On my Twitter bio, it says “I do not self-identify as a journalist.” I get lots of questions about this, most of all, “How is anyone supposed to take you seriously when you’re not a REAL journalist, Josh?” My response? “Why should you take any journalist seriously?”
And this past few weeks gave you, dear readers, more than enough reasons to not take any journalist anywhere seriously. The failure of the Mueller report to invalidate the results of the 2016 election. The long-awaited Canadian news bailout which, hilariously, no-sold all the hand-wringing and jealous griping from characters like Jesse Brown and went directly to the media dinosaurs, literally picking and choosing winners. The headache-inducing story about school segregation in 2019 that read as a return to the days before Brown v. Board of Education – until you got to the part about how the issue was, apparently that there were too many Asians at these schools. Oh well. Regret the error.
Apart from a little whining about “bad policy” from the talking heads who aren’t getting the cash injections they desperately wanted but won’t admit they need, the journalist class was mostly silent about these instances of narrative-driven fake news. It was the properly shamed silence of hypocrites whose hypocrisy has been laid bare. And for that, for once, I am grateful to Trudeau for cutting through the treacle and making it absolutely clear what the score was.
To be clear, I believe Trudeau’s self-serving and completely inadequate buyout of established and easily manipulated 100-year-old broadsheets is no less corrupt and conflict-of-interest ridden than anything else he’s done. But if he was going to create a caste of loyal #JustinJournos, this naked and transparent loyalty-buying was the best way to do it. He is sending a message: if you want government cash, you will promote the government narrative, and you will do it through the proper channels, not your silly little “blogs”. You are not providers of Facts and Truth- you are purveyors of our truth. You will not challenge the established order. Your job is to repeat our talking points, speedily and without question. Or, you can go back to “crowdfunding” a dollar here and a dollar there from the little people.
The Journalists, our moral and intellectual betters, assented to this, because they know full well that their job is not about afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. Their job is to run articles about how pro-Liberal PR pro Amanda Alvarado had her vacation ruined by the SNC-Lavalin affair, to dutifully run copy about the obviousness of Trump-Russia collusion from their betters at the WaPo, and to issue tired denunciations of hateful hate from evil right wingers while admitting that actually fact-checking those evil right wingers would “put the media in a difficult spot“.
That’s why I can’t find it in myself to be mad at Tamara Taggart, ex news anchor and current Jody Wilson-Raybould-endorsed Liberal candidate. We could do a whole lot worse than Journalists setting fire to their reputations in public for all to see. If more people had the courage to be frank about being bought and paid for like she did, then we could get down to the business of partisan warfare without getting hung up on inconvenient things like principles, norms, and the rule of law. We can stop being shocked about female ex-MP’s and journalists being drafted to attack Trudeau’s critics. We can stop judging the US for having a President that barely escaped being impeached for colluding with Russia when there is far more obvious collusion going on right here in our backyard. We can stop pretending that our judges are not elected to serve this or that ideological agenda.
We joke about how Trudeau is a moron who’s “just not ready,” but that presupposes that Canada is, or was, run competently or fairly and that the government isn’t just a rubber stamp for corrupt interests, and that our elections are something more than beauty pageants. If, on the other hand, this is a banana republic and our truth-seeking Journalists are too ashamed to say so, then Trudeau is not only ready, but born to lead. Bailing out these stenographers for his government is just the latest example of that.
Photo Credit: Macleans
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