Activism, Free Speech, Journalism, Media, Regressive Left, Science / Tech, Social Media, Tech, Top Stories

A Black Eye for the Columbia Journalism Review

Ideological polarization has become a growing problem in many sectors of society. But it is especially corrosive to public discourse when it infects organizations whose traditional role has been to hold everyone else to account for the integrity of their reporting. We need those organizations to act as a sort of referee when journalists of any description—including those at Quillette—fail to exhibit high standards. This becomes impossible when they instead act as combatants in the culture wars.

Earlier this month, for example, the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), which describes itself as “the national voice of Canadian journalists,” “committed to protecting the public’s right to know,” and “dedicated to promoting excellence in journalism,” signed on to the claim that Canada is perpetuating an ongoing “genocide” against Indigenous people, and encouraged journalists to take on an activist role by promoting “decolonizing approaches to their work [and] publications in order to educate all Canadians about Indigenous women, girls & 2SLGBTQQIA people.” It hardly needs pointing out that this sort of explicit activist agenda—however well-intentioned—is completely incompatible with the project of objective journalism.

Meanwhile, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) now is apparently in the business of deplatforming mainstream pundits such as Christina Hoff Sommers. And an insider account of SPLC operations recently published in The New Yorker explains how the group has a built-in incentive to inflate the scope of “hate and bigotry” its researchers discover. “Though the center claimed to be effective in fighting extremism, ‘hate’ always continued to be on the rise, more dangerous than ever, with each year’s report on hate groups,” Bob Moser writes of his tenure at the organization. “‘The SPLC—making hate pay,’ we’d say.”

In recent years, this trend has come to infect the Columbia Journalism Review, which presents itself as “the intellectual leader in the rapidly changing world of journalism.” In the past, this self-branding was credible. And the CJR still publishes plenty of valuable articles about the world of journalism (such as this interesting survey of publicists’ opinions of journalists, by Andrew McCormick). But in some cases, the CJR has succumbed to the above-described trend, by which watchdog organizations that once prized themselves on fastidious neutrality now lend their voice to fashionable ideological postures.

Last month, the CJR published an article by trans activist Parker Molloy essentially demanding that when it comes to the issue of male-bodied individuals seeking to compete in female athletics, journalists should present only one side of the issue—on the basis that naysayers don’t “have all the facts,” and their words “could be used to reinforce ignorance.” These are thinly coded appeals to de facto self-censorship, and it is strange to see them published by an outlet whose nominal purpose is to promote excellence in journalism.

This month, CJR stepped over the line again. And this time, the resultant hit on the CJR brand was worse. Molloy’s piece was torqued and one-sided. But it did not contain any actual errors. The same was not true of Jared Holt’s June 12 CJR piece, entitled Right-wing publications launder an anti-journalist smear campaign, which attacks a study by researcher Eoin Lenihan that shows a close ideological connection between Antifa and the journalists who follow Antifa most closely on Twitter.

As a Quillette editor, I initially was interested to see what Holt had come up with, since he often has performed valuable work as an investigator with the progressive advocacy group People For the American Way, and because Quillette is featured as one of the “right-wing publications” that allegedly served to “launder” Lenihan’s work.

But, to quote a headline from last week, Holt’s article “backfired.” As two detailed critiques have shown, the CJR article contains important mistakes and intellectually dishonest reporting. Worst of all, Holt doesn’t appear to understand Lenihan’s methodology. His CJR article suggests that a journalist was deemed “highly connected” to Antifa under Lenihan’s analysis if that journalist had eight or more connections on Twitter to “either accounts run by antifascist activists, or [run by] one lecturer at Hong Kong University.” There are two separate mistakes here. To meet Lenihan’s criteria, a journalist wasn’t required to have eight or more connections to any ‘antifascist’ account (a standard that would have swept up untold thousands of accounts). Rather, Lenihan’s requirement was that such journalists must be connected to eight or more entries from within a prescribed set of just 16 influential Antifa accounts—a much stricter criterion that was met by only 15 well-known journalists. Moreover, as even CJR has admitted by way of correction (which the editors euphemistically have termed an “update”), Holt misidentified the author who wrote Antifa’s foundational text—Mark Bray—confusing him with another scholar of the same name who works in a completely different field, in Hong Kong.

Notwithstanding the dramatic CJR headline, Holt didn’t even pretend to identify any real errors in Lenihan’s analysis. The closest he comes in this regard is casting doubt on Lenihan’s characterization of Alexander Reid Ross as an “eco-extremist,” and complaining about Lenihan’s description of Emily Gorcenski as running a “Doxing site.” But Ross was an editor of the Earth First! journal, which advocates for “direct action” and sits at the radical editorial extreme of the environmentalist movement. And Gorcenski has bragged openly about her doxxing. (As for Holt’s suggestion that Lenihan is wrong to say that Antifa is often “more violent” than fascist groups, we’d suggest that Holt pay attention to recent events in Portland and Washington.)

