Journalism Is Broken - Twitter, Trump, & The NYTimes

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Chris Arnade via Medium.com,

Leaving Twitter means people send you articles about others who leave Twitter, so I saw the story of a NY Times reporter leaving Twitter, and then the follow-up analysis of what that means. That analysis article ended with these helpful guides:

My reaction was

  1. Congrats to the NY Times reporter!
  2. That the bullet points need to be stated is sad.

Five years ago I was a progressive that fully bought into the idea journalism was on the nasty end of a disingenuous conservative campaign to discredit it.

Then I joined Twitter.

Now I flip between two theses:

  1. On a good day: Journalism has been badly degraded by the twin forces of economic loss and the immediacy and brutality of Twitter.
  2. On a bad day: Journalism is fundamentally slanted, narrow, and nasty. Many journalists are removed, smug, know-it-alls who don’t understand or like voters.

When I joined Twitter I also changed jobs, leaving Wall Street to document addiction and poverty. This brought me to places that few journalists visit, beyond the quick jump-in jump-out for some breaking news.

I ended up spending roughly five years doing this, hanging in McDonald’s and drug traps and churches and community colleges and cheap motels. I ended up talking to countless voters about their pains, frustrations, fears, hopes, and dreams. I started writing about politics for the first time in my life, not because I cared all that much about politics, but because what I was seeing out in the country was so so so different than what the political journalist were writing.

They said Trump had no chance, they said Trump voters were just idiots or racists.

I was seeing that Trump had a damn good chance, if not this election, then the next election. His ideas, his brand of chaos, anger, and “Lets knock it all over and start again because everything sucks” was selling like, well, McFlurries.

I also was seeing that his voters were not this big blob of unrepentant dumb racists. I mean, I spent time in about 20 counties that voted twice for Obama, and then voted for Trump. I cannot tell you how many folks I met who voted for Trump and also voted twice for Obama. I guess they all were unrepentant racists who thought Obama was white. Or maybe voters were so desperate for something different that they voted twice for an inexperienced black outsider who promised change and when he failed to deliver they went with the next outsider who promised to shake shit up.

They were angry at politicians from both parties who came in and said they were gonna do something about the lost jobs, the open borders, the stagnant wages, and did nothing about them. Both parties promised them stuff and didn’t deliver. All they wanted was to find anyone who promised to really really listen to them. Even if he was crazy.

The other lesson was just how damn slanted and biased journalism was. Both sides. Conservatives and Liberals. The experience of talking to voters in places journalists on Twitter were laughing at, mocking, snidely calling the “real America,”, or “fly-over,” or whatever was the condescending Twitter meme of the day that they trafficked in. That was a damn eye-opening experience. One that made me realize that the cliched talking point of an out of touch biased media wasn’t entirely wrong or cynical or manipulative. Some of it was, but there was more than a grain of truth to it. A pretty big ball of truth to it.

Journalism is broken. No necessarily out of bad intentions, but because many journalists don’t understand how bubbled they are, and sadly Twitter is only making everyone, and them, more bubbled. And sadly many journalists have little choice but to be bubbled.

To succeed in journalism means you have to join the elites in NYC or DC, you have to play the game. You have to get on Twitter and signal how journalisty you are. That means joining in on the reindeer games. Blasting the meme of the day. Or comment on breaking news regardless of the validity of the information. You have to pile on the tweet everyone else is jumping on. The one where someone says something against the grain, or naive, or makes a mistake. You have to mock those who hold different views. You have to be snide. You have to be nasty. You have to signal to everyone else just how in the know you are.

You have to show you deserve to be in the little inner circle that elite journalists think they are in.

Doing that means you get rewarded for that. Stunningly so. You get more followers, bigger jobs, and bigger platforms.

Most damning, you have to make the news about you. You have to tell everyone how you see it. How you view it. How it impacts you. Not how it impacts, you know, the voters. That seems pretty much the opposite of what good journalism is about, which in my mind is how news impacts the country, not the person writing the story.

