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I'm sick of writing edgy things, so I think I'll write something uncontroversial. Journalists are slime.

Let's note some too-often unrecognized things about the world. Most importantly: the world is unfathomably complex. People often get lost in the point that there are 7 billion people, but think about it this way: when you sit by a road and watch the cars go by, thousands an hour in many places, each car has at least one person inside with their own goals, priorities, ambitions, problems, hang-ups, regrets, fetishes, secrets and worldview. And that's just in your local area.

There's a lot going on in the world, a lot more than you can reasonably make sense of. Sure there are apparent patterns, people act for reasons, but those reasons are so complex and subtle that even the people acting can scarcely make sense of them.

Why do I say all this, and what does it have to do with journalists? Journalists are people in the business of steamrolling over the complexities of the world that they don't, but still purport to, understand. They see the mess of reality, with millions of events every day, and pick from it several to headline their newsfeed. Because journalists are humans (theoreticaly), and humans like coherence, they will pick events which seem to be related and form a coherent structure. This is a necessity of their unnecessary line of work, but this is also where the real danger inevitably begins: journalists create a narrative over the world.

But anyway, a journalist isn't just reporting an arbitrary set of things to consumers, but is reporting them badly, an usually arrogantly at that. Usually, journalists become incredibly conceited. When a journalist looks at his résumé and sees all the smart-sounding articles he's written on science and international politics and culture, he has the erroneous idea that he's some kind of renaissance man who's God's gift to Earth. They, like so many, mistake the fact that they are influential and powerful for proof that they are competence and helpful for the world.

But let's return to the important point of narrative creation. Now the psychological gratification someone gets from watching the news or reading a periodical doesn't come from an inner desire to be "informed" (meaning just to learn facts about the world), it comes from an inner need to make sense of a world so obviously beyond our understanding. When you read a New York Times column or read a political blog or watch a news story, you feel fulfilled because you're making sense of the world in terms of a narrative. When information is lacking, you can't help but fill in the gaps with yout own assumptions or biases. Importantly, when the content of the new runds contrary to your own narrative, even though you may still be becoming more "informed," you'll find the contradiction utterly disturbing, and usually end up rationalizing it away.

Journalism isn't about opening people's minds or bringing light to the masses or anything nearly that masturbatory. It's about promoting a journalist's narrative and acculturating the masses to his worldview. Now there's a weird pretense common nowadays that journalists should try to be "unbiased," which is prima facie ridiculous. As soon as they have to pick a story from the endless statistical noise of the real world, they are already relying on their biases; they inevitably pick information that makes sense for their worlview. As soon as you narrow in on any particular event, you're already subtly setting up a narrative. You may not spell it out explicitly (one rarely does in practice), but your viewers can fill in the blanks you want, and this is true whether you are aware of your particular biases or not. When a journalist (or anyone else) says that they are "unbiased," what they really mean is that they are so transfixed on their own ideology that they can't even conceive of anything else being true. It's just taken as given! An "unbiased" journalist in the West (or any Westerner) believes a large set of ridiculous things about the world, everyone does, it's how we make sense of everything around us.

There's that famous anecdote from the life of Michelangelo which is highly relevant (it's probably apocryphal, but bears an important truth regardless). Once he had finished his quite exquisite sculpture of David, he was asked how he managed to carve such an amazing and life-like statue from a slab of stone. "Easy!" he retorted, "Just cut away all the parts that don't look like David!" Too cute.

Journalists do something much like Michelangelo. They have to take the huge mass of information in the world, the stone slab, and carve down so that it can fit on a periodical or a news report. A journalist, like Michelangelo, doesn't just carve off random pieces of the slab, they carve it so that what remains makes sense. If that weren't the case, what would remain would be incoherent and useless to everyone. Journalists have to cast a narrative to appeal to people in the same way a sculptor has to cast a coherent statue to make real (i.e. non-Post-Modern) art.

The important thing is that just like a stone slab can be carved into David or Goliath or Zeus or a moushroom, the mess of noise and happenings in the real world can be cut down to any possible narrative. Marxists can see what they're looking for in the world as easily as Seveth Day Adventists. So can Republicans, Monarchists, racists, "anti-racists," mercantilists and physiocrats. All you have to do is make the news a bring string of events that push your rain to a certain conclusion, which is easy to do, because events that will corroborate your worldview will inevitably be out there due to the world's fundamental compexity (the exceptions, be they few or many, can be easily filtered out by the media).

Everyone knows jow to lie with lies; journalists know how to lie with selective truths. At that, truly "telling the truth" about the world is impossible. Our narratives can only palely approximate what's actually going on out there.