For the most part, Holt falls back on the sort of name-calling (“right-wing troll” and “far-right social media user” both make appearances) more commonly associated with comment threads and Twitter fights. Much of Holt’s article is padded out with speculation about how unhinged extremists might exploit Lenihan’s article to nefarious ends, as well as a character-assassination subplot about Lenihan being suspended from Twitter following his use of a parody account that mocked political correctness. Just a few years ago, this sort of snobbish ad hominem approach to journalism would have itself been the subject of CJR critique. In 2019, the CJR serves it up as featured content.

But there was one thing that Holt got right: Neither Lenihan nor Quillette nor any other media outlet acquiesced to Holt’s demand to inspect their fact-checking methods. Moreover, Lenihan himself was reluctant to divulge the details of his research methods with Holt because he intends to adapt this project for publication in an academic journal. Some journals will disqualify a submission if the contents already have been shared publicly (though, contrary to Lenihan’s own expressed concerns, this is not the case with Social Networks, a publication to which Lenihan already has submitted his work).

But Lenihan did share his data with Quillette—including a draft of the academic article he’s written about his research, a list of the 16 Antifa seed Twitter accounts he used as the basis of his analysis, the identity of the 58,254 users who were found to follow one or more of these accounts, the scripts Lenihan used to analyze and record relationships among Twitter accounts, the tabulated statistical results of this analysis, and the list of 75 text strings used as proxies to distinguish truly extreme Antifa-related beliefs (“dox them,” “punch them,” “club them,” etc.) from the more moderate campus-friendly version (“fuck white people,” #fuckwhitesupremacy, #goodnightwhitepride, etc.). And on Tuesday, Lenihan authorized me to discuss this material publicly. All of this data was provided in digital format. So not only was I able to fact-check the integrity of Lenihan’s own data-visualization figures, I also was able to create my own variations, and so could test the effect of different parameters so as to help ensure that the author wasn’t cherry-picking his values in a way that allowed him to achieve pre-determined results. In the figures I prepared below using Gephi’s Degree Range tool, for instance, I show how the structure of Lenihan’s mapping of Twitter relationships would change when different values are applied in regard to a user’s minimum required connections to the seed list of 16 Antifa accounts.

As is well known to anyone who uses data-visualization software (or watches TED Talks), there are all sorts of exotic ways that large data sets may be presented. And Holt goes on at some length in his article about how splashy quantitative methods can bewilder ordinary readers and lay journalists. But Lenihan’s analysis is actually fairly straightforward, and all of his raw data is drawn from a publicly accessible source. Similar forms of analysis have been used for years by other scholars to track relationships among right-wing extremists (without provoking any kind of controversy). These methods also are commonly used by marketers seeking to identify key influencers and relationships within their target demographics. (There are more advanced methods available that incorporate machine-learning algorithms, but Lenihan doesn’t employ them.)

Lenihan’s conclusion that the high-profile journalists who monitor Antifa most closely on Twitter also are the ones who most dependably write pro-Antifa articles is referred to by Holt as an “allegation”—as if this were some kind of criminal indictment. But it’s not clear why Lenihan’s findings strike Holt (or anyone) as particularly controversial—since the journalists whom Lenihan identifies by name don’t exactly hide their pro-Antifa views. Jason Wilson of the Guardian, most notably, writes fawningly of Antifa activists—and even appears to have endorsed the Antifa tactic of doxxing its enemies, a tactic Lenihan himself (rightly) abhors.

Indeed, the very idea that Lenihan was engaged in any kind of “smear campaign” (to quote the headline on the CJR article) is a fiction that dissolves upon contact with Lenihan’s own words. “It should be stressed that a journalist’s close social-media engagement with any particular group should not be seen as incriminating per se,” Lenihan wrote in Quillette. “Many journalists follow—and even interact with—all manner of figures online, either out of personal curiosity, professional interest, or even as a means of developing sources. In identifying this group of 15 journalists whose engagement with Antifa is especially intense, our goal was not to accuse them of bias out of hand, but rather to identify them for further study, so as to determine if there was any overall correlation between the level of their online engagement with Antifa and the manner by which these journalists treated Antifa in their published journalism.”

In other words, the analysis that Holt characterizes as some kind of dangerous plot against progressive journalists is basically just a study of media bias—the sort of subject that, until recently, CJR was known for covering dispassionately.

