Low information journalism

Part of the phenomena of the decline of traditional or “legacy” media is a failure to come to terms with the unprecedented connectedness of the world in which we now live.

The old world where only a select few gatekeepers were privy to a majority of facts and selected which ones made it into the finite resource of tomorrow’s paper or this evening’s TV news has gone. The delivery capacity for news is, in effect, infinite and the key restriction is now the curiosity and availability of time for the recipient to gather information.

We get our world views from diverse sources and quickly write off as not credible those which have been proven to be untrustworthy or, worse, manipulative either by false reporting or selective reporting.

The older generation of journalists are taking a huge amount of time to realise this and their failures to come to terms with it are highly public.

Today’s particularly excellent example is courtesy of Jaqueline Maley, “Columnist and senior journalist“;

Let’s get the easy response out of the way first; the reason so few people are talking about it is because the accuser is clearly suffering from severe mental health issues that call into question her credibility, as this disturbing interview demonstrates.

Well done Anderson Cooper and CNN team for putting her up for public consumption simply because you don’t like the result of the 2016 election. What next, trawl the mental institutions for more accusers?

Another reason few people are talking about it is that it’s an accusation in a book, but no police report has been filed. Apparently, she is “considering” it.

You and I are not in a position to know and certainly not to judge whether or not Trump forced himself on Ms. Carroll, but we can judge Ms. Maley’s article where she does exactly that and finds him guilty.

Rape is a terrible crime with long term consequences for the victim. It’s also a crime that can be practically impossible to prove once any significant time has passed. If you were raped in the 1990s, 2019 is somewhat too late to press charges and expect a satisfactory result.

If your expectation is otherwise, may I suggest you haven’t spent enough time considering the consequences of applying that standard to the males you care about, such as your father, spouse, sons, grandsons and close friends.

The more amusing point though is Jaqueline Maley’s failure to treat her readers as having an intelligence quotient much above molluscs.

To even consider writing her opinion piece with a laundry list of reasons she dislikes Trump anchored around Ms. Carroll’s book published accusation, requires her to have completely discounted the possibility of her readers seeking an alternate source of information.

The simplest of internet searches would have given her readers the following internal answers when they read the question, “why are so few talking about it?”;

  1. Ms. Carroll does not present well, and in fact gives off an air of being a nutter,
  2. She’s publishing the accusation in a book but hasn’t informed the police,
  3. The alleged assault happened 4 decades ago.
  4. With the best will in the world, Ms. Carroll seems to have been a bit of a serial target of rape, if her writings are to be believed.
  5. All things considered, Ms. Carroll is really not credible. That’s not to say she’s lying but just that the “optics” are terrible.

Bill’s Opinion

Dear journalists in 2019,

The internet is available and can be used as an incredibly quick and convenient fact checker against which your entire audience can judge your work.

You may wish to consider keeping that sentence at the front of mind whenever you submit copy.

There is a form of bigotry you may not have considered that you are guilty of; the bigotry of low expectations. An example of this would have been evident if you had asked most Australians whether they knew the name of the person this article was referring to in 2013;

They knew it was Rolf Harris despite nobody in the Australian media being brave enough to name him.

Trick me once, shame on you. Trick me twice, shame on me.

3 Replies to “Low information journalism”

  1. RE Trump accusers, I’m reminded of the phenomenon – almost always occurring in 3rd world Christian nations – of some nobody thrust into the national spotlight because they found the Virgin Mary on a day-old tortilla.

    In such hysterical environments any old charlatan can gain prominence so long as they advance the preferred narrative. And other charlatans take notice.

    1. What I’ve yet to hear though is anyone admit, “well, when Diana died I went a bit daft for a few days”.

      Similarly, I’m not expecting a rush of people to revise their opinions on Brexit, Trump, etc. in a dozen years’ time, even if the outcomes from both are objectively positive.

      1. Considering the seedy horde of Western communists obtusely cheering an ideology that’s killed more people than cancer I’d say you’re right.

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