“Anti-Semite!” – Walter Sobchak after smashing a Nihilist with a bowling ball.
Who is PewDiePie and why should old gisers like yourself desire to waste time to find out? Good question greybeards.
First some context: My younger cousins don’t know who most actors are, but they are familiar with and follow many a YouTuber. They even watched the YouTube awards show. Ask many in generation Z and you’ll notice they spend a lot of time on there – far more than they do watching anything on cable or TV.
Everything from videos on how to change your brakes and WorldStar fight compilations to commentary, reaction videos, and educational material. It’s all there – a STAGGERING amount. YouTube averages a billion views a day on it’s platform.
This includes all those terrible offensive videos ranging from crimethink to “inappropriate pranks”, skeptics gone wild, and “questionable content” that hasn’t been screened by the people used to controlling what your kids want through Apple Jacks cereal commercials on Cartoon Network.
It’s gone from the evolution of dance and cute cat videos to popular game commentators and personalities making “unacceptable” jokes and voicing their views on immigration and demographic subjects. Places like the WSJ, WP, NYT, ect don’t like this because they can’t compete with an uncensored YouTube personality.
PewDiePie is the biggest YouTuber in the world, and he’s made 10s of millions of high pitched noises, childish banter, and LetsPlays. Kids love him. He speaks their language – something which is VERY IMPORTANT, and we will touch on later.
This horrible anti-semite’s channel has evolved to a slightly darker sense of humor, pranking, and poking fun at groups that you can’t criticize normally.
His audience however is still young – elementary/highschool age on average – and keeps growing. For all intensive purposes he was untouchable because of big he is. Perhaps that fact is why he was pegged for demotion with a classic coup de grace of “Anti Semitism“. His audience knows hes not an anti-Semite, but their parents who are the real targets will be worried about the label nonetheless.
Normally, bad jewish jokes told drunkenly at parties might land you some hard stares if told poorly, but that’s it. Pew though is influencing the minds of vulnerable children – who need to be indoctrinated by easily controlled sources of regular media. YouTube is obviously not that.
Now several weeks back, PewDiePie becametouchable. He crossed the Rubicon of. Despite being edgy saying nigger a bunch of times in the past, no one cared until he hired two Indian dudes off Fiverr to hold up a “Death to all Jews” sign on video sign to prove people will do ANYTHING for five dollars.
Not only was he right, people were fuming because of it, the irony and humor lost on their Puritan asses. This lot included people with clout.
They struck him down like David did Goliath. Mainstream press outlets sizzled with rage. Disney freaked. Outrage was spewed by critics no one has heard of before. Or at least they thought they did.
YouTube cancelled premium relations with him. Media outlets screamed about his terrible influence on the impressionable young. Nazism was apparently on the rise!
Discerning eyes should notice that his supposed anti-Semitism – which is laughable if you’ve watched PewDiePie – is merely an excuse to go after him with what his detractors think would stick to him best. This wasn’t his first sin against the new polite rules of elite global society. It was the sin however which convinced them Pew’s influence needed to be scaled-back as he couldn’t be controlled.
I’m not mincing words here. Pew has more subscribers than most of the major TV and media networks do on YouTube do combined. The age of his audience is highly desired by the predatory networks and their big bucks advertisers who are desperate to convince these kids they need more nerf guns, Ipads, and junk food bellies to ensure big pharma can sell them weight loss drugs in their obese futures.
Suffice to say, powerful influential semites everywhere weren’t impressed – specifically the one’s behind the curtain we hear alot of conspiracy theories about. I’m not big on Jew bashing, but some questions should be raised. PewDiePie was forced to apologize in a video, but he came back swinging labeling it a media hit job.
1. Perhaps mainstream outlets view his HUGE alternative platform as a threat, so they were just looking for the right time – in the case of the WSJ.
What’s happened to him recently is an all out assassination in which he rightfully blames the media. Predictably, they haven’t been happy about it or his accusations that they are after because he’s bigger than most of the outlets doing the smears. Right here is one of the first real fights between “Alternative” media and that of the established outlets
2. Was getting too bold in pranks. Many of his detractors were worried about his videos and “jokes” being a gateway to the great white boogeymen shitposters that populate the underwebs. Sweet gullible kids would somehow be lured into supporting “White Supremacy” a.k.a. anything that doesn’t view white people as the devil and cause of all evil via his jokes cushioned by his loveable aloof personality.
3. “Jew jokes” are now far edgier than in the past. Since the election of Trump, nonstop blathering has occurred about the rise of anti-Semitism, while ignoring any of the Islamic refugees in Europe who aren’t fond of the jews. Somehow, they even missed out on Trump’s inner circle of jewish staff, insisting upon ghost of anti-semitic vapors from Trump supporters. More on that later.
PewDiePie Pushes The Overton Window
Despite being abandoned by Disney, and demoted by YouTube, PewDiePie is one of the few who is absolutely self-sustainable with a fan base so massive. His modest lifestyle means those tens of millions he’s made will last his entire laugh. He can say anything he wants, and not worry about financial guerrilla warfare at his doorsteps.
I think he realizes this. Pushing boundaries is what PewDiePie started to do as he grew older toward the last few years. Anyone familiar with chan and online trolling cultures realizes that the “lulz” is what it’s all about – especially for his largely Generation Z fans. Still his stuff wasn’t nearly as aggressive as that of the chans, reddit, or even Breitbart and much of the recent alternative media.
While the Nazi Larpers from TheRightStuff have been dwelling on advancing their goyim memes and alerting us to the dangers of the juden, the rest of the internet hasn’t been too concerned with the Jews.
Sure a few here and there on the chans might be concerned about Jewish world domination, but what’s with the sudden alert to it? Even before Trump, Jewish jokes were a favorite at parties – even by Jews.
Europe has experienced it’s fair share of “death to the jews” from recent peace loving refugees, but here in the states? For Pew, it was the bridge too far – specifically for the big wigs. Why is this a no-go-zone all of a sudden?
I’m not much for Jewish conspiracy theories, but its fact – or likely a hate fact now – that Jewish people are FAR overrepresented in media, banking, etc. So far, I haven’t heard of calls to reduce their number in accordance to percentage of population by the diversity police who keep telling us they aren’t enough black disabled trans lesbians on the boards of Fortune 500 companies.
