Saturday, June 30, 2018

A Majority of One ("Pat, I'd like to buy a clue..." Edition)

"Their best defense is more offensiveness." - Mark Steyn

Occasionally, this would-be Galactic Dictator comes across something that makes him want to build Death Stars and choke his minions from across the room with his nifty mind-control powers and ability to manipulate the energy fields that surround all living things.

Regular readers already know what "triggers" this Intergalactic Despot; any form of stupid. I am, by nature and training, unable to simply let Stupid alone whenever I encounter it. Even the smallest amount of Stupid sets my blood to boiling. It is even true, I must admit, that it is the minuscule instances of Stupid that really grinds my gears; the Big Stupid is easier to dismiss, usually because in pointing out the Big Stupid to the perpetrator, even they -- eventually -- realize their in-hindsight obvious mistake.

But it is the Subtle Stupid, I don't know, call it the "gnats of Stupid", that buzz around on a daily basis that drive me wild. Like bedbugs and herpes, the small acts of Stupid are nearly impossible to get rid of.

Case in point: I was reading my local fishwrap yesterday, The Staten Island Advance, which is a title that invites deconstruction: it is Staten Island, but what they are advancing is beyond comprehension.

Anyway, there is a writer on this paper whose work I typically enjoy. Until yesterday, when he got full of himself and anointed himself and his profession as virtual saints and got obnoxiously self-righteous enough to attempt to put a political spin upon a non-political subject.

Here is the article in question. Read it, and then I'll tell you where the Stupid began.Since you are all among the most intelligent of my would-be slaves, you already know, but let's test how well you know your Overlord.

For my slower minions, I'll explain (in no particular order):

1. Approximately 24 hours after law enforcement identified the gunman and his motive -- which had nothing to do with Donald Trump -- this dingbat takes a gratuitous swipe at Trump, implying he has given license to -- if not outright advocated for -- people to go out and shoot "journalists" (I put that in quotes for a reason, which I will get to later).

Trump is not involved. Why mention Trump? Because dingbat has a political point of view that he will advance on the bodies of five "colleagues" and his profession that he claims to care about so much. Even though the event is non-political. It's almost as if he can't help himself; even in an opinion piece about cold-blooded murder at the hands of a madman, somehow, we must find a way to virtue signal out Trump hatred, and plant the seed that, ultimately, this is still his fault....

...before sorta-kinda-half-heartedly walking it back two sentences later, when it's too late.

Additionally, the dingbat's OWN NEWSPAPER, several hours earlier, had run an AP report in which the gunman and his motives (he lost a lawsuit), his questionable activities, and his obvious mental deficiencies, made it abundantly clear that the shooting was not politically motivated. So, apparently, they either have no editors at the Advance, the ones they have are worth shit, or dingbat decided that non-political or not, he would make it so, and then make it look like he wasn't by weakly walking it back.

2. Dingbat Writer makes his profession -- and by extension, HIMSELF -- out to be some paragons of virtue, unjustly targeted by hateful, spiteful mobs, when all they are trying to do is simply give us the facts, often at great personal risk to themselves.

A casual perusal of Dingbat's published work for the Advance for the last year shows just how much personal risk he takes on a daily basis: stories about abandoned highway overpasses, abandoned buildings, abandoned cemeteries, the terrible traffic on this island, the Staten Island Deer Crisis, and some political stuff I would grade as third-rate-ask-anyone-in-the-coffee-shop analysis.

Why, it would seem that Mr. Vicariously-Risking-My-Life finds this sort of work fraught with peril, and in the meantime, stories which are of actual value to this community -- the drug problem, the gang problem, the illegal alien problem -- find Mr. Pillar-of-the-Fourth-Estate curiously absent.

It's difficult to paint yourself as a fearless and selfless defender of the people's right to know, sacrificing your own personal safety, when it appears as if you don't investigate a damned thing that puts you into conflict with people out to hurt you, requires you to leave your own car, or where you might -- MIGHT -- encounter the local wildlife...which is liable to run away from you, anyway.

You for damned sure are not running into any dangerous people in an abandoned cemetery.

It's almost as if the  guy is angling for combat pay and a statue erected in his honor.

Or maybe just a job at The New York Times?

So, I did what any good Overlord, piqued by a gobstammering display of fucktard, would do: I called him out on it in the paper's online forum (link to follow this spew). Not only did he not respond to me (which is okay: he doesn't have to, and I did not really expect him to do so) but whoever was moderating that forum (hmm, I wonder?) took it upon themselves to censor some of my remarks. Which is a recurring problem with the Advance: they tend to censor everything which either makes the paper look bad in terms of community response, or with which the moderator disagrees.

As always, they hide behind their "be respectful rule", the definition of which changes on a daily basis and from moderator to moderator.

If the American press finds itself beleaguered these days, this is why; it attempts to do everything it can to advance (no pun intended) it's individual member's political points of view (which are fairly uniform across all newsrooms) which is completely dismissive and unaware that it represents a minority viewpoint. The fact that it is a minority viewpoint is, for all intents and purposes, the confirmation they need to consider themselves superior and right in all things. Because they already consider themselves a race apart from mere human beings, with who they have as little contact as possible.