When it comes to statistical studies, bigger data sets typically deliver more robust results. And in this respect, Twitter supplies researchers with a gold mine, since the relationships among users generally are public, and this information easily can be harvested en masse by automated data-gathering tools. Lenihan’s methods are being used by many other researchers to investigate all manner of trends in every sector of our society, including journalism. An outlet such as CJR should be encouraging the use of modern analytical techniques, rather than presenting them as sinister and opaque.

Essays attacking the left- or right-wing bias of this or that media outlet are, of course, old hat in my business. But CJR is a special case. It is a respected and venerable institution. We need outlets such as CJR—and, yes, the CAJ and SPLC—to act as voices of authority when writers, editors and broadcasters go astray. One hopes that this cautionary tale, and others like it, help lead them back to their original mission.

 

Jonathan Kay is Canadian Editor of Quillette. Follow him online at @jonkay.

91 Comments

    • What is the “info” you are referring to? You link a very biased hit piece full of innuendos and smears. Why would the author include this? He already refers to other hit pieces and innuendos. Why is it ‘strange’ he leaves this poorly written piece out?

      • Boris says

        Lenihan is a white supremacist. He’s got white supremacist friends that help him harass, doxx and hack people. I look forward to your entertaining evasions.

        Looks like “ProgDad” was interested in doxxing and hacking people. His chat logs have been leaked and it doens’t look good for Quillette’s reputation:

        [2018-02-06 09:34:46] Need help anyone who can hack dox etc. Help.

        [2018-02-06 09:49:32] Yea. I’ll deny and I’ll threaten legal from my professional twitter account if he continues.

        [2018-02-06 10:33:22] Thanks guys. This nigga a real cuck.

        [2018-02-06 10:56:29] He is the kind of fag that can cause a lot of trouble for me in my place of work. I’m the kind they love going after. Gasp, a non left wing professor.

        [2018-02-06 11:07:42] They are fucking scum. I faced them in my job so ProgDad is my way of pushing back. Education is in deep trouble.

        [2018-02-08 02:53:12] When will it be joke when you say remember when you couldn’t talk about the Jew taboo 😂
        [2018-02-08 02:54:32] Don’t know but it sounds like a more relaxed and honest time. I’m in.

        https://pastebin.com/cj4b5Ubz

        • Mïkl says

          How do we know it’s real? SJWs often lie and they often produce their own fabrications.

          • Boris says

            Well, a lot of those accounts have been banned from Twitter, but some that survive match the discussion and the date. Hard to imagine that anyone would fake it. And the logs were apparently posted in March, 2018. Looks legit to me.

            And there is supposedly a video featuring Lenihan and a white supremacist. I suspect a lot more is going to come out.

          • Mïkl says

            “Hard to imagine that anyone would fake it.” -Boris

            Hard to imagine? LOL! I can easily imagine why the autoritarian moralists who call themselves ‘antifascists’ would want to fake it.

            By the way, how many of your LARPing “antifascist” gurus are in favor of any means necessary to fight those Evil Nazis and don’t mind doxxing, assaults, intimidation, bomb threats, etc.? Don’t pretend this is the kind of thing that actually bothers you.

            And even if that pastebin stuff is real that wouldn’t necessarily mean his research / conclusions aren’t valid. Many journalists are activists posing as journalists. It’s not even a secret.

            Take that clown in The Guardian for example, the one who claimed that this ‘Proud Boys’ club was labeled extremist by the FBI, he’s not a journalist he’s an activist posing as a journalist. The Guardian editors don’t care cause their readers don’t care, on the contrary they even like it.

          • Mïkl says

            “And there is supposedly a video featuring Lenihan and a white supremacist.”

            Whoa… is it Ben Shapiro?

          • Boris says

            “Hard to imagine? LOL! ”

            You think someone knew that ProgDad would be involved in a scandal in over a year and spent hours faking chat logs? That seems utterly implausible.

            “And even if that pastebin stuff is real that wouldn’t necessarily mean his research / conclusions aren’t valid.”

            This is kind of amazing. The whole point of Lenhian’s article was that journalists are too cozy with Antifa, and so they aren’t trustworthy. But you don’t find that this same logic applies to Lenihan? Keep tying yourself into knots, as I said, it’s entertaining.

            “The Guardian editors don’t care cause their readers don’t care, on the contrary they even like it.”

            This might mean something coming from someone who doesn’t excuse the exact same behavior in the white supremacists he defends.