In fact, it’s been the opposite. Jews are still succeeding greatly and the social justice crybullies haven’t been able to bully them into self-loathing for said success and their group identity. Then again, Jews are still apparently part of the “minority/marginalized/women/everyone else” vs straight white males.
Only way they might be kicked out is if the left is forced to chose between anti-Semitism or islamaphobia. If anything, I think it’s something to emulate – their success and tight group bonds that is. Their media influence is great enough to put even mild critiques in that “Don’t touch zone.”
PewDiePie opened up the flood gates because of his platform reach when he violated that zone. Persian-American youtuber JonTron who isn’t a political activist has become the next Tuber with influence to say things he’s not supposed to.
He decided to go on a stream with Sargon Of Akkad where ironically they talked about how those on the far left have a habit of branding people with opinions they don’t like as Nazis. Subsequently after this, he was branded a Nazi on twitter.
A particular tweet even threatens to kill him for joking about being a Nazi as the events of the past few months have established that it’s okay to attack people who’ve been accused of being Nazis. That pretty much includes everyone who SJW types deem to be systematic oppressors with privilege.
His mugging by political reality has been fascinating to watch. At least he is shrugging off charges of “white supremacy”, because clearly Persian Iranians have a place on Stormfront, though they did enjoy his willingness to discuss the topic.
Other YouTubers who aren’t normally political in their channel content have been dipping their toes in sharing rather conversational thoughts. What’s happened if they’ve been targeted by those who are utterly polarized in their worldviews.
If you aren’t sharing the accepted social justice montra while speaking about culture and politics, apparently you are against them. Even the comedy types like Philip DeFranco are now being accused of the ists and isms for his testy and boundary pushing comedy and commentary. Surely the shouts of “Nazi” can’t be far behind.
Final Thought: If everyone is a Nazi, who will really be one? The stakes to burn the heretics on are getting scarcer, as well as the those who shriek in condemnation at the word, “Heresy!”
Nasty, speculative, and “disrespectful” rumors floating around for over a month that Joe’s death was a suicide were finally confirmed today in what is now a backhanded blindside to the people of Fox Lake – and that’s just the first plot twist.
The story takes yet another series of shocking twists – it’s like watching a movie – and will definitely take many more considering the corruption charges the department is facing and the other “two” people who are being investigated.
More and more information is seeping out and revealing Joe to be a man who swam in a cespool of Bond villain like behavior. Give it a few years, and there will be a Hollywood movie about Joe – or at least a Lifetime film.
A lengthy record of law-breaking and all the double-standards we secretly suspect cops abuse and my personal favorite: “The file also details an incident in which another law enforcement official reported finding Gliniewicz passed out in the driver’s seat of his truck, the engine revving, and was unable to wake him. “This Deputy told me that this was not the first time that something like this has happened,” an official wrote in a report on the incident.”
…. Just imagine if this was one of us slaving taxpayers without a badge …
Note: I’ll be updating this story consistently as I plan on driving down myself again to the Fox Lake Police Station which is packed full of media vehicles. I’m going to hit the bars tomorrow night and talk to some people I know to get more feedback. So far alot of negative signs are going up everywhere and that benefit for him at the Antioch Highschool has been cancelled – shockingly.
People are mad. Joe isn’t a hero, but the fact he was made out to be one and that he fell from grace is what hurts his reputation even more. If I’m honest, I do feel for his family right now. Consider how prone people are to online cyber mobs and the people who actually live here in Fox Lake, you hope they don’t go protest outside the families home which is maybe 10-15 minutes from Fox Lake.
The mythical like creation of Joe as hero of greatness during his funeral moved the town, his comrades in blue, and motivated denouncements from law enforcement officials everywhere about the apparent indiscriminate targeting of police. (Consider the fact that 2013 was safest year to be a cop on record and 2015 is on it’s way to being the second safest and how Joe’s death provided… a strong counter alternative argument.) Whatever good he may have done is now tarnished beyond control.
Is There A War On Cops?
Put simply, never let a crisis this widely covered – or in this case, a death – go to waste. Yet again, our town’s tragedy is going to be politicized whether by gun control advocates or “war on cops” shouters. In hindsight, Joe’s body was literally stood upon by advocates for law enforcement who used his death as evidence to cops being targeted for death, and it seemed like were able to utilize rhetorically it utmost effectiveness.
In fact, while they may have a point about the “war on cops” as well as actual cases where thats been PROVEN to be so, this wasn’t one. In their haste however, Joe and his family have been set up for a massive backlash and it’s all for one main reason…
This story received widespread and continued coverage, making it probably one of the biggest stories this year on cops being killed. Consider Joe’s funeral, who was given a noble, official, and heroic burial. It was widely covered and used as a non-deliberate”false flag” in that it was capitalize on by the press in the ongoing debate over the “war on cops” which of course now seems like another example of the public being lied to – perhaps not deliberately, but circumstantially – by the Fox Lake Police Department – not to mention Lake County and the numerous other agencies brought in. Because this story took this turn, their message has taken a hit – which is unfortunate if they are indeed correct about the war on cops.
In fact, we were told during the press conference that they firmly believed it was a homicide at first, but there’s one major problem with that; the gun shot powder residue on his hands and vest which they almost would have certainly discovered right away would have given them a pretty good indication that this might be a suicide. What bothers me even more is that everyone in town was mentioning how there was something fishy about the entire story as well as rumors of “suicide” being the cause of death. Anyone who mentioned this was of course shamed into silence by the rest of the sheep and told to get in line with the herd.
Suffice to say, they however, they decided to go through with the homicide narrative for not just the funeral – understandable – but for several weeks following, hence the apparent “false flag”. Just consider how many people were under the false conclusion that these guys could still be out there and a threat to people in the town. (It’s almost a form of deceit both by omission and the vague details that were being released.) People have not forgotten.
Assuming there is a war on cops, this story blows gigantic holes in the public’s sympathy toward that conclusion. The messenger who was Joe has metaphorically and literally been shot. I’d compare the significance of its effect on the public debate to that of Rolling Stone’s botched UVA story on the subject of supposed #rapeculture on college campuses because of how big these stories were. The public remembers them and comments like this:
“Police badges have become “a target,” Wicomico County, Md., Sheriff Mike Lewis told Fox News during a discussion of Gliniewicz’s death. “I’ve never seen it like this,” he added. “It’s a scary, scary time for law enforcement in this country.”
