Memo to Ben Brafman: Sex to "boost a career" IS rape. Blackmail is blackmail, and it is time we stop rigging the courts to favour aggressors.

Ben Brafman, who gets paid a lot of money to defend wealthy men who got into trouble doing the same things that got them rich, is now trying to spin a narrative that is a real knee-slapper that explains why #MeToo was a movement to get real justice outside the courtroom. What Neanderthal logic has he spewed?

This bit of sophistry:

If a woman has sex to help her Hollywood career, that is not rape

This statement is wrong on many levels.

First, it makes the inherent assumption that the actress is nothing more than a prostitute, willing to swap sexual favours for fame, fortune, and free Oscar swag.

This is the way to control the optics by casting any woman who accuses a Hollywood producer as a villain. It is also a way of floating possible ways of countering the dominant narrative of #MeToo as well as begin to poison the collective ideological pool to bring in doubt in the public. As a journalist, I have seen this little gambit played before.

For the record, I do not believe that narrative posed by Brafman, but let us, to humour an arrogant rich white male as he has offered no facts, but mere conjecture.

If the woman has embarked on a career and she cannot get a job unless she gives the gate-keeper sex, she doesn't get a job. He will bad-mouth her, and she can get blacklisted.

That means her survival depends on giving sex.

Just like women who have a knife at their throats and are told by their attackers that if they do not give him sex, he will kill her.

So her survival depends on giving sex.

That's rape. The structures are identical.

A predator can very well talk his victim into believing it is her idea and she is the aggressor. That is a process of luring, priming, and grooming.

Child molesters do it because the victim's trauma and being subservient makes the victim vulnerable and confused, taking the cues of the predator who is in control in that chaos. It is a defence mechanism that cult leaders uses, pedophiles use, abusive spouses and parents use, and rapists use.

You came on to me; so you asked for it; you are bad, and you asked for this.

Brafman's Victorian narrative does not hold up tp psychological research. It is an unfortunate byproduct of artificial patriarchal narratives that are binary.

But let us take it one step further than that:

If the producer refuses to have sex with the woman, his career suffers nothing.

If the actress refuses to have sex with the man, her career is over. Acting is not one of those skills that is transferable to other jobs. You are usually going to be stuck being a waitress and living the poverty line. The stakes are too high to expect someone to make a rational judgement -- while the producer has no such quandary. He gets his limo ride to his mansion at the end of the day. The actress has bills and could be facing an eviction notice and yet another mark on her credit score if she refuses any requests.

It is the unequal power dynamic that makes it rape. It is the same as statutory rape: the victim, who has no power, has no consent going into a situation.

When I am looking for work, you can be sure my survival depends on getting work; therefore, I do not have the same consent as the wealthy tycoon who won't give me the time of day unless I put out for him.

So unequal is the power balance that the very business of Hollywood should be heavily regulated.

Of course it is rape. The knife in this case is the pay check.

The actress is in a vulnerable position from the get-go. The very structure is rigged to completely benefit the one in power, and when you have no safeguards to balance it out, there is no discussion or debate to be had.

Rape is rape.

And Hollywood is nothing but a rape den, and that has got to stop.

The origins of the profession of acting come from Ancient Rome where slaves were the literal actors.

Nothing has changed since then. With the public relations front painting a false narrative that the business can pull you out of poverty and obscurity as you find success and validation, it is the come-on to lure the most desperate where they will be subjugated for the rest of their lives.

It uses the American Dream as bait.

Mr. Brafman would not want a thinking person like me on a jury. I see right through all the excuses and sophistry. If you cannot tell the difference, perhaps you should retire from the profession.

Because some of us are not followers or cowards denying the rot in society. It is time we begin to make serious changes to bring equilibrium to such skewed power structures so that the Weinsteins of the world cannot exploit the vulnerable -- and the Brafmans of the world cannot financially benefit when the Weinsteins are finally exposed and held accountable for their tyranny.

