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The Unsolved Mystery of the Missing (Real) Journalists

Suppose you were a reporter without an agenda, no ax to grind, no political affiliation. You never stepped foot inside a school of journalism. Even better, following in the tradition of old-time journalists like H. L. Mencken, Ernest Hemingway, or Rose Wilder Lane, you never attended college. You read history, economics, and political science, you got hands-on experience working for several small papers and internet outfits, and you wrote reams of prose under the guidance of some old-school editors who had no qualms about tearing apart your work and telling you when it was baloney.

Now in your late twenties, you see yourself as a journalist with but one mission: to report facts—who, what, where, when, why, and how—as clearly and as truthfully as possible to the public. You believe in research, in digging below the surface of a story, and then, in as an unbiased manner as possible, you write up your findings and deliver them to your fellow citizens.

With the money you earn and with the help of your spouse’s income, you’re able to survive financially. At one point, inspired by the Julie Kelly’s articles at American Greatness, you decide to explore the Jan. 6th incident at the Capitol. You spend much of your free time conducting phone interviews with those who were there, you look into their backgrounds, you watch video footage and read reports about police allowing protestors into the Capitol building, you even manage a few anonymous interviews with some of those officers revealing some possible federal chicanery in stirring the pot of that so-called “insurrection.”

Unfortunately, you’re about to realize that your adversary as a truth-seeker is not the American people. It’s not even the swamp in Washington, D.C. It’s the mainstream media.

You approach some major newspapers and news outlets with the information you’ve gleaned, but they’re not interested. Eventually, your story ends up on some online site like the Daily Wire, where it rouses a small commotion but little more. The story dies there, and you soon realize that the old adage “The truth will out” is as dead in the realm of journalism as the stories on sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, Hunter Biden’s laptop, or the corrupt ties between some American politicians and officials in China or the Ukraine.

Since its founding, Americans have depended on an independent press to help preserve our liberty. We looked to those “ink-stained wretches” as watchdogs guarding our republic against public and private corruption, against lies and twisted truths.

That press often failed in this mission. As far back as the Founding Fathers, we see dissatisfied politicians and other public figures complaining about an abusive press. Often these complaints were justified, but on other occasions they arrived on the heels of some truth a journalist had brought to the attention of readers.

Occasionally, journalists in the past deliberately deceived the American public—or else were themselves deluded. The classic case is that of Stalinist apologist Walter Duranty, who won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Soviet Union, but who turned a blind eye to communist mass murders and other atrocities, including the policy of farm collectivization in the Ukraine that left millions of people dead from starvation.

Today many Americans distrust the press. Years of the media’s manipulations, the censoring or exclusion of certain stories, and the replacement of facts with opinions have erased that confidence, so much so that a 2021 poll found the U.S. news media ranks last in trust among 46 countries.

That’s a disaster, not just for our major papers and television news outlets—which have experienced a large drop in readership/viewership in the last year—but for the rest of us as well. When we can’t believe the news, which is supposed to be vetted, checked, and doublechecked, we turn to internet sources that at least give a different and seemingly more reliable perspective. One consequence of this misinformation and confusion is our sharply divided nation.

The solution to this mess is simple and must come from our news rooms. Reporters, editors, and owners should put aside their personal politics and prejudices and begin reporting the facts. When the Russians, for example, bombard some city in the Ukraine, just tell us about the event without the added commentary—some might call it propaganda—aimed at glorifying Ukraine. When gas prices are skyrocketing, explain that a large part of the increase at the pump is the result of the Biden administration’s policies locking down our oil and natural gas industries. When Hunter Biden’s vile laptop pops up during an election, don’t sweep that dirt under the rug.

If you want your audience back, report the facts. If circumstances allow, report the truth.

That’s how trust is restored.

“Easy-peasy,” as my 5-year-old grandson might say.

Image Credit: Pxhere

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9 Comments

  • Avatar
    TS
    June 20, 2022, 11:13 pm

    I hesitated before commenting because I don’t wish to appear ungracious. However, this is supposed to be an Intellectual Takeout. I think we’re well past the point where thinking people can claim that the lack of truth-telling in journalism is merely due to shoddy standards. There is no truth-telling in journalism because those who own the media will not allow it – truth does not serve their interests, nor does it serve the interests of the regime. I think Jeff already knows that. Lack of truth is a feature of the system, not a bug, and that isn’t going to change because Jeff wants to shame ‘journalists.’ There are no journalists in MSM, only low-rent presstitutes who whore for their masters.

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  • Avatar
    flyfisher111
    June 20, 2022, 11:39 pm

    In the First Amendment of The Constitution, the Founders gave the press a special status. In doing so, they expected the press to perform a watchdog function over government. The media today have completely betrayed that trust.