Twitter has made everyone into an op-ed writer, all the time. And now with almost everyone in journalism constantly on Twitter being op-ed-ey, it has revealed their biases. It has also exaggerated them, pushing them further and further into group think.

That was my own experience. Twitter was good to me because it gave me a platform to share the stories of those I was talking to. That was when I used it well. It was bad for me, and bad for others, when I let it become a platform to tell the world what I thought about everything.

As I have written before gut reactions are hardly ever good things and Twitter makes it easy to broadcast your gut reaction. So I found myself talking less and less about the people I met and more and more about my gut reactions. This became more pronounced when I wasn’t traveling and wasn’t talking to voters. So I left Twitter, at least until I start traveling again.

All of this is sad because there are a lot of great journalists out there, a lot of well-intended smart people who go into the business for all of the right reasons. But more and more the industry, especially now that it has become intertwined with Twitter, doesn’t work in their favor. It works for those less well intended, those who show they can build an audience, no matter how they do it, no matter how nasty, how biased, how disingenuous, how shallow, how selfish, they are.

And to finish with Trump, because Twitter.

Trump exploits this, not necessarily out of genius, but because exploiting things is who he is. He sees that many voters don’t trust journalists, and why should they, especially if they are on Twitter. They log on and see them mocking their way of life and their reality. They see how out of touch from them they are.

They see journalist say, “just trust the experts, like us.” Well a lot of Americans have good reasons not to trust experts. They have heard that line far far too long.

Trump sees that, sees how the blue check marks jump on every little thing he says and attack it and retweet it and make a mountain out of it. They are the dog with the Frisbee that won’t let it go, and it is good for Trump.

So when he needs to show he is draining the swamp he makes blue check mark Twitter yell. Because to much of America the outraged yells of the media IS the sound of the swamp being drained. Regardless of if the actual swap is being drained. And right now the actual swamp is NOT being drained.

So he tweets about absurd, nasty, gross, and divisive things and it makes waves and waves on Twitter and becomes a Tsunami that overtakes everything else.

No the media isn’t the source of the problem. I am not here to let Trump off the hook, but hopefully to think about how to lessen his impact. Trump is the problem. But his brand of divisiveness gets a lot more traction and does more damage because few trust the media.

And they have some very good reasons to not trust the media. And their behavior on Twitter is part of that.

So. To the NY Times reporter who quit twitter. Congrats! I hope more journalists follow. Or at least stick to talking about the news. Or cats. Or baseball.

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Hkan's picture

Sad. No use of honorable words.....any longer. Erasing "democracy", "Common sense", "justice".....remaining f-words. New age....I guess.

JLee2027's picture

I ended up talking to countless voters about their pains, frustrations, fears, hopes, and dreams.

 

If that's all you do, you turn into a boo hoo hoo bleeding heart USELESS liberal.  It not your job to talk about the ills of the world.

Can't you form your opinions man?  

Giant Meteor's picture

Nothing wrong with a bit of fact gathering, something that the other talking heads failed to take into account, and what good journalism demands. Bubbleland is a great analogy. There are many bubbles, in many things. Insulated from the realities on the ground, of those "others"and as the nation has steadily become more "factionalized" , a rag tag collection of the aggrieved and special victim groups ..

Thing is, if any of them were slightly more honest, and of course rational, less emoting and such, they may well come to the startling revelation that they have much in common, as in the means of the great bending over that they've been receiving, year on year ..

But of course it is the primary objective of the controllers to keep the common man not only shootin from the hip, but as divided and oppositional as humanly possible, as that serves the interests well, of those profiting from the miseries ..

newdoobie's picture

5 years of fact gathering?

Jimbeau's picture

"You have to get on Twitter and signal how journalisty you are."

Hilarious

Jim in MN's picture

If tweeting instead of bombing gets us doubled economic growth and world peace, I'm all for it.