Corruption In The Highest
Adding to that lack of sympathy is the fact that we now know about around 6500 “deleted” text messages between Joe and other “parties” which now reveal widespread and deliberate fraud, embezzlement, lies, and deceit by him. One of our village administrators, Anne Marrin – appeared to be getting close to bring Joe’s alleged fraud to light through an overdue audit which we need plenty more of to figure out how the town continues to pour cash into blackholes. To top it off, it appears his wife was in on at least some of it, perhaps one of his sons as well.
He even appeared to either discuss or “joke” about framing her for a crime or outright “killing” her and getting rid of the body in the Volo Bog which if you’ve been to, could easily hide a body.
“JG: “She hates me and I’ve never said more than 3 sentences to her in the year shes been here… hates the explorer program and is crawling up my ass and the program, chief wont sign off to move it to American legion and if she gets ahold of the checking account, im pretty well [expletive]” #1: “Hopefully she decides to get a couple of drinks in her and she gets a dui” JG: She does, but not around here and no one knows where. Trust me ive thoughit through MANY SCENARIOUS from planting things to volo bog!!!”
The amount of damage this exchange does to the reputation of cops – specifically the already bad one of the Fox Lake Police Department. It proves that they might be as corrupt, vindictive, and dangerous as we thought. Just imagine what will happen to “1’s” job when we find out who he/she is.
Now we know that his wife knew about at least some of this and her tears at the funeral – no matter how legitimate because of her husbands death – could imply she knew about his situation, though I don’t think we have enough evidence yet to conclude she may have known that he would commit suicide.
“JG: “Between you and I, I’m having a great deal of problems with our new village administrator. I’ve had a talk with the chief and he agrees with me. Does the PD have to be the sponsor for the post? I’ve done some research and it’s not evident anywhere that a law enforcement organization has to sponsor an LE post. In fact I’ve seen 3 at competitions that were sponsored by other entities, and even a FD. Thoughts???” LFL: “No you don’t have to be chartered by the city. Is there a rotary or something out there that would be supportive” JG: “Yes, I’m working that issue today and through the weekend.. We have a new village administrator that is a power monger and is trying to control everything in the village. We are all looking at our pd retirement options and I need to move the post out of that span of control at least till this person’s contract is up.” JG: “Thanks and what would you need since we are rechartering, just the organization and organization head info/signature? I’m keeping this under wraps for now, only you the chief, my wife and myself know thisand I current want to keep it that way until the final decision is made”
The police explorers had many kids that looked up to Joe. Yes, he may have done much for them, but he also in the end stole and embezzled from them. If he cared about the Explorers as much as some of you claim he did, he would never have done it. Stealing from them is the equivalent of robbing a kid’s charity and spending the cash on porn, vacations, and mortgage payments; doing it all while appearing to be a hero – which is what makes this so damaging.
Joe even stole from the community at large in the “5 figure” range and his family’s financial hardships can’t be used as an excuse.
Mrs. Gliniewicz was sued by Citibank and Chase for failure to pay thousands in credit card debt. Documents show family's struggles with $$.
Now even his character is under assault – though more remains to be seen on that besides the fact that he as a good “Christian man” with Psalm 33:19 tattooed on his chest definitely cheated on his wife. (Then again, I’m not exactly an example of a shining paragon of the faith.)
“Filenko wouldn’t say how much money Gliniewicz allegedly embezzled, only that it’s in the “five figures.” Marrin told the AP that the village didn’t know how much the program took in or spent, and also needed an accurate inventory of assets for insurance purposes. “That was the problem — we didn’t have any of the financials.” – From Yahoo news.
Just think about how many people in Fox Lake are going through financial hardships – and yes that includes the ones buying large volumes of lotto tickets at Thortons, the Bodega, Philips to the one’s wasting money on slots at Hello Folks, El Peurtos, and the numerous other bars in this town. They didn’t steal from the community, but Joe had the ability to and abused it.
I will say this though, I suspect he went through with the suicide was for his family, who he feared for his family’s financial stability if he were to go down on corruption charges. Being killed in the line of duty, would have ensured 100% of his benefits as well as “death” ones as well. Perhaps, he’s not as villainous as we first assume.
“But excerpts of some of the messages Gliniewicz exchanged with two people about financial issues were released Wednesday. Those messages show Gliniewicz repeatedly spoke with people referred to as “Individual #1” and “Individual #2” about the financial crimes he’s accused of committing.
“In a message dated April 14, “Individual #1” suggested to Gliniewicz that they should consider hiding unspecified funds… In a message dated May 13, Gliniewicz told “Individual #2” that he’d be in trouble if an unnamed village official “gets ahold of the old checking account.”… In a message to “Individual #1” dated June 22, Gliniewicz acknowledged using $624.70 from the Explorer account to purchase an airline ticket…. And in a message on June 25, Gliniewicz told “Individual #2” to “start dumping money into that account or you will be visiting me in JAIL!!”
Was It A Suicide?
That is the question rampaging all over the comments on the statues of my friends on their facebook feeds and on the tongues of people watching the new camera crews do takes on Grand.
“WGN Investigates has learned that the village sought approval to pay more than $25,000 to a private detective agency to investigate its former chief of police. The chief was placed on paid administrative leave after a village administrator started questioning what she called lax discipline of another officer. That officer was accused of verbally and physically abusing a man in custody. The incident happened in December, but the village review didn’t begin until eight months later.”
Remember that the police chief – Behan– was forced to step down only about two months before this all happened because he swept the misdeeds of the department under the rug – and that’s just the ones that made the news.
And if it turns out his wife knew about some of it, in which Joe mentions how she, him, and chief of police knew , it’s gonna hurt even more. Something still smells funny though. I still wonder if it was a suicide.
In fact, the amount of money at play here is why I suspect she did, “Pasco said the manner of Gliniewicz’s death could put in jeopardy federal benefits of as much as $340,000 to the officer’s family.”
Based on the corruption charges hitting the department months before, plus the whole fiasco over the police brutality incident that they tried to sweep under the rug, there may have been reason to silence anyone who was going to cooperate. (Note, 6500 text messages is a hell of alot to fake.)
