Reality unexplored and Truth undiscovered: How journalism pretended it informed as it faked knowing what it was talking about.

I was listening to a debate on the radio today that really was shockingly ignorant and uninformed. The offended speaker made an outrageously historically illiterate claim where the content was that only one group of people in the world -- those Europeans -- were some sort of universal oppressor, and the host didn't challenge him.

My own mixed Slavic roots disproved the point at least twice over, and I could think of numerous other examples of two groups of people who neither were anywhere near Europe  where one was responsible for the oppression the another.

Human beings can be counted on to let power go to their heads as they slaughter in the name of morality. We are indoctrinated to see the world in antagonistic and competitive terms from the moment we hear our first bedtime story -- and as someone who has a keen interest in storytelling structures and reads stories from different times, cultures, and places, no one here can have any virtuous airs about them.

Had I been the one to hear this untrue claim in a debate, I would have pointed this out because all people are the same. When they are left to think they can get away with abusing other groups of people, they do, until that trick runs its course, and then not being able to harm anyone else, they begin to attach each other and self-destruct with wars.

It was one the most ignorant public displays of one person being completely ignorant of history.

But then I wondered if I took one hundred random people in my province, and gave them a basic history test, how many would have flunked it, too.

And then I would have administered the same tests to various media outlets to see how much basic history they actually knew, too.

But I already know the answer. As in, in 2018 with an Internet, society know bupkes. You have people complain about history being "Euro-centric", but then don't know other forms of history, either.

That's why humans never get out of their holes: they keep repeating the same things their ancestors did and other people's ancestors did, and think they are being cunning and original.

I realized this in high school when I took a senior level World History course, and we all had to give presentations. This was the late 1980s, and mine was about the precarious situation in Yugoslavia. My hypothesis was that the country would fall apart and go right into a civil war. My teacher thought I was being silly.

He didn't think history would repeat itself there.

Surprise! It did.

But before I gave my talk, I gave a little quiz to my classmates to see how much they knew about the region.

The answer was next to nothing. You have students getting A's in an advanced senior-level history course who did not know about the region's fate during the Second World War. They did not know about Tito. They did not know the political system, either. They did not know that the capital city was Belgrade.

They could not even find it on the map I had on the paper. At least they knew it wasn't the boot-shaped country.

So how does a teenage girl give a basic talk on a country that might as well have been on Mars?

That was my dilemma. I figured it out, but the episode stayed with me for a long time.

I had no idea back then that one day I would become a journalist, and be one because of that region that had been under attack and control for centuries by various warlords and nations, from Genghis Khan to the Roman and Ottoman Empires. Nazis and their various collaborators had been brutal to that region, too.

There were many lessons there just waiting to be learned; the problem was that people there couldn't see it because they did not have the luxury to do so, always having to battle some crisis or unrest.

And the others, the outsiders, were always arrogantly blind, and thought all those "simple" Slavs didn't have much to offer, even if their territory was alluring. 

That collective of former Yugoslavs were always pawns in somebody's war. Their own, or someone else's. Sometimes both at the same time.

But I didn't have to be blinded by the same fear or greed. I don't have to walk on a rigged board. 

And I didn't.

Becoming a journalist was always instructive because when you go into a career you weren't fantasizing about, you don't have the red-coloured glasses filtering your reality.

I went in as an experimenter, not a journalist.

I went in knowing that journalists were grossly culturally, historically, scientifically, and psychologically illiterate,

And there are implications to it.

The most important one is when you have a collective who do not know basic things, but fancy themselves to be cutting thinkers who know everything, they do not know how to navigate reality to find truths.

When reality is unexplored and the truth is undiscovered, you have no knowledge base to work from, and that means there can be no wisdom to cultivate.

So you end up having debates based on false premises, drawing rigged conclusions that in no way align with reality.

And then they are vectors who contaminate an information stream.

F.R.E.E.D. is about exploring reality and discovering truths. That is the goal. That is the mandate.

It makes no assumptions. It does not assume that one group of people are better than another group of people. There is no pecking order. You do not assume women are superior to men or that men are superior to women.

You find facts. You do not think one group of people are beneath you or another group of people are superior.

You find facts.

You find facts by exploring reality. You do not use some propaganda narrative tripe to try to rig perceptions and interpretations.

You find facts by discovering truths, and the more truths you discover and the more reality you explore, the more you can see both and not use sophistry to pretend those qualities do not exist.

They do.

Journalism could have been the greatest profession ever created.

It turned out to be one of the worst in the modern era.

Because it closed its eye shut when there was a threat of seeing reality, and thought building a wall of lies would save them.

It never does...

You Are But a Grain in the Universe: How Matriarch Storytelling understands the logic of the Infinite.

Bless the heads of those who think their bold Patriarchal decrees mean anything. They are but a grain in the universe, and then spend their lives trying to declare they are Alpha and Omega.

They are all about the Finite and the One, and it is quaint how they try to fool all of the people all of the time by being oh so serious about it.

The fact is that just because the truth has been yet undiscovered and reality unexplored, that does mean that all that is needed to be known is actually known.

Some people are good actors who use cruelty, an authoritative voice, and intimidation and shame to try to shut down discussion...

But that doesn't give them either a final say or the last word in the matter.

We talk about a beginning of time and an end of time -- ignoring all the moments before and after it.

We talk about a start and an end to a space, also ignoring the spaces before and after it.

We are finite grains in an Eternal and Infinite universe.

This scares the Patriarchal right out of its wits because it means power and control does not belong in one person's hands.

And so, the structure to hold everyone back and hope they do not see the Infinite.

But the Matriarchal does more than just see it: it feels, embraces it, loves it, guides it, and is guided by it.

At the core of Matriarchal is the Infinite and the Eternal. We do not have to be privy to all of it, but we can be in for the wild ride as we understand that just because we have not uncover all of the deepest truths of the universe, that doesn't mean they don't exist, or that no one else has stumbled upon them.

But we are game for the challenge as we explore without fear. We learn as we evolve, and the most thrilling part of it all, it is not static and we never need to be bored.

We open our hearts as we feel the grains of the universe become part of our hearts.

It is a very big Infinity to explore, after all.

There are different structures of stories that have yet to be unleashed.

There are new kinds of stories yet to be told, and new ways to tell them.

And even a single grain in the universe can have the honour of finding them just as the other grains can do the same.

It is not some sort of competition where there is only finite time and space to do it...

Breaking the Cycle of the Fake Arenas: Journalism perfected it. Twitter stole their bit. And why both are con games.

I

It never ceases to amaze me how naive and gullible people can be. Educated people with doctorates are no more savvy than the person who never spent a day in school.

They are being constantly tricked by pathetic ruses because they see walls where there are none.

Here is a short list of Truths for you to ponder:

1. We have 7.4 BILLION people on the planet. 

2. You will never meet 99.999% of them, meaning these are strangers to you. They do not pay your bills. They do not call to see if you are doing well. They have no idea that you actually exist. They all can live easily without you.

3. This pool of 7.4 billion people you will never know exist will not all agree with anyone on any single point. Mass agreement does not exist.

4. You do not need a single one of these 7.4 billion people to agree with you.

5. 7.4 billion people can, in fact, disagree with you, violently throw tantrums and insult you, and you can still be The Only Person In The World Who Is Right because if you base your case on observations, research, facts, experiments, and other verification techniques and they blindly follow the dictates of someone else's lie -- the results will be in your favour regardless. The number of followers or agreers is immaterial and irrelevant.

6. You do not need to waste time engaging people who blindly follow other people's decrees to be proven right. They are trying to force you to submit to their lie so they don't get inconvenienced by reality.

Got it?

Have these Truths penetrated your mind?

If you still cannot grasp it, imagine you have been attacked by a group of thugs out of the blue as you were walking to work, and somehow, you manage to escape, but not without some major internal injury. You go to the hospital to get treatment, but the doctor on call decides "it's not that bad" and the police don't believe you because you don't look as if you were assaulted and as there were no witnesses or security cameras, they decide it is less work to file in the paperwork than believe you.

Worse, someone overhears it, and then uses their smart phone to record it and posts it, saying with repulsion that you are a liar because both the police and the doctor don't believe you.

And all the posters run with this assessment uncritically, it goes viral, and 7.4 billion choose that day to all agree and then malign you.

So, did it happen?

Of course it did. Experts can be wrong, lazy, corrupt.

Or perhaps one of those attackers is the mayor's kid, and he knew where to attack you without being seen.

Now, suppose someone who sees the video starts to ask questions, and gets flayed by those naysayers, but persists. They start to do research, ask questions, and discovers that, yes, you were attacked, and helps you get to a town where the doctors are thorough and the police do their jobs.

So, did it happen more so because one other person chose to believe you by verifying what you said was true?

No, the past is the past. It happened regardless if no one believed you, one person believed you, or all 7.4 billion people believed you.

It just happened.

So 7.4 billion people turn into white noise. Mass opinion does not actually count for anything at all. It is a red herring and a misdirection. Reality operates independently of our beliefs and so does the truth.

Now, let's suppose you were vindicated, and people who threw stones at your reputation were called on the carpet and got a taste of their own vile medicine. You sued the lot of people who could have cost you your life, including the busybody who filmed your suffering and made fun of it on social media, and your case made textbooks, history, feature films, and the like.

And someone thought you had it made, and decided to say it also happened to them, even though that is a lie.

If no one believes them, is it a lie?

If one person believes it, is it a lie?

If all 7.4 billion people -- including you believed it, is it a lie?

Of course it is. The beliefs and opinions have no relevance on the veracity of the fact that someone fibbed for whatever reason(s) they had.

Egotism and insecurity has infected the information stream. We look for validation from people who in no way have any way of making a point true or false. It doesn't matter whether they are patronizing with a smile or a sneer, opinion is not relevant to a point's veracity.

If humans, as a collective, were a realistic species, they would cease to look for like-minded people to validate their beliefs.

But they got into an unnatural habit of looking for shortcuts and then once they stumble upon a script that suits their worldview, do not let go of it.

People such as Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis and Nicola Tesla, for instance, were disbelieved, with Semmelweis getting committed for telling what turned out to be a fact.