          • Mïkl says

            “…someone who doesn’t excuse the exact same behavior in the white supremacists he defends.” -Boris

            Does ‘white supremacists’ here also include Quillette? By the way I’d like to see a definition for that term so we can tell who is and who isn’t one by looking up the definition but keep on hallucinating demons and sinners, I’m sure someone somewhere reading the comments will appreciate it and be like Yeah Boris is debating one of those Nazis who reads Quillette

          • Mïkl says

            “…ProgDad would be involved in a scandal in over a year…” -Boris

            His Twitter account seems to have been an affront to SJW morals well before he wrote his research paper. These people keep lists of Enemies. Just like the Vegans do. Most of them have nothing better to do with their lives.

            “…spent hours faking chat logs? That seems utterly implausible.” -Boris

            No it’s not when you know what kind of people and their mental problems make up the “elite” troops of the SJW outrage mob online. They have lots of time on their hands. Like for example that neurotic loser who was spending his entire days on Wikiped!a and Rati0nalWiki, writing and re-writing articles that he so badly wanted the whole world to believe.

            I don’t know technically how time consuming it would be but if it’s good for the cause you can bet some of these clowns could find the time necessary. It’s not like they have jobs and families.

            But I never use chat rooms so I don’t know how we’re supposed to verify if these things are authentic or not.

          • Mïkl says

            “The whole point of Lenhian’s article was that journalists are too cozy with Antifa, and so they aren’t trustworthy.” -Boris

            Some journalists are indeed too cozy with ‘Antifa’ activists and you don’t need an article in some peer reviewed social science journal to reach that conclusion.

            “But you don’t find that this same logic applies to Lenihan?” -Boris

            I don’t care about Lenihan. I thought the point of scientific articles — ‘scientific’ here being a loose term because we’re talking social sciences and social media — is to lay out the methods and explain how conclusions were reached. Is it good research? Maybe. He sure p1ssed off many journalists and activists.

            I don’t think I would trust someone like him to report on events where he could be in an ideological conflict of interests and he could decide to sweep certain facts under the rug or make up stories to smear his Enemies.

            But is he a journalist writing stories for mainstream publications to try to influence the public’s opinion and push his agenda?

            You don’t seem to be able to put things in context.

          • Mïkl says

            …put things in context

            Take for example the 60+ mainstream journalists who attended private off-the-record meetings with the director and chief strategist of the Clinton presidential campaign. Thanks to Wikileaks we know who they are.

            But how many mainstream media companies published articles on the fact that sixty mainstream journalists were too cozy with the Clinton camp? Some of them were even sending their articles to Podesta for approval — and he was later hired by the New York Times.

            Another example: the JournoList, a private e-mail list that had 400 journalists and writers. Created by Ezra Klein, the co-founder of that thing named Vox. There was another one like that for videogame publications, GameJournoPros. Filled with SJW moralists.

            These people don’t write papers for social science journals that barely have 500 readers, they write stories for the masses.

            The biased journalists and the activists dressed up as journalists want the power to influence the public’s opinion to push their agenda.

            Wake me up when Lenihan and his ültright extremesupremacists buddies are starting to take over the media and try to push their agenda.

          • Boris says

            “His Twitter account seems to have been an affront to SJW morals well before he wrote his research paper. These people keep lists of Enemies. Just like the Vegans do. Most of them have nothing better to do with their lives.”

            You don’t seem to have much of an understanding of what’s going on here. Of course people suspected that ProgDad was in league with white supremacists. That was obvious by his fans and his behavior. But there was no reason to falsify chats in 2018. Lenihan was completely under the radar.

            “I don’t know technically how time consuming it would be but if it’s good for the cause you can bet some of these clowns could find the time necessary. It’s not like they have jobs and families.”

            So, yeah, someone could theoretically spend hours falsifying chat logs. But why would it be “good for the cause” in 2018? ProgDad’s harassment was already publicly visible and everyone except for clueless conservatives knew he was a right wing troll.

            “I’d like to see a definition for that term so we can tell who is and who isn’t one by looking up the definition but keep on hallucinating demons and sinners”

            I’m really not interested in playing “No true white supremacist” with you. You can easily look up any definition if you’re having trouble.

          • Mïkl says

            “You can easily look up any definition if you’re having trouble.” -Boris

            ANY definition? Like an elastic definition from your favorite Antifa guru? Or your favorite social science professor who’s an expert in Intersectionality? Some of those brilliant professors claim the white nuclear family is a tool of white supremacy.

            You’re aware that in some colleges freedom of speech is considered adjacent to white supremacy? I have a link to an article about a professor who said diversity of opinion is white supremacist bullsh1t.