We reward misogyny and gynophobia. In 2018. Do not pretend we are an enlightened species. Let's come to grips with overhauling the rewards system because it is long overdue.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science (AMPAS) regrets banning Harvey Weinstein blares the headline. Oscars-new-logo-and-statue-620x359

The people that waste your leisure time with gynophobic propaganda are in a tizzy because they have been outed as people whose testosterone cannot handle estrogen.

The Oscars always rewarded sexist films. They altered people's ideals and fantasy-life with very destructive ideas. Women should be anorexic. They should be helpless and very loose. They should be short-sighted, conniving, vapid, and obsessed with finding some guy to marry them.

They should cry a lot and wallow in self-pity. They shouldn't get to speak too many lines, but have loads of plastic surgery. There is not a single feminist movie that came out of Hollywood. Wonder Woman was covert misogyny and do not expect me to applaud that. I am not naive.

Anyone who thinks Thelma and Louise was a feminist movie is naive, however. Remember, our two protagonists drove off a cliff at the end.

Punish the little ladies has always been the way of Hollywood.

And then they get to give out Oscars to the films that reinforce this kind of nerdish and sexist arrogance.

The Oscars mean nothing. It is advertising to squeeze out a few more million dollars for a picture.

It is a rewards system, and now it has been exposed as such, the rich white boys club of the industry is having a meltdown.

But Canada can have no virtuous airs, either.

Soulpepper_Logo

Because the Canadian government has been funding misogyny for years.

Soulpepper, a hotbed for sexual harassment got millions of dollars from the Canada Council for the Arts.

The Toronto Arts Council also gave them posh welfare money.

That's taxpayer money. That's people working minimum wage money to fund a boor and give him a make pretend title and job to terror women working in that hellhole as the airheads parrot whatever praise the little press release dictates to them.

They do not fund feminist works. They would not know a feminist if they woke up in bed next to one.

Like AMPAS, government funding agencies go out of their way to reward sexist and archaic drivel at the expense of better quality projects. They like nepotism as well. It is as dysfunctional and unscientific as one can get, but people will be looking for those labels when deciding what movie, book, or play to see.

When those labels are actually warning labels not to touch that toxic product with a ten-foot poll.

We should be rewarding controversial, experimental, daring, and intelligent works that are sensitive, constructive, and force us not to rely on scripts in lieu of actual independent and critical thinking.

It is a form of subtle indoctrination: if the dreck got a grant or an an award, it has to be good, right?

No.

It is not divine decree.

Deal with it.

#MeToo has not stopped the abuse, and there are women in the communications and entertainment industries who are terrified of a backlash.

Of course there will be a backlash, but that does not stop you from fighting on or fighting back.

Journalism failed women. Hollywood failed women. It is the reason I will not give Hollywood a penny of my money or a second of my time.

Women have to start becoming visionaries, creators, and innovators outside the status quo for once and for all. Hollywood is a beast, but it can be starved into submission.

Stop indoctrinating little girls into thinking that being a movie star means anything. It is all a lie.

Let her learn to create her own path.

Quite possibly, the stupidest column on sexual harassment ever written. National Post, just how far have you sunk?

Journalism was never science. It has never even been social science. It always was a profession that made a name for itself informing millions of people on the fly with no context or mechanisms to put information in proper context without sophistry. Once upon a time this primitive form of information-gathering was acceptable since no one really knew any better, but as societies around the world progressed and people became more educated, that sloppy neglect no longer should have been tolerated.

But is still being actively tolerated, and even celebrated by the press as being a method without reproach, leading to infecting information disseminated to the public.

Case in point, a recent column by Jen Gerson for the National Post called The Weinstein Effect is the first cultural victory social conservatives have scored in decades.

National_Post_Logo

The entire premise of this dreck is that somehow, demanding that the default behaviour at the workplace is to treat everyone with respect and dignity as everyone just do their jobs, is somehow social conservatism.

