Independence … marks the distinction between tyranny and democracy. And in a world where budding authoritarians have advanced by blurring the difference, there was a clarity in the spectacle of a tyrant’s fury visited upon a man armed only with a pen. Because the strongmen of the world only look strong. All despots live in fear of their people. To see genuine strength, look to the spaces where individuals dare to describe what’s going on in front of them. –From Time magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year story “The Guardians and the War on Truth”
That’s just adorable.
Journalism making journalism the story of the year is peak woke, because it perfectly reflects the pathology of who is at the center of most reporting that goes on these days: The byline’s progressive darling.
And as such, we are dealing with an assault on independence — not a defense of it.
When a guy like USA Today’s Scott Gleeson thinks the occasion of a young black man winning the Heisman Trophy is the time to announce what Kyler Murray tweeted when he was 14 years old, we have left any objective definition of independence very far behind. Gleeson is a hit man, not a truth seeker, and his kind of “journalist” is legion.
Theses people deserve to be on the cover of Mad magazine, not Time. But is there even a difference any more? Virtue-signaling and character assassination are the true marks of all too many of the so-called “guardians” this story highlights.
Oh, and could there be a more obnoxiously self-idolatrous name than “guardians” for this nonsense? But such are the rhetorical tools one must use when tyranny, not independence, is your stock in trade. The propaganda must come with a level of religiosity that razzle-dazzles people into drone-like compliance with the narrative du jour. As the great prophet George Costanza once said: “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”
In other words: “Bigots, bigots everywhere!” Like a Virginia teacher who was fired for refusing to call a troubled student by their “preferred pronoun.” Or a black man who wanted to host the Oscars after years’ worth of complaining there isn’t enough black representation at the Academy Awards. That’s our crazy reality now. That’s also me, by the way, “daring to describe what’s going on in front of me.”
But most journalists are the people who applaud when other people are kicked off Twitter for making observations like that. This regime is “do as I say, not as I do” all the way through.
You want budding authoritarians? Thy name is journalism.
You want blurring the difference? Thy name is journalism.
You want strongmen and despots who live in fear of the people? Thy name is journalism.