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  • Avatar
    Kalikiano Kalei
    June 21, 2022, 1:44 am

    A very, very salient and timely topic, Jeff. My own hypothesis is that a preponderant share of the blame is directly attributable to modern American mega-corporatism, since almost every American media/communications station (radio/TV, whatever) is owned outright by a handful of powerful corporate interests, from the major networks themselves down to the smallest ‘podunk’ local news station. Consequently, it’s hardly strange that the corporate powers at the very top of these media pyramids delineate policy, philosophy, outlook, opinion and interpretive reporting policy uniformly, down to the last detail.

    Further, ‘Corporatism’ in America has become so utterly philistine these days that greed, profit, viewer market share and a host of myriad related factors by far take precedence over any vestigial sense of balance, equity, proportion and/or factual veracity that may still exist.

    It’s a well known and established fact that virtually ALL the major corporate network corporations, bar none, are politically left of center today and parrot the leftist, liberal progressive party-line that is so destructive. And, as we have seen, a great number of the minions working for those corporate commercial media companies are young, highly idealistic and for the most part utterly bereft of broad experience in our complex modern world. It’s also a safe bet that most of them have little if any awareness of history, or of events that in the past shaped today’s world they live in…hence, they are young, eager, desirous of ‘rising up’ in the media milieu and therefore relatively easy to coerce into hewing obsessively to the corporate standard (whatever it may be).

    Sad to say, a great many of them (the minions) are also young females, who bring the worst qualities of the female of the species (emotionalism, overly-heightened sensitivity, peer social susceptibility, and chatty-gabbiness) together with worldly naivete in a manner that can be most irksome and annoying (to say the least!). I always regarded NBC’s Ann Curry as a singularly marvelous media person, with her poise, calm affect and mellifluous voice. How unlike today’s shrill young female media ‘politically correct evangelists’ providing excessively emotional, titillating news segments about babies, extreme violence, and other trivia.

    In summary, I submit that the present, superficial ‘vacuousness’ that characterises today’s mainstream media content shall remain the status quo unless and until media journalism is no longer held captive by powerful corporate interests, and any surviving vestige of ‘calm, honest and balanced’ journalism (whether written or verbal) shall continue to die a prolonged and painful death in America.

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    • Avatar
      Margaret Owen Thorpe@Kalikiano Kalei
      June 21, 2022, 4:48 am

      Kalikiano, I hear you, but I cannot figure out for the life of me why these major corporations have decided to pander to people who hate them and want to destroy them. It makes no sense. The minions, as you call them (I call them fluffies) I understand; they are products of American public education. If you ask them who is Patrick Henry, most of them will say the quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. The only thing they know about Thomas Jefferson is that he – horrors – owned slaves.

      But why are major corporations taking stands against their own best interests? Why does their national advertising contain mostly actors representing 12.4% of the nation’s population? Not targeting your message to 87.6% of the population doesn’t increase your market share. Why do they hire all the fluffies? I’m thinking the media and other corporations are more guilt-ridden than they are greedy. Weird. Also unhealthy – for all of us.

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    • Avatar
      Jonathan Barnes@Kalikiano Kalei
      June 27, 2022, 5:18 am

      They broke up Bell Telephone.

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  • Avatar
    John Acord
    June 25, 2022, 9:56 am

    The greatest story on earth is the who,what ,and why real journalists are being ignored and suppressed. Who makes the decisions to ignore good journalism? Who are they? Has anyone ever identified the exact people who make these decisions, who sets these policies? As far I know, no one has performed this basic investigation. The next question is what have they suppressed or ignored? The Final question is why have they ignored or suppressed? I think that is the greatest and most important story that can be investigated and revealed to the public,

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    • Avatar
      Jonathan Barnes@John Acord
      June 27, 2022, 5:29 am

      It’s mostly a rather banal and common story IMO. It takes place on an interpersonal level, in all media, left and right but especially left. Folks who write and or produce news content have big egos and often make decisions that are purely based on personal bias against people who may or may not be more talented or hardworking than them (but who the editor -decision maker fears might be more talented). Plus there’s also a LOT of in-group bias in an industry that is predominately run by upper middle class and wealthy people. So for example, blue collar white guys or open conservatives usually don’t even get a crack at a job in many places. Now, if you’re an outsider, or a so-called disreputable "freelancer" (that word was used recently as a slur in one of my formerly favorite conservative publications), or a nobody in the view of the publication of media group, your story query doesn’t even receive a polite reply.

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  • Avatar
    hablugublu
    July 16, 2022, 6:00 pm

    Science is one of the resonances of world development

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