Sex has nothing to do with what we call sexual harassment. It's a misnomer. It should be relabeled workplace terrorism or workplace abuse. It has nothing to do with sex: it is a psychological weapon and a stratagem of war: you want to dominate and control your environment that you view as a battleground. You want to be on the top of a pecking order. Your abilities are mediocre, but you want to prove a point that your cunning is more valuable than talent, brains, diligence, honour, and morality combined.

So you play games to take down the competition, ensuring everyone loses focuses and fears you, so they cannot do their best, or think to challenge you.

So, if you have no creative ideas, you plagiarize and steal other people's ideas because they are too busy researching and thinking to schmooze and case ideas to raid as their own.

You start to gossip and isolate potential stars in the workplace so that everyone hates them so they cannot get promoted or bring the "troops" together on their side.

You encourage people to do things that will taint their reputation, so you can blackmail them into bringing you along with them to different departments -- and when you part ways, you have something to smear them with so they either lose clout, or just lose their jobs.

Nothing personal.

Just as you also sexually harass underlings who you see as a threat.

It is a siege by attacking someone to make them feel as small, helpless, and vulnerable as they possibly can.

Harvey Weinstein turned actresses into disposable toilet paper: he built them up, and then, just as they began to feel confident enough...

He used them, reminded them who was predator and who was prey. There would be no more feeling pride about their job again. They became afraid, lost focus and confidence, and he went on to secure his power as they all began to fade and never reach their potential because they could feel no security in their chosen profession.

It was the same reasoning for the September 11 attacks -- it was bringing emotional anarchy to a place where you make your living and life. There is no escape, and your haven turns into your prison.

Predators are not attracted to people they sexually harass -- they see them as threats to be neutralized and turned into pawns to do their bidding. They see these people with contempt and jealousy, not lust.

The abused will show fear on their faces, signalling to the uninitiated that they have no reason to feel safe or brave, and the seeds of destruction are planted.

And in the case of Al Franken, a coworker cannot even have the luxury of necessary sleep before she is degraded and a trophy of her vulnerability is taken.

For Roger Ailes, it was to let the female employees know there was no getting away from the Great Man who was a god who knew all, and saw all.

It was a game of Go to these men, not sex. They use what works, and if the first women who were attacked had been champion boxers who were given advanced warning, and beat the garbage out of those men as they filmed it and posted it in public -- believe me, those predators would switch to some other form of combat.

And to the clueless Ms Gerson, workplace terrorism was happening long before the sexual revolution.

It's not about the sex, you stupid, stupid twit. Take off your little blinders and have a look around your own toxic newsroom with your thinking mode turned on.

To equate demanding dignity and the right to do your job and be properly compensated for it is not about social conservatism.

It is about being civilized and a normal human being, something the Post obviously knows nothing about.

It is not about being on the Left or the Right, you binary woman. It is about wanting to do your job without having losers sabotage you.

Just get out of my way.

But that ignorant thinking permeates through newsrooms, and it should come as no surprise that journalism is rife with incompetent predators who cannot actually do their jobs, hijacked the profession, and then destroyed it, but are still trying to draw a pay check as they are not held accountable for their own nicompoopity.

Do not be surprised that journalism is no longer a thing.

The workplace terrorists burned that profession to the ground a long time ago, and honestly believe the tripe they allowed to be disseminated in their papers has something that resembles intellectual value.

It doesn't.

That column is ignorance in its purest form.

And proves only one thing: that an irresponsible press has no business being in business at all.

Why journalism needs street fighters -- not apologists or propagandists

Journalism in the West is in a disgraceful shambles, and it shows with every article and segment they churn out. The problem could be easily solved, but as they keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome, the mess becomes bigger and more toxic to the society they cover. The New York Times is a very bad offender. Their latest apologistic propaganda drivel disguised as an op-ed piece is desperately trying to salvage the reputation of Al Franken.

It was fine to finally out Harvey Weinstein as a predator because he was losing his clout, his cash and support did not translate into a Hillary Clinton presidency; so it was justifiable to throw him under the bus. He became expendable, and the press has no trouble disposing of no longer useful players.

