As an industry the press have grown into a herd that demands the respect and honor that has always been attributed to their profession, but the contemporary members of that group have a distinct difference from their forebears. Those who cloak themselves under the guise of being a "journalist" come to think that is all that is needed to be afforded the praise they feel is due -- they no longer feel as if they need to work at earning those plaudits.
The year 2020 has been a remarkable one for spectating the media. As these self-involved preeners grew in self-importance, their standing with the general public continued to erode. Journalists these days are regarded at the bottom of respected professions, occupying a strata below politicians and lawyers. Yet they pretend they stand among the exalted.
There is no better example of this obliviousness than a recent post from a member of their ranks. Julie Wolfe is a news director for the TV station WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky, and she posted an open letter to her fellow journalists. In it, Wolfe heaps praise on the press for enduring the year of 2020, and for the heroic acts they performed during the course of the year.
Her words are a treacly missive of warm praise and fist-bumping salutations - for doing their jobs. She begins with applauding the brutal conditions these stalwart media workers endured.
"If I had told you in January you’d produce from home, track from your closet, master Zoom, and anchor from your living room this year, you would have laughed. Then Cried."
Seriously. She expects people to look sympathetically upon those who work out of their house, while grappling mightily with the concept of video conferencing. The obliviousness hits a high note with the use of "master" in this fashion, considering exactly what the nation saw transpire within this noble profession with Zoom and Jeffery Toobin.
"But here you are. Focusing on facts, seeking truth, sharing stories…"
Uh, Julie -- where have you been this year?! This is the same profession that boldly stated they would NOT cover the Hunter Biden story, saw rampant evidence of voting problems only to declare there were no discrepancies to be found, and saw no reason to look further into China’s claims of defeating Covid. You are addressing people who stood in front of arson scenes to announce things were peaceful, and who attended mass protests to declare there was no risk of spreading the pandemic. The most notable things from the press this year was what they did not do.
"...wearing your masks, bathed in sanitizer, doing your job."
Lost amid her ebullient gushing is the fact that these people still have jobs -- something that is not only a shrinking premium in the country these days, but business closings and job losses are happening as a direct result of these same journalists cheerleading the perpetual closures across the country.
"A job some people hate you for doing."
Note the lack of introspection here. The truth she does not seek and the facts she will not focus upon is people do not hate them for doing their jobs but for how they are doing it. Or, as stated above, the choice to not do it.
"You were strong enough to battle the isolation, the fear, the unknown."
This is the language of those who over the years have likened themselves to firefighters, to the military storming beaches in hostile lands, to preventing the death of democracy by keeping it out of the darkness. They are heroes, you see, because they managed to do their jobs from a sofa while wearing pajamas.
"If you’re a journalist at the end of 2020 you are strong. Stay strong because what you do matters. 2020 proved that."
You can suppose this is true to an extent. It mattered that they over-dramatized a pandemic and prolonged the hysteria across the country. It mattered that as politicians began exerting control over the citizens the press encouraged them to continue the torment. It mattered that there was little accountability as the long list of politicians who defied their own lockdown orders grew, proving that so much of this was not about safety but power.
This adulation for a clear dysfunction is a marvel to behold. There is only one way that this journalist can write something so mind-spinning and incoherent. After a year spent reframing, reorganizing, and reinterpreting facts the press is beginning to believe their own messaging. What we might be seeing is an industry in the practice of gaslighting itself into irrelevancy.