The top generals and admirals in the military have gone woke because they have no idea how to win wars anymore. And there are fewer consequences for declaring a ‘war on hate’ and failing than for losing a war against China or 7th century savages with rocket launchers.
And then there’s the media.
One of the most astounding stories of media malfeasance is how the Associated Press ran a story claiming that Russian missiles struck Poland after a 10 minute Slack chat with a reporter who told colleagues, “I’m actually at a doctor’s appointment.” Nobody at the AP, including its Arab correspondent running the European desk, did any kind of follow-up or got confirmation.
When a scandal like this reveals the internal workings of the media, it’s almost laughable how little fact checking goes into stories and how thoroughly ignorant everyone involved really is.
But the only thing astounding about the story is how commonplace it is. The media now routinely operates this way after discarding the layers of fact checking and runs reports based solely on whether they fit a political narrative and whether there is some anonymous government source behind them. The Russian missile strike story met both criteria.
“They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo,” Ben Rhodes, Obama’s close adviser, once sneered. “Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”
He told this to the New York Times.
Sarah Palin’s lawsuit against the New York Times exposed how shoddy the paper’s process that led to it repeating the ‘bullseye’ smear against her was. Former editorial page editor James Bennet sourced the widely discredited claim that her election map had somehow led to the shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords by a mentally unstable man from an old column by a former restaurant critic. Despite the plethora of material showing that it wasn’t true, the paper’s research didn’t go to its news articles or those of any others, but a lefty foodie’s rant.
That is just how the media operates. It’s not a brilliant operation of intrepid reporters who happen to think that Communism was a disappointing failure that needs to be tried again.
Our lying media really is that dumb. And as stupid as you think it may be, it’s even worse.
The media’s research methodologies are roughly about those of a college freshman trying to finish a term paper due the next day after a night of heavy partying. Material is thrown together in 10 minutes or less based on some casual googling or Slack chats by people who only have the job that they do because of their parents, which professor they befriended in journalism school or because of their race or other incidental attributes that qualify them for nothing.
It wasn’t always this way.
Journalism could be politically extreme, but it was also a brash competitive sport. Now there’s no meaningful competition in any other arena other than political radicalism.
A profession whose pinnacle is occupied by the 1619 Project’s Nikole Hannah-Jones, not because she broke open a scandal, but because she allowed the paper of broken record to monetize a racial revisionist history of America despite numerous problems with her claims, is not competitive in any area that rewards journalistic skill. Just ask Taylor Lorenz.
Woke capture shifts the terrain from any kind of meritocracy to agitprop tribalism. The ability of the institution to do its job is at best collateral damage and at worst the target at ground zero.
The media’s current generation is barely equipped with any skill except gaining social media traction by assembling trends into a narrative template. The dirty secret of even the booming old school newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post who boast of massive numbers of digital subscribers and younger audiences is that few actually finish their articles.
They retweet them.
The media is a giant Ponzi scheme run by incompetents, staffed by radical dilettantes and patronized by cultural lefties who subsidize the media the way that they do the ACLU.
And under those conditions, mistakes are bound to happen.
Like declaring that an act of war took place against a NATO country based on an anonymous source repeated by a reporter at his doctor’s appointment after a 10 minute conference.
There are a lot of less impressive mistakes that litter the media like tiny badges of shame.
But that is what always happens when radicals take an institution, a practice or a profession and turn it into the means for achieving a glorious utopian end. The means are ultimately disposable and like flyers and signs left behind afterward at an Earth Day rally, journalism, and so much else of our culture, has been used and then discarded in the cultural wastebasket.
The media complains that no one trusts its authority or respects its hard work. What authority and what hard work? The current dean of traditional journalism is Dan Rather: a hack who took part in an attempt to torpedo George W. Bush’s reelection campaign with Vietnam War documents produced in Microsoft Word. And his younger peers make him look good.
It’s not just that the media lies all the time in the service of its cause, but that its wretches no longer have the skill or even understanding to tell the lies apart from the truth.
And so they simplify matters in the timeless fashion of extremists by declaring everything they believe to be the truth and everything that they disagree with to be a lie. Or disinformation.
Faced with Hunter Biden’s laptop, they phone up a few experts from their contact list who tell them what they want to hear and the media proclaims it’s Russian disinformation. Faced with actual Russian disinformation accusing Trump of frolicking with prostitutes in Moscow, they cheerfully amplify it as loudly as they can. And they are too dumb to even know any better.
Like their old Pravda predecessors in Moscow, they don’t know anything except the party line. Woke generals can’t win wars, but can recite equity pledges. Woke CEOs lose money, but talk about their commitment to ESG. Woke journalists don’t know whether the story they’re about to work on is true or false and have no concept of any objective truth. Only the party’s truth.
Wokeness is institutional and professional rabies. And the media is spreading it with every bite.