Stop thinking these people are persuadable, interested in your process, or possessed of any good will of any kind at all:
Why don’t all news orgs publish their editorial policies around use of anonymous sources, quotes and, well, everything? One way to combat accusations of “fake news” is a radical transparency around the editorial process. Pull back the curtain. https://t.co/DQlhX4nFlR
— Richard Stengel (@stengel) December 9, 2017
You can do that. Sure. It’s pointless, but so is everything else. God almighty.
I know in the minds of the tote-bag audience there is a massive vast unwashed group of people out there who are “on the fence” about whether the president and his sycophantic cult members are correct that journalists should die quickly, and these types of transparency audits would really persuade those persuadable people and get them to become informed and vote in their own interests and value democracy and American values. I think that is the biggest pile of horseshit I have ever seen and you can dig in it if you want but I’m done looking for the pony here.
Just stop wasting time. We can have a thousand ethics panels. We can have daily seminars on How Journalism Really Works. We can be Totally Transparent and Completely Honest and Prostrate Ourselves Before the People, and you know what’s going to happen?
A bunch of Pepe-wearing Nazi sympathizers are going to show up at our doors in “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required.” t-shirts and demand our swift demise in the ovens of Auschwitz because THAT’S WHAT THEY FUCKING DO. It is all they do. It is all they want to do. It’s not based on a lack of transparency and it’s not based on a lack of understanding and it’s not based on anything we do anymore than the actions of a schoolyard bully are on the attributes of his victims.
That’s been the Republican Party since at least 2004. Since 2001, really, when the party wasn’t openly yelling about “dune coons” but found ways to get right with the votes of those who did. Since the rise of CPAC as the anointing ground of True Conservatives, they’ve been hating on “the media.” Since Fox News reared its rabid head and started telling everybody that Fox and only Fox was “far and balanced” they’ve been wondering out loud if maybe they really ARE liberally biased and very, very, very bad boys and girls.
Since then, a thousand ethics conferences. A thousand sincere attempts at outreach. A thousand thousand mea culpas and conservative hires and columns about how maybe it’s all really our own fault they’re hitting us. Fifteen embarrassing fucking years of knuckling under to the viewpoints of dishonest chucklenuts screaming about secret liberal agendas. The triumphs of Bernie Goldberg and Ann Coulter, of James O’Keefe and Bill O’Reilly, and where are we now?
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES ATTACKED A REPORTER BY NAME ON TWITTER YESTERDAY.
During the campaign, he did it from the podium. He put reporters in a cage and encouraged his followers to shout obscenities, and he got elected, and those reporters gave him the benefit of the doubt, and yesterday he sent his millions of followers after Dave Weigel, for making a simple mistake.
That’s where we are, after all that lying down and staying still and being quiet. After all that acquiescence. After all that being good. They’re still hitting us, and you think the lesson we should learn is to be NICER? In 2017, with Donald Fucking Trump as president, with friends of mine who can’t Google their own names because of what he and his people have done, you think the lesson here is that we need to act right?
I will keep saying this until I am dead: Do not give an inch to people who hate you. Do not give a single inch. Do not take a single step back. Do not let them in. Do not let them pass. Do not change a single thing you are doing to mollify the bully. The bully doesn’t want you to change. The bully doesn’t care what you do. Give him your lunch money Monday through Friday and he’ll kneecap you Saturday for your carnival tickets.
Those of us who back in the day tried to warn media bosses that nothing good would come of paying people to opine in the editorial section that the entire paper should be set on fire so Real Americans can dance around the flames? Lots of us are unemployed now and a few of us are dead and it’s a matter of time until somebody’s murdered and I’m not scared of anyone telling me I’m being hysterical because that’s what you said in 2005, and Donald Trump is president. The balls on all of you, to be astonished now, to be shocked. To still equivocate after all you’ve seen. Fuck you.
It’s sickening, the weakness that people behind the press continue to display. It’s reprehensible. It’s irresponsible. And worse than that, it’s ineffective.
The people who most need to be educated and would benefit from that transparency will instead be listening to some blow-dried Fox-lite anchor asking if the news today is fake, really fake or totally fake and by the way here’s the FUCKING TWITTER HANDLE OF SOMEONE FOR ALL TEN MILLION OF YOU TO GO YELL AT.