Michael Goodwin has an interesting article in Imprimis about how the 2016 US Presidential race harmed journalism, and although there is much to go for it, Goodwin doesn't get it. Journalism had it easy for one reason: they owned the flow of information and speech, and he misses this point from the get go:
I’ve been a journalist for a long time. Long enough to know that it wasn’t always like this. There was a time not so long ago when journalists were trusted and admired. We were generally seen as trying to report the news in a fair and straightforward manner.
People had no choice back then. They gave not so much their trust, but their goodwill to the press. They complained about coverage even back then, but as there was an alternative, they let many things slide.
But the second they could bypass the press, they did so as fast as they could.
That's when journalists began to panic, and I agree with Goodwin that legacy media, such as the New York Times did go down the propaganda gutter -- but the difference was they were so focussed on regaining power that they forgot to hide their true motives: they weren't covering the news: they were rigging the flow of information to get the outcomes they thought worked int heir favor.
They could not keep up pretences and fight to reclaim their past clout at the same time.
Donald Trump won because he tweaked his nose at the press -- he has an uncanny ability to read the pulse of the collective -- something good sales people can do with ease -- and he used that untapped energy to win. He did what people wanted to do to the news media for decades, but couldn't.
It is like the servants being forced to listen to putdowns by their employers, and then go spit in their food.
Trump spat in the press's food in font of the world -- and the world cheered.
He merely stated what people had thought for years, but were too terrified of saying it.
The press saw Trump as a joke and dismissed him the way they dismissed all those broken down unemployed people in the Rust Belt -- the press created a kinship, but it was Trump who could read the crowds and the press and ride on those wavelengths.
He used Twitter to show how useless and powerless the press truly was, and now that same press is in a tizzy because they were exposed for being unworthy of the power they once held.
There are points going for Goodwin's piece, but his optimism blinds him in one significant way: he thinks journalism can be resurrected, but it cannot.
Journalism is unfixable and too corrupted. It is antiquated and not aligned with reality or the current state of technology and the world. Worse, journalists had a taste of that power and they will always be scheming to get that power back -- and that's not the point of their jobs. It is not about issuing royal decrees: it is about informing people with facts.
You cannot go home again. Journalism had problems long before the US election: what Trump did was hammer the final nail in the coffin, but the body in that coffin was already decomposing when he hammered.
What we need is an alternative to journalism -- something that gets away from the old rot so we do not have to have a replay of the ugly propaganda and social engineering that has held the world back for far too long...