Journalism is Dead / Dialogue is Dead (RIP)

Journalism is Dead / Dialogue is Dead (RIP) June 19, 2018
I used to love David Brinkley, Ted Koppel (Nightline), MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour, and above all, Tim Russert. I also liked Jeff Greenfield a lot. That’s how [the 90% or more who are] liberal journalists used to be: calling it straight: not being deliberate agents of propaganda for the Democrat Party and far left ideology. In other words, they were engaged in classical journalism, the way it was in the past: seeking the facts, being fair-minded and accurate.
 
They could be respected and listened to. I loved all these guys. Before Fox News or the show Crossfire it was all we could watch (they all included conservative commentators who were treated respectfully and cordially). I chose the best journalists among the political liberals who overwhelmingly dominated broadcast journalism and it was the people listed above.
 
Those days are gone with the wind now. Now Big Media (CBS / NBC / ABC / MSNBC / CNN) is a relentless assault against the intelligence of anyone even remotely conservative. Big Media journalism (and with it, journalism as a whole) died almost exactly ten years ago. It was on June 13, 2008, when Tim Russert died.
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Thankfully, Fox News now preserves the old journalistic ethos, with straight “fair and balanced” (just as they claim!) reporting and “editorial” commentators (like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham) who are openly conservative and not pretending to be neutral or not what they actually are. All sides are regularly presented. It’s not an immediate insult to one’s intelligence, like all the other networks now are (with the possible exception of PBS). Bret Baier and Chris Wallace are now the closest thing to what Tim Russert used to represent: straight, fair news reporting. And by the way, if I were a political liberal (which I haven’t been since 1982), I’d be even more infuriated and embarrassed that this rotgut is what is now representing my side.
 
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Likewise, dialogue died (if we are to choose a date) on April 8, 2016, when Amoris Laetitia was released and constructive discussion about Pope Francis became almost literally impossible. Now (generalizing, but still . . .) even Catholics can’t dialogue with each other anymore, unless they are clones or joined at the hip. Everyone is safe in their little echo chambers, and never the twain shall meet.
 
At the same time, Donald Trump was wrapping up the Republican nomination, and intelligent discussion about him was already virtually impossible as well [see my many articles about him on my Political web page]. Since then we have been blessed with the twin maladies and scourges of Pope Francis Derangement Syndrome and Trump Derangement Syndrome.
 
Because I have congenial, serious discussions on my blog and Facebook page, between competing viewpoints, it’s become necessary to start avoiding certain hot-button topics, due to the inability of folks to talk to each other in a civil, substantive fashion.
 
I gave up trying to discuss / dialogue about Pope Francis two months and a week ago now [see the 120 articles where I have defended him]. I’ve only written two exception-to-the-rule articles since then (one in response to Karl Keating’s book, The Francis Feud, where he mentioned me about 99 times, as one of the folks who defended the Holy Father: against — primarily — Phil Lawler). I could hardly not respond to that.
 
Now I’ve almost decided to cease writing about (or, more accurately, attempting to discuss) President Trump at all, for the same reason: the rampant Trump Derangement Syndrome makes any discussion between pro-Trump and anti-Trump folks impossible. I wrote late last night:
 
I’m trying to do less political posts, folks, I really am. But there’s just so much asinine, ridiculous stuff that needs to be debunked, that I can’t resist at times.
Given the nature of Big Liberal Media these days, it’s virtually a weekly occurrence. The current Lie of the Week is this stuff [about Trump supposedly wanting to separate children from their parents].
 
Prior to the present Big Lie, we had the astonishingly hypocritical and hyper-absurd liberal reaction to Trump’s amazing diplomacy with North Korea. I refuse to be part of the mania and hysterics. So you will be seeing very little here about Pope Francis, and (I hope) almost as little about President Trump, too (though I can’t make an absolute promise).
 
Rational discussion is impossible regarding either person. And if it’s not possible, then I don’t participate, since irrational, hysterical, facts-be-damned, “whoever disagrees with me is evil”, fanatical discussion (rampant with conspiratorialism and flat-out lies; made-up “facts”) accomplishes exactly nothing, and in fact, does great harm in many ways.

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Nevertheless, despite the current ludicrous situation, I continue to try to find common cause and areas of agreement with anyone (including on the vexed immigration issue and with the “new pro-life movement” as well). It’s getting tougher and tougher all the time to even achieve that, since so few people are willing to talk to and find common ground with anyone significantly different in opinion from themselves (and because it takes two willing partners to engage in any dialogue). But I’m a stubborn idealist (a thing that used to widely typify liberals), so I’ll keep trying, no doubt driving myself nuts till I depart this mortal coil . . .

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Photo credit: Real journalist Tim Russert (1950-2008) broadcasting live, a day before the New Hampshire primary election. Photograph by Dan Pinard (1-7-08) [Wikimedia Commons /  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license]

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