Objectivity is Dead. Journalism Must Live.

Megyn Kelly probably thought she had a blockbuster for her new Sunday night interview show on NBC. By sitting down with Alex Jones she clearly planned to use her considerable skill as a no-nonsense interviewer to show the world just who this guy is. It probably never occurred to her that by giving him a platform she was promoting his horrifically unreal nonsense and bringing it to a wider world.

It’s the kind of hubris that Shakespeare made a career out of portraying.

The backlash is massive and there is little doubt it was a mistake. But shouldn’t we shine light on these princes of darkness, the purveyors of a land a few hours past the Twilight Zone? Yes, perhaps, but it takes a certain standard of journalism to do so. The sad thing is that journalism, personified by objectivity, is quite dead. Kelly can’t revive it, either. For better or worse, this is the time for the new daughter of objectivity to take charge of the family treasure, truth, for a new age.

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Defeating ISIS

In a crazy election year, it should come as no surprise that there is another turn waiting to be sprung on everyone. The biggest “October Surprise” in the works right now is the defeat of ISIS / Da’ish. This is quite likely to happen, and it would be a huge boost for Obama and Democrats everywhere.

The story, of course, isn’t about us – but we’ll make it that way. Our media will almost certainly portray the collapse as something the Obama administration gets all the credit for. Not only will that not be entirely true, it will also be reported very badly by the media leading up to the “final” event.

This is a complex story that requires a lot of context, which is exactly what the US media is terrible at. But even more than predicting tomorrow’s news today, Barataria is all about context. Here is what to look for if you wish to follow this story as it unfolds.

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Major Media Fails

When Asiana 214 crashed on landing in San Francisco, I knew who to ask about it.  My son George, who is 13, hadn’t heard the news yet when I picked him up for Saturday night “Dad Time” a few hours after the incident because he doesn’t pay attention to the news.  But he did just come back from the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Air Academy and is very into flying.  Shortly after he heard what happened, he speculated that the pilot screwed up but went on the ‘net to find out.

Within about 20 minutes he had scoured the aviation chat boards and found links to primary sources that told the story very well.  Asiana 214 came in so slow that it was in danger of stalling, which is when it no longer has enough lift to avoid dropping out of the sky.  The pilot apparently realized this too late, but did call in “214 Abort!” just before the crash (1:54 on the audio).  The airport started diverting planes and 30 seconds later called for emergency vehicles when the plane had twisted to a stop.

But neither of these key points were on CNN or other major news outlets, and didn’t show up for a day.  Why does this matter?  It’s not that George is smart (he is), but the failure to report key information in hours of time filled point to what is wrong with the major news media’s model for 24 hour constant reporting.

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