Journalism

I recently stopped by Ace of Spades, to see if the same guy who spent all of 2015-16 sucking off Ted Cruz while turning his blog into the #1 Trump-hate vanity site on the Internet has gotten tired of whining about “cucks” and “the Establishment” yet.  Evidently not, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still some lulz, as the kids these days say.

That link, if you don’t feel like clicking, is about a “non-profit” called “The Save Journalism Project.”  Ace rightly notes that it’s a bill-paying scam for laid off “journalists” like the ones at HuffPost and Buzzfeed.  Which is schadenfreudily delicious, I’ll admit, but a few dozen generations from now, if our descendants ever feel like giving representative government another shot, “journalism” will be a case study in how not to do it.

Y’all remember that great old show Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe?  I can’t say I watched it much, but I loved the concept.  It illustrated the concept of “supply and demand” in about the only way the Millennial generation could grasp.  What, you mean municipal sewer workers are paid $75 an hour?!?  Oh, the social injustice!!!…. until you see that they earn every (literally) stinking penny, and then some.

Meanwhile, the demand for yet another snotty barista with a Gender Studies degree hovers near zero.

Journalism is the ur-case of backassward incentives.  There are two ways to report “the news.”  One is glorified stenography.  Actually, it’s worse than stenography, as you’ve got to boil down some elected airhead’s rambling 15 minute nothingburger of a statement into a few sentences that can be read even by the near-illiterate.  No one in his right mind would ever want to do that, absent some serious green.

Newspapers, by contrast, all depend on unpaid interns.

The second method of news reportage is “investigative journalism,” which — amazingly — I won’t sneeze at.  Archival work is hard, y’all, damn hard, and again, no sane person would do it without serious compensation.

What you get, in other words, is the same incentive structure as academia.  Tenured professors lead pretty cushy lives, as I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, but those on the tenure track live like crap, and grad students, adjuncts, etc. are the pen-pushing equivalent of galley slaves.  You’d only get someone to do it if a) he really thought that brass ring at the end was worth it, or b) he had absolutely no other options.

Since folks in bucket b) are obnoxious to literally everyone, academia and journalism went all-in on a).  In other words, they made the whole thing about saving the world, taking action, influencing opinion, etc.

Thus, grossly biased idiots are a feature, not a bug, of the system.

This seems obvious, I know, but once again, sometimes in trying times it’s one’s duty to point out the obvious.  Plus, I got nothin’ these days.

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6 thoughts on “Journalism

  1. Martinian

    Since you’ve got nothing, here’s an attempt to give you something to talk about:

    What is to be done about women?

    Briefly, I think Feminism in general has had a more culturally deleterious effect than economic Marxism. After all, look at the resurgent spirit of the Eastern Bloc nations even after decades of Socialistic oppression…only to succumb to excessively sexualized Western Capital. How does Our Thing redpill the wimmenz, esp. the adolescent/young adult demographic that is preyed upon by forces RS McCain has described in detail?

  2. Frip

    Severian: “The second method of news reportage is “investigative journalism,” which — amazingly — I won’t sneeze at. Archival work is hard, y’all, damn hard, and again, no sane person would do it without serious compensation.”

    Totally agree and have thought that for a long time. Writing is hard. I’d never try it. And it’s not just “investigative” writing that’s hard. Any kind of descriptive writing is hard. I don’t know what to call it exactly. Investigative? Descriptive? Whatever. I mean: go-find-out-about-shit-and-describe-it-entertainingly-in-a-long-essay writing. Editor: “Hey Phil, we need a 10,000 word piece on the Fender guitar company. Make sure to discuss their place in pop culture and their rivalries with other guitar makers over the decades. Oh, and how does an electric guitar even work? Readers probably have no idea. Either do I. How does it make that cool sound that took over the world?”

    The topic could be guitars, or American doctor’s in Haiti, The fall of Xerox. China’s new airports. The coal industry. Etc. Very hard to write well on any “hard” topic.

    And what’s super mega consipicous about all such articles, is they are almost always written by white males. Sometimes an Indian male. Rarely but increasingly a girl (since she’s forced to do it for the image of the magazine. But the article will be facile and strewn with errors.) But, she can at least barely handle it. I’m gonna go ahead and use the word “never” in the following sentence, because it’s bad enough to be called “never”. You will NEVER see long, comprehensive articles on non-black topics (i.e. pretty much everything in the world) written by a black.

    We should email the editors or comment below such articles when we see that a black person was denied the chance to author it. Something like. “Excuse me, but I can’t help but notice that these kind of articles are almost often assigned to white men. Why on Earth couldn’t this topic have been written by a person of color? And in light of historical challenges, preferably a black woman. And this publication considers itself progressive? Oh please. Really getting fed up with this.”

  3. Maus

    Yeah, I definitely have mixed feelings about Journalism. Niece just received B.A. summa cum laude from well-known Jesuit uni. She’s in a summer fellowship before starting full-ride M.A. at Big State in investigative journalism. I want to be proud, but her first published article as a fellow was about some actress testifying about her abortion as a minor to a Congressional. While it was straight reportage and not an opinion piece, the pro-choice slant had as much to do with selective quoting as it did to the AP style requirements. As kudos poured in from other relations, my only comment was that further Congressional testimony was needed to discern this actress’ view on the New York law prohibiting the declawing of your cat. The public simply must know her thoughts on this legislative victory against a heinous threat to American 21st century culture and animal companion rights.
    Dear God, I would weep for the stupidy that engulfs America, but that would rust the action on my gun and blur the ink of the Bible to which I am clinging, paralyzed by all my hateful phobias.

  4. MBlanc46

    Frip: Decent writers aren’t a dime a dozen, but there are more of them than there are with people who have something to say. I used to do small writing jobs for a significant reference publisher. Mainly I did the research—as Sev says, hard wacka if you want to get it right—then turn it into the editors who took my pedestrian prose and turned it into something that fit together and flowed like Old Man River. Those editors were a lot closer to academic gypsies than they were to the tenured professoriat.

  5. WOPR

    Why Ace suddenly did the 180 is unknown. He was like any other Conservative Inc. website for a lot of the campaign. He was even big into the Lewandowski arm pull faux controversy. So, I’m not sure if he had a Road to Damascus moment, got shafted on a deal with Con-Inc., or simply changed his mind based on his commenters. I will say he at least let his commenters duke it out.

    1. Frip

      I’ve rarely gone to Ace of Spades. Don’t know much about him. But just going on what you and Sev said– I do hate when guys present a badass image, but talk middle-of-the-road. He’s got a that great, darkly cool name for his blog. Echoing one of the toughest hard rock songs ever by Motorhead. And a skull for an image. Yet he was a softy never-Trumper?

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