On belief perseverance, motivated reasoning - and where the media goes from here
Yes yes yes - but as long as journalism schools are teaching students to be activists and editors are allowing this type of reporting I don’t see anything changing or improving in the future. There seems to be no motivation from anyone with any control to put a stop to this.
Yes and It is also that they are hypnotized by the appropriate govt narrative. They literally can not believe that it could be false. They are told that anyone who questions the narrative is an infidel. For example, in the case of contradicting the vax narrative, they are labeled an antivaxxer and hence automatically should not be listened to.
It is like a religious cult - if one person admits they were wrong they are instantly shamed and ostracized by all their liberal coworkers and friends the the Twitter-sphere. Or worse lose their job and maybe their marriage.
As Tara wrote a few weeks ago, it is really rather similar to high school girls who group together and are mean to anyone who disagrees with the group. With all the same underhand power games. Name calling. Rumors behind their backs. Ostracized from the group. This keeps all the members of their "club" in line. https://tarahenley.substack.com/p/gossip-girls
I find it very difficult to figure out what is really happening. I spend hours reading alternative sources of articles and interviews and compare with mainstream media sources such as Globe & Mail, National Post and even the Toronto Sun (which used to be a "rag" and now has the occasional decent article (sorry I cannot stomach the CBC any longer). My father used to have a saying: "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up". After the pandemic and the vaccine wars I can no longer trust any gov't, media or pharmaceutical corporation. The climate crisis will continue to provoke the soldier and motivated reasoning. It's funny. Belief perseverance reminds me of a progressive condition that is very similar to a delusional disorder (psychiatric diagnosis meaning fixed false belief). I do feel we are entering a dark period in history. Thank you Tara for your excellent discussions.
This is the challenge in making any decision. How can you identify when you're wrong? Does constant questioning leave you wallowing in indecision? At some point you have to be able to recognize actual truth and move forward in a constructive direction. It brings to mind a line I read in a newspaper opinion piece many years ago: "they're so open minded everything has fallen out".
So, just check this out.
The website was just updated. Society for Professional Journalists. It used to be a place to go for principles of journalistic integrity. Now it is just another woke joke.
While we wring our hands and ask these questions about the lack of reporting on important topics of fact, we are missing the bigger picture. The education system has been infiltrated by cultural Marxists pushing the fake scholarship toxic mind virus of critical theory. Those students have launched into careers in media and HR departments and they are working to force the cultural revolution.
We need to understand this. It isn't that journalism is broken, is that journalism has been taken over by radical revolutionaries bent on an agenda. That agenda is also supported by the corporatist oligarchs that own the media through their Wall Street positions... not because they actually believe the same things that the radical cultural Marxists believe, but because they know they can leverage the resulting impacts to the economy to become trillionaires.
What is the solution to this mess? It all starts with eliminating all the critical theory junk, and the people pushing it, from the education system. In the US there needs to be a new civil rights bill that punishes media and tech platforms from attempting to control speech. And to make any collusion between the media and government to stifle speech an immediate impeachable offense.
The US also needs to get more committed to anti-trust, anti-monopoly actions against all large corporations, but especially the media. Substack is an example of new media that breaks through the monopoly of the big consolidated ownership of media... but if Substack grows the owners will just sell out to the same. We need more regulatory restrictions that prevent this continued consolidation as it puts too much power of media influence in the hands of a few that then manipulate the coverage to serve their own personal wealth and power pursuit agenda.
When the members of the press, government employees and politicians all come from "elite" universities and belong to the upper middle class caste, this sort of thing is inevitable. This group's idea of diversity is to hire a black female journalist fresh out of Harvard, rather than a white guy from Iowa State with experience on a small rural newspaper. (As an example, where are the former sports writers winning awards as investigative reporters, like Jimmy Breslin or Mike Royko?) You can only maintain credibility when you admit you were wrong, and list the mistakes you made in coming to your incorrect conclusion. There is no tearful apology needed with this admission. I don't distrust Anthony Fauci for making faulty recommendations based on the evidence available at the time. But I will never rely on his advice again because he never looked in the camera and stated' "I was wrong because I misinterpreted these particular pieces of data. This miscalculation led to my recommendations to...)." It's called acting like an adult, which is becoming quite rare these days.
"The Narrative" is the pied piper of current journalism. It is enabled by laziness, bullying editorial behaviour, weak or totally absent journalistic character and a failing media business model predicated on philanthropy rather than profitability.
