansing. The term was meant to show that the region had become intolerant of other ethnicities: an area that had mixed groups would were rushing to "purify" the region. We don't use the term anymore despite other international conflicts. It never actually caught on: once the optics front was won, the term faded from our lexicon.

Except the concept itself is alive and well, and thriving on various communications platforms, from legacy media to social media.

There is no tolerance. There is no diversity. There isn't even plurality.

It is Us versus Them.

With no notion of in-between whatsoever.

It is an ideological war going on, and one with the mental maturity of a spoiled and indulged two year-old in soggy underpants. Suddenly, there is no skepticism, looking at evidence, rationality, or case-by-case examination of the facts. It pure, seething, and manipulative propaganda from both the Left and the Right, nullifying both schools of thought in the bargain.

On the one side of this little game, are men such as Tony Robbins who has decided #MeToo is a bad thing, and everyone who has claimed to have experienced workplace terrorism is doing it for self-serving reasons. There is no looking at facts. He issues an opinion as if it were divine decree, and that's that.

Anyone who disagrees must be removed from our space because they are defective -- and less than human. Hence, ideological cleansing seems like a moral and rational choice. Of course, it is irrational cowardice: we fear our beliefs will crumble; and so, we build fortresses so that we do not have to perceive the reality and truth of our weaknesses. If we do not face it, then perhaps it does not exist.

The irrationality doesn't stop there. The Atlantic decides Donald Trump -- the man who beat journalists and won the White House -- is still too stupid to have his own ideas; so naturally it is not his experience with institutions that makes him skeptical of them -- he is just a hapless and passive conduit of the 1970s.

But the New York Times opines that it is a good thing that the Denver Post is skeptical of the institution that owns them, and there is not a chance those editorial writers are a mere vessel of the decade they grew up in.

Hedge funds are bad when they own decaying newspapers and have to deal with plunging readerships and advertising revenue, but hedge fund owner Madeline Albright is just fine when she writes an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times, openly plotting to "stop Trump before it's too late" -- that's up to the citizens of the US to do at the ballot when the next election comes.

Ms Albright, you may have gotten away with those barbaric games with the Serbs, but your disgusting notions of ideological cleansing are off-putting to say the least.


But in an Age of Propaganda, people behave like robber barons: greed it good, and we must buy up as much ideological property as we can to dominate the marketplace of ideas. Monopoly of thought seems like a foolproof plan: if no one objects, then truth and reality of our ideological flaws cannot possibly exist.

Except, of course, they do exist. You cannot cleanse away truth or reality. It is the reason empiricism is essential as is the never-ending search for facts: there is always a flaw that must be discovered and dealt with. Our theories must always be tested as the world changes and expands. Not everyone's life requirements are alike, and no, one ideology does not fit all.

Journalism was supposed to prevent propaganda from overtaking publicity discourse, but then it became infected and spread the disease, corrupting ideological and political debate to the point it has become useless.

There can be no right answer when the goal is ideological cleansing. It nullifies every argument on either side of the linear divide.

It is the reason why an alternative to journalism is needed: in a world filled with fanaticism, political atheism brings common sense back into visible reality, tearing down narrative, and exposing facts, no matter how upsetting those facts happen to be.

People with billions of dollars to their name are now openly clamouring for a civil war during prosperous peace times. This is no longer moral or rational thought. It is fascism.

And there is no hack or solution from either side of the line in the sand. A map is needed, but one the ignores the narratives and finds the facts to chart a productive route to better -- and more emotionally stable places...

Facebook is watching you, but so are those Loyalty programs. But there is no scandal with those...

The pummelling of Facebook continues with the latest being the "Memo"; this time Vanity Fair. BBC also takes them apart here. The Atlantic seems obsessed with the shallow PR-angle with its usual sophistry it is usually churns. Contrast them to the Financial Times musing that wonders how well Big Data is when ads never seem to quite align with what you actually want or need.