I know many "journalists" and they are creatures of paralyzing stupidity, stunning unawareness of anything outside their little circle, and eager conformists, as all are pre-requisites for advancement in this field. If you put three journalists in a room together and gave them a topic to discuss, you'd find: a) they would have virtually no difference in opinion on the subject, whatever it was, b) they typically  have no first-hand knowledge of anything, and can't be bothered to find out, and c) they would pat each other on the back and give one another awards for reinforcing one another's "narratives" and prejudices.

These people think they're something special, and it comes as both a very rude shock and a painful realization once that bubble of special is popped, and they're left naked in front of the whole planet with nothing but Stupid to use as a fig leaf. Why? Because you went to Journalism School, where they taught you to write balanced sentences and paragraphs? I learned that in 3rd Grade.

Here's another example, related to the same attack.
Now, seriously. These are the people who cry there's no such thing as "fake news", and here's a "journalist" -- a 21 year veteran of the field -- tweeting an outright lie; he KNOWS it's not true; he KNOWS it's not ethical; HE KNOWS that his profession is under a microscope like never before, but HE CAN'T HELP HIMSELF. His nagging little Stupid compels him to do it, anyway; his sense of specially special specialness -- because "journalist" -- let's him think he can take it back, like it was a joke, after it's been spread to three quarters of the universe in the literal blink of an eye by electronic media.

I can promise you, even after this guy has admitted he's made it up and he has resigned, somewhere, there's someone even dumber than him that believes this, even after the admission, or even despite the admission, because that fucktard, too, is laboring under the faulty impression that he's a virtuous douchebag because "hate Trump" isn't just a state of mind; it's a defining characteristic of everyone who wants to feel themselves greater than the Common Man, without displaying any obvious ability to be so.

The Press suddenly finds itself confronted by a public which it hardly knows, which is demanding objectivity and "just the facts" from them, and they literally do not know how to respond except to play the victim, and the entire time they are under the mistaken impression that they both need not try to understand that public and are mystically better and smarter than that public. They see "The Public" as clickbait; as someone who overpays for a jumble of lies on dead tree; who consumes airtime, as long as the peons remember their role as mere sponges, soaking up the misinformation they can't help but produce, they're happy. Start to question them, though, and they suddenly become a collective of martyrs, an endangered species, unjustly persecuted by an Orangutan in a suit.

And their only defense is to double down on Stupid, even if you do have to retract it ten minutes later (see: CNN), lie about what you've reported by denying you've reported it (MSNBC), making shit up out of thin air to both attack the people who call you out, and defend yourself by obfuscation (New York Times) secure in the knowledge that people remember the lie, but never the retraction.

When Donald Trump calls the media the Enemy of the People, he's not far wrong. The Media, collectively, rather than correct itself -- which is what they used to do with legions of editors, fact-checkers, and ombudsmen -- would rather warp reality in which their wrong is somehow made right and they can wrap themselves in the flag of the First Amendment (which to them means you dare not question them), live off the reserves of trust and goodwill built up by previous generations of reporters (who actually DID reporting and researched stories), while their world shrinks as we discover that most "news" is written by computers, not writers, where real writers and reporters are involved they usually depend on others to do their research, the writer/reporter is often too lazy or stupid to check the information they've been given and no one remembers what they've said the next day, unless it went viral.

These are the people we depend upon to assemble, sift, and disseminate information, often crucial information, to us; the self-absorbed; the too-lazy-to-read-their-own-paper; the person who believes we all NEED to hear their political point of view when it isn't necessary to a story.

The process goes something like this:

1. Something happens.
2. Trot out a political point-of-view disguised as reportage on the Something.
3. Obscure the truth of the Something by burying it in paragraph 37, or even by failing to make mention of it. However, make sure the fake news is presented by at least paragraph 4, since most people won't read to paragraph 37, anyway.
4. Print/Publish/Broadcast a retraction. Print/Publish/Broadcast several retractions per day, solely to avoid lawsuit, Print/Publish/Broadcast new lies tomorrow.
5. Act like a passive-aggressive douchebag if someone has the temerity to challenge you.
6. Censor or obliterate that which calls your objectivity into question.
7. Wrap yourself in the mantle of the First Amendment, while denying anyone the opportunity to exercise the same rights in exposing your douchebag.
8. Cry that you're being unfairly maligned, even in mortal danger.
9. Refuse to examine your own actions (because that might hurt your own feelz).
10. Repeat.

Mr. Staten-Island-Advance-Dingbat considers himself a hero, while his "newspaper" is more and more being given over to pre-written AP and McClatchy articles (assembled by computer), it lacks any genuinely useful information liable to be of interest to the reader (for example. The Advance doesn't report much on the gang and drug problems on this island in any in-depth way -- you know, the way that might get someone wounded or killed in the noble pursuit of The Truth --  but it's always good for a week's worth of "Who Has The Best Connoli On Staten Island" stories), while Dingbat plays Indiana Jones among the derelict cemeteries and spooky abandoned buildings.

And they wonder why everyone hates "journalists".Update: The Link to the comments section requires a log in, so here's some screenshots. Fixed some grammatical boo-boos, as well:

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