Saturday, August 3, 2019

Purple Journalism (Vol. 2)

Photo by Orlova Maria on Unsplash


Please note: This column has been rendered gender-neutral (& should be read accordingly) and approved for publication by the City Council of Berkely, California. All personal pronouns that would unfairly presume to indicate the gender identity of the H. sapiens mentioned (he, she, etc.) without their approval have been rendered as they or them to avoid the unintentional infliction of triggering or verbal violence upon their persons.    

However, my use of the term BIG BUT, twice in the same column, has been referred to the sub-committee for the investigation of thought crime and hate speech because of the potential offending of the calorically challenged community. Being a member in good standing of said community, I've referred myself to a psychiatrist to determine if I have self-hate issues -- and in the hope of scoring some good meds.


If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my (eventual) grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who don't, yet) -- the Stickies -- to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

[The following column is rated SSC (Sexy Seasoned Citizens). If read by grups and callowyutes it may result in psychological/emotional/etceteralogical triggering.]

                                                
                                                  Glossary  

                                         Just who IS this guy?


Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Star: Dana -- A gentlereader

"When I was a child I had wax in my ears. Dad didn't take me the doctors, he they used me as a night light." -Les Dawson


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& gentlereaders),

"Purple Journalism: journalism as currently perpetrated by many news outlets that claim to be professional, unbiased, and factual. In reality, they are partisan, prone to sensationalism, and motivated primarily by the bottom line." -me

I'm not a fan of the Donald. Not now, not then. I voted for the goofy libertarian guy because I couldn't vote for either the Donald or the Billary. After all, I am a wild-eyed libertarian and free marketer with a bleeding heart and conservative impulses.

[Not then?]

Dana, you've been showing up a lot lately, not that I mind you understand I...

[Hey, I'm a creation of your subconscious, it's not like I have control over...]

Point taken. I guess I'm just missing Iggy and Marie-Louise.

[Not then?]

What? Oh, I mean when they first entered my personal infosphere, when they published their (and some ghostwriters) bestseller, The Art of the Deal, and the Orange One was turning up here, there, and this one time even way over there.

I tried reading it and found it to be lighter and fluffier than my mum's pancakes. And yet it was a bestseller, so whaddaiknow? P.T. Barnum lives? And they did manage to get themselves elected president of the United States of America without even spending much of their own money.

For the record, I've always thought that claiming that the Pooteen played the role of the man behind the curtain was goofy... although they are more powerful than the Wizard of Oz turned out to be ("Oz never did give nothin' to the Tin Man"). And they are, no doubt, a world-class bully and dick-tater.


The paragraphs above are a preface to the actual subject of this semi-humble missive, Jake Tapper, well-known employee of one of the all Trump all the time news networks, CNN.

If you set aside the occasional exceptions that prove the rule -- so that they can claim/pretend to be objective news sources that carefully separate fact from opinion -- CNN, like most of its brethren, is in the biased infotainment business.

For example, CNN is (mostly) all anti -- the Donald -- all the time. FOX is (mostly) all pro -- the Donald -- all the time.

There's good money to be made promoting polarization and pathos. Infotainment = current events + a reality show ethos. 

While I know what (and who) I believe and where I stand, I go out of my way to reject promoting polarization and creating conflict for entertainment. I try to avoid sexing (and violencing) up reality to capture the attention of jaded, entertainment obsessed Americans (like me).

Making fun of everybody and calling out naked emperors is more fun, and ultimately I suspect, more useful.


The Tapper, if you're not familiar, is the CNN White House correspondent semi-famous for their performances at White House press briefings -- staring the Tapper.

I fully support pain in the ass journalists in search of the truth for truth's sake.

BIG BUT,

Self-aggrandizing journalists with an ego as big as their agenda who believe that once they've decided the object of their wrath is the work of/spawn of Satan and they should shift into End Justifies the Means Mode and abandon objectivity and the ethical norms of their profession for the sake of justice/resistance/mom's apple pie (made with locally sourced organic apples)...

I've got a problem with that.

Particularly if a given reporter, like the Tapper, for example, writes a book in which they come back down from the mountain to declare that "Purists in the field of journalism and academics opining from the safety of the classroom can lament the downfall of neutrality. But neutrality for the sake of neutrality doesn't really serve us in the age of Trump."

I have not and will not read the book. The passage above is quoted all over the place and the Tapper is not claiming it's taken out of context. Call me biased if you like but as far as I'm concerned that's as much as I need to know. 

Another BIG BUT... 

Common sense would seem to indicate that, of course, no journalist is actually capable of being truly neutral. This is not a characteristic of H. sapiens generally, or your average Joe/Joan Bagadonuts -- not traditional donuts, of course, I speak of healthy, gluten-free donut alternatives (if there is such a thing) -- specifically. 

A journalist should strive to gather as many relevant, objective facts as possible and present the customer (us) with what they honestly believe to be the objective truth to aid us in making our way through another difficult day in the Information Age. 

I myself would love to be guided by the Tapper's wisdom and personal opinions but I would prefer them to labeled as such, that is to say, as commentaries, for the sake of clarity.


Bonus! And you won't be charged extra. I found this (disturbing) story on the Fox News website a while back but never got around to passing it on. It's both a (lump of) News That You Can Use and an outstanding example of pure Purple Journalism. 

It's an article about a two and a half centimeter long lump of ear wax with pictures and video. 

Earwax clump clogging entire ear canal removed from patient: 'Look at that!' 

By the way, only the wax was removed, not the entire ear canal, the headline is easily misconstrued.

I gotta go or I'm going to late for an appointment with my otolaryngologist. Poppa loves you. 

Have an OK day. 
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©2019 Mark Mehlmauer As long as you agree to supply my name and URL (Creative Commons license at the top and bottom of my website) you may republish this anywhere that you please. Light editing that doesn't alter the content is acceptable. You don't have to include any of the folderol before the greeting or after the closing except for the title. 



  

  


 

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