This is somewhat speculative, but where there is smoke in Fox Lake, there is sometimes fire, and people talk alot about that fire which will continue to spread.
I wrote this article over two years ago and I still make updates. Social media still drives media stories, but in the age of “#RESIST” Trump, coverage is more weaponized than it’s ever been. What’s good for ratings is now the dominant driving force in coverage. After all according to CNN’s producer, they are there to make money and journalistic standards are a naivete for fools just out of journalism school. He went as far as to admit that the Russian influence story was bullshit, but ratings are ratings.
To follow that bombshell up, CNN was so angered by Trumps tweeting of a meme of of him bodyslamming a photoshopped CNN figure in a WWE clip from years ago, that they actually went after a private citizen they thought first spread it. The overt threat to dox him a.k.a. #CnnBlackmail if he did anything else to irk seems to be the biggest low we’ve seen in years from any journalistic outlet, to say nothing of other questionable ethical coverage if Trump is the subject.
So what happened? How did we get here?
In school we taught that an attentive, honest, and responsible media must cover the pressing issues of the day, as well as what is considered news. Trump is apparently ground zero, but what drove headlines before? Often it was the mid level outlets online that pumped out stories ripped from social media feeds, which if big enough would work there way up to the national media.
This mid level media would choose WHAT the newswould be often based on what roused people the most. The latter part of this article will prove that anger is what rouses people the most to share, tweet, and to fuel that firestorm. Fuel for that fire is often sought and driven by “news” plucked from whatever the newest twitter storms, Facebook trends, Reddit’s front page, and whatever other platforms are blowing up what is often the latest tragedy.
Well, should journalists actually cover these kinds of stories? Are they even stories worth covering? Should they be covered? Are they actually newsworthy. I guess that now depends on who is the subject matter.
One of the primary duties of the press has always been to cover the activities of our government and hold them transparent, as well as to focus on ethical issues that directly affect our societies and communities. At one point, we had a slight bit of trust in journalists to show “discretion” in how they went about this – particularly after the early days of yellow journalism. (More on that later.)
The internet though has changed all of this and much of that change has been bad. It can be seen in a series of steps, too often repeated:
Getting the scoop ALWAYS takes precedence. This is the golden rule of today’s internet journalism, because the buzz is always changing throughout the day. If you want to remain relevant and continue to maintain meager ad revenue; publish first, ask questions later.
In the 24 hour news cycle of the digital media age, the media – old and new – are the ones who set the agenda through the stories they choose to cover, what we would call the “narrative.” Because of this cycle and the prominence of digital publications, the concept of a “journalist” and what actually constitutes journalism has been drastically altered. We really still don’t know as to how much or where that alteration will culminate, though we can see who and what is being left behind in its wake – it’s often not pretty.
A significant moral responsibility exists for media publications both in which stories they choose to cover and the kind of coverage they give said stories – in particular the disclosure of private details necessary for a story and the balance at stake of the individual(s) in said story.
Again, the duty of a responsible media in a democracy is to objectively inform the public of issues and decisions that effect their society. This assumption is often applied to public figures, politicians, corruption, and social issues and to generate debate about them.
However because of online media in the last decade it has been applied more and more to people who aren’t public figures or even in the spotlight. The ethical guidelines for protecting the privacy of the public has arguably become much more important in the last 20 years with the rise of digital media. Everyone in the process is now in the crosshairs.
As it’s been said, “If it bleeds, it leads.”
If I am honest, the concept of “ethics” in concern to media journalism is not exactly a black and white issue. In fact, its rather murky, especially when all the factors of privacy, loyalties, principle, values, and perspectives come into play.
One of the journalism classes I had to take was a capstone class called, “Media Ethics” which was taught by a rather smart woman. I would describe this professor of mine as “oldschool”, conservative, from South Africa, rigorous with her writing standards, and a strong distaste for dancing. She is also one of the best professors I’ve ever had.
What she forced me to do was to go through over 60 case studies and to examine how the story was told and whether it was broken the wrong way, who was hurt by it, the necessity of it, and the effects of it later. Oh, and she had a ban list of how we could write about said studies and examples in our papers.
One of the studies dealt with Matt Drudge of the now famous online news giant, The Drudge Report, and how, when, and why he broke the Monica Lewinski story.
Newsweek wouldn’t publish the story. One suspects this is probably because of their more liberal bent, but it wouldn’t stop Drudge from taking what would be his shot to prominence. However, one very important question that still remains is, “Should he have broken the story?”
As a noted conservative, it should be fairly obvious that Matt Drudge and other conservatives stood to gain something in the public eye and political debate by the revelation of President Clinton’s tempestuous actions of infidelity in the oval office. It was after all Clinton’s private life – specifically sexual privacy in general. While he was THE public figure, did that entail the press to coverage about it? Legally yes, but morally, I’m not so sure.
Whether this was a matter of respect for the office, a secretive agreement and support for those president’s policies and actions by the press, or a combination of both is up for debate. I would point out that the “respect for the president” is a myth when you look at the history of newspapers in America.
Not only were publications prone to bias, personal attacks, outright lies, and throughout the 1800s they were powerful and, “purposeful actors in the political process, linking parties, voters, and the government together, and pursuing specific political goals”. In fact, consider how vicious newspapers were as early as the presidential election of 1800 which would involve threats, libel, and actual imprisonment by those involved with the press of the time.
However, Drudge’s disclosure has become child’s play in light of the new players that have bullied their way onto the block and what details of public and semi-public figures can go viral for the world to see. The rise of online media giants like Gakwer, Vox Media, and Buzzfeed have contributed to a noticeable and worrisome change in what both journalists and readers accept – or become desensitized to – in concern to the ethical guidelines for fellow journalists and publications.
These publications in particular have started to attract millennials who go to these publications for their main source of news even though these publications have ethical standards that often resemble those of celebrity tabloids – Gakwer’s Neetzan Zimmerman rise to “viral” power should come to mind – to the chagrin of any real journalists that still exist.
One specific issue that arises with site like Gakwer, Vice, Upworthy, and Buzfeed is that too many people consider them to be a “rough” form of journalism, even though they don’t necessarily flaunt their supposed journalistic integrity and standards. Essentially, they engage in forms of “journalism” without any actual standards or responsibility to go along with it. Does that at all sound familiar on a certain buzzword in today’s culture wars?