But then came still very viable pawn Al Franken.

Now things are entirely different. 

Now, all of a sudden, the narrative is about making excuses for him. Well, everyone makes mistakes, is the sophistry used to justify vile behaviour; so let's ignore it and move on.

No, overcooking a roast is a mistake. Grabbing a woman's chest when she was asleep and then memorializing the disgracing pose against her will as a trophy to prove you are more cunning than your prey is very deliberate. It is fitting that this took place in a military setting because that picture itself was a guerrilla ambush

It is war and Franken won by sneak attack. There is no mistake there. That assault was a calculated one of opportunity and says a whole lot more about Franken's content of character than most people in journalism can admit.

But journalists often serve as maids and janitors to those currently in power: they clean up the messes by spinning, ignoring, downplaying, or re-interpreting their masters's numerous sins.

Exposing Franken was a tactical error, but it was the fallout of war: the point of this entire Weinstein/#Metoo campaign was a game of Go against Donald Trump: he was accused of being a boor; so the point was to slowly surround him by exposing a few weakened titans who were accused of doing the same or worse.

The gambit didn't work the first time when the Clinton campaign went after the now infamous recording of him prattling to Billy Bush -- but perhaps if there was a longer arc on it, there is a chance he could be eventually stymied.

Prime your audiences to renounce sexual harassment, and then shaming him is the natural and foregone conclusion.

Except it didn't work out quite as planned.

Because people in power don't become powerful because they are gentle and sensitive, or even intelligent or competent.

The power structure in this society is such that people who are conniving rig things to ensure that their conniving ways are rewarded, and that intelligent and benevolent people are too distracted to challenge them.

If there is a direct comparison, the connivers are going to lose. So, ensure that the moral and intelligent are too unfocussed and overwhelmed to be serious threats.

So when the sexual harassment Pandora's box opened, there truly was no telling what would happen.

Because once upon a time, journalism had an iron-grip on what information would be made public, and it made outcomes easier to manipulate and control.

But with the Internet, things are less predictable, yet journalists still hold on to those old rules, making the results of their campaigns not quite what they were aiming for.

So when valuable pawn Al Franken got exposed as the pig that he is, the press now has a dilemma as they lavished positive press on him for years.

And now the backtracking begins, which itself will undermine the entire narrative: if journalists say that sometimes it is okay to sexually humiliate women, then harassers will just cop to saying it was all a mistake, they are sorry, and then women will be placed in a worse position than they were before: once again being seen as hysterical harpies who should be compassionate and accommodating toward their abusers, who, by golly, are just making mistakes at women's expense.

Do not think that can't happen. It is already starting, thanks to the apologists at The New York Times and the Daily Kos.

If women truly do not want to be oppressed even worse than they were before, they must ignore the apologists and demand Franken's resignation. There must be a line drawn somewhere, and it must be a very severe and serious one.

No, it is not okay to humiliate a woman. No, it is not okay to take a photograph of you fondling her when she is asleep. There was no consent. You were on a job, and she was your coworker. It would not be any different under any other circumstance, but this is the epitome of sexual harassment, and we do not make exceptions to popular Democrats who morally masturbate in public just because traditional media drool all over him and he once handily won Celebrity Jeopardy.

But the Times's propaganda piece does raise one more interesting question to ponder: why didn't the press see the Franken debacle coming?

The answer is very simple: because you have journalists who are not trained to be street fighters, but sheltered, ignorant, and arrogant teenagers who think they are smart just because they have a university degree or two.

Journalism requires those in the profession to understand that they are soldiers in an intellectual war. You have to fight to hunt and gather every grain of truth. J-schools do not train soldiers: they indulge brats who cannot be bothered in learning how to fight and how to survive. They sit at their computers all day, and have no idea about this thing called reality. They imagine themselves as kings and queens, telling people how to think -- who to shame and who to hero worship, and then all the little peasants follow their decrees.

