Where journalism is still practiced

imageimageThe American journalism profession long ago ceased functioning as a news gathering operation, and instead became, as David Barsamian labeled them in his book, “Stenographers to Power.” It’s a tough way to live, undignified, so behind the veneer of “professionalism” journalists these days actually brag about their fealty, claiming it’s a requirement of the profession. They call it “objectivity,” better described as “see nothing, know nothing.” In practice they get a quote from both sides and move on, and learn nothing, tell nothing.*

It is interesting, however, to see how real journalists function, never trusting power, burrowing on their own, uncovering lies and reporting back to us on what powerful people are doing.

They are sports journalists. If Ray Rice was a senator instead of a Raven, he’s have gotten a free pass on his elevator activities. If Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL, were the head of the Nataional Endowment for Democracy, a CIA front, for example, he’d have a free pass to do whatever it is he does in the shadows without fear of reporters snooping around.

We still have some journalists in our Empire of Lies. They work in sports.
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*This led to Krugman’s famous observation that if Republicans claimed the earth was flat, journalists would report “Shape of earth: Views Differ.”
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PS: It has been suggested to me not only in the comments below, but other people I read and listen to, that there are many good and curious people in the American news media who simply know to avoid career suicide. I believe that to be true and at the same time note that whether they are voluntarily shutting off their brains or just naturally incurious, the result is the same.

10 thoughts on “Where journalism is still practiced

  1. My dad was a journalist for the LA Times and more so for the Long Beach Press Telegram. Then he ended up teaching Journalism at Long Beach State. He passed away earlier this year after a long and happy retirement.

    At his memorial I got to meet a lot of his former press colleagues as well as some of his former students. They were some very interesting people.

    My Dad’s widow is a classic conspiracy-panic attack sufferer so I generally avoid the subject with her. My dad was much more willing to consider multiple possibilities, but probably basically believed the generalized myth of the single shooter. He did find the Oswald assassination by Ruby rather troublesome.

    On the other hand they have some friends who definitely question lots. One of his students (who wrote this book – http://montanawomenshistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Cairns-Enigma-Woman.pdf) told me her that her husband used to work at the Press telegram but that now he was researching and writing about various conspiracies. She called him a conspiracy buff. And another of my parent friends was pulled over on the night RFK was murdered while driving her McCarthy-sticker festooned volkswagon home through Oxnard from doing campaign GOTV work for Eugene Mccarthy. The cop told her he pulled her over because she was wearing a polka dot blouse. Isn’t that amazing? She told me that story and didn’t know anything more about it all, so i sent her a link to the Evidence of Revision chapter that covered that woman seen by multiple witnesses wearing a polka dot dress arriving with Sirhan Sirhan and another man, and then leaving just with the man and saying “We got him we got him!”

    So my dad’s friend watched that episode and said. “Now I know why he stopped me.”

    Journalism a business. Now it’s a dying business in a way. Everyone learns what you can or can’t do at any job. Your boss lets you know.

    As Mark Twain wrote, “You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I’ll tell you what his ‘pinions is.”

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      1. Actually they are quite curious. But you weren’t there so how would you know? They are also just like all humans and Mark Twain was a good observer and a good reporter.

        Of course, he wasn’t perfect.

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        1. My quest these past 26 years has been to understand power systems, how people behave inside them. If journalists would just say “can’t report, I’d get in trouble,” or teachers “I can’t teach, I’d lose my job” then we would have reality. Instead, we get rationalization. The profession of journalism codified their inability to do their job, and called something else their job.

          As this post demonstrates, sports journalists are not confronted with that power system, and so are freer to do their jobs, and so do it well.

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          1. The finest football reporter the Bozeman Chronicle ever had, Colter Nuanez, did exactly as you suggest. When asked why he couldn’t report on local sports in the manner he obviously desired, he pointed out that corporate control is about making money. He did so with harsh language (EGADS!), all of this in an online message board. He was fired two days later. A quick look at the history of the ESPN sports network also shows that sports journalism is no more free to confront power than any other type.

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          2. I wondered about that as I wrote. Seriously. The best I can answer is that it is less subject to the power structures than regular journalism. They have taken down owners and big-name players, apparently without a hidden agenda as is usually the case in politics. More than just its image, the game of football itself is threatened.

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        2. By the way, my own unglamorous profession, accounting, same deal. We are taxed with the job of keeping an eye on major corporations and reporting to investors. Since investors are mostly savvy, it goes OK, but since we are paid by the people we are supposed to keep tabs on, we have a conflict of interest. When there is deceit going on, and pressure is put on to hide that deceit, the CPA’s of the world, just like the journalists in the Empire of Lies, folded their tent. We got Enron, World Crossing, Arthur Anderson, and I have no clue how much more is hidden from view right now, but I would bet we see but 5% of the real world of corporate finance.

          For instance, US troops are protecting the poppy fields in Afghanistan. Those crops have to be harvested, and the resin from the bulbs collected, formed into blocks, made into morphine, and eventually into high-grade heroin for the world markets. All of that goes on right under the noses of the journalists over there, who have never seen a poppy bulb leave a field. And the cash flow from all that activity eventually ends up in the coffers of criminals, government agencies, and Wall Street, London and Paris banks. Not one accountant has ever reported on it.

          I guess they are just not perfect. Right?

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          1. I thought the foreign press in Afghanistan was embedded? I doubt they are out driving around the countryside. But reports do come out and most people acknowledge that currently about 90% of the worlds supply is derived from poppies grown there.

            I have noticed that where ever the US military and Intel goes in mass, the drugs aren’t far behind. South America is a good example. Coca Cola was the largest “legit” user of coca leaf. Based in Atanta, GA. During the Carter Administration cocaine use in the us soared and continued into the early 90’s when bush 1 took us into Iraq.

            Carter also sowed the seeds of 40 years of war in Afghanistan by inserting armed Muslim radicals into the mix, as per the Z, right here in this blog.

            There is considerable evidence that the alleged hijacker component of the 9/11 labyrinth was tied to air transport of illegal drugs.

            More on the US Government and trafficking here :
            http://www.madcowprod.com/2014/09/12/mystery-aircraft-busted-in-australia-was-cia-plane/#more-9462

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          2. Interesting!

            Embedded reporters are expected to bond to their units, since they are under protection. Stockholm Syndrome sets in quickly. Pentagon knew this going in. I’ve forgotten her name, but some officer came up with the concept and received high praise and a promotion when it succeeded in Iraq. Embedded reporters are strictly under control, yet imagine themselves free.

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