Thumb War Declared!

BritBob's picture

Critics of the Argentine government’s strategies and rhetoric toward the Falkland islands have coined a new verb – malvinizar – to describe how the claim for and memory of the Malvinas is used simply to divert attention away from more serious domestic socio-economic challenges . Indeed, if all claims of uti possidetis juris were resolved, the world map politically might look profoundly different today!

Falklands- Never Belonged to Argentina (1 page):

https://www.academia.edu/31111843/Falklands_Never_Belonged_to_Argentina

 

Escrava Isaura's picture

This post reminds me of this quote:

“Even if you take these studies at face value, there are a number of flaws with them. Perhaps the most important one is that they assume that it’s the journalists rather than the owners, the advertisers, the news shapers, or the newsmakers who control the manufacture of news. That’s a bit like saying that the workers on the factory floor decide what the car industry produces.” — Justin Lewis, The Myth of the Liberal Media, 1997.

 

malek's picture

Look, another postmodernist!

"Everything is always and only about power!" (i.e. moral absolutes don't exist or are worthless)

Happy nihilism to you.

NvrGivUp's picture

Journalists are employees, talking heads, told what to say, especially the highest paid most visible ones. They are paid/rewarded according to their ability to spew the scripted propaganda in an attempt to change opinion and get ratings$. Real journalism is a rare commodity these days. They've learned that if they look too deeply or buck the system it's career suicide. It's very clear and there is no shortage of them willing to sell their souls. They are looking alot like the evil ruling elites of hunger games both physically and idealogically.

DieSocialJusticeWankers's picture

Trump easily exposed journalism to be the wretched cesspool that it is....it's a joke profession now.  But they keep doubling down and I keep laughing my ass off at Trump schooling these weak and dumb faggots!

onewayticket2's picture

Newsbusters started it.   Trump popularlized it.   and thank goodness he did.

AgAuSkeptic's picture

Dont go to leftist Twatter, join gab.ai

wisebastard's picture

so the twitter symbol is really just a dick hidden in plain sight. the new york times ceo left the BBC after the BBC had that huge child sex scandal, and well Trump....Trump is a special type of stupid. he could outlaw Obama's propaganda HR5736 Smith Mundt Moderization Act but instead using the dick hidden in plain sight social media platform to complain about fake news......

wisebastard's picture

maybe Trump is trying to tell us something....like FUCK YOU in the form of a little birdie shaped like a dick

Giant Meteor's picture

Well certainly, it is all well and good to expose the game, fake news and all. The governments ministry of truth however, is a piss poor substitute, as is pablovian response to every dog whistle that comes down the pike. Therein lay the difficulty.

Codwell's picture

Journalism has been destroyed since they let that shitstain Obama run for office completely unvetted. The relationship between media and liberals is complete and total partnership. 

With the exception of the world wars it hasn't been this bad since the 19th century, however in the 19th century newspapers  openly admitted their partisanship.

SDShack's picture

The author is correct when he says journalism is slanted and biased on both sides, but doesn't understand how this has caused traditional journalism to fail, while alternative journalism to rise. The reason is how each side presents itself to its audiance. Traditional lamestream media has devolved into nothing more then a mouthpiece for libtard policy, but "sells" itself as "objective" even though its audience knows it is not. Conservative media "sells" itself as "conservative", even if it is actually moderate. In both cases, the real truth is actually closer to journalists doing the bidding of their corporate masters. But there clearly is a difference in how each side tries to "sell" their image to the masses, with the libtard outlets definately more inclined to hide their true motives, or even outright lie about it. The audiences are becoming more and more aware of the deception and that is why they are tuning out lamestream media and why Trump has been so effective at exposing "Fake News".

Escrava Isaura's picture

Not Trump, because most Americans don't respect or listen to Trump.  

The internet is what kill massmedia propaganda like science killed religion lies.

“Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces”Sigmund Freud

 

Giant Meteor's picture

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country." Edward L Bernays, double nephew of Sigmund Freud

See also, Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) and Propaganda (1928) 

Chupacabra-322's picture

John Swinton New York Journalist at a Banquet

"...The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of "rich men" behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

SDShack's picture

Exactly correct. Could say the same thing about Hollyweird, and TV.

Publicus_Reanimated's picture

Please note Swinton said this in 1880.  The time for outrage has passed.

Giant Meteor's picture

Nothing new under the sun eh?

But you're correct of course, as direct action is what is largely absent, but I suspect a few more black swans here, a few there, who knows the possibilities, the "tipping pont" , although it's likely to be a real bruiser, for a good many folks. Then again, as the author points out, many are already pretty well banged up .. An aging and fearful citizenry, isn't helpin matters much  .

 

newdoobie's picture

Remember when Bildaburg was blamed for controlling everything? Next president, news cycles, next fashion trend,  blah blah blah?

Muppet's picture

The more I know, the more uneasy I feel.  The more I know, I see lack of integrity, lack of morality, greed, and corruption.   Is it me, or are these extraordinary low times?

Giant Meteor's picture

Something in the air alright ..

But it didn't come overnight, although it did come as a thief in the night ..

Like a rapacious creditor.

“How did you go bankrupt?" 

Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

THORAX's picture

I am starting to believe that Trump has been preparing our culture for his second legislative and criminal investigative efforts to evaporate the swamp! 

Giant Meteor's picture

Well if this were true, and I have no way to know, one way or the other, this would be commonly known as "burning it down to the water line." Now at a certain point, that approach may indeed take on a life of it's own .. or perhaps we're already there, and just haven't realized it yet ..

Endgame Napoleon's picture

Trump was supposed to do BatMan-like things, now wasn't he? His campaign modus operandi suggested much more strongly than Obama's that he was a true change agent, more Perot-like and less Neoliberal/Third Way/Globalist Establishment Crony-like.

This was a good article, describing the cross-over voter phenomenon from which I sprang, voting for a Republican after reflexively voting for Democrats my whole life. I started losing my progressive religious faith after seeing the unfair, means-tested social programs up close, working at the Department of Human Services and then in the poverty industry. People there were just as poor but got none of those pay-per-child freebies.

It is not a racial thing. This article writer is correct that many people easily shifted from voting for Obama to Trump, myself included, but I never saw Obama as anything but a Clinton-style Democrat. To me, his race did not mean that he was different from the typical, elite, neoliberal, DNC-style politician at all. I knew that Obama would support globalist trade agreements and mass, welfare-boosted, wage-cutting immigration. I was just a yellow-dog Democrat who always loyally voted for the Uniparty choice who won the primary.

Since the year when Perot ran, back in my young, I hadn't seen the chance to vote against the globalist agenda that both parties pursue. I never agreed with it. Many people said that Trump reminded them of Perot. That is a huge reason why he got so many votes from former Democrats who are concerned with wage stagnation.

We knew it might just be bluster or another style of opportunism, but we wanted to believe Trump would actually diverge from the status quo, not just through the shock value of a Tweet. But that is how the illusion formed. The war with the Establishment Media made it seem like Trump would take on the actual Establishment---the Swamp with all of its crony, money-generating corruption.

libertyanyday's picture

People who place their success and well being in another person .......deserve to get run over........this is mankind not unicorns. Carry your own success, fuck the used car salesmen.

newdoobie's picture

Perot was a clinton stooge used to split the repub party. Who was the first person clinton invited to spend the night in the white house?

 

Party time with ole ross

Grandad Grumps's picture

If he is working his way through the ranks of pedophiles he will eventually drain the swamp. The higher profile cases will come near the end.

