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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 | 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 | Thursday, November 19, 2015

We love lists in this country. We like to make them. We like to read them. If this wasn’t true click-farms like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post wouldn’t post so damn many of them. The lists don’t actually have to be that good because it’s all about the headline. If you click on the headline, they get paid. They don’t really give a shit if you read it or not. Actually that’s not true. They want you to forward to a friend with the phrase, “I can’t stop laughing.”

These are a small sample I found on just one page of BuzzFeed. These are all real.

24 Things That Happen Every Time You Get Drunk.
11 Reasons Why Christmas Is Actually The Scariest Holiday
24 Reasons Why Netflix Is The Most Important Thing In Your Life.
14 Celebrity Names You ALWAYS Have To Google.
11 Signs You’re At A Filipino Party.

Apparently Top Tens were so 2007 and they wanted to appeal to those wacky millennials with their offbeat sense of humor and fancy shoes. So they tend to mix it up a bit.

Eleven seems to be a big number for lists. That makes sense I guess. It’s basically a Top Ten with an extra one thrown in. Maybe a Spinal Tap reference. They go to eleven.  But that seems too retro for the current crop of hipsters. Or has it gotten old enough to be cool? I’m not sure. Eleven is a funny number, though. Just ask the Scottish [WATCH VIDEO].

Twenty-four also seemed to come up quite a bit but that seemed more of a mystery to me. Is it a Jack Bauer reference? The number hours in a day? Simply an overachieving writer? It’s hard to know what evil machinations reside in the minds of BuzzFeed editors.

So, I decided to come with my own list. I can’t really speak intelligently about the current crop of celebrities and I’m not all that hip on the latest pop culture references, so I stayed away from any of that. They say to write what you know, so as far as I can tell, these are:

THE 11 WORST PEOPLE IN AMERICA

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by David Todd McCarty | Saturday, September 5, 2015

 

Guns are made to kill.

That is their sole purpose. Certain guns such as hunting rifles and shotguns are meant to be used to kill animals, presumably for food, but not always. No one is eating a Rhino.

Handguns and assault weapons, have just one purpose: To kill humans. There is no other purpose in making or owning a handgun or assault rifle. There just isn’t.

Either you intend to kill a person, or you intend on fantasizing about killing a person. You can claim you want a gun so you can shoot at paper targets, and most of the time that target is shaped like a human torso and head. So, what are you thinking about when you shoot that target in the head?

You don’t need a gun, you just want one. A lot of us do.

We are fascinated with guns. They’re powerful. They’re scary. There is a reason they’re black and not bright pink. They look fucking cool. They must us feel fucking cool. And we want one.

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