Yet people fight all their lives to have other people believe them, envy them, admire them, love them, deify them, worship them...but right or wrong, lie or truth, people waste their lives looking for validation and vindication.

Even Mother Theresa ain't Mother Theresa.

But truth is truth. It doesn't need your drooling accolades to prop it up -- nor is your disdain of its existence going to make a single dent in it. Get over yourself.

It is why I never understood the Great Men goobers who think their opinions have worth. Their prattle is prattle. Their insults are meaningless. Their flocks have no minds, hearts, or souls: those suckers just hedge their bets that their leader will be The One who saves them from life.

And you cannot have one grain of respect for that cowardly lot.

Religions promised to save their followers who complied without question, but now in the West, people are walking away from the notion of a Santa God.

Right now, the News Gods are political ideology and the Internet -- and both are not going to last very long as deities.

But there was one Deity that had a relative short stint at the top: Journalism.

It managed to fool a lot of people for years, but it lost its clout, but while it had it, it could get away with it by manipulating the optics in a certain way, and for many years, the pigeons fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

II

But it wasn't a church where the cult of Journalism preached to its flock: it was an invisible gladiatorial arena. 

The most striking example of it was on the Fox News Channel and it was a simple show called The O'Reilly Factor.

The arena even had a name: The No Spin Zone.

Bill O'Reilly had real success of it for years, and I had chronicled just how he rigged the game in my book OutFoxed: Rupert Murdoch's war on journalism. I had devoted an entire chapter to how that game was played.

The idea wasn't new. Journalism's fake arena was an absolute staple that gullible people went on in the mistaken belief that they absolutely had to go to the fight they were invited to attend or else they were cowards, liars, un-American, whatever con job was needed to lure a pigeon into the arena.

Public relations firms and image consultants made a very good living training people to be able to handle themselves in these fake arenas. Publicists and agents would issue a list of demands to soften the abuse.

However, what most people didn't understand was there was no actual reason to enter the arena. It wasn't real. It wasn't innate, natural, essential, or anything of the sort.

It was a scam.

It was a way of getting mileage on the cheap. Media outlets didn't have to pay these suckers to come on their shows, studios, or newsrooms to "defend" themselves. There was no value to it. 

And worst of all, these "newsmakers" were goaded to it by being chased by scrums of reporter who stalked and chased them in public. That was symbolic to let this person know who was the predator and who was the prey -- only the prey was labelled predator by the press who then shook these people down for interviews: well, if you are right, you will subjugate yourself to our demands that you give us free fodder for our outlets. We will be hostile to you, and you will look bad regardless of what you say or do because we stick on the labels and we set the terms of engagement that are rigged against you...

However, in all of these gladiatorial games, none of these interviews had much value: a reporter could uncover someone's wrongdoing without ever speaking to that person. Ronan Farrow did not have to corner Harvey Weinstein to talk to him at all, for instance.

You find facts that both confirm and refute, and then weigh them. You do not need to demonize or deify anyone. The truth is the truth.

But people bought the hype. They thought Mike Wallace and Sam Donaldson running after people meant something. It didn't. It was just for show -- optics, really, of how the valiant reporter was hunting down The Bad Guy.

Never mind that even now, some of these alleged Good Guys use racial slurs and did untoward things to others, but even as they are being exposed, they still try to wear the Hero label with babbling how they must sacrifice themselves for the little people as not to “become a threat to the mission ....of healthy independent journalism.”

They never take off the masks of deceit.

And yet proclaim that unless you go into their rigged arenas, you are deficient.

No, you're not.

There is no logical reason to play the game, especially not on their terms.

Because there is no empirical foundation to justify the need for that fake arena.

It is as if a fox browbeat a lamb into coming into his den to prove it is brave and honest -- has nothing to hide.

The lamb has nothing to hide, but has nothing to gain, either, by becoming the fox's next meal.

What is truth is truth. What is reality is reality.

Journalism's success absolutely hinged on having the monopoly of the public narrative, and it meant being the gate-keepers of information.

But then along came the Internet as technology did not have to get journalism's blessing or approval.

And then people could bypass journalism entirely.

Donald Trump used Twitter to get his message out.

Even in Ontario, the PC Party wisely ditched not only the fake arena of journalism, but also the other fake arena of debates, winning a decisive majority without ever subjugating themselves to anyone's decrees or dictates.

You do not need to justify or explain yourself.

More and more people have hit upon this revelation: you do not have to answer to anyone in that kind of forum. It is contrived, based on no empirical foundation, and is self-serving and rigged to favour those running the arena.

But it is not the death of the gambit.

Twitter -- the troll scroll and the sewer of social media -- is trying to pick up that mantle, but not with the success many of the rage pukers are hoping it will.

III

The entire premise of Twitter has become: My insults make it so! My disapproval is the last word and final say because I called it! Nyah! Nyah!

You are not Alpha and Omega. Stop deluding yourself.

The ruse works only if the sucker you are targeting backs down.

If the person is not a sucker or fooled by games such as Got Your Nose, they can ignore you, and do, think, or say whatever they wish without your approval.

And you are left shouting into nothing as your disapproval is emasculated and proven to be impotent.

And in fact, those who rebel against the tidal wave of tweets by ignoring the bait and continuing to do and say whatever they want and need, are proven to be stronger.

Imagine being the person who is unfazed and unmoved by the old biddy outrage of millions.

They prove to be weaker than the one person who knows truth is truth and reality is reality, and opinion's meddling is worthless.

Twitter is a life sink and a time-waster. It didn't have to be, but it drifted into the ideological gutter because it cribbed from a failed industry. Well played!

Journalism failed because it played those games, and then outsmarted itself. Sooner or later, you clue in that there is a certain fun in giving the troll scrollers something to talk about.

It's like watching those helmet haired old ladies look as if someone shoved manure deep into their nostrils just because you wore a red shirt to church.

People can nag you on Twitter, and you go on living your life, not needing to validate or justify a thing.

Because whether people agree with the truth or not isn't relevant.

It is facts that show us the reality to get us to the truth that counts.

Twitter is not built to last. If more people ignore tweets (and they will because sooner or later, reality points out the obvious), it loses its appeal. It tries to intimidate, bully, and shame people into backing down.

Just ignore it and don't back down. The end. It is not as if ideologues are open-minded and reasonable people who will ever admit to being wrong, manipulative, or controlling.

If someone cannot get a gang to bully you into submission or change what you do or believe, then they will abandon it because it gives them no power, but it does wonders for the person who can stand up to brainless mobs who have more free time than common sense.

Snubbing those invitations to degrade yourself with a slap fight that will not prove a thing is liberating.

Which brings us to F.R.E.E.D.

IV

Why the old and antiquated gladiatorial arena is failing civilization is simple: it is patriarchal, binary, deceptive, antagonistic, and rarely, if ever aligns with reality. It is one of the worst ways to gather relevant information.

Even the phrase L'esprit de l'escalier is a de facto admission that even seemingly "winning" an argument is meaningless: if you can think of a rebuttal after the fact, then what is the point of a fight?

To vent? To control others? To force people to follow you? To destroy? To harm? To hide your fear?

We can always justify anger. It is not hard to wear a halo as you are chasing people around with your pitchfork. People getting chased are not going to see you as an angel, and they certainly will not see themselves as a villain based on your say-so.

We let things go, however. We don't question things. We don't do our homework by doing legwork (and no, scouring Facebook propaganda meme posters is not homework). We don't find facts that refute our theories, let alone find the ones that confirm it.

Journalism made it seem it got the facts, and in the days when print ruled, it very often did. 

Television came along and it need to hook viewers -- and its showmanship brought in a very unstable and troubling factor into its calculations: the ambush interview.

Notice, however, it was not that ambushing of television that brought us Watergate. It was print, and the reporters who did it were not resorting to using a fake gladiatorial arena.

I find it very interesting how the profession conflated fact-finding with ambush carny. The former takes work and skill, while the latter is mere smoke and mirrors.

F.R.E.E.D. is the system that has reality at its core and truth as its mandate. You can throw all sorts of words out there, but it is a very different thing to have those words have meaning and value.

Journalism was all about cruelty and sensationalism. I find it interesting that post-Trump, the industry hitched its ride on #MeToo, even while their own were being exposed, and sobbing over those people who want entry into the US without going through the regular channels, even if the situation is nothing as it is being portrayed -- and that other Western nations are having the same breakdowns because the migration of tens of millions of displaced people is overwhelming various countries who were never equipped to handle an influx of people who have no resources, skills, education, guarantors, or plan.

Many of these people need serious medical attention that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the healthcare systems aren't even equipped to handle aging populations such as the Baby Boomers.

The traditional model of fake combat has the Left screaming we must let everyone in without a plan, while the Right are screaming it cannot be done.

Who's right?

Neither side, of course. You have a series of hard, serious questions to ask. You do not just throw a temper tantrum one second after something has happened.

What is the situation? What are the resources on hand? What is the investment -- and what is the return? What are the consequences of the actions? Even well-meaning actions can be disastrous one way or another.

Say, you let people in and the economy collapses -- perhaps as a result of a flighty and impetuous strategy, or perhaps some other factor, and as a result, there is a debilitating disease outbreak and the refugees that were taken in were hit the hardest, and then they blame the policy for their woes, and it causes serious problems later on with never-ending lawsuits and "solutions" that may bankrupt the country, making it vulnerable to outsiders who will exploit it, causing further weakening.

Or, you keep people out, and they congregate near the border, and desperate and disillusioned, they become prime pickings for terrorist cells who recruit them, and there is carnage and instability to the point where personal freedoms are curtailed as a "solution."

And you can never bank on any "best case scenario" because it has yet to happen in the history of mankind.

So here we are, in 2018, where people think tantrums on Twitter can solve the world's problems.

We didn't solve problems with journalism: it was made to seem as if they were because there is always a sunny ending where the reporter swoops in and saves the day for democracy...except it didn't.

It didn't stop crime. It didn't even stop certain criminals from re-offending.

So what to do with an influx of migrants?

If you have been reading up until now and expect me to spew out some opinion off the top of my head, then you obviously haven't been paying attention.