The Globe and Mail is a money-losing-but-philanthropic jewel in the Thompson crown. The Toronto Star is currently rent in two by the do-gooder/profitability divide of its owners. The CBC is a government organ philanthropically supported by Canadian taxation. Regardless of the facts, these are the "last men standing" in mainstream Canadian media. The others will simply erode into failure or insignificance...as have so many before them.
"Journalism" is now in the hands of the journalist/entrepreneur--like Tara Henley. The transition is not yet complete. There is a dearth of local reporting in the current subscription model. The opportunity for vigorous and inclusive comment/debate is, as yet, restricted by effective quality control. Social connectedness is an opportunity that some journalist/entrepreneur will solve to his/her financial delight.
And consumers of content-rich, narrative-poor journalism must themselves become more "scout like". Non-narrative news can never be bias-rich. Readers must come to understand that balance--rather than self-reinforcement--will be the product of choice.
Excellent post. I think in addition to the three strategies of the media to deal with inconvenient facts is a fourth strategy to flat out ignore. This is picked up a bit in the underreporting of Rupa's bombshell story about no scientific basis for the vaccine travel mandates. I look at what is reported online, on twitter with links to stories. And I wait over and over again for these stories to make the evening news. Like this one out of New Zealand about high incidence of people showing up in mortuary having died within two weeks of C-19 vaccination. https://www.theepochtimes.com/95-percent-of-corpses-had-received-covid-vaccination-within-2-weeks-of-death-funeral-director_4798942.html?utm_source=goodeveningnoe-ai&src_src=goodeveningnoe-ai&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=gv-2022-10-21-ai-25&src_cmp=gv-2022-10-21-ai-25&est=znjYcqDZUeYjXYn7dNrgGMoEoBIeLfwcGOzF9yz5CR0qL%2FrK5gKwAGLUMZE%3D
And the response in the media is crickets. This creates a huge disconnect for citizens who read widely. Makes me think in regard to the Federal government, the CBC's slogan is "Where seldom is heard a discouraging word..." They don't want to report anything that might embarrass or upset the Trudeau Liberals. The mainstream media in Canada is not doing its job.
Certainly "being right" is part of this. But, in my opinion, the desire for clicks, likes and profits has exacerbated the tribalism. Articles only get attention if they shock and anger. Straight facts don't seem be be "sexy" enough to get people interested. Social media then stokes the fire. News should be attractive because people want to be informed citizens, not because it gives us a chance to insult the other side.
I think what is missing in your article is the context of the times. Very little was known about the virus in the early days and a better ‘ safe than sorry’ approach was not unreasonable until there was more data available. It is not enough to say there was no data to support a mandate when there was not enough data to dispute it. I agree that reporting the facts is important, but taking into consideration the context is also important to have a full picture.
Great article, Tara! The last two years have really done a number on people. As I talk to friends & family about the state of today's media, the question that increasingly comes up is, "What the hell is going on?". These are people who honestly believed that healthy young children were at serious risk from covid and who supported the mandates against the unvaccinated. As goalposts kept being moved and narratives changed they started to realize, on their own, that something was seriously wrong with today's legacy media and you couldn't trust what was being written. Many have decided to just stop reading/watching the news but they didn't know where to turn for good journalism. At that point, I tell them about journalists like Tara, Rupa, Jon Kay, Terry Glavin, et al, and to look at Substack. The Western Standard has also been doing a great job at reporting on all the controversial topics and giving a platform to censored Dr's and scientists. I am hopeful that things will improve.
A variant of the "anchoring and adjustment" heuristic bias elaborated by Tversky and Kahneman. The reluctance to move off an incorrect position is deeply ingrained and takes conscious effort and self-awareness to combat. It requires thinking. Unfortunately, as Bertrand Russell is reputed to have said, "most people would rather die than think and many of them do". It is not just intellectual laziness - the dogmatic are discouraged from so doing, and if this is the case at journalism schools, then RIP mainstream media, and thank goodness for Substack.
There is a much bigger and more dangerous goal set out by those that deem themselves to be the Elite. The truth of their agenda is out there. Hopefully these so-called journalists will figure it out soon and break the bounds of being good servants to them.
At last, I really understand how and why my relationships with friends and family have imploded. This understanding is actually a huge relief, as Julia Galef promises. I will stop resisting the new reality.
The simple answer is that todays establishment journalist is nothing more than a mouthpiece of the Uniparty and intelligence agencies. Operation Mockingbird in full effect. Yet little do they know, they’re digging their own grave. People no longer trust media, instead turning to Substack, or Rumble, or podcasts, to find the truth.