Posted by: Dr Churchill | September 20, 2020

Why Hate?

In case you have been sequestered for far long in house incarceration and you feel that you are under the heaviest rock in the world — let me alert you to the fact that we live in a time of incredible political division.

Most all of us have had the experience of talking to someone whose idea of reality seems to be completely different from our own.

As a matter of fact, today in all places and segments of society, family 7 community — it becomes difficult to have an argument in the traditional sense.

People with differing opinions are often no longer even working from the same commonly-accepted set of facts. It’s a problem that has a lot to do with changes in how we receive and digest information, especially through the news media.

During our lifetimes the core commercial strategy of the news business has changed radically, and that contributes to the division, hate and toxic poison that we all experience at the local, state and national level — because the news companies have moved far and away from trying to attract a big all inclusive audience and appeal to all Americans, and are now trying to divide our countrymen, in order to identify, capture and secure their niche small audiences that they treat and even call informally “Slaves” to their news fix.

Kind-a-like the typical slaves to the needle… that are littering the sidewalks of all metropolitan cities of America and beyond.

Yet in terms of a fundamental shift for the News Networks and for the major Mass Media corporations, this means that the press has gone from reporting a clean from emotion reality, steeped on journalistic principles and following the “Five ‘W’s” — “Who,” “What,” “When,” “Where,” and “Why,” because when referring back to the Five “W”s helps journalists address the fundamental questions that every story should be able to answer, and thus steer clear of their personal biases and ideological leanings.

And that was the principle of all cable companies journalism departments as well as all the newspapers, periodicals and radio & television businesses who wanted to be perceived as being acceptable to a broad audience.

Yet today, they seem to be selling simple straight up hate & division, because for technological, commercial, and political reasons this instinct of segmenting and dividing our Society has become far more profitable with a captive audience of “mental Slaves” and thus as a business practice it is now far more exaggerated and thus snowballing all of us toward the dysfunctional state of HATE & RANCOR that we have found ourselves in, today.

And here is a story that illustrates how the old system worked as it involves the first major national news broadcast, the CBS radio program anchored by the legendary Lowell Thomas.

History buffs will know Thomas.

His was the iconic voice on those old WWII newsreels:

Thomas began doing a national news program in 1930 and noticed something right away.

Years later he explained, “I had quickly discovered that my evening program was a perfect way to make listeners angry. You could step on millions of toes at the same time.”

Thomas had a creative background, having been an adventurer, explorer, and actor who’d toured the world doing one-man shows. He was excited about the possibilities of radio and wanted to find a way to capitalize on its provocative qualities, planning on publishing a book of listener letters called Making Millions Angry.

Thomas’s sponsors balked. One, the magazine The Literary Digest, asked him instead to “play things down the middle.” His publisher made him change Making Millions Angry to the lifeless title, Fan Mail.

Thomas committed to the “down the middle” strategy. His news show announced that it sought the widest possible audience through its famous introduction, “Good evening, everybody”:  

Thomas kept his feelings out of things and let audiences supply the emotion. He later called this “letting your listeners make up their own minds.”

We’d call this the “objective” style of reporting today, and it’s important to understand, this was not about ethics. It was a commercial strategy. The news made its money by attracting the largest possible audience, then allowing advertisers to court that audience. The thinking was, once you started injecting politics into the show, it reduced the number of potential customers who’d be susceptible to advertising.

This would the template for news for about fifty years. Anchors from Thomas through Dan Rather and Jessica Savitch delivered information in a reserved monotone. Print journalism was written in an even, unemotional, third-person voice.

Beginning in the early nineties however, several major changes altered the news & journalism business forever, to the point that now we are all hating the mass media because they are interpreting events instead of reporting them as they come…

So now we have the haters reporting news in a way that fits their own rose tinted or blue tinted eyeglasses and thus all the mental slaves who follow the news are afflicted by the appropriately colored malady of madness at the other side, the opposing team, or the few poor souls that happen to be Independents and thus unaligned free people…

So here are some additions to the Five Journalistic “W”s as imagined by the New Yorker magazine who put out this list as a serious dig at its established counterparts in the world of News Media.

PHOTOGRAPH BY DOUG MILLS  THE NEW YORK TIMES  REDUX

In journalism, the “Five ‘W’s” are “Who,” “What,” “When,” “Where,” and “Why.” Referring back to the Five “W”s helps journalists address the fundamental questions that every story should be able to answer. Recent events, however, have shown that traditional journalistic practices might not be working as effectively as they used to. As such, here are a few additions to the Five “W”s that will surely come in handy for today’s journalists.

The Two “A”s

“Are you fucking kidding me?”
These days, journalists will often be asked to report on things that sound like sick fucking jokes. As a reporter, you should always confirm that the event you’re covering is not a tasteless prank, misguided attempt at performance art, or some kind of depraved clown show in a demented carnival of vulgarity.

“Am I dreaming?”
When confronted with strange, unsettling events that seem to proceed according to their own unfathomable logic, reporters should also make sure they’re not having some kind of fever dream. What you’re seeing could very well just be a nightmare, but believe it or not, it might also be an actual event that is actually happening in the real world we actually live in—a reality from which there’s no escape.

The One “S”

“Seriously?”
Journalists should always look the person they’re interviewing in the eye and ask, “Seriously? You’re seriously saying that to me with a straight face?” (This question can be repeated as often as necessary.)

The Three “H”s

“How did this happen?”
This question used to be about making sense of the chain of events leading up to an incident, but now it’s more about how we all need to take a good hard look in the mirror and think about how the choices we’ve made brought us to where we are today.

“Have you no shame?”
The answer to this question is probably going to be “no,” but you’ve gotta check.

“Holy shit.”
True, this isn’t a question, but it’s an important perspective for journalists to keep in mind.

VIDEO FROM THE NEW YORKER

How Will Americans Vote During a Crisis?

The One “I”

“Is there no respite from the madness?”
This is a pretty basic question, which is relevant whether you’re reporting on global affairs, business, sports, or even just writing restaurant reviews.

The original Five “W”s can also be repurposed to greater effect. For example, instead of asking “What happened?,” a journalist in 2017 might ask “What kind of God would allow this to happen?,” “What the actual fuck?,” or “What’s the point?” Similarly, instead of asking “Where did this event take place?,” you might ask “Where did it all go wrong?” In lieu of “Why did this event take place?,” try “Why do bad things happen to good people?,” “Why do we live in this benighted, fallen world?,” or simply “Why . . . Why . . . Why?” These are the questions that people want answered.

It’s also now safe to discard one of the “W”s: “Who.” As in, “Who is responsible?” The answer to this question is the same in every story—it’s all of us. We all did it.

No one’s hands are clean.

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

So, to recap:

In journalisms and in mass media, we now have Five “W”s, Two “A”s, One “S”, Three “H”s, and One “I.”

Keep these in mind, and you can be confident that you’re covering every angle of a story.

Sure, compared to the original system it’s vastly more complicated, confusing, and borderline incoherent in a way that seems to perfectly exemplify this bewildering new era in which the truth seems to have little meaning.

But that’s just the way we live now.

Sorry!


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