“Journalism is dead,” Marc Ang, my Red Beans & Fried Rice podcast co-host, opined.
Maybe not dead, but as I often say, the fourth estate is in foreclosure. The pursuit of the story used to be respected, and sometimes applauded, whether you agreed with the publication it came from, or not. I regularly read left-leaning publications like L.A. Weekly, the Guardian, and Pro Publica because they have some really good writers, and for the most part, they pursue stories, no matter the political or cultural leanings. However, in legacy, social, and alternative media, “the narrative” is all that matters. If the pursuit of the story does not fit that narrative, then not only is it not given credence, but you are branded as a heretic, and a “spreader of disinformation”.
Marc has a friend who wrote a well-researched and appropriately cited op-ed, simply asking why people who question the COVID-19 vaccinations, and bring up any evidence of harmful effects—as Israel has done, linking the Pfizer vaccine to heart inflammation—are immediately labeled kooks and treated like the worse form of life.
Marc helped this friend, who is a Democrat and no fan of Donald Trump, submit this op-ed to several sites. These were the responses he received:
“We publish thoughtful commentary from all sides, but some points of view are just wrong and dangerous. Vaccines don’t cause autism and have saved millions from death by smallpox, polio, tetanus and now coronavirus. Saying otherwise simply puts gullible people at risk.”
I read the op-ed, and the writer did not make this point at all. She talked about the many parents of autistic children whom she encountered, who did believe this. Whether vaccines were connected to the start of autism or not was not even a point of discussion. This writer’s lament was that instead of hearing their concerns, these parents were demonized. Apparently editors lack the nuance to look behind the words that trigger them, in order to understand the full scope of the telling. We saw this at work when Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AK) New York Times op-ed titled, “Send
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