In fact, I’ve seen stories from parody sites that aren’t humorous in nature, so they slip right past the Spidey sense that almost no one on my Facebook feed possesses. I point out that its actually from a parody site, and I am rewarded by becoming the bad guy that is “too” serious.
Studies and “statistics”– which have become a buzzword in their own right – have been suggesting people are becoming more apathetic and less aware on issues and when it comes to the media it becomes more apparent. In line of the recent “gate” labels for controversy, “GruberGate” is evidence of politicians and their well paid consultants who literally think that the public is stupid. They might actually be correct, though in all fairness Gruber didn’t just outright mislead people – he lied.
“In 2013, for instance, I asked Gruber if Democrats understood that the ACA would slowly and methodically erode the system under which millions of Americans get health insurance through their jobs. In pitching the ACA, Democrats had been adamant that the law would support and sustain the employer-based system, not erode it. But Gruber knew better and he told me so, likening workers being kicked off job-based health plans to people “falling off a building,”an outcome that architects of the ACA knew was likely and had planned for.”
Consider the ethical standards of Gawker who have actually developed a feature called “Gawker Stalker” which helps people stalk celebrities via GPS on google maps and relay information about their exact whereabouts in real time on twitter which TMZ can then pick up on for their daily news scoop. That is what the ethics standards for a publication like Gawker advocate on concepts like privacy. This is especially ironic considering how much Gawker subsidiary Jezebel has ranted and raved about the atrocities of violating the privacy of female celebrities which they have directly encouraged with the fore-mentioned feature.
Of course, it is very comforting that these kinds of outlets have become the main source of news for millenials, but it gets worse as we get even more “news” from a kind of new quasi-comedic journalists/whistleblowers such as Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and even John Oliver.
They aren’t even actually journalists, but rather mildly amusing opinionated comedians – usually with a left-wing bent – who make fun of particular journalism and stories they disagree with, while putting their own opinionated spin on what Fox News has done wrong this time. This doesn’t stop their target audience from swallowing their “comedic perspective” and going out into the world with faux smug enlightened grins about how stupid everyone else is. I won’t even touch on selection bias.
That alone should be a cause for worry, especially in a rather toxic socio-political environment where people accuse each other of not being informed, rather than the more obvious fact of people being poorly and questionably informed and mislead.
Those who do consider themselves to be properly informed are not in much better shape. Often, they run into problems with data selection concerning statistics – often cherry picked – to form a specific narrative and worldview. This is one reason why no one can tell us how much Obamcare really costs, the financial benefits/disadvantages of raising the minimum wage, what part of Planned Parenthood’s budget goes toward abortions, and what the actual “Rape” stats are.
While these new digital publication challengers such as Buzzfeed and Vice remain supreme in their share of millennial readers, the old guard publication giants like The New York Times and The Wallstreet Journal have recently started to carve into their audience.
While these traditional giants aren’t doing bad with millennials – something that surprises me – they have started to resort to similar questionable journalistic standards the new challengers to lure in those with a limited attention span – my fellow millennials. Even the Washington Post has started to closely resemble celebrity gossip tabloid TMZ with some of the articles they have published and it can’t all be blamed on new owner, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.
One of Gawker Media’s subsidiary sites, Gizmodo, both defended and ironically examined the growing notice of the questionable lack and confusion in the ethics of modern day journalists in how they attain important information about stories by somewhat nefarious means. In a piece by by Gizomodo’s John Cook ironically titled, “In Defense of Sleazy Journalism”, about one of Rupert Murdoch news publications concerning theNews Of The World scandal a key observation was made,
“Reporting is basically a variant of rudeness. Done right, it amounts to being indiscreet, airing dirty laundry, telling on someone, calling them out, embarrassing them, usually after lying to them to gain their confidence.“
A rather honest observation if you think about how some of the biggest stories of the last 50 years have been broken. It’s also a disturbing one when it comes to the concept of trust between journalists and the public. Any journalist major worth his metal will have undoubtedly had to read, “All The President’s Men” which details the largest “known” American political scandal, “Watergate” which would be the first in the line of “gates”.
“In his book Mightier than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History, Rodger Streitmatter writes that the Woodward and Bernstein “begged, lied, badgered sources, and, on occasion, broke the law” in order to get the leads and confirmations needed to run their stories”
By today’s standards, what they did is almost child’s play, which should point to a VERY serious and growing problem with journalistic ethics when it comes to getting the information to acquire the “scoop.” Just consider how many “journalists” start digging through someone’s twitter feeds which is technically a public space, but the fact that those tweets weren’t meant to be seen by hundreds of thousands of angry internet protesters doesn’t seem to matter if enough page views will come later.
So where do we actually draw the line as to how journalists should resort to acquiring information in ethical ways? Who sets the standards? No doubt, some of those ways have been questionable and the line is further smudged by those who are willing to go even lower to get what they need. In effect, publications like Gawker are starting to unofficially set that standard. You don’t need me to tell you how that is not good.
With the advent of social media – which I’m starting to think is a curse – the responsibility that journalists have in choosing what stories they will publish and which ones they won’t are incredibly important. Leaked details from journalists have led to outright destruction of the livelihoods of not just public figures, but private people as well. It’s extremely important that we consider the consequences of the disclosure of people’s private lives in light of digital media. Because of the nature of digital media those professing to be journalists should realize the level of tremendous responsibility now on their broad shoulders.
As we shall soon see, even a slight personal detail can destroy someone’s lives once online twitter mobs convince their employers to fire them.
We can only hope that one day (1) employers will realize that twitter mobs are not potential customers nor their target audience (2) will stop paying attention to their ludicrous demands and (3) that PR and controversy generated from them is not worth catering to the mob.
You can’t please the mob, but you can weather the storm which dissipates as fast as our attention spans so often do. Remember, the public has a short memory and a target that varies very VERY quickly.
Rolling Stone’s recent journalistic disaster comes to mind in which will probably be a case study for every media journalism 101 class for decades to come. It is the most recent clear cut example of atrocious journalism ruining the lives of those in an entire frat house and destroying the reputation of UVA. Note, feminists even called for the “rapist” to be revealed a.k.a. doxxed for the general public to hold “accountable.” We all know what that means when it comes to enforcing their narrative.