Or were hoping I was some flighty hypocrite.

I don't know, but with F.R.E.E.D. we start to find out.

We don't "duke it out." We find facts. We don't paint people as victims, villains, heroes, or heretics. We find facts. We get information. We will most likely not like what we discover. We start to formulate plans we can begin to test.

We don't act like asses on the Troll Scroll. We don't try to shut down people who point out problems that go against our opinions. We find facts.

People will raise concerns. They are not to be dismissed. If you want to let in an influx of people and someone raises concerns about the affordability of such a massive move, you do not try to demonize them as being bigots and then hope a personal attack will make them go away so you can impose your will on them.

You find facts about costs. You find facts about people already citizens who are up the queue and how much they are going to cost you. You find facts about the resources you already have. Then you find facts on how much it will cost to bring people in.

Then you find facts on alternatives, such as sending foreign or peacekeepers to destitute nations.

And then you line up your facts and get to work.

But you also find facts about other potential issues regarding culture, assimilation, housing, healthcare, mental health, education, employment, and the like.

In other words, we do not fly by the seat of our pants. We do not try to play the propaganda card by putting out "a face" on the story: one deemed a saint and the other a sinner.

We do not use narrative.

We line up our facts.

And then the solutions begin to emerge -- the ones that have the best chance of success and consensus will present themselves.

There is no need to waste your life on Twitter, raging about things you know bupkes about.

Journalism kept trying to rig outcomes with increasing frequency, and it harmed society as new and innovative solutions that weren't obvious were suppressed.

It is time society grew up and stop acting like children who have no idea where and how money comes to pay for things.

Liberation comes from facing reality to find truths.

Not by wasting your life trying to boss people around because it will not turn your lies into truths.

That is just playing a con job, and trying to bait me into your fake arena won't change that truth -- or me...

Education is about turning over the rules to show how easily they break. It is not about making students memorizing rules.

Journalism education failed the profession because it failed its students.

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It never developed or advanced. It was always about teaching The Craft.

And that means teaching rules.

Which gives students the idea that they will Win At Life if only they remember those rules and blindly follow them, as if they got in on some big secret.

We never question or test rules as part of the progression of learning.

What does 1+1=?

A bigger one, of course.

We turn over the most basic of rules, and suddenly, we can see that 1+1=∞ as well.

As does every other equation. Infinitely big, small, or infinite void.

That is to say, that blindly answering "2" means you memorized a rule.

But if we turn over what other possibilities are out there and test them, we open up new worlds as we expand our knowledge.

The static rule-memorizers parrot "2", and think they are actually smart.

Their minds constrict as they confine themselves and follow the rules, never testing them -- and always trying to force other people into parroting the same rules.

Journalism taught students rules. It never taught them the art and science of turning over rules.

And when the world began to change, it could not keep up because the rules told them that they were gate-keepers, and the sole guardians of democracy.

The Internet turned over those rules and they all shattered. The rule wasn't true.

But journalism was supposed to be the profession that could cover unexpected catastrophes and shocking turns without skipping a beat, meaning if there was any profession that should have rule-turning at its core to create an industry of people who could think creatively on their feet, that was it.

F.R.E.E.D. is all about testing and turning rules until they break.

We talk about exceptions that test the rules, but if the rule is not a rule, then it is not an exception, either. 

It is an impossible situation, meaning an exception is as illusionary as a rule.

What we call an "exception" is a hidden path that takes us to an alternate destination. What we call a "rule" is the well-worn established path everyone takes and assumes is the only way to get there.

Uncover the secret path -- or build a new one, and you no longer have an exception -- just a different route that can take us to a different place.

J-school education could have been a mind-blowing experience that challenged young minds in ways that no one thought was possible.

It just stuck by the rules.

But F.R.E.E.D. is about turning over rules. It's educational system is completely different because it shows differences between illusions and reality, for instance.

Rules are illusions. The more we test them, the more we learn, and more we learn, the better prepared we are to create better ways.

We can be confident of our destinies in reality because we can become equipped to navigate through it.

We can leave the bickering, meddling, and decrees behind when we know that we have the time and space to create the tools we need for a better life.

If journalism took that healthy and humble approach, it would be thriving right now.

It didn't.

By choice, of course.

It preferred a pecking order based on rules, and when those rules were turned over, an entire profession got shattered.

Let's not make the same mistakes again...

What happened to dignity?

Do your work as if you had a thousand years to live, and as if you were to die tomorrow. 

                                                                                                    Mother Ann Lee of the Shakers.


I am a prim and proper punk.

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Always have been. Always will be.

I have no trouble speaking out, no matter how eccentric I sound. Authority does not intimidate me, and neither do mobs.

I am perfectly fine being the only one in the entire universe who holds a certain belief. Do not think I am going to cry in my mineral water that one person or a group of people do not agree with me.

I am not going to have a slap fight over it, lose sleep over it, or justify or make apologies, either.

People looking for the support of other people obviously do not feel secure with their ideas.

I do not get dragged on people's rigged boards. Find yourself pawn to exploit because Alexandra Kitty is not a pawn.

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There is a saying I like very much:

I do not have attend every fight I am invited to.

And I don't. It is the coward's way of trying to take away your dignity.

It is a very manipulative game that mimics war, and war is not about allowing a side you find inconvenient to have any dignity left. Argument is a magician's force: you believe that you must "defend" your point of view and "stand up" for yourself.

No, you don't. It is a way to constrict your actions and thoughts and strictly focus on the person provoking the fight. Debates do not make a point correct. Some people have more practice and support than others.

But your mental resources become drained, and you waste time fighting instead of creating, progressing, and the like.

People use all sorts of triggers to bait fight, especially if they are in the wrong. Who agrees with them is irrelevant. The manipulative insults are irrelevant.

What the person wants to make you believe that there is a pecking order, and that they are superior to you; hence, higher up than you lowly peasant.

My inbox is filled with people with no lives repeatedly trying to bait me. It is supposed to be a siege of sorts to make me feel insecure and unsure of myself, I suppose.

And they all read alike. They read the same, using the same feints, almost in the same order.

I have known other people who have experienced the same problem, and yet very upset, and try to get through to the person who is a life-sink.

Ignore it, and their influence vanishes.

Ta da!

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We spend way too much time argument and trying to control thoughts of other people.

How many fights have resulted in impeding progress violating rights, hurting feelings, holding people back, destroying solid foundations, maligning good people, and generally distracting people with manipulation after manipulation, all in the name of Benjamin, usually.

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Grab as much as you can, and don't let go.

Everyone becomes increasingly agitated and angry...

Then war breaks out, and people slaughter each other, destroying their foundations.

Which once upon a time, made journalists happy.

Because they got many stories out of covering war.

And right now, the Dead Profession is actually trying to instigate war.

But in order to do that, you have to trick people into getting themselves on a rigged board, and make them pay for the opportunity to do so.

The price?

Their dignity, of course.

Reporters would cover wars, oh so very seriously, and get awards and pats on the back for it.

People believe there is a prize that can be won by stepping foot on a rigged board.

I know there isn't.

It is the reason I do not get sucked into con games by stepping on it.

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I take a look around from above and below, but I can see the games being played. It's not as if those games are not obvious if you keep your wits and dignity about you.

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That is not to say you don't stand up for yourself, but it doesn't mean you have to get dragged on to a board where the rule is whoever comes up with the most popular insult is Divinely and Eternally Right.

There are many ways to prove your are right without ever opening your mouth and indulging people wearing monster faces who think their lines in the sand mean diddly and they will try to bully you and wear you down. 

You face those monsters.

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And then you smile, and then walk away, though a "So what?" or "I don't care what you think" is fine, too.

If they try to chase you, you let them follow you while you are going out, living your life, go out find facts, conduct experiments, and when you are good and ready, you chase them back.

With facts.

With proof.

With evidence.

That is how you walk over their lines in the sand and erase them.

F.R.E.E.D. is the system to bypass those manipulative games of debate and arguing. There is nothing to argue. Opinion has no value. It is, at most, a theory. We look for facts and test them. That brings us the answers we need and want.

People try to appeal to authority or mob because they are too scared and lazy to dig. They try to trick you with sink or swim or a confirmation bias.

None of that actually matters. It is a life sink meant to keep you so busy and distracted, that you don't see that you are to be lured, groomed, and primed to willingly surrender your dignity and free will in order to be shamed into following someone else's decrees and status quo.

And none of that garbage actually matters. Not even a little.

What you need is facts.

What you need is results of experiments.

You have enough facts to see what direction or directions are available to you, and then you move on.

To keep out war games, you keep your dignity.

Politicians are always trying to take away our dignity with fear: they insist we need nannies and daddies to protect us from ourselves.

Corporations are also trying to take away our dignity by telling us how defective we are, and then having the nerve to seem as if they are pandering to our artificial desires.

Journalists are desperately trying to take away our dignity by telling us that we are just too stupid to think and find facts on our own and that we need them to think for us.

The time that we waste scaring each other silly.

When it is all completely unnecessary.

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When we have knowledge and wisdom, we have power we can give to others without ever losing it ourselves.

When we have facts, we have strength to progress.

And we can do it with levity, silliosity, confidence, cheekiness.

But always with calm and dignity.

Because we need to find facts as if we will die tomorrow and live a thousand years.

And a thousand years is an awful long time to have to live without dignity.

So I may be a prim and proper punk, but even though I do not retreat, I do not go running on some predator's rigged board, either.

It is the reason I started F.R.E.E.D.: facts give us the power to live a meaningful life, and allows us to forge our own paths without need to justify or apologize for our own choices.

But to have a choice, you need to embrace your dignity, and not give it away because someone is trying to pull a scam by saying your have to give up your dignity to have a better life...

When Journalism was a Thing coming July 27, 2018.

The date is coming much closer for me, and this book is more than just a labour of love and truth: it is essential to be blunt and honest about how journalism destroyed itself.

The book chronicles the destruction of the profession in the West: the UK to a degree, the US in a more devastating manner after November 2016, but also how Canadian journalism was absolutely decimated by its own obliviousness and pettiness that is still transparent in an industry who still believes that it is a thing.