Journalists love having war stories, but so long as they do not have to actually fight in any battles.

The profession got decimated precisely because journalists really had no clue they were in a war.

They never fought. They haughtily schemed. They all thought they were royalty in a castle, not the knights who had to defend that castle called Truth at all costs.

They saw Republican hypocrisy, and thought that aligning themselves with the Democrats was the easy answer by default.

No, the Clintons and the Frankens of the world are your enemies, too. They used you, abused you, exploited you, manipulated you, and lied to you again and again and again.

And all you ever did was kiss up to them and reward their conniving ways. To them, it must be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Stop your maid service to Franken. Stop your janitorial detail to the Clintons.

Take off that ridiculous crown and maid's outfit, and get out your soldier's uniforms, and put them on right now.

If you haven't noticed, there is a war raging out here right now. You are surrounded by hostile forces, you lost far too many liberties, and you have no idea how to fight as you threw away your weapons, and wouldn't even know how to use them if you still had them because you gave them to the enemies who are using those weapons against you.

If you can't read between the lines, then here is the memo: the war is over, and journalism lost.

Now what?

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am not sitting around waiting for the enemies of truth to dictate anything to me...

Patriarchal Storytelling and how it killed journalism

Us versus Them. It seems that is the only story we are capable of telling. Good guys (us, of course, you wouldn't say we were the villains), and bad guys (the people who disagree with us, and aren't applauding our every thought). People these days are attacking all sorts of other people, with even death threats because someone's life requirements do not line up perfectly with theirs.

It is a sick, sick way to view the world.

Yet good luck finding reportage that challenges that obnoxious, childish, self-serving narrative.

But that is the way of patriarchal narratives. It is all about The One: how the One was right/better/superior than the mindless hordes. Offer a different way of solving a problem that goes against The One, you must automatically be some sort of usurper out to do horrible things to people.

It would be nice to see a more constructive way of seeing things, you know, like Us with Them. How do we coordinate so that both sides can understand there may not be a better in the equation, and that both sides have rights?

But the second you offer that structure, people bring up Hitler as proof that in every single situation, there is a super-bad evil-doer, and should we have worked with the Nazis, too?

Please, do not be stupid -- and binary.

Cue in Matriarchal storytelling.

In the Matriarchal,  we are always aware that it is not always Us versus Them. Sometimes it is, but other times, it Us With Them, or Us going our independent way from Them, or Us Versus Us, or Them versus Them and it's none of Us's business. There is no One Rule That Explains Everything. You cannot memorize a single rule and then apply it to everything -- or worse, think you must always go a little more extreme to prove you are a better follower of the rule than someone else.

Journalism was always about following rules, from Inverted Pyramids to news pegs. So it should be no wonder that the Patriarchal style of telling stories was highly appealing.

But then came social media and people having a chance to be their own PR hacks, spinning and justifying their every action, jockeying to be The One.

Journalism became lost in that game, and instead of questioning their own structures, they went to the extreme version of it.

We can see it in the coverage of Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein, the latter who can be easily characterized as a villain. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was also an easy target. It should be no wonder that in the death throes of the profession, journalists are sticking to their own patriarchal ways of telling stories. You need us! is the subtext of these yarns, Because look at all the bad guys out there!

Well, of course there are evil people, but when you have but a single lens to see the world, guess what? You lose focus. You begin to see every person who is not kissing your feet as they put you on a pedestal as a villain, instead of a righteous, fed-up person who is standing up to your cancerous ego as they put you and your self-entitled self in your place.

And if you ever wanted to know how the Harvey Weinsteins of the world are created, just go back and read the news stories about him before the truth came out. He was placed on a pedestal. Reporters were writing fawning stories about the Great Man, and what a cultured and brilliant visionary he was. He owned the Oscars. He ruled Hollywood, yes sir, because he was The One.

He was on the positive side of the Patriarchal paradigm.