But there is an aspect of modern life that has that kind of Big Data -- loyalty card programs that keep a perfect track of how much you spend, where you spend, what you buy -- and then sends offers all based on your shopping profile.

And yet these loyalty programs somehow are excused from the Big Data Scare.

But then again, Loyalty Programs are not in direct competition with traditional media.

There are no shortage of places that keep track of you -- from the banks that know where you spend your money and where to government agencies who make you fill out forms with information that they already have on file. 

But none of them are competition to the industry. If the Facebook drubbing was sincere, we'd be looking at the big picture. 

But it's not looking for noble motives -- and that insincerity is newsworthy and worth examining...

Journalism's terrorism against Facebook continues as they hope you ignore their targeted marketing at people.

Before I begin, let me remind you about Chartbeat:

The story of your content.

Data tells a powerful story — about your content, who reads it, and what’s possible.

It calls itself:

Content Intelligence for Publishers

In other words, traditional journalism is gathering intelligence on its audience in order to manipulate people into buying their shoddy garbage.

Journalism's stealth marketing is nothing new, and I had written about how newspapers used their circulation department to tailer-make their campaigns for Presstime magazine way back in 2001.

So let's get that out of the way.

The current "scandal" Facebook is facing is a manufactured because Big Data has been around for as long as social media has been around. People want to Live Out Loud, but do not want anyone to profit from it.

And the intelligence gathered from Facebook would be suspect given that people use social media to put their best mask forward, not necessarily reveal what is true.

But journalism's psychological terrorism and propaganda is in full force because they are jealous that Facebook was more successful at it than they ever were.

Toronto Star is instructing the little people to "unfriend" Facebook. The Atlantic, ever the Left-wing propaganda machine, is spinning their own skewed narrative.

They are drawing big huge dots, hoping people will abandon social media, and then go back into the cage.

Facebook has had it too easy for too long, but they gained power because they provided a free page page to people and businesses, but had to fund their sleek machine.

So it collected data and allowed others to do so as well -- including traditional media outlets.

But the current campaign reminds me a lot of the last Ontario PC leadership campaign. Patrick Brown -- the white guy was #MeToo'ed, and he was kicked to the curb. Then you oh-so-very conveniently had two polished female candidates who had clout, connections, and money to sashay in because the media narrative dictated a woman had to win.

Then Doug Ford strutted in, and won. The white guy.

Media narratives aren't what they used to be.

Journalists are trying to scare people out of their wits, and there is no need for it.

Because they are hoping to deflect attention from their own sins and decay, hoping people will relinquish their autonomy.

There are simple ways to deal with Big Data without giving up your own voice.

Because that's what the journalistic narrative is trying to force down your own throat...

Sugarmommies to the Atlantic's Rescue: Happy news' sleight of hand, and why seemingly happy news is no news at all.

Once upon a time, I was a journalist who covered the journalism industry for the likes of Presstime as well as other publications. I was a complete newbie when I began, but I learned fast. I learned a lot about venture capital, Ebitda, paywalls, and the smoke and mirrors game of keeping up pretences.

Newspapers were very good at hiding the extent of circulation declines at the time. Canada began including free giveaway newspapers (count as one cent) as part of their circulation way back in 1999. This would include all those untouched newspapers you see at restaurants, laundry mats, and college campuses. I always had to understand the rig, and why it placed there.

I also understood that when everyone's fortunes are crumbling, and one seems to buck the odds, you have to look at it with skepticism, and not awe. Bernie Madoff seemed to have the golden touch, and it was revealed that he didn't.

So when the Atlantic boasted of hiring 100 people, I already was not surprised. They are not bucking a trend, but what they are experiencing is the largesse of a sugar mommy: in this case the widow of Great Man Steve Jobs.

This is not uncommon, but it requires some explaining.