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The book covers how this profession destroyed itself as well as why. I pull no punches.

But I also discuss how we can get our information back. There is no easy or simple solutions, but there are solutions.

There was an enormous amount of research that went into this book, and different kinds of research. Over the years, I have spent an enormous amount of time researching everything from laws to j-school education to the business of journalism to the product. Tens of thousands of articles, books, academic studies, and the like were scoured and studied by me to make this book a worthwhile read. Dismiss what I tell you at your own peril. Denial is for the cowardly.

For anyone who wonders whatever happened to journalism, the answers are there in black and white and are meant to be read all over.

I will be writing more about this book in the next few weeks. As usual, if you have something intelligent to say to me, this is the forum to do it. I am not going to indulge that troll scroll known as Twitter. If I haven't done it until now, there is a reason, and if you wish to throw a temper tantrum in my direction, just remember: I am not your mother and I do not indulge rage puke from anyone.

For the record, I am hard at work on other projects, and more on that in the coming weeks.

I will say this much: yes, there are other books in the works that are even more provocative than When Journalism Was a Thing. Yes, F.R.E.E.D. is coming along, and I also have more to say about that later. Yes, A Dangerous Woman Story Studio's hiatus is coming to an end, and if you miss reading it, I am putting quite a few short stories into circulation over on my Ello page, along with my notes on Matriarchal Storytelling.

And yes, Chaser Investigative News Services is coming back in a very different form, as I will be merging the four together.

For those of you who read my first two books, Don't Believe It!: Hows lies become news, and OutFoxed: Rupert Murdoch's was on journalism, you will get a modern and deeper analysis as my new book picks up where those two left off.

I am grateful to Zero Books for taking on this unusual project. 

And I am also grateful that I had the opportunity to pursue my passion of reinventing media.

If you have any questions, you know where to find me...

How Twitter turned into a Troll Scroll: PR, Fake Followers, and a whole lot of knee-jerk rage. But it's free!

Social media changed a lot of things, but human nature it could not. I never was a fan of Twitter (though I am a fan of Ello), and I mostly just repost things from this web site and my Ello page where my focus has been on fiction and Matriarchal Storytelling: the way it is set up is subtle, but fundamentally different and more productive than it first appears.

Twitter is a hybrid of tribalism and a schoolyard playground where people bully people who do not think or act like them. It breeds ideological bigotry, and reaction without proof or reflection. We have blue checkmarks to verify people, but none to verify what it said has any truth or merit to it. I am not impressed.

But it's free and an easy way to dump your rage, hoping that it gets validated.

It is a real Troll Scroll, however. People congregate into little groups and vent -- or hawk their stuff.

But to feed that beast takes a lot of effort, and the returns aren't as glorious as it first appears.

For one, you need to get your friends to cheerlead you incessantly to get the ball rolling. Finding like-minded people to applaud you is time-consuming. Like a Ponzi scheme, you keep having to recruit new suckers to play along, except people either spend all of their free time on it, or eventually realize it is a life sink and drift away back to Facebook.

Twitter is a great place for PR shills to post under various accounts as celebrities outsource their Tweets to assistants and ghost writers.

But mostly, it's those pesky bots and fake followers that inflate Twitter's influence. People look at the number of "followers" someone claims to have, and then assume that person has clout.

Cult-hopping, as it were, never realizing most of the flock are just mannequins propped up for show.

It's one of the reasons I never cared for Twitter: it is mostly by-the-numbers drowning-out shouts that prove nothing. It is driven by fear and hatred. I always wondered what would happen if people couldn't choose to follow who they wanted -- they would sign up, be placed in a pool of 10,000 random followers, and then every few months, the clique would dissolve and you get thrown in with a new batch of 10,000 people. It would be more nomadic and unpredictable. Left, Right, Rich, Poor, Black, White, Famous, Mundane -- you never would know the configuration, and you'd be exposed to different thoughts and views, and before you had the chance to break in a group, the group would no longer exist.

That's what the idealistic view of Twitter was once upon a time: exposure to a greater audience that you once had to way of accessing. Social media was the way to expand our knowledge and experience, but there were no actual rigs to ensure it.

The advanced technology forgot about those inner cavemen and cavewomen who became afraid of that vast frontier called planet Earth and then started building their various ideological colonies in the caves.

Twitter reminds me a lot of the evolution of religious beliefs: the ancient world had an endless list of deities, and then the modern age just threw those gods aside and went to a single deity.

Millions of people on Twitter, but the focus has now been on The One.

The One who won the White House using Twitter.

7.4 billion people, and the monomania took over in only a decade. That is quite a feat.

No wonder there is frustration and stagnation: tweets are cheap.

We could have had the rise of all sorts of new political ideology, for instance. We could have opened up new ways of telling stories, a new way of doing journalism.

We have apps that invade our privacy, and we have a billion permutations of Bejewelled. Uber did change the way we get around town as we find a way to earn a few extra dollars playing chauffeur to strangers.

But Twitter never did what it could have done. It is repetitive and didn't actually evolve or progress thought. It gave the illusion that your opinion matters, even if it doesn't. It is a mirage.

And I have no uses for things that do not actually exist...

Jonathan Kay throws sophistry in my direction. Reality compels me not to care.

His Majesty took umbrage at my use of the word "man-aganda."

Good.

He Tweeted at me about it, too. 

However, I am at no one's beck and call. Mind you, I do know that the first and only Tweet I saw babbled some sophistry about the fact that there could be no mana-ganda with the article in question because the editor was a woman.

So what?

What does that prove? Nothing.

Women are not immune to bone-headedness or being biased.

Women are equal to men in all the good ways, and all of the bad ones because people are people.

A woman can help spew man-aganda, too.

Memo to Jonathan Kay: there is no estrogen-based force field that prevents it.

They do it all the time, especially if they get paid for it as an editor.

It is not as if people in that profession are actually trained to be self-aware, regardless of what they are reporting or where on the ideological spectrum they report it from.

Psychoanalysts go through the therapy themselves, for instance. No journalist ever has to write an expose on himself -- and that was its fatal mistake.

But Kay's response is just silly. After all, the press hates that Trump fellow, calling him a sexist...and who helped him get into power?

Kellyanne Conway, an avowed woman.

So I guess the press must now back off the whole Trump is sexist thing, right?

Oh, please.

This is the kind of slap fight fluff that reporters and other people with too much free time live for, but I don't go for it. That is Patriarchal nincompoopity.

And it is none of my business. I don't entertain sophistry and childishness on Twitter to impress those fake followers. 

I said what I said. I stand by what I said and I don't back down from it. I also don't care what you think about it. Deal with it.

And while we are on the subject of dealing with reality, here is one more that's more important than my slang: Journalism is dead.

Never mind a word I used. An entire profession collapsed. Just shut up, and deal with that.

AFP's Reality Problem: It still sees Fake News as something unrelated to its profession. It's wrong.

Agence France-Presse has been busy will spewing out a series of silly articles all about the Big Bad known as Fake News. These have been told in the old fashion ABC After School Special-style that is supposed to sound patriarchal and authoritative, but like the uncle who has easy and fast advice that has no real world application, these articles come off as childish.

I have mentioned one of the previous articles, but there are more, such as this one, looking at how various regimes are trying to combat fake news, without ever mentioning how these governments came up with the solutions -- was it through empirical methods, or just by pandering or targeting their enemies and then using the noble cause of "fighting fake news" to do it.

It doesn't, of course, nor does it factor in whether media outlets who report propaganda would be subject to those laws as well.

The more comical is this one with the very PSA-sounding headline:

Fake news: the media industry strikes back

I love the propagandistic beginning of the piece:

The viral spread of hoaxes and misinformation ahead of the US election and Brexit referendum two years ago was a wake-up call for many established news media, who have gone on the offensive to shore up their credibility and help filter out fake news.

"Wake-up call"? To a profession that keeps reporting lies as news? To the point of destroying itself? Nice try.

Then there is this little throwaway bit worth noting:

Major media organizations, often in partnership with big technology and social media firms, have stepped up fact-checking and other steps to support fact-based journalism.

By doing the same things that made them lose their credibility? And teaming up with those same news-clueless "social media firms" that spread misinformation, invades privacy, and sells big data to the highest bidder? Those groups?

Yes, that instills confidence to the gullible. Then the usual sad attempt at deflection:

But these efforts have been complicated by unrelenting attacks on the media by US President Donald Trump and others who tend to label any unfavorable coverage "fake news."

And we go right back to Donald Trump. The news media got emasculated by him in public, and this article is just another hit piece on the man who bested them.

The propaganda and the Journalism Is Perfect delusion comes shortly after:

Social media "has made things much worse," because it "offers an easy route for non-journalists to bypass journalism's gatekeepers, so that anyone can 'publish' anything, however biased, inaccurate or fabricated," says John Huxford, an Illinois State University journalism professor.

"Journalism's role as the 'gatekeeper' of what is and isn't news has always been controversial, of course. But we're now seeing just how bad things can get when that function breaks down."

See, those social media firms were the saviours, but now the reporter labels them as villains. Make up your brain cell. And the world would have been perfect if journalists had all the controls and were still the gate-keepers cribbing press releases and telling how important it is to follow celebrity gossip.

There is lots of fear-mongering in the story -- how Trump will destroy a press that already destroyed itself, and how all this fake news will Take Over the World:

Journalists may face new dangers in the current environment, in some cases subject to attacks by political leaders even when trying to debunk false information.

And the poor, valiant without flaw journalists are being placed in danger!

Enough.

You were sloppy. You were lazy. You were arrogant. You were careless. You did not keep up with the times. You weren't disciplined.

You lost your clout because technology made your profession obsolete.

Get over it.

Presenting the Partisan as Normal: When journalists try to push make the ideological mundane.

Ontario is in for a a series of major shifts that will alter its current sleepiness in a matter of months.

The US got that ball rolling because they have a president who smelled a weak prime minister, and they are going to push it for all it is worth.

And now after almost fifteen years of Liberal rule, we have a Conservative government who did not waste a moment knocking off all the campaign promises from their to do list. 

Doug Ford is not talking about "stretch goals." He is just keeping his promises, clearing the deck to bring in a completely new system to the province.