            So go ahead, give me a definition. You said I’m defending white supremacists and presumably in your mind by extention you’re saying I’m defending white supremacy too. So I’d like to know what it is exactly. What’s this terrible sin that I’m accused of committing. If it’s so easy to understand then it should be easy for you to explain it.

          • Boris says

            “ANY definition? Like an elastic definition from your favorite Antifa guru? Or your favorite social science professor who’s an expert in Intersectionality? Some of those brilliant professors claim the white nuclear family is a tool of white supremacy.”

            Any definition you want. Try a dictionary.

            “You’re aware that in some colleges freedom of speech is considered adjacent to white supremacy? I have a link to an article about a professor who said diversity of opinion is white supremacist bullsh1t.”

            It seems like you want to write about colleges rather than the information that has come out about Lenihan. He’s dishonestly exaggerated his credentials, for example. He lied about outing Paul Nehlen as a white supremacist. His interview with Paul Nehlen did nothing but allow Nehlen to speak to ProgDad’s alt-right audience.

            I’m sure there are plenty of professors who have said dumb things, though.

            “You said I’m defending white supremacists and presumably in your mind by extention you’re saying I’m defending white supremacy too.”

            Given the leaked chat logs, the videos, the behavior and the lies, you’re at least defending a terrible person. That you constantly want to deflect is not a good sign.

          • Mïkl says

            “…than the information that has come out about Lenihan.” -Boris

            Cause I don’t really care about him he’s just some academic somewhere in Ireland. I didn’t need Lenihan to learn that there are Antifa moralists disguised as journalists. It was well documented in some cases I saw a few months ago.

            “He’s dishonestly exaggerated his credentials, for example.” -Boris

            And this was a dishonestly exaggerated accusation if I read the DC article correctly.

            “Given the leaked chat logs, the videos, the behavior and the lies, you’re at least defending a terrible person.” -Boris

            Like I’m going to spend hours and hours sifting through everything this guy ever posted on the internet to find something bad so I can find a pretext to reject his study and his conclusions. I have a life, unlike the typical SJW/Antifa online activist.

            And you’re the one who says it seems utterly implausible that his enemies could invest time in manipulating evidence to attack him and attack the reputation of publications who have noticed that many journalists are activists disguised as journalists. You’re funny. We’re talking about a cult of pathologically vindictive and immature people. How many hours and emotions have they spent on this already?

          • Mïkl says

            The truth is that this guy could secretly be some racist douchebag with bad thoughts in his private life and that wouldn’t necessarily mean his study is bunk. Same thing would be true of a SJW racist sexist who published a study documenting something real — it wouldn’t mean it’s bogus because that person is an anti-white racist or an anti-men sexist, if the methods and conclusions are solid and are worth something.

            You don’t seem to understand the difference between journalists working in the media, how journalistic articles are produced, published, distributed, and their influence on society Vs academics begging for money for studies and trying to publish their papers.

            This guy’s sin was pointing the finger at the close relationship between many journalists and the moralists who hallucinate fascists and nazis everywhere and who use their influence over the public’s opinion to try to push their moral agenda.

            He shined light on a situation that the activists don’t want the public to be aware of because it would discredit them and the media corporations they work with and it would lead many people to abandon these publications and seek their news elsewhere. That’s why they went in seek-and-destroy mode. (…)

          • Mïkl says

            [note to the moderator: it would be nice to know which words are blocked by the filter (you can send the list to my e-mail address) cause I don’t know why comment # 103986 didn’t pass, I’ll rewrite it]

          • Mïkl says

            (sorry moderator, ignore my previous comment I just saw it was published)

          • Mïkl says

            (…) A smiliar thing happened with SJWs working in videogames magazines for example. They went after ‘the gamers’ and tried to manufacture all kinds of incidents and evidence to try to prove this thing called ‘Gamergate’ was a movement of misogynistic online terrorists harassing poor innocent women who just want to make video games. The SJW clique on the GameJournoPros list didn’t want their readers to know the truth.

            Same type of behavior with the clique of SJW activists who are camping on Wikipedia: they want Google and other corporations to keep on promoting Wikipedia and they want the public to keep on trusting Wikipedia so they can keep on injecting their propaganda on it.

            As I wrote already, wake me up when the ‘white supremacists’ are taking over the media and try to use their influence over the public’s opinion to push their agenda. Journalists should be journalists, not activists.

    • Respek Wahmen says

      It’s not included because this article here is about the CJR and not about how funny and amusing Lenihan apparently is, but thanks for sharing/promoting him.

    • Other than the fact that Lenihan seems to be using mocking irony to debunk his ideological opponents, I can’t see any info that might have been ‘strangely left out’. What point are you making jeru?

