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Why Journalism Matters

by David Todd McCarty | Monday, November 28, 2016

My very first class at Temple University in 1986 was Journalism 101 with Dr. O’Shea. He began with a question. He wanted to know how many students had seen the Calvin Klein ad underwear campaign and every hand in the class went up without exception. The campaign was part of the culture. Marky Mark. Kate Moss. These black and white ads were synonymous with the 1980’s and were undoubtedly hanging on 75% of the dorm rooms throughout campus and beyond.

He then asked how many people thought that sex was effective in advertising. Many of the hands went down. Then he asked how many people thought that it was appropriate to use sex in advertising. Only a few of us remained.

He then explained that we weren’t there to discuss the value of using sex appeal in advertising underwear for Calvin Klein, but to discuss journalism. And the first thing we needed to understand was that there was no such thing as “objective journalism.” No two of us saw the world around us the same. We all had a lens through which we saw the world, that combined our own experiences, morals, religious beliefs, and childhoods into a perception of life.

Just like we all had different thoughts on something that was common to us all, our experiences colored our outlook on the things we saw and heard and we had to stay vigilant about allowing our personal experiences from coloring our judgement, and more importantly, how we reported it.

Journalism shouldn’t be simply a vehicle for our own personal biases, but an honest accounting of what is happening, or at least as honest as we can muster. But is there any integrity left in journalism? Is there any objectivity? Who can we really trust in this day and age of relativism and fake news?

John Pilger wrote in 2002:

Many journalists now are no more than channelers and echoers of what George Orwell called the ‘official truth’. They simply cipher and transmit lies. It really grieves me that so many of my fellow journalists can be so manipulated that they become really what the French describe as ‘functionaires’, functionaries, not journalists. Many journalists become very defensive when you suggest to them that they are anything but impartial and objective. The problem with those words ‘impartiality’ and ‘objectivity’ is that they have lost their dictionary meaning. They’ve been taken over… [they] now mean the establishment point of view… Journalists don’t sit down and think, ‘I’m now going to speak for the establishment.’ Of course not. But they internalize a whole set of assumptions, and one of the most potent assumptions is that the world should be seen in terms of its usefulness to the West, not humanity.

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, November 17, 2016

Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. We feel the hurt and fear and pain when it’s there. We feel the pride and joy and freedom when it’s there. When did so many of us lose the ability to do that, especially with anyone outside of our immediate social circles?

“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
—“To Kill a Mockingbird”  by Harper Lee.

America is a culture that has worked to socialize people into becoming more individualistic rather than empathic for over 200 years. In fact, America is the most individualized society in the history of the world. It’s every man for themselves. We pride ourselves on it in fact. It’s part of what makes us American! We don’t need nobody else. We’ll do it ourselves. We don’t care what you think. We know what we’re doing.

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I had to make a change. It was all getting too dark. Too angry. So little hope. I was running full force down a dark alley with no choice but to run headfirst into the brick wall at the end.

I’m looking for a way back out now from the dark alley and I’ll attempt to start with people. Too much time on my own perhaps. It’s hard because I’m an introvert and too many people make me uncomfortable.

I’ve embarked on a new journey towards a mystic’s understanding of Christianity. I’ve pretty much walked away from God in recent years because the theology I was taught seemed hateful, bigoted, ridiculous and petty. But what I’m reading is pretty fascinating stuff and nothing like what we were taught as children with God as this big scary guy with a clipboard marking down your short comings. I don’t understand it enough to explain it yet, but suffice it to say I’m interested. That’s a start. If that doesn’t work out I might try Buddhism. For now I’m gonna give God another shot. See if He’s got anything up his sleeve?

I need some sort of hope.

The whole concept of Angry Dave, while entertaining to many of you, and often far too comfortable for me, seems unsustainable, at least in its current incarnation. Not to get too nerdy, but I felt a bit like Luke Skywalker, torn between the Force and the Dark side. I was careening too quickly towards the Dark Side and it wasn’t good. Some of you were cheering me on the way a crowd might encourage a man on a ledge to “jump” simply for the spectacle of it all. And I can create quite a spectacle, I’m sure. But no more.

That doesn’t mean I won’t still have strong opinions about social justice, religion, politics or etiquette. But I’m going to tone down the rhetoric and try to hold my rage in check.

I will continue writing, directing and taking pictures. But I have to get out of the instant feedback loop which has become far too addictive to me. I still look at my phone out of habit, but Facebook was a huge problem. I’ve deleted it. It was too constant. Radio Angry Dave broadcasting and responding 18 hours a day. Can’t imagine how that would be a problem. Sigh.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting pieces here about subjects that interest me. I hope to retain my humor without maybe quite so much anger.

Join me.

Stop by and comment so I don’t feel so alone.

And please share this with my friends on social media so they know where to find me.

— Angry Dave

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, November 10, 2016

“What do we do now?”

This is the question that was posed to me earlier today. What do we do now?

I don’t agree with the futile wasting of energy. I don’t understand the protest marching and I will not put energy or voice behind the effort to discount the electoral college.

The election is over. That much we should all be able to agree with. From that standpoint, we really do need to move one. But in what direction?

