Notes on the State of Journalism

  • July 4, 2023

Here’s a case in point to make the point about the state of “journalism” in this country:

“As a contagious form of the virus raged in summer 2021 and threatened to push hospitals to the brink of their capacity limits . . .” reads an article that’s presented as a news story – the putative topic being whether Texas Governor Greg Abbot had the lawful authority to bar localities from imposing “mask” mandates during the “pandemic.” 

I have added the italics to the quote to draw attention to what ought not to be in a news story about whether Abbot had the lawful authority to bar localities from imposing “mask” mandates.  


Says who?

Why, the same hysterics who screeched about “the cases! the cases!” Screeching does not make something factual.

It does not tell readers the truth. 

“Threatened” in the context of the referenced news (sic) story is without foundation in fact, as the hospitals were never actually “pushed to the brink of their capacity limits.” This latter was asserted as a possibility – one that never happened.

Yet the person who wrote the article inserted the assertion, now known to be without foundation in fact – giving it the patina of factuality. And also something more than that. It is clear where the writer’s sympathies lie as regards “masks” – and whether Abbot was wrong (morally) to forbid localities from requiring people wear them.

It is why everything about the story – and the person who wrote it – is suspect.

It is a case study as to why such “journalists” are worse than incompetents. They are propagandists. 

Everyone knows it.

It isn’t necessary to read the article beyond the first paragraph to know it – because it is clear the writer intended to ridicule Abbot rather than report what Abbot did – and what the court said about it. The facts of the case, the arguments presented – and how the court ruled.

A proper journalist might have reported that the pro-“mask” argument included assertions – later proved without foundation – that “mask” wearing would “stop the spread,” which it didn’t. That assertions were made about the possibility of “hospitals being overrun” with patients because so many refused to “mask.” But that, in fact, the hospitals were never overrun – and that the real threat of the latter wasn’t from lack of “masking” but rather because so many hospitals operate at below capacity in terms of staff and so on, in order to increase their profit margins.

All of the above would have provided context – to understand the facts. Instead, the facts – when inconvenient – are deliberately ignored while at the same time, loaded language is used to convey something entirely at odds with the facts that are unreported.

Honest news reporting would not even have mentioned the “hospitals overflowing” nonsense – not because it wasn’t germane to the story but because it is not true. To mention it – especially in the manner it is mentioned in this piece – is to covey the opposite. That, indeed, the hospitals were “overflowing” with ‘Rona patients and – by obvious implication it was cretinously irresponsible for Abbot to order localities to not force people to “mask.” The writing also takes for granted, implicitly, that forcing people to “mask” would have kept the hospitals that were never overflowing from  overflowing.

You might call it misinformation. You’d be right to call it something worse – because it’s deliberate. And unconscious. The instinct to proselytize is now so ingrained in the rank and file of those who write “news” stories that they themselves may no longer realize what it is they’re doing – while also doing it with the deliberate moral zeal of the fanatic. This strange duality was described as duckspeak, by Orwell. It could used as a compliment – as when praising a party orator. Or as mockery – when used to characterize the imbecile masses who “quacked” on cue.

This duckspeaking goes a long way toward explaining why people such as the one responsible for the article that forms the basis of this essay’s critique don’t understand how it is that they’re so lowly regarded.

They regard themselves, on the one hand, as kind of ennobled elite whose task is similar to that of the clergy once-upon-a-time. That being to instruct the Low in the way they must go. At the same time, their contempt for the Low – as these people regard them – is so apparent that only the low-IQ are unaware of it.

The rest have come to deeply resent it.

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print on this July 4th, 2023.

. . .

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