This isn't the first media player who has had this kind of set-up. Steven Bannon had billionaire widow Rebekah Mercer play patron to him until he became a liability with a big mouth and she kicked him to the curb. These relationships usually end in the patron wising up, realizing they are being used as their endgame is not going to happen funding a sinking ship, and they cut their losses.

I had known about this wrinkle for some time, and knew the score when I was invited by a friend to attend a little Fear and Pity Talk in Toronto at Facebook's satellite headquarters last year. The little panel discussion on uncomfortable bar stools was supposed to about truth and journalism, but it mostly about how no one in the business was getting any clicks anymore...and too much left-field praise about The Atlantic magazine.

It was more than obvious that people in traditional media semi-got together and tried to rebuild their decimated fortunes with a brand name the same way they tried to bluff advertisers by including not-read-newspapers as part of their circulation (or currently with fake Twitter followers). As a tactical move, it could not be worse, but from a single discussion, it was easy to see right through those see-through heads, as the Hives once sang.

But patrons and venture capitalists are not uncommon, and online publications are now imploding because those funders have seen the writing on the wall, and are bailing out.

For the uninitiated, Crunch Base is a good start in seeing various publications getting funding -- not from subscriptions or advertisers, but from funding (or venture) rounds.  You can look at Buzzfeed's funding rounds, for example.

The upside is that you can raise big money faster with the theory that money will give you a push. Sometimes it works, and other times, not.

Take Meez, for instance, a non-journalism vehicle.

They raised over 12 million dollars for instance, allowing people to make their own cartoony avatars, like this one:


That one pretty much looks like me now (surprising given that the animation is about a decade old), and it was a handy way to add humour to my web site.

But Meez no longer exists.

They had millions of subscribers, and many (such as me who used it for website graphics rather than personal entertainment) who paid for premium perks. They had high-end retailers have virtual clothing for cash purchase so your avatar could dress in that season's fashions. Bands, movies, and television shows also sponsored various items and backgrounds over the years. You could make animations, such as the one above, or you could enter chat rooms to talk.

It was all the rage in the 2000s. It had subscribers, advertisers, and venture funding.

And then it imploded, going offline permanent in December 2017 without a prior warning (though users had been expecting doom as moderators seemed to have vanished).

I stopped using Meez years ago, but always kept a watch on its fortunes.

If me-centred media could not make it a go with patrons and/or funding rounds, it should aa serious sign for journalism.

How so?

Meez was the ultimate in embracing technology, courting youth, embracing progressive values, and keeping hip and with the times. Time magazine called it one of the worst sites of the year back in the day, as traditional media has always had a fear and disdain for technology. They did everything right.

And they couldn't make the venture funding translate into self-sustaining success.

Steve Bannon, a shrewd man who understood strategy and managed to secure funding, also couldn't sustain it.

The Atlantic will not be able to sustain it, either.

Its sophistry is too weak to be taken seriously, and it is no contender to any ideological challenge (when I wish to practice my critical thinking skills, all I have to do is read an Atlantic article, and I can take it down to shreds in seconds). It is the same smug, patriarchal mess that is offered everywhere else, including, the now crumbling Vox which is letting staff go. It has no new model of journalism, meaning there is no way for it to be able to take advantage of any kind of funding. Wealthy widow money burns at the same rate as any other kind of patron funding. Hiring a bigger staff when people no longer see journalism as something to consume will not change its fortunes.

But it will serve as a reason why government funding will not change journalism's fortunes in Canada, either. You cannot keep opening the same door and expecting a different horizon. The news is pure PR, nothing more, and nothing for a dead profession to celebrate.

It is interesting how they are trying their hand at the same kinds of bluffs Canadian newspapers tried to pull in 1999. It didn't work then, and it won't work now, either. The Left are losing communications resources, and have decided their best bet is to focus on the inert Atlantic.

They will watch their fortunes continue to shrink with intellectual lightweights trying clumsily to psyche out detractors.

It's not working. It will comfort the fearful flock for a moment, until the money runs out, and it flops just like everyone else around them.