  1. dirk says

    The big problem with objective journalism is, of course, that it attracts neither many readers, nor many voters. Except a handful of wise old and grey men and women, but that’s it.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Then add a profit/income motive and you quickly find most sources conforming to groupthink and adding more “surprises” and “outrage” to drive its entertainment value.

  2. It’s only going to get worse, as journalism schools view their own role as moral activists trying to propagandize and manipulate the reader to a far-left dogma, as though they were lackeys for the catholic church in the 16th century, or sycophants for Prada.

    It’s a suicidal business model that reminds me of Barnes and Noble when it was going out of business –in an effort to increase sales, they started chasing bestsellers only while slashing knowledgable clerks. So the whole point of going to the bookstore as opposed to ordering on Amazon was lost, and it became a self-defeating strategy spiraling down . In the same way, journalists are losing power and narrative control and readership to social media, You tube, and online journals like Quillette. Their business strategy is to chase the extreme views for clicks–eg, they’ve discovered that if they are virulently anti-Trump, they get a dedicated click bait brigade. So they chase down into more and more irrelevance. The psychological component is a group of trained people – journalists – who feel increasingly irrelevant. Their response is to become more partisan and dogmatic and to change their roles into moral pious priests who, though they have fewer readers, are morally superior to most Americans and whose cause is just. They begin to write not for the audience, but for fellow priests and upper class intellectuals, so they get invited to insider dinner parties. This is easy as most journalists are upper class whites who already feel like they are superior and who already enjoy insider dinner parties; it’s easy for them to feel they’re superior within those dinner parties, patting each other on the back and not having to change a thing that they do, only what they Tweet, because they’re white saviors rescuing poor Black and Brown people with their intellectual and moral superiority, and uplifting all of humanity (except for White Men – not themselves but the Other) with their enlightened dogma.

    They then contribute to their own death spiral and as they do, they become even more convinced of their piety and role as priests, and more desperate for clicks.

    I don’t think journalism has a good future.

    • peanut gallery says

      Why do they need a school for journalism anyway? Here are some common principles journalists should have, go ask questions! At most, they just need to make sure they’re decent writers.

      • novavon88 says

        WE DON’T! Journalism “schools” are the problem, not the solution. If you do not possess inherent curiosity plus an ability to write/talk to people and tell a (true) story, you do not belong in the business, any more than I belong in the NBA.

        Possessing that, jouralism, written or broadcast, can be taught in six months in a newsroom, particularly with a solid mentor. EVERY SINGLE SECOND of education beyond that could be spent on science, history, business, economics, history, literature, art, history, civics, engineering, history, or maybe… history.

        THAT will create a rock solid journalist. I used to think journalism “school” was a waste of time. Now I an convinced they are malignant.

    • D, the whole of the postmodernist trained humanist ascendancy, which has been for at least 60-70 years the social administration side of consumer (Indulgence) capitalism, has gradually become indistinguishable in role and function from the second pillar of the medieval world; i.e., The Church. And it seems to be behaving very similarly to the Church when it was faced with the rise of Protestantism and the break up of the Medieval world.

      This ascendancy is becoming very aggressive in the hunt for heresy and heretics. Its once libertarian principles seem to have disappeared in favour of protecting its entrenched interests and stipends throughout the architecture of discourse and institutional power, that is distributed mainly in the public sector, but also the social administration side of corporate power.

      The giveaway that they are regime agents rather than some benign quasi socialist outside force trying to humanize capitalism, is that they promote exactly the same indulgent and fantasy driven deregulatory and privatization agenda as their corporate opposite numbers…..that has all but destroyed our social infrastructure in the same way the corporates have been going through the ecological family silver…same agenda different theatres of damage….same lack of responsible stewardship….same appalling outcomes.

      And the irony is that the starter gun for The Reformation was the corrupting influence of the church’s sale of indulgences (paying for early escapes from purgatory) and the accumulated loss of its sense of what it was really there to do.

  3. Jen says

    Another good example of O’sullivan’s law: “All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing”.

  4. thousandleaves says

    To borrow your example, Barnes and Noble is still surviving today, while many other major booksellers have gone out of business. They did so by expanding into other areas–half of a typical store is now toys, children’s items, gifts, and other non-book items, for example. (Firing full-time, knowledgeable employees in favor of cheaper part-time labor unfortunately continues to occur.) Not all journalistic outlets are following the described death spiral; some expand into other fields (like sports journalism, where a pre-existing bias almost seems required), while using the new revenue to subsidize traditional journalism. Is this any better? Probably not–but it may mean that journalism’s dismal future is not as carved in stone as other evidence suggests.

    • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

      @thousandleaves In March, Barnes and Noble warned of lower-than-expected profits, sending its stock plunging to below the price of a paperback book. It’s now been sold to a hedge fund company.

    • staticnoise says

      @thousandleaves
      So much to chew on here… Is there any more irrelevant and loathsome creature than a sports journalist? Pre-existing bias indeed. Anyway, as far as journalism goes the Internet gives and the Internet takes away. It used to be that the ‘real’ journalist was a filter, smoking out the junk and reporting on the relevant, at least that’s the way I remember it decades ago. Journalists were careful to hide their ideological selves. However, in the years that preceded the Internet that practice all but disappeared. The Internet now lets us find the rest of the story but we have to be our own filters.Oh boy is there a lot of junk out there to sift through.

      What does this have to do with Barnes and Noble. Well it’s the same killer, right? Different weapons but the perp is the same.

  5. Good point @thousandleaves. I should clarify I dont mean journalism.will necessarily become obsolete. Indeed that was why I used the barnes and noble analogy as opposed to any number of companies that went entirely belly up because they death spiraled..There is perhaps a future for print journalism but the best case scenario is a far smaller niche and not nearly the same market and cultural impact. The worst case is them losing sight entirely of their vision as the fifth estate and becoming instead partisan hack propagandists with zero integrity and a toxic quasi religious ferver.

  6. Geary Johansen says

    Like many Brits, I used to have a fairly jaded view of journalism- until a former paparazzi mate of mine, turned nature photographer, pointed out that many of the war correspondents I so admired, were often quickly redeployed by their editor to doorstep some celebrity. Now, I imagine I feel like many Democrats, once so critical of Bush, wistfully yearning for him in an era of Trump.

    Because something really has changed in journalism. Whether it’s our culture, political polarisation, the wholesale destruction of traditional media’s income streams and the urge to create click-bait, only speeding the demise of the fourth estate- it seems as though many of the newer breed of journalists seem to have undertaken activism as a substitute for what was once investigative journalism. It feels as though many in our younger generation have fallen prey to the notion that if they abandon objective truth (and often it’s concept) in the goal of getting their guys over the winning line, politically, everything will be just fine and dandy, Shangri-La. Older perspectives should inform them that neither side of the political spectrum has the prescription for what ails us, and it is only by the process of engaging with the arguments of both sides, that one can really reach anything approaching a rational set of policies to incrementally improve society- but, of course, the adults responsible for educating them doubtless had their own political leaning…

    It’s not unusual by any means. Younger teachers copy and paste reports to parents on their pupils, whilst older teachers still hand write them. According to a Scottish CID detective sergeant I met over beers, younger police officers fill their crime stats and then retire to the office to drink tea and play with their phones, whilst their older colleagues will get out in the car and cruise round known crime hot spots, if they are at loose ends.

    At least in the UK, despite the consistently growing trend to frame issues in a disingenuous manner, we still have pockets of journalism that at least challenge to broader cultural narrative, such as Andrew Neal dissecting a trans activist on ‘whiteness’- I was going to link it, but it appears my YouTube might have changed… In the US, they only have a Tim Poole and a few other resources on YouTube even trying to challenge the perceived wisdom of the moment, along with the Hill and the distributed network of small town papers that almost no-one bothers to read anymore.

    This is troubling, because it is only through the gathering of evidence from multiple sources, that we as citizens get to hold our governments, our institutions and our corporations to account. The modern alternative of supposition, conjecture, and attribution of malign motives in the service of stereotypes, is always subjective opinion which fails to land a blow sufficient to provoke change or reform. Without this mechanism we really are in trouble…

    • Chai says

      It may be as you say, that young journalists fall on the wrong path because it promises easier times. It may also be that Germany’s Long March Through The Institutions serves as a blue print: political activists going into journalism because running the media will be highly effective for their political goals. They have zero interest in whether journalism exists after they won – it’s just a tool that you discard once the task is done.

      It worked great in Germany, our media are even more progressive than the US or UK media, and our political landscape followed the lead. There’s now a tight bundling in that the media will decide elections and will afterwards work as “explainers” for government policy.

  7. GregS says

    Washington-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

    I believe the SPLC is based in Montgomery, Alabama.

    • Farris says

      @Greg S.

      True but it is located on Washington Ave.

  8. Anaximander says

    CJR is doing the left a grave disservice by succumbing to the creeping trend of regressive cancel culture and piousness-by-practice—it sends a message to the most extreme elements that their tactics are working. But—with the exception of a few cases outside of academia—the payoff only exists on social media, and nothing of meaning has been achieved for the cause. I’m willing to wager the average American’s view on CJR’s corruption aligns with the spirit of this article rather than facilitating any material change within their own belief set. CJR, for the majority, gets relegated to the same pit of passive dismissal as CNN. It becomes another round in the right-wing’s “liberal elite vs. the people” narrative magazine.