And now he is on the negative.

Had journalists taken a more sensible matriarchal approach, no one would be going in thinking he was some cinematic deity. They would be digging and looking at all sides of the story, not the tripe bored Middle-class people look for so they know what to rave about at the backyard barbecue party to look hip and in the know.

The Patriarchal is all about designating angels and demons, and no one wants to be a demon -- and even if people pretend they want to be a badass "demon", they want to be a Mary Sue demon who is, in fact, an angel with an attitude who happens to be better than the angels.

The Matriarchal goes in knowing that people are people -- and too much praise has always been a surefire way of making good people bad ones in short order.

Journalism lost its common sense with the Patriarchal, and it became irrelevant, always chasing after villains, instead of just looking for facts. Just the facts. Had facts been put out there, the predators of the world would lose much of their tyrannical clout. There would be no need for hatchet jobs, because when there were the first signs of trouble, that information would be out there when it counted -- before people got hurt and had the course of their lives altered forever.

And people would be held accountable early on, and would be too busy to have to time to work on their image -- or harming other people.

We are in an age of sophistry and extreme arrogance. Everyone is convinced they are The One.

No, you're not.

You are one of an Infinite.

It is not always about hunting, but gathering as many grains as you can to see the big picture.

And only when reporters grasp that grain of truth can journalism ever get that resurrection it has longed for.

The Blinders of Journalism, Part Two

I was listening to Newstalk 1010 this morning to their panel of opinionists (called a Roundtable), and it is always interesting: spewing know-it-all decrees with panelists wearing blinders and giving no context is supposed to be informative entertainment. press_NewsTalk1010.jpg

When I was writing When Journalism was a ThingI used to listen to it just to break down the ways journalistic blinders tainted the news product. I had my fill of it, but as things are slowly beginning to ramp up over here, I began to listen to it again.

This morning's offering was particularly instructive.

Hollywood's sexual harassment woes aren't going away just yet, which it shouldn't. Decades-long workplace abuse should be hashed out in public. In a world where news cycles are too short to be helpful, this story is a throwback to an era that had a longer attention span.

The morning's prattle revolved around Kevin Spacey getting scrubbed out a movie. (This article is skewed as its author pushes a little too hard cheering the move, which is not surprising given that Hollywood is a business filled with attention-seeking narcissists who must be having a prolonged trauma being called out on the carpet for their tolerance of uncool behaviour, but I digress).

But to hack Christie Blatchford, it was all too much, and she whined about the "saturation point" of this ongoing story.

Mind you, it was all too much when it first broke out to her. The implication was that somehow, this was all a "witch hunt" -- a very popular phrase for people who were happy sweeping the rot under the rug. Blatchford is in the same boat as relic Gay Talese who said actor Anthony Rapp should have "sucked it up" and kept quiet at what Spacey did to him when he was fourteen because it ruined a letch's career.

Truth should not be reported, according to these alleged journalists, because it ruins the lives of people who ruined the lives of others, and who are we going to invite to the next dinner party so we can all pretend everything is wonderful, wonderful amid the fake laughter and hors d'oeuvres the wait staff spat on prior to serving them?

Blatchford's illogic for being offended by the story was that -- get this -- she alleges that since she was never sexually harassed at work...that somehow this story was getting blown out of proportion.

This isn't even thinking. This is what sheltered and judgemental helmet-haired women who wear white pantyhose even in the summer say at church when a kid complains that the priest molested them. "Well, the priest didn't molest me; so, therefore, he didn't molest you, either."

I have worked with people who were beyond nice to me, but they weren't nice to other people. Abusive people don't always abuse every person in their wake. There are families where a relative sexually abuses one child, but not others. Just because you (a) weren't sexually harassed, (b) thought you weren't sexually harassed, but were used to being abused in that way to the point of thinking this was normal, (c) know you were sexually harassed, but keep quiet because you don't want to burn bridges or tarnish an tough image, and keep quiet, or (d) made your way up on the casting couch thinking it was your idea, but were too gullible to know that you were being primed and groomed to think it was all your idea to crawl through gutters for a nothing gig that let other predators know it wasn't your brains or talent that got you that job -- doesn't matter -- people get abused on their jobs, and abused frequently.

