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The Death of Journamalism

« October 2016 »

Memo to WikiLeaks watchers: STOP PRETENDING THIS IS A THING.

You may recall me mentioning from time to time the unprecedented level of awful in the media coverage of the 2016 campaign, largely driven by a desire to maintain traditional election status quo narratives in the least traditional election in modern history. This week's WikiLeaks "revelations" are a perfect example.

Basically, they released chunks of bunches of e-mails, probably hacked by Russia, possibly altered by Russia, between members of Hillary Clinton's staff, doing things that are, at worst, incrementally non-innocuous.

For example, I spent much of yesterday hearing, on the LIBERAL CABLE NEWS CHANNEL, about charges of possible collusion between members of Clinton's staff and the Justice Department, leaking details of the investigations into Clinton. It was stated as fact by multiple guests and anchors that the information in the e-mails in question was public knowledge, and consisted mainly of hearing times, and that the information shared was totally appropriate.

These facts, however, DID NOT STOP THE DEBATE over whether the "alleged collusion" was a real thing or not, and whether these e-mails played into a narrative about Hillary Clinton. Which, of course they do. The fake e-mails that don't say what people say they're saying totally plays into at best a wildly-exaggerated narrative about Hillary Clinton as "untrustworthy".

This, by the way, in the face of incontrovertible evidence that Trump lies about easily verifiable facts on a regular basis, and only slightly less incontrovertible evidence that one of the main reasons he ran beauty pageants is that he could walk in on naked teenagers in their dressing rooms.

In another instance, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri was accused of "mocking Catholics", prompting calls from the Trump campaign for apologies. I had to go look up what the e-mail actually said. You know why? Because it was never specified. And this wasn't on Fox, and it wasn't even on Morning Joe. This was middle of the day MSNBC coverage.

Palmieri, who is Catholic, according to Palmieri, wasn't mocking Cathoics. She was mocking Catholic politics. And really, she was criticizing Catholic politics. Which, since Catholic politics are super-awful, makes perfect sense. None of that was part of the reporting.

The only explanation I can think of is that the Donald Trump candidacy is running headlong into the decades-old belief that "impartiality" requires "finding something bad to say about both sides", with results proportionally disastrous to how awful Trump is. It's not going to help Trump, because nothing can help Trump.

But it WILL ultimately help whoever picks up where Trump leaves off. A Cruz or a Pence or a Carson... OK, not a Carson. But a Cruz or a Pence can only benefit from a media that's had to so completely abandon reporting what -is- in an attempt to seem fair. And balanced.

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