Again with the Lee Enterprises State Bureau! Enough already!

Again with the state bureau … said the nagging spouse.  This time it is the Missoula Independent, Out with the news: Lee’s loss of veteran reporters will lead to greater demise, by Dan Brooks.

There’s a certain amount of delusion and illusion in any country, but in one like ours, where just within the last fourteen years we’ve been sold and told lies on four major wars causing millions of deaths and refugees, and where are own crimes against ourselves and others go uninvestigated … we get words like these:

You can run a newspaper without professional reporters in much the same way you can run a democracy without newspapers: badly.

Perhaps there is truth in those words if Brooks understands that we have “newspapers” in this country in the same sense that Soviet Russia had them: as a façade. Perhaps he is publicly acknowledging that this is not a democracy. But I don’t pick up on any real insight in the piece.

Religious authority figures preen about in phallic headgear, all the while failing to tell us that the Jesus story is really myth. In the political economy, the story of Jesus is replaced by the story of great country with functioning institutions. Police and courts enforce laws, and powerful people have to care about the law. Journalists relay the words of politicians, and the mere act of relaying those words helps us to understand politics. Journalists, acting as both stenographers and megaphones, after years of service, are de facto very good at that job.

In reality, the good ones are squeezed out early on. But as long as we’re pretending, let’s also assert that votes matter and are really counted, and behind those votes exist informed citizens. Even as every politician knows that inside the voting booths are clueless people performing ritual without substance, we have to pretend it matters.

That is the democracy story. Like the Jesus myth, the whole thing was made up by power to serve power.

The people need their myths. So Says Father Foster in the video above. Without it, they are forced to make their own sense of the world, and often come up with explanations that do not please the overlords. (Who, in their right mind, without any outside influence, would come up with the Jesus story?)

And without phony “journalists” who give us our “news” we are given a complicated world that does not lend itself to simple causes and effects. We have to think for ourselves. People don’t know how to do that, and power likes it that way.

Enter the journalist.

…the good people of Montana can produce their own opinions without people like me, but without people like Johnson and Dennison, they cannot produce their own facts.

The good people of Montana could stand with a little less patronizing. That aside, the news media in this utterly corrupt country exists to reinforce offical lies, and facts are an important part of the art of a well-told lie.

I come from a religious family, with a priest brother and sixty years of Catholic education spread among four boys. This is the lesson I got out of all of that: The further up the ladder of power one goes, the less belief there is, the more cynicism. Priests often believe, and just as often know better. Bishops (like editors) rarely believe the myths.

The journalism profession serves as a bought priesthood, to use a term from the earlier labor press we once had. Up the ladder go those most intuitively aware of where power lies and how to live with it. Out the door go those who want to know what is really going on.

Here’s an allegory from my youth. I went to see a movie, Journey to the Center of the Earth, starring Pat Boone and based on a Jules Verne novel I’ve never read. I was a kid and really liked it. At a certain point the cast was lost in the bowels of the planet and their lanterns went out. They thought they would perish in darkness. Then a remarkable thing happened: Absent lantern light, phosphorous in the walls provided all the illumination they needed.

We do not have a burrowing press, we do not have serious journalists, we do not have a functioning democracy. We’re on our own, kids. Time to grow up.

So there is no more Lee Enterprises Montana State Bureau. Stop whining! Stop trusting journalists. Citizen, make sense of it on your own – you are easily as capable as any journalist.

3 thoughts on “Again with the Lee Enterprises State Bureau! Enough already!

  1. Dan Brooks is the person the Indy replaced George Ochenski with when they canned him. Unfortunately, Dan Brooks is trying to revive the Dave Barry form of humor columnist, and in my mind has failed horribly. You can witness his lack of success by reading the letters to the editor in the Indy castigating him for his ideas, when all they were, were failed sarcasm. Of course, one could always just laugh at Indy readers for not having the sophistication to see Brooks’ sarcasm for what it is instead of taking him literally, but It’s really pathetic to watch this charade with anything but utter disdain.


    1. These kind of journalists, who are so very bad at their job, are protected not only by professional codes which prohibit exercise of curiosity, but also a layer of smug. Without the smug, I’d be OK – just another average guy doing average work.


  2. Brooks seems to believe, or wants us to believe, that we live in a democracy. Is he hanging on because Lee is letting go? Maybe Lee no longer sees the need to continue feeding us the democracy meme. There’s stuff to buy, people!


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