On the Death of Journalism – Freedom Philosophy

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The importance of journalism is difficult to overstate. However, that which has the greatest capacity for good likewise has the greatest capacity for evil. Religion can lead to extreme acts of charity or extreme acts of evil. Science can give us both medicine and nuclear bombs. A strong military can defend us and another strong military can destroy us. Nationalism brings unity and division. Journalism can inform on the most important topics or it can mislead on something vital.

Journalism given to truth makes society stronger. Journalism given to sensationalism has no compass and the results are disastrous. It’s journalism that leads astray. Journalism given to likes, shares, clicks, and ad revenue, generates individuals with knowledge content informed by advertisement and is fueled by the dopamine effects of social media clickbait. Truth is lost.

The horrifying aspect is what is replacing truth. Authentic journalism exiting with the ever-increasing wave of clickbait sensationalism lends itself to truth being replaced by programming. Truth is replaced by people with an increasing willingness to believe in what others want them to believe. The sources for stories are being replaced by authority from the news agency. Investigation is replaced by belief. Skepticism is replaced by naivety.

Actual news is replaced with narratives. Truth is replaced by opinion. The news broadcasters select stories and contort them to fit within their narrative. The media is desperate for certain politicians to be heroes and others villains. Stories surround some particular politician’s misogyny or racism will be highlighted, and stories negating this narrative will be ignored.

It occurs to me that the media desperately wants certain candidates to be racist. Canada’s version of Ron Paul, Maxime Bernier, tweeted his displeasure that a warmonger, who happened to be Pakistani, shouldn’t have a national park named after him; he referred to this as multiculturalism gone too far. The headlines were rampant – Maxime Bernier hates multiculturalism. He was quote-mined, aspects of the tweet were highlighted and others darkened out on the photos that were presented for the evening news; the narrative was that Bernier is a racist and the truth of the context was irrelevant.

Stories negating the upcoming narrative will be discarded – organically so. There is no vast conspiracy to accomplish this. We naturally gravitate toward the heroes and villains narrative and these will be the stories that receive likes and shares; their popularity will dictate the next series of stories that the news agency will cover.

Consider the immigration issue. The left enjoys portraying Trudeau as a welcoming accepting individual – the oligarchical champion of our warm and accepting country.  Never mind the fact that Canada is one of the most difficult countries to immigrate into. Trudeau is repatriating ISIS soldiers into Canada and so the narrative has become that he’s a welcoming individual because they can point to an extreme that helps fuel the narrative.

The travesty is that the discourse surrounding our next election won’t take place with ethical reasoning, it will take place with media programming. Individuals will have the ethics programmed into them. We will ignore Canada’s complicity with the genocide in Yemen, we will ignore rising interest rates that could kill our economy with our present debt levels. We will embrace or react harshly to surface level feminism, we will embrace or react harshly to a carbon tax that insignificantly reduces our emissions, we will embrace or react harshly to a false notion of welcoming foreigners, and the actual pressing issues will be lost. Truth will be lost but the narratives will remain. Conservatives will fight Liberals, and no one will be fighting for Canada.

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Brandon Kirby

Brandon Kirby has a philosophy degree with the University of New Brunswick. He works for a Cayman Island hedge fund service firm, owns a real estate company, and has been in the financial industry since 2004. He is the director of Being Libertarian - Canada. He is a member of the People’s Party of Canada and the Libertarian Party of Canada.