While the pen may in fact be mightier than the sword, the press should never use it’s power to essentially carry out justice. It should present the facts and inform people and therefore allow readers to make their own conclusions.
Unless covering the personal lives and details of an individual is absolutely necessary to properly inform the public of a pressing and important issue, it should never be coveredby journalists who believe themselves to retain even a slight ethical compass. The key factor here is to never forget in these ethical situations exactly what the overall context may be and who it may effect – something that is often realized in hindsight.
If you aren’t familiar with the “Potter Model” and don’t want to bother learning about it, skip to the next paragraph.
– J.S. Mill’s Utilitarian line of thought and “The Greater Good” can be applied to the above conclusion.
– Mill though is probably trumped by Rawls via the “Veil Of Ignorance”
– Agape principle a.k.a. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is necessary to the above conclusion.
The Consequences Of Coverage
The importance of the choice of story that journalists and publications should publish comes to light in the infamous Gawker expose on an infamous subreddit called “Jailbait”. It featured scantily clad pictures of underage girls – not exactly illegal – but considered by a fair amount of people to be morally wrong and exploitative.
This however may have changed with the amount of sexualization of the culture and porn exposure, but I digress. “Jailbait” was moderated by then anonymous moderator “violentacrez” who presided over the subreddit.
Well, this of course rubbed many people the wrong way. It appears that it generated enough controversy in some of the social justice and feminist corners of the web to get Gawker to devote some time and effort to figuring out who exactly violentacrez was. A Gawker expose by Adrien Chen would reveal “violentacrez’s true identity” to be that of a man named Michael Brutsch.
Before the story was published Chen had contacted Brutsch making him aware of the fact that he knew who he was and that he was going to publish a story about him. Brutsch in turned begged Chen not to as he was certain it would have a substantial backlash against him in his private life. Essentially, Chen knew that this article would most likely damage the both the financial well-being and reputation of Brutsch, who note was NOT a public individual. Brutsch became an acceptable casualty in a type of public shaming designed to make him pay for wrongdoings – specifically in the public eye.
Before we pass judgement on Gawker – which I really enjoy – and Chen as to whether it was wrong or right, we need to realize the complexity of the situation.
Most people would agree that Brutsch’s subreddit was morally reprehensible- though remember we are talking about Gawker here. However was it appropriate in this case for the media to inform the public of a disturbing ethical situation on Reddit at the cost of the individual’s job, livelihood, and the subsequent death threats by revealing his identity to the public? Did the ends justify the means?
Considering the media does have a duty to inform the public of ethical issues, it could be argued that what Gawker did was acceptable. They had to bring light to Brutsch’s activity and questionable “exploitation” of images of girls online, though they probably knew the public backlash which the article would create would put a stop to the subreddit.
This line of action is “acceptable” if you assume a framework that appeals to “The Greater Good” – namely the sacrifice of Brutsch to address a “wrong” that supposedly affected quite a few people. I however can’t stop wondering if Chen would have refrained from publishing the article if the shoe was on the other foot.
The question we should all ask: “Why would Gawker consider this to be newsworthy and why it was covered so thoroughly compared to their other stories?”
Your guess is probably as accurate or as disgusted as mine.
What Chen did – the disclosure of private details of an individual – has today has become known as unmasking or more popularly described as “doxxing”. Note that in recent years, Gawker and its subsidiaries – specifically Jezebel – has published alot of articles about how terrible doxxing is.
A flurry of those came out during the initial roar of #GamerGate and concerned how misogynistic it was that women were supposedly being doxxed, though Gawker and Jezebel had no problem doing it in the past – essentially “Do as I say, not as I do.”
While “doxxing”was at first the bread and butter of angry angst ridden reddit and 4chan users, it has become disturbingly common in “journalistic” circles and subsequent publications under the guise of “investigative reporting” on whichever groups or individuals have been deemed acceptable targets.
The implications of this practice are troubling as Wired’s Danah Boyd pointed out in her article about Gakwer’s expose on Brutsch and this kind of new vigilantism that was being created by the articles like it on social media,
“Yet, how do we as a society weigh the moral costs of shining a spotlight on someone, however “bad” their actions are? What happens when, as a result of social media, vigilantism takes on a new form? How do we guarantee justice and punishment that fits the crime when we can use visibility as a tool for massive public shaming? “
In the context of essentially using journalism and the ensuing visibility as a tool for publish shaming, it must be emphasized that the revelation of the Brutsch’s identity is the primary reason the subreddit was shut down.
Again, assuming a utilitarian “Greater Good” principle on the matter, the disclosure of that particular detail was necessary to achieve Gawker’s goal to inform the public. Appeal to this principle however, will and has set a precedent that is a potential slippery slope.
If the outing of an anonymous online user for even the most moral reasons becomes common media practice, the media is then engaging in a form of “censorship” of anonymous individuals through the threat of possible revelation of their online identities and the consequences that so often follow. Some may argue that there should be consequences to speech, but would they apply that conclusion to themselves?
What shocks me is the kind of inconsistent and often hypocritical approach toward the concept of revealing people who are anonymous online. Liberal feminist publications in particular, will condemn anonymous individuals for criticism and the fact that they don’t face public backlash for voicing said criticisms behind their anonymous cloak- often labeled harassment by said publications. Even though its not harassment, people still remember the all present, “H” word. Note, that it’s not harassment when they do it.
The inconsistency is revealed when these same liberal publications complain about doxxing of individuals and the disclosure of “private details” that can damage those doxxed. This is often labeled harassment, but not when it came to the disclosure of some KKK members who made threats during the Ferguson controversy.
It is curious, because many feminist publications in particular advocate revealing the identities of anonymous critics to make them “accountable” for said criticism. They often make this argument in regards to trolls whose behavior they consider to be borderline harassment. Lindy West, a noted online feminist writer and fat acceptance activist makes the following observation in an article for The Guardian about online “trolling”,
“Sometimes it’s relatively innocuous (like asking contrarian questions just to start an argument) or juvenile (like making fun of my weight or my intelligence), but – particularly when the subject is a young woman – it frequently crosses the line into bona fide, dangerous stalking and harassment.”
