Intercept: fearless, adversarial journalism

The time is long past that the fight should have been started. This is not partisanship. I am not American: I have no dogs in your partisan battles. I excoriate both of your parties equally, because both have been busily eroding your rather magnificent constitution and exporting the mess to the rest of us - call me an equal opportunity excoriator.

The important thing to note here is this: there is no such thing as objective reporting. “He said, she said” is lousy reporting - it assigns equal weight to viewpoints that don’t have equal worth, but it implies that they do, and thus undercuts the truth, often deliberately so. That is an exercise of bias, but a covert one. On the rare occasion that a reporter uses “He said, she said” to hoist one of the parties on his own petard, that too is an exercise of bias (although possibly a more worthy one).

When I was a lad, I used to look forward to the Sunday edition of the (sadly defunct) Montreal Star, so I could read the big editorial section to get caught up on the news. You know why? Because the editorialists back then, whether I agreed with them or not, were obliged to back their opinions with facts that I could verify, facts that the “objective” reporters tended to overlook. I prefer to know where a reporter stands.

Whether you like it or not, Snowden, Greenwald, Poitras and company have been exposing facts. Each time they’ve done so, we’ve had a pretty repetitive dance from your government and the NSA: deny, smear, and then “Well, maybe we have, but…”. Yeah, Greenwald et al have pretty strong opinions about those facts. That’s fine. They should have strong opinions about this. If they are open about those opinions, I know where to look for distortions, if any. So far, they’ve been proven right every step of the way.

Understand this too: what has been going on has severely damaged your nation, both internally and externally. Not the leaks, please note, but the actions themselves: your intelligence apparatus is so bloated and hubristic that expecting that this info would have stayed secret is more than a little bit stupid. (Indeed, I would not be surprised to find that it has been leaked in quieter, less benign fashions by people who are quite a bit less responsible than Snowden.) You cannot run a functioning democracy with a Super-J. Edgar Hoover in the background gathering blackmail information on everyone “of interest”. American companies cannot run the world’s network resources without trust that they aren’t diddling with other people’s data.

Cripes, you should have a strong opinion about this. You really can’t afford to sit on the fence.

(Edited for a missing indefinite article. Call it an ex-editor’s OCD… <wry grin> )


Our schools have been selling the myth of “jounalistic objectvity,” and most of the graduates have bought it. And it’s they who are the most easily manipulated by establishment propaganda.


Yup. Exactly.

Not when you’re inquiring into why we’re all getting boned.

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Do you remember when Wikileaks could be thought of fearless, adversarial journalism? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

Every news organization has biases. You have to understand those biases and adjust how much you trust what an organization is reporting based on them. Try watching RT some time. They’re generally reasonable (for certain definitions of reasonable) unless they’re reporting on something the Russian government cares about. If you watch 60 Minutes and find out the “reporter” is an NSA consultant “reporting” on the NSA, don’t expect hard-hitting questions.

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*Ugh* but Jardine, that sounds hard.
Do I have to take the red pill?

Just think of it as a red microdot - then it becomes… mind-expanding. :smiley:

If you’re unwilling to actively consume journalism, then you could at least actively avoid consuming journalism. You could at least recuse yourself from the marketplace of ideas.
If you sleepwalk through the propaganda machine, you become a cog in it.

You’re saying the only way to stand for human rights and justice and other such values is to adopt the mantle of “adversary”, and to resist anything I disagree with violently and negatively. I do not believe that is necessary, and I choose to do my part non-violently and positively.

You’re telling me to emulate Malcolm X. I vastly prefer to emulate Martin Luther King Jr. You’re telling me I have to be angry and make enemies. I’m telling you I will instead strive to be calm and to make allies. I will not be adversarial. I will oppose those things I disagree with, but I will call no man my enemy, nor I theirs.

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Feel free to continue to be calm. But you are overstating your case regarding the “violence and negatively” presented analysis. IMHO, when political power misrepresents its actions, disregards the constitution and law in conducting itself, and manipulates information to cover itself, it is about time there was some adversarial journalism. You can stand on the sidelines and sing kumbayah and hope that it all works out, but I am thankful that there are journalists willing to take on the powers that be in a direct, confrontational way. All I ask is that they conduct themselves honestly by presenting facts. Niceness be damned.


Who said anything of the sort? Do you seriously think that Martin Luther King did not consider himself an adversary of what he fought? Do you think that Mahatma Gandhi (who was the granddaddy of non-violent action) did not see British colonial rule in an adversarial light? Hell, man, both of them worked very hard to throw spanners in the works of the systems that oppressed them - that’s the point of non-violent action - and both of them were murdered because of it. Come to think of it, so was Malcolm X. The damnable thing is that systemic racism is still a factor nearly 50 years after those events in your country - consider the number of young black men in jail now, as opposed to then.

Do you seriously think that Greenwald et al are advocating revolution? Funny thing that - I haven’t seen it. I’ve always got the impression that they are pointing out something they consider seriously wrong, and saying, “Listen up, people! We need to fix this! You can’t let it slide!” I happen to agree with that.

So do not put words in my mouth, please - that particular straw man won’t cut it. I don’t care how you handle it, provided you get off the fence and do so. If you stay on the fence, your options start running out.

If, on the other hand, you honestly think that the NSA and your government have had your interests at heart with these programmes, fine, say so. I’d rather deal with an honest opponent than someone who attacks the messengers for being too “aggressive” about getting the message out, because otherwise he’d… you know… actually have to take a stand.


I think our current affable, amiable, amicable, companionable, comradely, convivial, cordial, genial, gracious, gregarious, affectionate, devoted, loving, nice, sweet, accepting, agreeable, approving, benign, empathetic, favorable, welcoming, friendly, hospitable, nonantagonistic, nonhostile, sympathetic corporate lapdog mass media has been a failure.

See our invasion of Iraq, disastrous wealth disparity, lack of a single payer system for health care and hundreds of other major issues exacerbated by a complicit mass media for evidence.

It’s time for a new approach perhaps despite your own fragile sensibilities.


As you may recall, he was assassinated.

As soon as you make yourself effective in promoting humanism, you stand in direct opposition to the machine.

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Meet the Stenographers

NSA Stenography at CBS



Having checked out the site, I see they need to improve their comment system ASAP…

There needs to be a way to collapse all the wasted breath caused by the damn truthers.

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