I am not going to babble whether this is a good thing or a bad thing as I do not have a crystal ball. I can say that he got elected by being very open about what he was going to do, and people voted him in because of it.

If they did not want it, they would have stuck to the Liberals or voted in the NDP if they wanted the extreme, more expensive version of it.

So you have a province who is very divided, but not so much that the Tories didn't get their majority. They did and had a clear mandate. They won the election. Not by the skin of their teeth win, but a confident one.

That is the reality of the province.

But to Ontario journalists, they do not actually comprehend what that actually means.

They are reporting on certain issues in a very partisan way that makes their reports deceptive. They are taking ideological beliefs are trying to pass it off as facts and news, and it is not.

So, first off, let us be clear: Doug Ford said he was going to scrap the 2015 Sex Ed curriculum.

The massive tome found here.

It clocks at well over 200 pages. I seriously doubt one percent of Ontario parents actually read that thing. I am not a parent, and I have read it. It is long, tedious, cringeworthy, ideological in places, and not as progressive or as sensitive to realities as it is being portrayed.

It babbles. A lot. It has the typical authoritative arrogance and condescending tone that is comical as life is far more complicated than the take home lessons in this work implies.

It is not enlightened. It panders to certain marginalized and abused groups, which, I suppose can be construed as something positive because they are usually just shut out as if they did not exist.

Mind you, when I had to take Sex Ed in junior high in the 1980s. it was the same: underwhelming and not as helpful when you tried to use what you learned in the real world. My mother had already taken care of my Sex Ed, complete with making me read the book Love and Sex in Plain Language, which was not a bad book as a starting point. It wasn't patronizing, which I appreciated.

Many parents didn't like the changes from the 1998 version (but many didn't like the earlier versions, either, as one of my first stories as a newspaper reporter in mid 1990s dealt with a group that thought the old one was just dreadful, but they were merely preying on parents' fears and were actually angling to replace evolutionary science with creationism in the classroom). Many parents did. Most parents had no clue one way or another because reading that manual with the care and focus it requires is a real drag. 

If it were up to me, I would quiz parents on what is in that book, and then listen to all the excuses about how busy they are to do so, even though they repeatedly tell me against my will what is happening on Game of Thrones and with the Kardashians.

But people had strong opinions regardless. Kids are kids; they pretty much are trusting good sports who go with the flow, having the goodwill to believe what they are learning is relevant and important. Bless them for it.

The parents who didn't like it did not let it go. Tanya Granic Allen nearly made a political career from that disdain. People put up with spiralling utility, gas, and mortgage costs, but this was their line in the sand.

Doug Ford promised to repeal it. He got voted in. The End.

So that is the reality of the situation, and you would think if journalists were doing stories on this fact, they would seriously and deeply take that critical factor into consideration.

But no dice.

They are behaving as if Ford just stormed in uninvited, made a tyrannical decree against the will of every parent in Ontario, and did away with it on his own.

That is not what happened. Not even close. You had a very unpopular curriculum put in place, and now that side of the fence was listened to because they were the ones who voted in enough numbers to matter.

Watching CHCH's report on it this evening was amusing because it has the hack of no-brainer streeters and an "expert" who would naturally pull toward one side of the issue.

Newsflash: people lived for centuries without this Sex Ed curriculum. Most of the world has not had it, either. Somehow, life flourishes and goes on. Let us not have some sort of silly sink or swim argument here.

The Toronto Star is playing the same game, exploiting a grieving father who lost his daughter after she was sexually exploited to the point she took her own life -- and he gets some comfort in believing that this would have prevented his daughter from dying, complete with his Very Sad Face guilting people that the Star lives to parade.

I doubt very much that education would have changed anything in that tragedy. When you leave a group of unsupervised teens in close proximity together where they are all intoxicated, you have a lion's den where any cub or wandering lamb is going to get harmed.

That's nature. Cruel, cold, heartless nature in a room filled with inexperienced, enabled teens who cannot control those new surges of hormones as they all compete, lie, dare, insult, bully, and goad each other because they don't know what consequences mean.

There is no education on the face of this earth that is going to trump that toxic stew.

You could lock every one of those teens in a closet, chain them, and make them read and study, as you isolate them from the outside world. That could prevent it, but that is also sick and abusive, and would be even worse as it prepared them less for the realities of life. Life is filled with risks and gambles, and taking extremes won't help. 

Life is also filled with tragedy, and the hardest lesson to learn in life is sometimes bad things happen to good people, and it cannot be stopped. There is no If Only. There is only What Was.

Many people take their own lives. Many people get bullied, but don't. Many people don't get bullied, but do. We assume one action is linked to another, but we cannot always assume there was a solution to a problem.

That one of the boys expressed regret sounded more like regret that he was inconveniently labelled a rapist than that his victim felt despair with no way out. No school lesson can dispel that sort of selfish thinking. No magic wand can reverse it.

If we had actual journalism, we wouldn't have propaganda pieces that distort reality. You have people who wanted that curriculum for their own reasons. You had people who were against it for their own reasons. The party that spoke to the those against it won. 

That was a major platform, and yet, journalists covering the campaign didn't pick up on it. Instead of mindlessly running after candidates at corny photo ops, they should have done their research, looking at the salient issues from multiple angles, and seen why this issues was resonating with a lot of voters from across the province without making rude and haughty assumptions.

Now, there is howling where there should be reason. We have all sorts of untrue to life morality tales being spewed. That is not what we need to hear.

We need facts. We always do,

The problem is we rarely ever get them.

National Post's Free of Charge Image Rehabilitation To Steven Galloway Continues.

Welcome, bitter himbos and their enablers from the Troll Scroll known as Twitter! Here is what I think of the intellectually-stunted rebuttal you cling on to like a security blanket...

The National Post has become the National Mommy: protecting the little white boys who get their sorry butts in a scrape, and then are allowed to bawl in public as the Post gives them free publicity to do so.

They have certain obsessions. The come from Toronto, after all, a city that inexplicably wants to seem cultured and refined enough to seem as if they are all cocktail parties all the time.

Except for all those homeless people those same blowhards walk over every day. It is a city with serious problems, but do not speak of those problems in public.

The National Post has the same mindset. It likes the Great Man myth. It does not like when said Great Men turn out to be vulgar goobers.

Steven Gallloway did not behave professionally on the job -- a lofty one and a hard one for Canadian authors to procure. Authors are perfect guests for those boring old cocktail parties, and that Galloway's ways got him in hot water was mortifying.

The National Post has been working as his social worker/image rehabilitator for a long time now, and this melodramatic Woe Is Me drivel is very tone deaf -- and not the place for the Post to publish.  

And that green-tinged Sad Boy pity painting of him is really stretching it.

Galloway is the architect of his own ruin. It went to his head, and in a nation where most writers cannot make a decent wage and must rely on government welfare disguised as grants and teach at colleges and universities, most authors struggle to make it.

Galloway had a lofty position, and though the university didn't think he did all of things he was accused of -- they did not exactly give him back his halo, either. He had a good racket going, and then blurred lines that brought him his ruin.

For an author, the article is cringeworthy and not very good writing. He is too selfish to see the obvious. He had many Establishment types come running to enable his delusions, and for that, he should be very grateful.

But gratitude is something Galloway doesn't seem to grasp. UBC fawned all over him, and it was not good enough. He was allowed to hold a position of power, even though Canadian publishing has deteriorated over the years. Nothing new or innovative under his watch.

The Post is man-aganda: propaganda to reassure the boys that they are perfect and without fault. 

Galloway is fortunate this happened in Canada before #MeToo: if it were a US university and if it happened now, we would see a very different outcome with no one giving a free platform to make excuses and paint himself as a victim. He wasn't.

This is the reason Canadian newspapers collapsed: we are being surrounded by real crises all around us, and of a country of thirty-six million people, the Post keeps giving copy inches to Galloway. Repeatedly.

He is not a tragic figure. He is an arrogant one who overplayed his hand. He did what millions of people do at some point of their lives: goofed up on the job and got himself in an unfixable scrape.

It is not news. Get over it...

In the US, it is #MeToo. In Canada, it's #NotMe!

Jeramy Dodds, one of those by-the-numbers bland white boy poets whose work falls short of the tepid accolades, if having fits over being #MeToo'ed, and is suing a lot of people over it.

You can read all about the gossip here, here, here, and here, complete with Dodds' various conspiracy-theorist laden vagueness, fragmented explanations that shows a profound lack of creativity explaining the mess, and a passage about sending a woman a taxidermy chicken:

[H]e mailed his ex-girlfriend “a taxidermy chicken, which I packed in a box and wrapped in used target silhouettes.” That is, he wrapped them in used papers from gun target practice. He says that it was inspired by their shared “macabre sense of humour about gun culture.”

While Dodds doesn’t name the woman, she is Robin Richardson, a poet and the editor of the Minola Review. Richardson confirmed to The Star that she got the chicken package but said “we never talked about gun culture. Not once that I can recall.”

She also says that “after I broke up with him, he continued to call, and email and pursue me to get back together with him. I was surprised and frightened when he sent the chicken with the bullet-riddled targets.”

Bland white boys of Canada, here is some advice: you mail any person for any reason an unsolicited dead chicken with bullet pierced target paper, you can be certain the person will become alarmed and think you are creepy and aggro.

I have known people who had dead animals left on their front doors, and the usual response is a trip down to the police station to report it. It speaks very poorly of a person to do such a thing -- which is not in dispute.

It will also not make you seem like someone who understands social conventions, impulse control, or how to behave in a mature, adult manner.

Not to mention that his rebuttal hinges on not knowing the symbolism of a dead animal and target practice sheets, meaning that despite being someone in employed in a communications industry where such symbolism is used, he is an adult incapable of communicating. So his skills as a writer are garbage -- or his claimed ignorance - or both.

Dodds is very fortunate he mailed such a disturbing object to this woman and not Alexandra Kitty, who would have taken said object and ensured he would have needed to have it surgically removed.

