• anarcho-addict
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    2 months ago

    There’s actually a word for this, and a an entire theory concerning two different styles of journalism that are used to shape public opinion.

    I had the incredible luck to take this one class in college. Believe it was called " The Media and War". This class taught by an ex cia spy.

    They did not admit this outright, They said their job title was “Citizen Diplomat”, traveling abroad for the “State Department”. I knew exactly what that meant but that school was a fucking joke (fooled me, i got out of there) so I actually don’t think anyone really noticed. Was the only one to press on what that actually looks like, doing that job. Their answers made it pretty clear First day of class they said this, with the tone being ‘read between the lines I can’t talk about it legally’. And went on sharing to the class how they had visited every country south of the US border except Cuba and VZLA. Lol.

    They had us study media statistics concerning wording, but it was always founded upon what we learned about the founding father of PR: Edward Bernays.

    Was not even aware of his existence and momentously destructive influence he had. Politicians literally would come to HIM for how to spin stories, calling him at home and he formed deep relationships with figures in the White House and was seen like a genius demigod but he was just some fuckin dumb guy peddling shit advice to the most powerful figures, you can look into this yourselves if you are not aware. His mother, Anna Bernays, was the sister of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. So yeah just that says a lot lol.

    But this class went deep. They created the course themselves (talked to them office hours to pick their brain, they were so clearly an exhausted ex spook very upfront and chose their words like a calculator but fluently) and it was clear they mixed some of their decades of work experiences / training into it. Our readings were on statistical analysis of how Operation Desert Storm was wrote about in the press. Just depressing is all I’ll say. Very eye opening. I wish this was a more utilized way of defending truth and holding the press accountable.

    This Professor lectured that after WW1’s horrific and basically meaningless war caused Americans/ Western Countries’ working class and public in general to heavily negatively associate the noun Propaganda in their “Subconscious Mental Schema”. I can’t remember the exact Phrase. There were diagrams and all that. It was very validating lookiing back. Here is concrete data that the media DOES collude with the government and private wealthy corporations or rich singular people.

    So Bernays, just some dude really, was like “ayo just stop using the word Propaganda and say Public Relations in its stead. No difference.” They intentionally took initiative and pushed this malicious attempt to keep their control over the ability to shape and distort public opinion and perceptions by recasting it as PR while simultaneously never making any mention of what that means for Journalists and their employers. He helped privatize and normalize Propaganda in plain view. By the rich. Government caught on after. To keep it short. IM sure many already know this here in this niche area of the internet but I’m just giving context for the main point and lesson I learned from that course.

    There are two types of reporting, Literally, in the sense of how you report it.

    1. Procedural Reporting: Reporting that just states facts without any analysis opnion, or context of history either short or long term (usually). This is article is a classic example of how the event is framed, for example see how it ends.

    The Sheriff’s Department did not initially disclose exactly how Savannah or Mr. Graziano had been killed, and said at the time that it > was possible that Savannah might have participated in the shooting.

    The Sheriff’s Department declined to comment on Tuesday.

    The episode is being investigated by the California Department of Justice.

    I understand this almost reflexive urge people have to point out reporters just repeat whatever cops say. Yeah this is true reporters are lazy. Without doxxing myself by oversharing I will say I was working in that field. Its not just laziness. Its intentional, depending on the story,

    Procedural reporting is deployed on other things as well, most stories really. Before social media this placated people or made politics and economical issues boring as fuck to read about, which became a part our entire culture, that is crucial for working class folks to know about, and the ones with the wealth and political power have an interest for them not to know about.

    Because we have democratic systems - the only way public opinion can oust them without violence or a revolution that will statistically make shit worse, jail them through reforms or taxing them or having basic regulations and banning their private prisons… It is leaving readers to come to their own conclusions but Americans became disinterested. Procedurally written anything is boring. Today now what is REALLY destroying social structures is the new dynamic added into this: social media. its made things more unstable. Especially after fucking Elon Musk took it over and unbanned fascists and worst of all he changed the algorithm. BLM uprisings would be impossible without the twitter we had before. Probably why he bought it.

    Circling back. Why does procedural reporting dominate?

    One being that investigative journalism is not a career anymore. That is unless you do a ‘True Crime’ podcast or whatever… or a over-funded Lefty or Fascist/Conservative or even worst a Centrist Podcast. Or anyone with a big audience on twitter too. (lets be real lmao) Podcasters defend themselves, from sometimes legitimate criticism, by insisting they aren’t real journalists.

    Even though they more likely than not criticize the mainstream journalistic media. The irony is funny, they are objectively doing research, interviewing people, following leads, and coming to conclusions. “If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck”. whatever. Which leads me to the second type of reporting this former ABC spook lectured on.

    1. Substantive Reporting: Taking the facts and coming to a substantive conclusion based on the data they collect. This is what right wingers have endlessly whined about for like a decade now. God its so annoying. Substantive Reporting doesn’t mean Propaganda to be clear.

    Yes all substantive reporting will be biased. Its a spectrum from slightly or heavily and thats good, but its what JOURNALISM IS SUPPOSED TO DO. (attempt in good faith) TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC OR AT LEAST CONSTRUCT A MEANINGFUL ARGUMENT OVER EVENTS HAPPENING IN OUR WORLD WE LIVE IN.

    If its a bad one, there will be reporters who will take notice, focus their minds, because if there’s smoke they seek fire and will look at the data and dig deeper than what was presented, and desire to show, through substantive reporting, rebutting or countering the narrative that the original journalist wrote. Or AI chat bot now lol.

    Keep this in mind when big legislation passes. At the end of the course we had to pick a subject to study and then collect an ungodly amount of data categorizing the articles takes by reading the whole thing, putting a bit more weight into the headline since thats what typically sticks in most people’s memories these days as we scroll endlessly.

    Anyway, my conclusions were really shocking how this major piece of legislation that had concerns surviellance, Edward Snowden type shit you know the section with the never ending sundowns? I sampled almost 200 articles really fucking meticulous oih my god. IIRC It was around 90% if not 95% procedurally reported on. No moral questions asked or “this is unconstitutional” just empty articles… No one dared speak up in defense of privacy. Probably out of fear, hopelessness, or anyone working at these news outlets get paid shit and don;t have talent as their industry’s income has withered horribly over the past two decades.

    Whatever. Hope someone reads this and gets something from it. Substantive reporting is crucial. This old guard instinct to be “objective as possible” and do the both sides shit is actively harming everyone. It neither educates people who are too busy working two jobs to pay the bills or allows people who care to get that perspective, even if its a bad one because it will get them at least engaged or angry about an article shilling for Israel doing genocide by writing an Op-Ed on the front page of the NYT literally like half a year after the Oct 7 attacks with Gaza basically leveled, with the headline “the horrifi tactics of pro-palestine supporters” ??? I just shake my head and understand famine EXISTS in Gaza and is not ON THE BRINK/EDGE. Etc.