When a “troll” – a very subjective concept considering what some consider to be trolling these days – has their identity revealed to the online populace, the reaction often translates to trying to get them fired from their employment and ensuring that a Google search is enough to permanently destroy their reputation. Tauriq Moosa in an article for the liberal NewStatesman makes the point:
“Again, just because you’re responding to racism or sexism doesn’t make your response right. I’ve seen no good come of publicly shaming someone, when public shaming is the sole response. Sure, someone is also shamed after being rightfully convicted, fired, etc, but there ‘justice’ wasn’t merely a retweet.”
I suggest that journalists should approach stories that may involve revelation of anonymous identities with the two following principles in mind:
– Kant’s principle of The Categorical Imperative in regards to allowing online users to stay always anonymous when covered by the press is a more valid presupposition to make in this and similar situations.
– The Golden Rule. How many of us would want similar treatment in the press even if we were on par with the depravity of Brutsch? It may be helpful to put ourselves in his shoes – something that Chen did not seem to do. In fact, it is surprising that Brutsch did not sue Chen considering he is not a public figure from a legal standpoint.
Mainstream Media And Doxxing
Even reputable publications like Newseek have taken the plunge and engaged in this kind of public unmasking. Newsweek did a famous article in revealing the true identity of the creator of Bitcoin who turned out to be a 64-year-old man and train enthusiast named Satoshi Nakamoto who had essentially created the worlds first working and successful “crypto currency.”
The context of this situation is again extremely important here. The implications of revealing his name, as well as personal details including pictures of his house and car are mind-blowing. One issue itself is the Bitcoin currency and some of the elements that use it – namely some who frequent the infamous “Darknet”
While it’s free from any actual kind of financial regulation or government interference, it is used by criminal networks that are notorious on the darknet who engage in transactions from everything from buying drugs to hiring actual assassins. No, I’m not exaggerating about that.
The Newsweek story had potentially opened up Nakamoto as a target for criminals all in the name of publishing a story and it revealed MANY details about Nakamoto that arguably weren’t necessary to the story as an article from Gigaom points out:
“Newsweek included many personal details about Nakamoto, including his work history and details about his extended family, and even his personal health — and they posted a photo of his home, one in which you could clearly see his address and the licence plate on his car.”
With the information and private details of the creator of Bitcoin now flaunted for the world to see, Nakamoto is exposed to the potential criminal elements who could desire to kidnap him to acquire in-depth information and potential means to exploit Bitcoin and its users. Also consider that just one Bitcoin itself ranges in worth of 75 – 300$.
The Edward Snowden leaks in particular present one of the biggest challenges in the last 20 years for the media in choosing what they would and wouldn’t publish. Arguably the media’s responsibility to the public in a democratic society is to consistently cast the probe of investigation on to the government to make sure that transparency is always there.
An important dynamic came into play that forced the hand of the Guardian in that the British government actually planned to force the publication to destroy the hard-drives that contained the leaks. Usually if someone doesn’t want a story to be covered and resorts to destroying evidence, we should all smell a rat. Luckily, the press this time did not have their noses stuffed in the name of “National Security”. Of course, the U.S. Government would and does continue insist that the Snowden disclosure puts national security at great risk.
However to this day there are still certain pieces of information not published by the press for that reason which notably has attained a rather tight balance on public disclosure of the documents in light of what might hurt the public vs. what they need to know.
Even the most ardent supporters of the actions of Edward Snowden – myself included – will acknowledge that his revelations did expose elements of our government that could potentially undermine it. However many in media from all sides of the spectrum deemed the disclosures to not only be newsworthy, but important enough to keep pressing forward with the stories impact.
In this case it is certain I would endorse the appeal to “The Greater Good,” that was obviously adhered to by the press rather then accepting the government’s time held excuse of “national security. Of course, a story of this magnitude also influenced the media’s decision to publish it.
Currently, the Ferguson controversy brings up a new and significantly more and more important factor in the disclosure of private details by the press; the publication of previously revealed private details by lesser known outlets, bloggers, and even hackers by large mainstream publications.
The New York Times, which might arguably be the publication that sets the bar for journalistic standards, was scolded by fellow journalists and publications for publishing the address of the officer Darren Wilson who is a known name in national headlines after having shot Michael Brown. This revelation occurred through the posting of an image of his marriage certificate by the New York Times.
Considering that it was public knowledge that Wilson had received many death threats, it comes as a shock that the New York Times would justify revealing the address. When the New York Times responded to criticism of the revelation by both Howard Kurtz of Fox News and Erik Wemple of The Washington Post in particular, they justified the revelation under the fact that it was already public knowledge.
While this was in fact true, it sets a disturbing precedent for larger and more mainstream publications that arguably lowers the bar as to what is acceptable disclosure of someone’s details when their lives could be in jeopardy. Officer Wilson’s address might have been public knowledge on Reddit, Gawker, and twitter, but the disclosure of that address in the nations most read publication has a much larger and possibly more deadly impact.
Journalism nowadays is undoubtedly incurring substantial questions about what is appropriate and what is not when it comes to the choice of stories as well as the revelation of details in people’s private lives. All of the blame, however, can’t be specifically laid at the feet of mainstream publications and even the click-bait publications such as Gawker, Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and a series of deteriorating blogs who will actually resort to making things up.(Seriously, read that link. It’s shocking.)
As journalistic mediums adapt to new markets and demands of their audience, they are unfortunately forced to cater to a social media influenced audience who is now not only used to the idea of publicizing daily events of their lives but expect it. The idea of what is ethical and what is not in journalism has been massively impacted by the juggernaut that is online media and the dominance of the constantly updating online news feed.
It is therefore not surprising when the majority of readers don’t so much as bat an eyelash at the disclosure of private details of people by the press. These readers often demand more of these kinds of disclosures and a nasty cycle is therefore created and perpetually maintained.
Now even blogs, YouTubers, and twitter feeds are turning into main sources of news and creating new questions of not only who is a public figure, but also how the standards should be applied to these new growing mediums. For instance, should we hold YouTube to certain journalistic standards? Well, one can certainly try.
Where the line is drawn with even determining who a public figure is has become difficult as new social media applications such as twitter personalities, YouTube channel hosts, Vine, and Instagram users have become pseudo celebrities and therefore have sometimes become potential “stories.”