Getting a job in Hollywood is seen as coveted. Billions of dollars are at stake, and we are supposed to believe all these camera-mugging egotists are always professional? In a place where there is heavy drug use, anything can and does happen.

There may be a lot of smiling in front of those cameras, but actors never struck me as being particularly happy people. Women get lousy roles, and show a lot of skin as they chase after and drool over men in storylines. It never particularly appealed to me as a form of entertainment. I can't remember the last time I went to a movie theatre. I binge watch shows from time to time, but I haven't watch a single American program once the scandal hit, and knowing me, I don't think I will for a very long time.

It's not a boycott. I just have other things I would rather do, and don't feel like giving attention to that industry right now. I can always reassess at a later date.

But Establishment journalists who blindly follow the idea of the Great Man, such as Talese and Blatchford, have their preset narratives, ready to cheer those who hold power at any cost. Defending those in power may be their thing, but that isn't journalism. It's spin, and it has no place in the news world.

Harvey Weinstein's war tactics are nothing new: How war propaganda has been working for decades

Kudos to Ronan Farrow for exposing Harvey Weinstein's war tactics. People not schooled in the ways of journalism are surprised, but may not get all the nuances of what Farrow's piece is actually telling you: that those who live in the public eye seeking publicity do an awful lot to manipulate the battleground to get all the fawning advertising-press, and will resort to war tactics to keep their ugly truth from the public. Here is a man willing to demonize those he preyed on. Let that sink in how far he was allegedly willing to go. All while you thought how cultured and refined you were for raving over a disposible Miramax movie, there was some serious and dangerous war games going on behind the scenes. The movie was the distraction and the misdirection. The power was the goal.

Now all along, journalists informed the little people that it was a good thing to rave about these movies. They did not inform the public their patronage was supporting something horrific. You were giving money to a villain who you thought was a good guy, and he became rich and tyrannical at your expense.

That should make you very nervous.

But that is nothing compared to what entire countries and robber barons do in order to rig a war to fix an outcome.

Wars are fought on multiple fronts, but the media front is the most important one. Reporters cover wars, telling their audiences a story that may have nothing to do with what is actually happening.

If one movie studio owner can fool (read: dictate and manipulate) them for decades, an entire government can do a lot more damage. In the United States, at least, since 1938, there is a way to find out whether or not a certain foreign company might be playing those same games.

It is this Justice Department web site.

It is a very exhaustive database that spans back years. You can look up a country, and see which US-based public relations firms, law firm, lobby group, and the like, they have hired, and when.

Because wars have been won because vested interests hired these firms to make their case to the public in order to influence US foreign policy.

It is essential reading for people who want to know how lies become news. In fact, I would go here before I went to traditional news sources. Warring countries hire multiple firms to ensure they win a war and make the world believe they are justified in harming people whose life requirments differ.

Both Gulf Wars and the Civil War in the former Yugoslavia had fought this way -- and each case, the designated villain in these stories did not have a PR firm to fight for their image.

Weinstein merely took a page out of their books.

Journalists are not supposed to fall for those games. They are not supposed to play those games, either.

But they still do -- choosing a side that pays money to make sure the press swallows their narrative without question.

And way too many times for comfort, they do swallow it.

But there are Ronan Farrows out there who question the narratives of the tyrants and push forward to tell the world to stop sleepwalking and accept things without question.

The problem is many people prefer to ignore those warnings and think it is only a one-off, and that some mysterious organization called They will make it all better.

There is no such group, and if there was, They owe you nothing.

And the tyrants keep getting away with it for far too long.