You’d like to think young people are generally more liberal, meaning they want or at least understand change and cultural evolution. But only 19% of Millennials voted in this past election. Of those, just over 50% voted for the Democratic candidate. So 80% of eligible young people didn’t vote, and of those that did, almost half voted for Trump or a third party candidate. At this point, young people marching sounds like a social event, not meaningful action. There will be plenty of time to march. For now I suggest you conserve your energy.

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by David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I really didn’t think I’d see anything like this in my lifetime. Sheer arrogance I guess. I thought we were past this. I thought we’d evolved. I thought we were better.

But ask a person of color in this country, or most women frankly, and they’ll tell you what they’ve known all along. This is who we are. This is who we’ve always been. We were just kidding ourselves to believe otherwise.

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I’m not one to believe conspiracy theories. I think the world is fucked up enough by sheer human nature so I don’t believe we need to rely on theories of far-reaching conspiracies by the powerful. Greed and hubris are plenty reason enough to fuck up whatever order the world contains.

That said, through the powerful revelations by Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, WikiLeaks, and generations of intrepid journalists, we now know that many outlandish geopolitical and domestic “conspiracy theories” are now truths of the modern world. So despite my lack of belief in most conspiratorial things, here are ten things that, while initially scoffed at as conspiracies, turned out later to be all too true. (Source: theantimedia.org)

1. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident

The Gulf of Tonkin incident, a major escalator of US involvement in the Vietnam War, never actually occurred.

The original incident – also sometimes referred to as the USS Maddox Incident(s) –involved the destroyer USS Maddox supposedly engaging three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats as part of an intelligence patrol. The Maddox fired almost 300 shells.

President Lyndon B. Johnson promptly drafted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which became his administration’s legal justification for military involvement in Vietnam. The problem is the event never happened.

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I don’t think it will come as a shock to most of you that I’ve been a big Bernie Sanders fan since day one. I wanted to see a true Progressive win the White House with the possibility of changing the course of our nation towards a direction that felt human again. I agreed with his policies of affordable education and healthcare, and end to private prisons and subsidized insurance companies. I wanted to see him fight to wrest back control of our country from billionaires and oligarchs.

More than 57.6 million people, or just 28.5% of estimated eligible voters, voted in the presidential primaries – close to but not quite at the record participation level set in 2008 for Obama’s first term. And that wasn’t enough to defeat the Democratic Party machine’s appointed nominee. For all the crowds, and Bernie captured the hearts of 18-24 year olds to the tune of 80% of voters, but he never made any in-roads with Black, which he lost to Hillary by as much as 80 percentage points in the South, and Latinos, who he lost by an average of 32 percentage points. That’s a crushing defeat in very important voter blocks for the Democratic Party. So forget all you heard about electoral math and super delegates. Bernie was never close, he was just popular with you and your friends, most of whom I’d guess are white and well-educated, or young.

So what now? I see all the posts about Never Hillary, or a campaign to write Bernie in, which are pure fantasy. If Bernie couldn’t win the popular vote in the primary, which he did not in case you’re still not clear about that, there’s no way he could win with a write-in vote in a general election. If you believe that, you clearly do not have even a small understanding of how our political system works.

But forget all that, because the candidates in the race have been decided.

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by David Todd McCarty | Monday, December 28, 2015

Why I Still Love John Denver:
And Don’t Give A Shit If You Do Or Not

There is nothing worse than abandoning something you love because it falls out of favor, isn’t the latest thing, or just isn’t considered cool anymore. I’m not talking about shit going out of style. We all look back and groan at hairstyles, clothing options and music tastes. I’m talking about not running with the herd. I’m talking about standing up when it’s easier to go along.

It’s hard to say no when everyone else says yes. It takes a lot more strength to be a person of integrity than to go with the flow. But ultimately, I’ve found, you get a lot more respect. It doesn’t even matter if you’re right or not. Having the strength of your convictions, or even just pride in your own weird preferences, makes for a stronger person. It’s better to be wrong sometimes, than risk never having an original thought.

Most people are sheep. It’s not always their fault. Stupid people don’t always have the mental fortitude to buck the system and I’ve got news for you—they’re happier people for it. It’s no fun bucking the system. It’s much easier to hide out with the herd.

But if you’re like me, you’d rather sit on the outside and be eaten by wolves than huddle with the masses.

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by David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I wrote the following piece almost ten years ago. It says as much about who I was then as it does about the changes in the world since then.


I was raised with the firm belief that honesty was a thing to be valued. Telling the truth was the most important thing a man could do. It was, in fact, what separated the good people from the bad, the honorable from the dishonorable. But over the course of the last 38 years, I’ve begun to change my mind.

The truth, I have discovered, is highly overrated.

When you’re young, it’s acceptable to tell an inappropriate truth. Sometimes, it’s even considered cute.

“What’s wrong with your face,” you may ask a severely burned man at the bank.

The question “Are you a man or a woman?” is directed at the unfortunate looking person in the checkout lane at the grocery store.

Even the cable repairman might be greeted at the door with the news, “My Mommy isn’t wearing any panties.”

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

The world has gone mad. There’s no denying this, but if we can gain any solace from our current predicament, it’s that it’s not the first time, and unfortunately, it won’t be the last. We have a history of madness in the family if you will.

In the Christian tradition this is known as original sin. The fall of man. The point where we left the Garden and were broken forever. Other cultures have their own origin story, but here in the West, where a majority still identify with a Judeo-Christian faith, we left the safety of The Garden and entered a world of violence and madness.

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