It really does matter. Unless, you’re completely stupid.
Unless you’re completely stupid, things matter. The lives of young black men matter. The safety of Police Officers matter. Global warming matters. The collateral damage fighting extremists matter. Moreover than most things, truth matters.
In this country, throughout our history we have evolved a tradition of journalism that has never been perfect and at times has been both irresponsible and criminal. Today, it actually seems to have larger problems. Journalism, in its current big media form has devolved into neutrality. That’s not journalism in any sense of the word. You see, there actually are situations where you find two sides to a story. Completely differing viewpoints on an issue that can be adjudged as having a degree of validity. Mainstream media has consciously determined that they will present both sides to everything or, in a search for neutrality, not present a story at all.
The problem is, most stories that need to be reported cannot objectively be reported neutrally. What I’m saying is that only rarely do they have two valid sides. Take, for instance, the debate about global warming. This fiction has been shoveled at you for over thirty years. It was bought and paid for by irresponsible corporatists based on the goals of the next quarter’s profit percentages. There is no debate. On the one side are facts. On the other is baloney. Yet advertisers expect neutrality and really smart people say really stupid things. They have their reasons. $$$
I never quote people but I will paraphrase with attribution and if they don’t like it, well tough.
We learn from Karl Rove that if you repeat it often enough it becomes the truth. I’d like to have him standing at the urinal next to me. Ooops! Not at all sorry Karl, actually meant to do that.
Then we are taught that the truth is what people believe from a really smart and successful guy named Roger Ailes. He runs a “news company” called Fox News. Now I’m absolutely certain that Roger is one of the best producers on earth and certainly a bright and driven businessman. His life and his accomplishments are nearly peerless, his success unquestioned.
So then why? Why have I decided to put him on my personal list of truly stupid people? Why have I decided to give him the number 3 spot this early in the accumulation of my list? He’s a smart guy.
Because he’s so terribly stupid. Because it matters so much. Because his kind of stupid is relentlessly harmful.
He has developed what is the most effective news organization on cable and cultivated his audience in a manner that ensures success. When other organizations made the stupid decision to pursue neutrality he went in the other direction, which I don’t have a problem with, into activist journalism. Really smart.
Then he dumbed it down to the lowest common denominator. Truth and honesty was thrown out the window. Fairness and balance was never a goal and he played to the worst emotions and prejudices of his audiences. This is not my opinion. There are more than just polling data that makes obvious that 5 to 7 percent of our fellow citizens are as dumb as a box of rocks and only make decisions that are based on their irrational fears and prejudices. There are more than a few seriously factual studies that have been and are being done that are conclusive on this. There is no debate among scholars. I’m in that business. You know, big numbers and their meaning, value and efficacy.
Roger Ailes has built a “news organization” based on that what people believe is the truth. He populated his organization with the most under qualified and unprofessional liars in the business and dictated from the top down a brand of activist journalism that has virtually nothing to do with reality. They gave a voice to people and pundits that have earned and deserve no respect in discourse. The guests and pundits have found their audience of one-percenters on the extremes of the right wing of the right wing (not a typo) and they make money.
And where Roger is really stupid is that, to him, it doesn’t matter. He’s doing fine. He has done a big thing for all the wrong reasons and set back so many facets of our national evolution and social intercourse as to have done actual measurable damage. There are real studies, not stories or opinions that support this assertion. And he knows it. And he’s okay with it.
Stupid on so many levels. I’ve been stunned to my last nerve by my observations of this man and his activities. To a truly educated man who has a background in philosophy, education, rhetoric, sociology, economics or journalism it is painfully obvious that Roger Ailes is a truly educated man with a good background in all these things. It is also painfully obvious that, to this man, it still just doesn’t matter. He’s doing fine. Regardless of the damage.
I don’t care how smart he is.