Journalists at the crossroads

The media really screwed up the story about the "standoff" between a leftist Native American protester and a 16-year old Catholic school kid at the Lincoln Memorial.

Only bigots and the blinded cannot see this.

From The Atlantic's Caitlin Flanagan

How could the elite media—The New York Times, let’s say—have protected themselves from this event, which has served to reinforce millions of Americans’ belief that traditional journalistic outlets are purveyors of “fake news”? They might have hewed to a concept that once went by the quaint term “journalistic ethics.” Among other things, journalistic ethics held that if you didn’t have the reporting to support a story, and if that story had the potential to hurt its subjects, and if those subjects were private citizens, and if they were moreover minors, you didn’t run the story. You kept reporting it; you let yourself get scooped; and you accepted that speed is not the highest value. Otherwise, you were the trash press.

At 8:30 yesterday morning, as I was typing this essay, The New York Timesemailed me. The subject line was “Ethics Reminders for Freelance Journalists.” (I have occasionally published essays and reviews in the Times). It informed me, inter alia, that the Times expected all of its journalists, both freelance and staff, “to protect the integrity and credibility of Timesjournalism.” This meant, in part, safeguarding the Times’ “reputation for fairness and impartiality.”

So, journalists have a choice to make here, according to Jim Treacher at PJ Media:

And now that they've embarrassed themselves, they have two possible courses of action. They can listen to their consciences and admit their mistake, which a few libs are doing. 

Or, if the humiliation of being completely wrong is too much for them, libs can do the same thing they did to Brett Kavanaugh. They can dig up any scrap of evidence, no matter how tenuous, to justify their seething desire to destroy their enemy. That's what they're doing right now. They've dug in their heels, so now they have to be right, no matter how badly they embarrass themselves in the process.

Here is a fantastic review of the media's role in this whole mess, by AG Conservative.

Here is the great "tick tock" by Glenn Beck and The Blaze:


All of this makes one wonder where this kind of cultural norm leads.

It's not good.

Extreme partisan polarization is combining with the technology of social  media, and especially Twitter, to provoke a form of recurrent political  madness among members of the country's cultural and intellectual elite.  And that madness, when combined with the rising extremism of the  populist right, is pushing the country toward a dangerously illiberal  forms of politics.


But isn't a virtual mob much less damaging than a real one? I've suggested as much myself, most recently in a column titled "If you think another civil war is imminent, get off Twitter."  Yet more and more the venom has been bleeding into the real world, with  boycotts, doxings, firings, death threats, and groveling apologies  offered to placate mobs wielding digital pitchforks. It increasingly  feels like it's just a matter of time before real-world violence breaks  out in response to an online conflagration.

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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