Take into account that celebrities have long been a curious and vain obsession of the American public. Various tabloids cover their every waking action including what might be in their Starbucks shake. Now that the pool of celebrities has been greatly expanded, the journalistic standards and ethics on the disclosure of the details of people’s lives are all that much more important.
Last but not least, the ethics of choosing stories in light of appearing to promote specific cultural and social issues is a subject that need to be carefully considered. In fact, the line nowadays has grown very murky.|
As mentioned before, seemingly everyone can become a journalist nowadays and engage in the disturbing practice that is narrative bias confirmation – or as I call it, preaching to your choir. If you want to publish a certain kind of story, you will latch on to experiments and stories that fit that per-determined narrative – whether it is there or not. Your readers already want to believe the worst about your mutual opponents, so it just yet another slam dunk in the enfolding story. (Interesting debate on “Narrative Journalism” here.)
One of the most recent viral video that became news involved a young white women who had walked 100 hours around the city of New York and was catcalled by various men. In what can only be described as either journalists failing to do basic homework or trying to push a very specific narrative, they failed to disclose that all of the catcalls occurred on just a few specific streets that were all in Harlem.
These objective and truth driven journalists also failed to mention the context of catcalling in African American culture which is not seen as a negative action, but rather an accepted an expected one. The context obviously did not fit their narrative. One also wonders if the same worry would have been extended had all the cat-callers been straight white men.
History holds key lessons – some of them quite bloody – in the repercussions that shook nations, stirred foment, and publicized serial killers. Take for example the numerous papers who stoked the American Civil war and the manipulation from all involved during it.
Or the two newspaper mad-men like giants William R. Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer whose journalism would be coined, “yellow journalism” in regards to the tales they spun and stories that were literally made up. Yes, that Pulitzer who the award is named after.
When Remington told Hearst that the rumors of the atrocities were exaggerated and over-hyped, Heart uttered this infamous phrase, “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” Remington would do just that and two of his false pictures would grab headlines and stoke the fervors of war even more:
“For instance, he drew some pictures of an American woman being brutally searched by Spanish male security forces. This apparently never happened, as only female officials searched American females coming into the country. In addition, Remington’s famous painting of the Rough Riders charging up San Juan Hill was based not on the actual charge, but on a reenactment performed by the Rough Riders.”
The truth didn’t sell newspapers, but false stories would and for the price of just a cent! In fact, Hearst was sure that a war between Spain and America would sell him even more papers – which it would. When the USS Maine exploded and sunk in February 15th of 1897, Hearst wrote a galvanizing piece in which he blamed Spain for the accident and attributed it to treachery. Here are two choice paragraphs from it:
“It was an accident, they say. Perhaps it was, but accident or not, it would never have happened if there had been peace in Cuba, as there would have been if we had done our duty. And it was an accident of a remarkably convenient kind for Spain. Two days ago we had five battleships in the Atlantic. Today we have four. A few more such accidents will leave us at the mercy of a Spanish fleet.”
“The Government has set an investigation on foot, and the Journal has independently undertaken another. Between them the truth will soon be known. If it be found that the Spanish authorities have fought about this calamity, so profitable to themselves, no power from the White House to Wall Street will be able to restrain the American people from exacting a terrible retribution. And Spain’s innocence must be clearly proven. All the circumstances of the case fix the burden of proof upon her.”
Catch that? Spain’s innocence must be clearly proven. So essentially, guilty before proven innocent. This tactic worked; it caused a war. Perhaps some of have taken this lesson to heart with changes to “Preponderance of Evidence” that now rests on those accused of a crime who must prove their innocence instead of the accuser proving their guilt. Yes, I’m referring to the rape hysteria and charges being tossed about like used wrappers on college campuses.
Fun fact: William Hearst is the inspiration for Orson Well’s Citizen Kane. Bad and downright journalism apparently had the ultimate price attached to it.
Lessons sometimes, are not as clearcut as that of Hearst. When the Zodiac Killer began his rampage, it is highly probable that the press publication of the rants and demands of the Zodiac killer enabled him to gain even more attention and jeopardize even more members of the public.
However, what alternative did they have? The police did not want the papers to give him any voice or attention. He knew this and threatened that if they didn’t publish his demands, he would kill more people. Then again, he killed more people anyway. Perhaps in hindsight they made the right decision by publishing his demands, but there was no way to tell at the time. Yet again, a moral quandary to wade through.
Sometimes, the disclosure of the someone’s private life is done with “good” intentions – or just a unwilling sacrifice for a certain cause. The first “outing” of an LFBT individual wasn’t done by detractors, haters, homophobes, or whatever “ist” we can throw out there; it was done deliberately by one of the biggest political heroes of the LGBT movement himself – Harvey Milk.
It starts in 1975 with Oliver Sipple, who was a former marine that would have a direct hand in saving President Ford’s life from an assassin by grabbing her arm just as she would squeeze the trigger. Of course, the press would want to know everything about Sipple and his act of heroism and would dig up the fact that he was actually gay – something he had been hiding.
Because he had become a semi-public figure in his act of saving the president, his private life would be divulged for all to see and him and his family would face tremendous backlash. He began to drink heavily. In fact, he would start to ebb away both mentally and physically to the point that he wished he had never intervened to save Ford’s life.
While plenty of blame can be laid at Milk’s callous hands – something most people don’t even know about as we don’t like to talk about the bad things our “heroes” have done – the fact that the newspapers were willing to publish this controversial of a disclosure about Sipple’s private life should make us wonder what the line is when it comes to the well-being of an individual and how specific disclosure’s can effect their lives.
These same mistakes by self-proclaimed journalists and publications should not go unheeded. In the future anyone who considers themselves to be any sort of “journalist” should strive to avoid the scoop and the “developing” story if it’s going to seriously impact someone’s life.
Sometimes, the truth must be told, but how much of it, why, and who it may effect must carefully be considered. In today’s media climate, this is even more important to take to heart. One tweet. One post. That’s all it takes. Perhaps, there really are some details of people’s lives that the media should leave alone. But then again, the new challengers on the block have no such hindrance.
So be skeptical of every last thing you read – regardless of who it is from, because chances are they have probably been duped as well. Triple-check “sources” and go to multiple publications – specifically ones you disagree with – to get the other side of the story. It’s important to get outside of our own internet bubbles and echo chambers because the truth is often either very uncomfortable, deeply buried, or downright shunned.