Dead chickens aside, it is interesting how different #MeToo in the US has been than in Canada. In the US, there have been men who have actually owned up to their transgressions, and in another time, a man could play conniving games of making the case that the woman was a confused/stupid/crazy/bitter/jealous/hysterical yarn-spinner who was distorting/exaggerating/misinterpreting completely innocent behaviour, but now, those explanations are sounding rather self-serving and implausible for a reason: because they are. You are an adult. She is an adult. Worse, you are an adult who is schooled in communications and employed in advanced communications posts, making your employers look as if they do not know who to hire the right people. You are dealing with several adults who have all drawn the same conclusion: that they do not feel comfortable and are appalled by what you have communicated to them.

An ex-girlfriend who works as a professional communicator did not like the threatening package sent to her. That is a serious obstacle to the Mr. Innocent Who Bad People Are Out To Get schtick.

When it becomes He Said, They Said, the margin of error becomes too slender to play those games.

At least in the US.

In Canada, the boys still keep playing it. Just deny everything, pull a Hillary Clinton that it is all a Vast Feminist-Wing Conspiracy, take out the halo mommy gave her special little boy, and sue.

Or ,if you are smart enough to clue in that suing is not going to look good for your brand, just smile, deny it with a patronizing hint that the woman obviously got it wrong, but still bring out that tinfoil halo for effect.

Canada is still in denial that it can be flawed in some fundamental way, or have a destructive mindset. We have fallen behind because of it, and in the process, encourage bullies to think they can domineer their way out of a jam.

And often, it works in a place where every province is a state of denial...

Los Angeles Times oblivious to their own inventory. Just realize this now.

I have an interest in studying art crimes. It's an interesting topic with all sorts of tangents, from forgery to vandalism to smuggling to theft. The crimes can be crass and vulgar, or it can be highly clever and sophsiticated. It is one of those stories that doesn't get a lot of play, meaning that the public grossly underestimates its impact and frequency.

Journalists don't think very much of it, either, which explains why the Los Angeles Times can have five modestly-priced Picasso lithographs vanish, and no one notice it for perhaps years:

Reporters had cause to revisit this history earlier this year when then-incoming Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong announced plans to relocate the paper to El Segundo — a move spurred by the 2016 sale of the downtown property to a Canadian developer.

Some staffers began to explore the historic property on nostalgia-laced, self-guided tours. And a visit was paid to the community room to see the Picasso lithographs, perhaps for a final time. They seemed to be the last connection to that vaunted bygone era.

But there was a problem: They were gone.

The artwork had disappeared at some point between 2014 and 2018, a period of great tumult at The Times, as a series of publishers and top editors were shuffled in and out by then-owner Tribune Publishing, which renamed itself Tronc.

Such eagle-eyed people sleepwalking over there.

There are other points of interest: the paper had bought quite of a few pieces of art when journalism was strong, but had to liquidate them over the years. The lithographs aren't exactly a big deal: they are the B-list, but not to know when they went missing is interesting to say the least. The excuse no one saw it because there was "tumult" is kind of an strange excuse to make, meaning people over at the Times are not your go-to people to cover riots, wars, protests, unrest, or any situation with some serious "tumult" because they won't notice anything going down, anyway...

Petty Media Fights.

I love this silly and petty meltdown piece from Vox.

The little journalists run after two authorities at a press conference, a canned event. A CNN journalist tries to ask the US President a question, but the president calls CNN "fake news", decides to ignore the question and answers one from a Fox News reporter.

Cue in mass temper tantrum because the Fox News kid asked it and "did not stand up" for the CNN kid, with all sorts of reporters in shock and Morally Outraged because reporters are supposed to stand up for one another, and CNN had done it for Fox and blah blah blah.

Oh, shut up.

First of all, a press conference is the epitome of "Fake News." It is a canned event. Authority herds the little sheep into a room, reads from a prepared script, press gives free publicity, authority may allow questions to be asked before they are deflected or bridged, and then everyone in the room reports on the same canned event where they all get the same facts.

It's like getting food from the same tainted vat. That is not news, and that we still have reporters play the same game in 2018 is really vile.

Shame on you all for going to report at a press conference. That's what Authorities are doling out to the public.

So now that journalism is no longer a thing, the lot of you all stoop to having a slap fight amongst yourselves is just silly.

No wonder the president has no respect for journalism. No one with a working brain does.

Why are you there, anyway? What is the actual point?

To say you were in the same room as two world leaders? To spew some packaged babble to the little people and think you are actually doing something?

You're not doing anything but being children who are getting cranky to the point your parents can't take you to nice places without throwing a hissy fit in public...

 

Arrogance clouds perceptions of reality

This knee-slapper of an article from AFP is yet another example of how journalism builds fortresses to run away from truths that do not suit their own lofty self-opinions.

They are obsessed with the label "fake news" as they repeatedly try to pretend "fake news" is somehow different than the lies and hoaxes they reported as news.

The reason we have the fake website is that journalism failed to distinguish itself from falsehoods. That's on them, no one else.

But then the article blames politicians for their woes:

This is exacerbated by the spread of false information by authority figures. In some countries this can go far. For example in Ukraine, where authorities staged the death of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko at the end of May. Kiev said the move was justified to foil a real plot to assassinate Babchenko.

The staging, broadcast in good faith by media worldwide, "is a godsend for paranoid people and conspiracy theorists. At a time when confidence in news is so low, a state playing with the truth in this way makes things even more complicated," said Christophe Deloire, secretary general of journalism watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

Notice it also blames an audience whose distrust makes them unstable and abnormal as they must be "paranoid people and conspiracy theorists." It is everybody else's fault:

Political agendas also affect the credibility of the media. 

Does AFP not understand their job is to report truth and reality in a sea of all sorts of people -- some of whom have an agenda and tell lies?

It is no excuse, especially as political manipulations have been around a lot longer than journalism itself.

The arrogant state of denial goes on to also blame social media -- but never journalism. It is a profession that sees itself as a flawless martyr beyond reproach:

Despite the creation of dozens of fact-checking initiatives in recent years and first steps to tackle the problem from the internet giants, efforts to stem the proliferation of false information remain weak.

Meanwhile techniques to create false information are growing more sophisticated with the development of deep fakes -- manipulated videos that appear genuine but depict events or speech that never happened.

And what good are the "fact-checking" initiatives that have the same lack of discipline and empirical methods that felled journalism?

A profession whose own arrogance and lack of self-awareness clouded its perceptions of reality.

This article misuses itself: instead of using its resources to inform, it makes excuses as it tries  to absolve itself of any responsibility. That is not news, but propaganda.

It is why journalism cannot report on itself: it takes off the table the very things that destroyed it, and they think if they deny it or hide it, that no one will see it.

And reality just doesn't work that way...

The Liberation of F.R.E.E.D.

Life is an odd balance.

And if you follow someone else's script instead of honing your own instincts, you lose that balance.

Some people are always angry, while some people are always trying to paint trouble as an opportunity or a blessing.

But when you evaluate each situation with the lens of reality, you find that odd balance.

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Sometimes, you have to stop being serious, and go out on a limb and be silly.

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It is easy to be silly when everything is going your way, but try it when everything is working against you.

That's the magic trick.

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To be the magician who pulls a rabbit out of your hat -- and you happen to be the rabbit.

F.R.E.E.D. is a method that focuses on several threads: on the reality (what journalists labelled "story"), the method of information-gathering, the product, the audience...but also on those information-gatherers as well.

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Content providers have always been neglected -- and it is the reason you see two kinds emerge: the insecure egotists who are in it for attention, and the grifters who realize they can fly under the radar and pull all sorts of stunts because the owners have no interest or respect for people providing content and think they are too stupid to misuse that position to get some spoils through nefarious means.

F.R.E.E.D. is a loop of the sphere of reality coming together with the audience at a single point: the one providing the content.

Two worlds meet at a single point, which is a world of its own.

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In a world of social media, we have countless people telling us their experiences, opinions, and how their lunch looked like: the extraordinary and the mundane get blurred in this chaos.

So we now have too much information out there, making it seem that everything has the same importance, and it becomes difficult to see the big picture.

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We see extremes, but we don't see the centre of balance.

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And when societies begin to pull too far in one direction (rich, poor; left, right), they can understand less about balance and are less fluent and less fluid. They forget and can no longer relate to the balance, and should there be factions where people begin to separate, there is no more solutions or creation, only destruction.

The worst thing is, people do not see why people exploded or nations imploded: they think the other side is the Bad Guy who caused it.

And they are half right...the problems is they are also equal Bad Guys.

F.R.E.E.D. was created as a response to how people think and how they can be swayed by propaganda with the first focus on training chroniclers to see their own failings and flaws, and faults first.

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If you are perpetually offended by any real or perceived criticism, you do not make a very good chronicler of reality.

You are too biased and too far away from the centre as you build up fortresses and dismiss anyone who doesn't applaud you.

F.R.E.E.D. stands for many things, but it is the five dots it rises above: the sign of being imprisoned.

In this case, a flattened quincunx.

We break down the walls to free the truth hidden by lies.

Or freeing the rabbit forced into a hat.

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In psychoanalysis, a therapist cannot treat patients unless they have gone through psychotherapy themselves.

You have to be able to read yourself before you can read the situation around you. As above, so below, so to speak.

In other words, left, right, up, down, are alike in structure, even if the content differs.

When you understand yourself, you become a Rosetta Stone of the world around you.

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But it takes a certain understanding that the filters we have always taken for granted or limited, faulty, and untrained. We just take them for granted, and then get mad at other people never considering whether or not we just have people with different unrefined and unchallenged filters, leading us to different paths and outcomes, and that we have to ride on different wavelengths to get a feel for other people's perceptions of reality.

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It is not about empathy: it is about Method Research.

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How do you feel and think with someone else's filters? You are almost acting through another person's perceptions.

It is about being emotionally literate.

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It is about liberating yourself and unleashing your essence to the world as you are.

Naked for the world to see and you are brave.

Not stupid, not gullible, not desperate, not judgemental, but brave.

And considerate of the environment around you.

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Because you should leave your environment in a better condition than you found it while having respect for those who made it better than it was before you.

F.R.E.E.D. has pragmatic idealism at its core. 