Ex-Oligarch's picture

Let me get this straight: 

Arnade writes an entire article about how ordinary citizens have been screwed by Trump's predecessors, acknowledges that the media is mired in groupthink on its self-centered malicious jihad against Trump, and that journalists are dedicated to defending the establishment "Swamp" and are richly rewarded for doing so, even when their efforts are wildly inaccurate or outright fabrications.

He then concludes that "Trump is the problem."

 

Giant Meteor's picture

I would have put it differently. Trump is a catalyst. Fuel to the fire ..

Things have "accelerated" for the reasons (and more) the author has stated.

The Great Oz, has been largely exposed .. and not a positive development as far as the wizards guild is concerned  ..

Somehow I don't envision clear skys, calm waters, and smooth sailing ahead ..

Endgame Napoleon's picture

He might be pointing out that what Trump has done so far does not align with the issues he heard Trump voters discussing out in America. I think he was referring to the gap between how the Big Establishment Media portrays average Anericans and how they really are, not the gap between how the media sees Trump and what he really is.

He was trying to explain the gap between why voters chose Trump and why media elites think they chose Trump. At the same time, he suggested that it does not even matter whether or not the media understands the ground-level, economic reality of voters. They, like all of the Swampians, are so bound by their corporate masters. That is why they never cover the real world outside of their bubbleland. It is intentional.

TRN's picture

This is the NEW logic.

Blue Steel 309's picture

There has never been and never will be a free and objective press. This is one of those BIG LIES.

The press will always be a reflection of who owns it and who is in power. Real power.

Endgame Napoleon's picture

It seems worse than it was, though, but maybe, I have just gotten older and more cynical about it. The internet does provide a counterforce, but like he indicated, people game it.

Blue Steel 309's picture

It only seems that way, because people were less aware of how they were being manipulated. It is the internet.

Before the internet, there wasn't even a fox news type program(gatekeeper controlled opp) that allowed the perception of dissenting voices. Everyone got their information from the same news source.

There may have been several networks and many papers, but they all colluded on the narrative, just as they do now.

libertyanyday's picture

men create things to make life better,  then we let men run it...........into the ground.

TeethVillage88s's picture

4 minute in... start 2:30-4:11 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu0sdtoacg8

... gold bugs Schiff & Maloney do videos and live in Puerto Rico... tax advantage for foreigners or corps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu0sdtoacg8 (Mike video just moved to Puerto Rico)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRZmF39kGYc (How to Legally Escape Taxes by Moving to Puerto Rico : Peter Schiff)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PR0C00-Tt7s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3icx9uS6jVE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgC-2QEFOgg (On bankruptcy)

Didn't find anything on Harry Dent worth link.

TeethVillage88s's picture

Weird... seems to say... Education is painful... written since Stephan Molyneux spent time in University.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbp6umQT58A

Freedom is only one way... it is painful... but your farmers (govt) may take over, may pit you against your fellow citizens, may totally betray you and screw you... probably will... but there may be a slim chance... some place, some where... But the freedoms you got granted are how the farmers enslave you...

Wild.

Tugg McFancy's picture

Those guys aren't your friend. They're just the same scumbags as every other huckster from the top to the bottom doing long form mind control through politics to sell you something.

KrazyUncle's picture

"No the media isn’t the source of the problem. I am not here to let Trump off the hook, but hopefully to think about how to lessen his impact. Trump is the problem."

You just pointed out the failures of journalism, Twitter, and the bias of the media. And declare the media isnt the source of the problem....its Trump?? Thats some crazy logic!! 

 

"Because to much of America the outraged yells of the media IS the sound of the swamp being drained."

Neither the MSM swamp or the one in Washington is being drained!! What are you talking about?

 

 

Duc888's picture

 

 

"To succeed in journalism means you have to join the elites in NYC or DC,"

 

Not true.  Further more you could actually ount the real journalists in NY or DC on one hand.

Deep Snorkeler's picture

America Deserves the Journalism It Gets

It certainly deserves the TV it gets.

The politicians,

imperial triumphs,

education system,

etc...etc.