How did Harvey Weinstein fool the world for so long? Ask your messengers: Why journalists were complicit in preserving a predator

Harvey Weinstein is finally getting introduced to reality, but the general public is still naïve as heck. His downfall is all being spun as if it were some sort of “Hollywood” problem, but the truth is sketchier than that. Were journalists in the dark about an A-list Hollywood studio head who had a penchant to play the press to the point of making mediocre and milquetoast movies get turbo-hyped into Oscar winners?

Of course not. Journalists, by the very nature of their jobs, are hangers-on. They have to hang out in the corridors and back alleys trying to get elites and other Establishment types to comment of various stories. It is how they make their living. There is absolutely no way that any reporter does not know who is sleeping with whom.

Even as a journalism student covering one city hall event, I got the low-down from local reporters telling me all about a “council bunny” who was getting passed around by councillors and getting nice patronage appointments for her degrading troubles. I was an impossibly naïve young kid back then, and yet I found out all about one municipality’s grungy side within five seconds of standing in the hallway with reporters.

There is too much gossip to be traded. You don’t need a soap opera when you work as a journalist. Disgruntled unpaid interns, nannies, secretaries, janitors, maids, assistants, and other members of the Great Unwashed will vent to reporters as both are more than willing to discuss the ugly side of the beautiful people with each other.

So when The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan had this to say in one of her recent columns, I had a good chuckle:

Weinstein used the media like a bludgeon to keep his alleged victims in line, by many accounts. He did it skillfully — and with plenty of help.

It is half the picture: the press was more than willing to hype up a blowhard, and keep any information about his darker side to themselves. Why rock the boat when they might get invited to the next glamor junket?

But there is another side to the complicity: sexual harassment is also a problem in newsrooms.

What plagues Hollywood also plagues journalism. The dynamics of power are no different in the nonfiction arm of the media business, and often, the same executives cutting checks for prime-time actors are also cutting them for their reporters.

Roger Ailes was done in by his own unsavory tendencies, but he is not the first by a long shot.

Journalists can get away with it because no one is really making demands for them to open their vault of sins. Journalists may be more than happy to expose men such as Weinstein once his bag of goodies is empty, but the fact that the New York Times had the story way back in 2004 ,and did nothing with it shows that when it comes to sexual harassment, there is a reason why major outlets don’t actually see it as any deal at all.

Because it often is the same problems they experience in their own workspaces.

But go anywhere near the subject, and games of misdirection begin. Tina Brown’s piece in the New York Times is a classic example: she was the editor of Weinstein’s Talk magazine, whose debut cover is even more disturbing in retrospect, but when discussing working with such a boss, Brown begins to “bridge”: that is, she brings up Donald Trump in her piece as if it was part of the Weinstein shocker.

No, it is not about Trump, whose very name is a trigger word to many. Right now, it is all about Weinstein, and why editors in all those decades just kept potentially criminal behavior under wraps. Brown made a name for herself in trading celebrity gossip, and yet her article leaves way too many unanswered questions for comfort.

For decades, the press trained and encouraged the public to laud and admire someone who harmed women. Women paid money to see those movies, and people chattered about how great a Miramax or Weinstein Company movie was.

Had I been a journalist travelling in those circles, I would have never given a single word of praise to someone who behaved that badly. I would have done everything in my power to expose it.

But reporters never did. Many of those same journalists were being abused in the same way by their bosses – or were the abuser themselves.

We have had an enabling press turning monsters into powerful titans for decades. It is time to stop giving so many icons and idols the benefit of the doubt – or give the press the power to do so with factless and fawning fluff pieces.  It begins by becoming skeptical of those who insist on telling us how we should think about certain people.

Just give people the facts without the narrative. That’s what journalism needs to do because there are many tyrants getting fawning press coverage right this second – and you are probably getting miffed that someone on their social media feed isn’t falling for the very feints and ruses that you are buying without question.

Because if we accept facts rather than opinion, it goes a long way into helping us being able to stop the tyrants before they begin terrorizing everyone around them as they get to shape our culture, beliefs, values, opinions, reality – and world.