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That means content creators are respected, and they must also respect themselves and other around them: the people they are covering and the people who they relay the facts to -- and as they are the same people, F.R.E.E.D. shows us there are different kinds of respect.

And in order to understand freedom, we must learn by active observation and reflection.

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But there is one more thing: the goal is to bring levity, not darkness and pain. It is not about dismissing pain or belittling it, but guiding from the path of toxicity and illness toward healing and health. What heals one person or group, may not work with another, but it is about preventing stagnation and static as well as passivity and resignation. It is not about moving goalposts or sunny-spinning rot: it is about finding what is being held back and guiding it toward liberation -- not by meddling, but not by merely throwing it out in the open where its inexperience becomes devoured by experienced predators.

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Benevolent and informed levity with a purpose to liberate truth from lies so that we can progress to improve ourselves and our surroundings.

It is a tricky weave and balancing act, but one that can replace the old methods we call journalism to bring something better to our world to prevent problems from becoming tragedies...

Journalism's Vortex: When being The Authority misaligns your reality.

Rumspringa. It is a rite of passage for many Amish communities of allowing youth to leave the homestead to experience the other world, and most who go out come back. It is a form of inoculation: the potential lures of a different life are dealt with, ensuring the inexperience with an outside world overwhelms just enough that the experience with the familiar seems more attractive in the comparison.

But Rumspringa is not just a phenomena among the Amish: many authorities seem generous by allowing their sheltered flock to experience the chaos of a wide open spaces with enigmatic cultural Shibboleths making the uninitiated feel as if they can never plant down roots, and hence, go back.

 The way those in journalism assumed that their flock would go online, have their fun, start to feel scared or disappointed, and go back to their old authority the press.

The Internet was supposed to be a fad, a passing fancy, and the profession dragged their feet for about a quarter century.

But the flock took to social media and created their own Shibboleths and rules. They were not at the mercy of the unforgiving elements.

The reality has set in to a point, and why so many outlets talk about the future being digital. It's not: it's the present.

Being an authority is a state of mind, not a divine blessing of one's innate superiority. It requires a certain set of appealing filters that make the world seem warm and fuzzy for the authority as it strokes its ego.

But it is still a filter that shades reality and distorts perceptions of it. If your status of authority is removed, and you still think your filters will allow you to hold on to power, your perceptions are misaligned with reality, and you keep missing your mark. 

And for a profession that is all about chronicling reality, faulty filters undermines credibility, especially when your former flock become disillusioned -- and know they have far more power than they did when you had control.

The problem is that the profession had a couple of decades, and let them go to waste, making them out of touch with how the world progressed. They are now the inexperienced ones out in the real world having no idea what the Shibboleths are in the chaos -- and it shows as it comes full circle...

Nothing is working for journalism. In an Age of Propaganda, it is the deceptive pawns that are in zugzwang.

In an Age of Propaganda, no one has to admit they are weak, wrong, evil, in trouble, or even flawed. You allow deception, you allow war.

And war destroys, not creates.

In an destructive environment, looting, stealing, begging, and conning are the ways of doing business, all while virtue-signalling and putting up facades of pseudo-morality. Debate and discussions are feared because to give an inch means you lose it all because the battleground is fragmented and an inch is all you can hold on to with your grubby fingers.

To win on battlegrounds requires either better lies, or mere truths.

When the combatants are passive and merely expect everyone to change their entire thinking, lives, actions, and beliefs to suit them, they seek the biggest weapons -- the biggest lies. Lie good enough and you think you win the battle.

For the lies to seem effective, the pawns must perpetually feign outrage. It is a siege of false emotions of anger to make it seem as if the rival side have no redeeming qualities. It is a intellectually-stunted gambit that can win you a battle or three in the short term.

But you never win the war.

Truths liberate everyone: but one can only do it if they are not petty, vindictive, controlling, greedy, or manipulative and are actually willing to share the spoils of a victory based in truth. If you hold not grudges and carry no vendettas, you can easily do it.

The problem is that you have two warring factions who are equally small and passive, and want to be "proven right" as if there were some grand divine prize that even atheists secretly hope they will win.

Get over it.

In the modern world, we are seeing players on a broken board of combat. A precious few actually realize the game is no longer Chess, but Go.

How did that board deform in the first place?

Because those who played chess kept using the Zugzwang strategy to smash and grab battle victories.

Forcing an opponent to make moves works wonders, as the person cannot plan a path to victory by reflection, but must be compelled to move by reaction -- motivated by the fear of losing. You become the rival's puppet in a real way as you are forced to deviate from your script.

Journalists -- when they had control of communications -- did it constantly, literally chasing and running after people they would ambush.

Regardless if the method actually yielded facts or just busy visuals.

Journalists were used to chasing, which is a predatory action. It is a form of combat.

But then the precious resources of communications was opened to the entire planet, and the game changed. There were too many players surrounding people and groups that chess was no longer feasible. It was too limited.

And so, the game of Go took over, and journalists became lost in all those piles of stones.

The Internet's power destroyed journalism, but then prevented journalism to thrive on its own media. Take something easy and safe -- such as the non-offensive soft news of entertainment.

The A.V. Club is such an easy property, giving its stuff away for free to the fannies -- and they were bought by the media titan Univision. It should work on some level.

Except it is now for sale.

And when a journalists gets arrested for purportedly making threats at the newspaper that wouldn't publish her story, it is hard to know what is more shocking: that she had over four decades of work in the industry and snapped...or as one article noted:

GateHouse Media owns the Walpole Times and a spokesperson said they immediately made sure everyone left the office after the threat. She said normally four employees work there.

Just four.

Journalism got surrounded by the same tactics it surrounded others in the past.

It no longer has any room to make a move. It has broken down, but still uses the same strategy -- but for a Zugzwang gambit to work, you need enough space for you to move while cornering your target with the illusion of having no space and very limited time.

With the Internet, that doesn't work anymore. They lost too many resources as everyone was given time and space to counter their influence.

It is a different board of combat and a different game, meaning different strategies and stratagems.

And when hard news journalists can gain no traction, neither can their soft news counterparts.

None of the strategies are working because the war is over, the game board removed, and then a new game is being played, and to thrive, you have to know what the game is before you can turn over its rules and bring an alternative to light...

Cable Networks spew partisan propaganda? You don't say, The Intercept!

I love how Glenn Greenwald's piece is passionate about exposing the obvious.

Cable News is mislabelled. It should be Cable Propaganda because it is all about telling ghost stories to bored and clueless middle class people who want to sound informed, but think watching television is how one becomes informed. 

I wrote a book on the Fox News Channel's shenanigans, but had my publisher Disinfo asked me to write one about CNN or MSNBC, I would have done it because their structures and motives are the same -- it is just their content of assumptions that are different, meaning they are just as partisan, only for the other side.

You can't actually have an "all-news" channel because that would be too expensive to fill the airwaves with enough real news. You have to fall on opinion. It is cheap filler.

That's what cable partisan channels are doing right now. Ronan Farrow made a mistake of trying to put some real news on NBC's airwaves, and they shooed him away for bringing in some facts about how a mean old Left-wing Hollywood guy was preying on women. It didn't fit their narrative that people on the Left are as virtuous and perfect as Catholic priests were seen in the 1950s.

No, no, no. Middle class people do not want to take any risks: they want a sure thing with guarantees that they will not have egg on their face for hedging their bets wrong so their older siblings can laugh at them and feel good for all the wedgies and noogies they gave to their nerdy sibling. They want TORTEE: truisms that sound right and will get them trinkets without fuss and lots of envy.

The cable partisan outlets must pander and shamelessly so. The more opinion they have and the more melodramatically they present it, the fewer audiences members will leave them.

Because even that gambit is not actually working. Those in that genre are becoming desperate because people prefer their own ignorant opinions on Facebook than the ones on cable. There are people who do nothing but post propaganda posters on their social media sights, trying to force everyone to think and act like they believe they are thinking and doing.

North America has no journalism. The Intercept is probably the last little flicker of it.

The problem is society actually needs drama-free information that is in your face. People want to run away from reality, when they, in fact, cannot actually do that. Reality is everywhere and if you don't deal with it, it will deal with you.

An alternative to journalism has to take that into consideration, and not worry about pandering to a broad audience. It has to be the place where those who have courage to face reality can get informed so they can find the truths that will help improve their reality by having a better understanding of it.

It must be absolutely frustrating for an educated man such as Greenwald to see those partisan outlets seemingly get away with garbage. It used to bother me, too.

But not as much anymore. It is not as if I am resigned to it, but I know there are people who think sticking to a pseudo-morality script will chase all their problems away and don't see that the script does not play in the real world.

And that's their lives to waste.

But I have my life, and I don't play those games.

I can create something new. I do not expect adoration or mass acceptance, just as I never expected mass acceptance with my fiction writing.

Yet it still needs to be done, and I am doing it without a script, but with enthusiasm.

Because there is something liberating when you don't follow a script, and are willing to experiment, explore, and create.

You learn to embrace reality and truth before you realize when both flourish under your care, they repay the favour with interest...

Why war stories never align with reality: people love to believe, but never investigate.

Believing is easier than investigating.

                                                                                                                        -- Serbian proverb.


Most wars are absolutely stupid, but that is what happens when you let psychopaths with paper crowns run around loose on the streets. If you fall for war propaganda, you should be sentenced to wearing a dunce cap on all of your selfies for a year as little children, including the ones you gave life to, are allowed to point and laugh at you in public, and call you gullible without penalty.

Anyone who calls for war should be sentenced to cleaning toilets and looking after the homeless for a year. We would find these people jobs because they obviously have way too much free time on their hands and do not know what to do with themselves.

Anyone who advocates violence would get the same sentence -- except they would be forced to work twenty hours a day doing it. You have time to fantasize about hurting people -- then you have time to get a humbling that comes from hard work.

But people run away from reality -- even reality that is kind and more peaceful than their preset fantasies. They will think of any boneheaded argument to shut reality out, and do all they can to try to prove their fantasies are right, glorious, and good.

Wars break out because you have those who wish for their violent fantasies to become reality. It is a collective insanity with people hoping to annihilate everyone who opposes that fantasy. They will bomb, shoot, and slaughter, and become irrational with their hatred, and if it is a choice between finding peace by truth, or keeping the war going with lies, they will pick the lie.

