The Boston Globe, which looked at Holy Mother Church and said they’ve got two millennia on us and we still think we can take ’em, has used its institutional voice to call for leveling the status quo and people are losing their damn minds:
Why? As media becomes more about activism, myopia takes over. Mrs. Clinton made this about gun control from Sunday on, and as a result, those without microphones and bylines are going to pound the gun narrative into the ground regardless of whether the Orlando terrorist used an AR-15 or not. The perception has already become reality. You can ask ten people on the street right now if gun violence has increased to the point of being out of control in this country, and they’ll say yes… except it’s been quite the opposite.
“As media becomes more about activism …” The shit does that mean? A community’s dominant media voice needs to be a FIERCE advocate for the betterment of that community and that means starting conversations people don’t want started and talking about things people don’t want talked about, and it means doing that until shit is solved to the media voice’s satisfaction.
That means if the Boston Globe has decided as an institution that it is time for gun control, it is the Boston Globe’s job to say, over and over as loud as it can, that it is time for gun control. And you can bellyache all day about “activist journalism” but guess what? THERE ARE NO FUCKING RULES.
Nobody in the government or the Commission for the Ethics of the Journalist-Scholar is going to come and take the Boston Globe’s Cracker Jack badge away for publishing a front-page editorial and news package. There is no Journalism Police. There are accepted ways of doing things, accepted ways of sitting down and being quiet and not making any noise and not moving at all and not upsetting anybody and let’s have a look at the past 30 years of that, shall we? Let’s look at where that got us.
In the past 30 years in this trade we have come to prize bloodlessness and the appearance of impartiality over the trust of the public. People don’t trust news organizations when they droningly report views from two equal and opposing sides of an argument. They don’t trust news organizations when they gloss over a reality people can see right in front of them to describe a scene out of a very boring children’s book.
They trust news organizations that say big things, true things. That fight big fights, unpopular fights, fights that need fighting when they need fighting, at the top of their lungs and with the passion those fights deserve.
Nothing is holding back America’s news organizations from making a hundred statements like the Boston Globe’s in support of a hundred things in those news organizations’ communities that those news organizations have determined are important. Nothing but fear. And fuck the fear, okay? Shove the fear up your ass, because oooh, people will say mean things about us online if we say what we know to be true in a way that will make everyone listen?
Last night on the floor of the U.S. Senate a guy most people had never heard of got sick of sitting down and being quiet and watching time pass with nothing being done. So he said screw it, you’re gonna give us a vote on some very simple things to help stop the gun violence and I’m not leaving the floor until you do.
And lo and behold, most of the Senate Democrats, even ones I generally think are douchecanoes, showed up to help him out.
I saw a lot of talking online after the Orlando shooting about “why even bother getting outraged, Congress is in the NRA’s pocket” and that thing about how somehow in the wake of Newtown “we” decided killing children was “acceptable.” I think I may have retweeted that thing in the past. I wish I hadn’t, but I’m not immune to sin.
Despair is a sin, because it’s selfish. It gives us a pass to do nothing, because who will care? Who will listen? I read this after the Boston Globe lit the Internet up: Who will this convince? What’s the goal of a filibuster for a neutered, weak gun law that will probably be overturned by the courts? Isn’t all of this just pointless?
Not to the next classroom of dead toddlers, it isn’t.
So yell with the voice you’ve got. Hold the floor all night if you have to. Run a month’s worth of front-page editorials and graphics and tell anyone who wants to jaw on about advocacy journalism to shut up. If you’ve got the ability to fight then you fight what you want to fight.