Every single time, even throwing their family under the bus in the bargain.

"Yes; quaint and curious war is!/You shoot a fellow down/You'd treat if met where any bar is,/Or help to half-a-crown." 

The poem The Man He Killed is an accurate one and hints at the unstable relationship people have with reality.

And I have seen otherwise perfectly peaceful people throw it all away for their misinterpretation of reality.

The civil war in the former Yugoslavia is a perfect example of watching a nation teetering on the edge of big cliff, and all the other nations shouting to it, "Jump! Jump! Jump!"

And that's what happened: they fell for it as they jumped off a cliff, killed themselves as the countries who shouted the loudest got all sorts of benefits from the war.

I learned a lot from watching it in the West: war was stupid and destructive, but it was also instructive in showing you who truly had humanity, and who were a little too gleeful in ignoring any impulse of it, but of all of the various factions drooling over body bags, journalists fared the worst, no matter how hard they tried to spin their bloodlust with a moral narrative.

Times have changed, but some people still cling on to those old narratives that have so many filters, that the picture painted in some egotistical blur that says nothing.

This article from The Independent is with regards to a book's excerpts and it is classic knee-slapping war propaganda on every imaginable level:

'My tears only fell 20 years after facing down the butcher of Bosnia'

Irish peacekeeper Colonel Colm Doyle seems to clearly enjoy the virtue-signalling, and the book suffers from the same rigid blinders as the legacy media had during that era, but it is instructive of how those blinders distort reality, and how people never learn.

Colonel Doyle conveniently leaves out how much the Western media were to blame for most of what happened over there, but they are not the only ones whose arrogant irresponsibility brought this slaughter to the region: uppity meddling nations gave instant independence to some regions with the promise of indivisibility (but knew it was wrong all along as they have repeatedly told their own discontent regions they could not expect the same perk), but not to others as well as allowing provinces to think they could shirk their financial responsibilities and get free American money if they declared independence all while letting foreign mercenaries get into the country and slaughter strangers with glee knowing full well they would get a free pass -- and many of those killers did go on to form terrorist groups in the Middle East after the war was over.

Every single one of those unforgivable sins are all on the West. Period. It was their choreographed ignorance that turned a simmering, but a controllable dilemma into an all-out war. The excerpts have a certain haughtiness to them, and the misinterpretations of Slavs are numerous here, and are cringeworthy to read.

Journalists -- who knew nothing about the history of the region, nor the culture, nor the language -- swooped in with their press releases and made up junk, pretending they were covering the war and not parroting drivel from little white tents. I was a teenager in Canada who figured that out, but I was not the only one. I let Western media outlets know they were cribbing from PR firms, too because those firms had to file with FARA, and anyone has access to those databases.

Those warring regions were inspired by Kuwait's success in using Hill and Knowlton -- and they actually got away with it. To this day. No reporter has been sent to The Hague for war crimes -- and there are plenty who have blood on their hands.

So the Serbs are correct in that regard, even if they wrong in others (and there were things that side didn't have right, and I know because I never took any one side's word as gospel truth. In fact, it would have been far easier for me if the war propaganda was true, but it wasn't, making it was a very ugly reality to face). They had been in denial and thought past alliances with the US during the Second World War would rescue them. Serbs had history, facts, and truth on their side -- and that is what places you in the the greatest of danger, especially when you live in a world where lies, narrative arrogance, and uninformed opinion are used as replacements.

How do I know?

Because I spent years researching the propaganda coverage the West puked out without any opposition back in the day when the press could slap around any ethnic group they wanted, and the group had no means to fight back, and didn't because they thought the facts would rescue them in a world that gets hypnotized by really trashy narratives. 

The biggest lie of all was that journalists covering the war did any independent research, and FARA filings keep basic records of which of the warring sides hired which public relations firms.

Whatever the PR firms spewed in their press releases, that's what ended up being reported as the truth. No independent verification. I had even managed to get my hands on those releases and then square them with not only what media outlets reported, but also with independent information coming out from a variety of channels. 

The kicker was the reports merely parroted the press releases, and had none of the information from those other channels. That was very interesting.

Just as it was interesting that PR firms over in those "war zones" set up white tents doling out information to reporters who then went on to pretend they risked their lives to find that junk. If we had the Internet back then, anyone with a smart phone could have recorded that farce and put it out on YouTube to much hilarity.

I had gone to some of the local media outlets to complain about the coverage, and what was on reporters's desk out in plain sight were those press releases.

That is also very instructive.

There is no pretending.

But watching the tripe was absolutely fascinating, and though I have spoken of it before, two of my favourite bad propaganda stories were melodramatic yarns that were contradicted by their own footage: one British reporter spoke about a group of Bosnian Muslim "orphans": except they were there holding hands with their own mothers, and their fathers were not actually dead, they were still alive and were soldiers fighting. When I wrote to point out that not even those parents were actually claiming that their children were "orphans" and he was just being manipulative, he wrote back insisting they were orphans, even though both parents were alive.

It was pure garbage. Worse, it was pure propaganda not instigated by a side with a vested interest. It was bigoted reporting.

Another time there was a melodramatic television report on a nursing home with (purportedly Bosnian Muslim residents) that had gone on how it was without electricity, heat, or food -- the problem was you had footage of very relaxed people sitting around with light from lamps, all looking well-fed, wearing regular clothes, no cloud of condensation coming from their mouths...and succulent and thriving plants in the background. If it were as "freezing cold" as the reporter claimed, frostbite would have gotten all of those plants. The residents seemed bored, and as in the previous case, I am certain none of those residents were spinning any yarns. The reporter played an old gambit of filming something, finding nothing, and then risked it by overtly lying because those old folks didn't speak English and had no idea what the little propagandist was pulling. It was hardly the only case.

There were a lot more of those pathetically obvious propaganda stories getting churned out to the point I wondered if there was some sort of contest among journalists as to who could spew out the most pathetically obvious anti-Serb story and get away with it. The longer the war rage, the more nonsensical and irrational the stories became (it became obvious to others over time to the point when I said to friends and family that I was going to journalism school, I'd get quizzical faces with people blurting out, "You mean, there are schools for journalists?" or "Journalists go to school?"). I used to sit there and watch the news, recording it, taking notes, and then look to verify everything, seriously wondering just how stupid did journalists think people were.

Obviously, there was a lot of stupid going around because people were buying it. When people who fancied themselves as being both "informed" and "compassionate" would bring up one of those stories to tell me how horrible those Suuuurbs were, I would laugh, point out the blaring inconsistencies, and then ask them to account for it. The blanched faces and dancing eyes let me know they were feeling as stupid and gullible as they should have been feeling.

But they never bothered getting truly informed, or were compassionate enough to do something about standing up to a well-paid smear campaign. It was all an act, and a very poor one to boot.

And now we have a little book that has an antiquated mindset that ignores reality. There is talk of "witnessing", but what is actually presented is second-hand information, which is of interesting. If you are supposed to be haunted by what you saw, then why suddenly bring up second-hand information that someone told you.

What was done to verify this information? Nothing. You do not go on say so. I worked as a journalist and I cannot count the number of times someone told me of extraordinary things that they witnessed, but when I went to do basic double-checking, I discovered it was either an exaggeration, or just a flat-out lie. And that's during peacetime. When I heard about the things coming out of a war-torn country -- it was even worse than that -- and I am talking abut every single warring faction. If there was Google Maps back then, I am sure I would have had a field day finding more inconsistencies with stories that hinged on the audience not knowing about the geography of a given area.

Even as a teenager, I knew you have to dig to verify, and this definitely comes from the perspective that "witnessing" in this case means credulously believing every accusation. Everything was taken as gospel back then, and that is the problem that slowly choked journalism to death: blindly appealing to authority or to another who confirmed our various theories.

I found this passage interesting:

The final occasion that I confronted Karadzic was in a hotel in Brussels on August 16, 1992 where we had been having negotiations with the parties to the conflict over two days. I was walking through the lobby when I saw a Sunday paper in the hotel shop. Its front page picture was of an emaciated and skeletal prisoner standing behind a barbed wire fence in a place called Trnopolje - one of many Serb detention camps in Bosnia.

This was the first published photo which showed the horrors of Bosnia. 

What the author fails to mention is that piece of information is that photograph didn't prove what it was proclaimed to have as the wires are placed in such a way that those "prisoners" were, in fact, on the outsideIt was a German journalist who noticed an inconsistency with the photograph, and his research proved that it wasn't what Western media assumed was true. I had interviewed that journalist years ago for an article I had written about war propaganda (and was spiked because the editor got spooked when a threatening fax with the letterhead of a powerful law firm that represented a former president got sent to them, even though there was nothing slanderous or wrong in the story I wrote, and I used most of the information from that piece elsewhere).

I find very curious this book is coming out now during a time where NATO has been starting to size up Serbs again and prattling about having "unfinished business" with them. The books has a lot of appeals to authority and name-dropping, making the assumption that we are supposed to be impressed with minionism.

What convenient timing. Many nations got all sorts of perks to their coffers during that odious and needless war that could have been averted if all sides had been told they had to pay their debts together or separated, no Benjamins were going to be sunk in a black hole, and boundaries were going to be on the table, and I can see those wretched old grifters casing the joint once again, hoping to morally masturbate in public as a misdirectionand perhaps get a fancy paper crown and well-paying position playing the same wicked games.

But it is not the same world. The spell of the old patriarchal scripts has been broken. 

And when the old stories get whipped out again -- they become fodder for verification, and unlike the bad old days, the inconsistencies can be published to an audience of billions.

But let's not forget a biggie: journalism is dead. The only ones who are trying to resurrect it are people who want to issue decrees and force narratives on the masses, who are having too much power and fun with their own ideas.

Most of all, who have people like me who are never lulled into thinking that facts and truth alone are enough: you must be aware of the rigs on the boards and the games played, and then bypass them all when the timing is just right.

Peacefully, of course. With levity and true morals -- not crocodile tears or fake emotions as some propagandists are always inclined to do...