  9. Super Edgelord says

    Isn’t this the field with the motto “afflict the comfortable, and comfort the afflicted” or along those lines? The entire field is predicated on an absurd premise not only confessing its codified bias but advocating it as the driving purpose. It is self-discrediting.

    Also, that there should be 2 sides to every story is another ludicrous starting point, it’s like a field designed for midwits who couldn’t quite cut it in anything demanding or productive.

    I enjoy my fair-trade, gluten-free, organic, trans-racial coffee that much more each and every day knowing the farce that is journalism is ever closer to being rightly perceived as on par with gender studies and related nonsense.

    • OleK says

      ^This

      I never understood that motto – how is that even journalism?

  10. Scrubwater says

    ”2SLGBTQQIA people” I am always amazed at how that term keeps expanding. In the spirit of keeping things simpler, I propose we use the term: Anyone Not White Heterosexual Male or ”ANWHM” instead.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Scrubwater

      Something does need to be done. We need a stable acronym to be sure. But ANWHM doesn’t trip off the tongue. I’d nominate SAVO: Self Appointed Victims of Oppression. In days gone by: FAP: Freaks And Perverts. I suppose you’re right tho, it is easier to list the folks who are not entitled to Victimhood, but note that that now includes Asians and Jews. It seems they are now white. Someone should offer a prize for the best term to encapsulate all Victimhood.

      • David of Kirkland says

        Because there’s no societal oppression against blacks, women or homosexuals or other “Freaks And Perverts”?
        You don’t have to like them, but they should enjoy Liberty and Equal Protection.

        • Scrubbers says

          “Because there’s no societal oppression against blacks, women or homosexuals or other “Freaks And Perverts”?”

          Not in the western world today there isn’t. Sure there are intolerant people, but society as a whole isn’t.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @David of Kirkland

          I quite agree. I do things that others consider unnatural and it’s no one’s business but mine.

      • TarsTarkas says

        PERV:

        People who are Extreme Racism Victims

      • Well not all victimhood, but I am working on the transactivist campaign at the moment…..

        CrosSOF….Cross Sexual Obfuscator Fantasist
        NASTI……..Noxiously Aggressive Sexist Trans Invasive
        Transtapo…Non neologic but thoroughly truculent trannie enforcers

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Scrubwater

      How did the Two Spirit people get to go ahead of the lesbian and gay people?

    • Stephanie says

      Scrubwater, yes, and interesting how 2S got placed in the honour position at the front. First time I’ve seen that, and a not-so-subtle hint at a power struggle within the hierarchy of SAVOs.

    • Serenity Now says

      @Scrubwater

      I rather enjoy the addition of more letters. It furthers the ultimate ending for groups like this when they begin to eat themselves.

    • McForge says

      I was scrolling through trying to see if anyone explained what the 2S at the start and extra letters meant. The more they add, the less sympathetic I am. It’s total narcissism. When I was a teenager and had my overload of compassion and naive idealistic desires to magically solve it all just by willing it, when they still had Apartheid in South Africa, and the Berlin Wall was still there, the thing I wrote on my pencil case was “integration, not segregation”. That meant everyone treated the same, and people from all walks of life as one. This crap seems to be all about segregation, and dividing people as much as possible. They can all fuck off and navel gaze about what they like to do with their genitals somewhere else. I’d like to go back to that ‘integration’ version where we all just try and get along and live together and live and let live. These people are totally against that goal, they are every bit as bad as the segregationists who would have people using different water fountains.

  11. Morgan Foster says

    @Jonathan Kay

    “We need outlets such as CJR—and, yes, the CAJ and SPLC—to act as voices of authority when writers, editors and broadcasters go astray.”

    I’m not familiar with the CJR or the CAJ, but I am very familiar with the SPLC and have been so for decades.

    I don’t consider the SPLC to be an honest or an ethical voice of authority on any subject.

    It might be an interesting project for you to attempt to rehabilitate that organization in a Quillette article one day.

    • Denny Sinnoh says

      The SPLC is a “hate group”. It should monitor itself.

  12. dirk says

    There are two things: journalism and (social) science, the first is on n=1 (preferably in a juicy and entertaining style), the second on n= 10.000 or more, and, please, as dry and unreadable as possible, so that nobody (exceot 5 or 10 colleagues of the scientific journal community) can or will read it.

    BTW, progress of society is mainly by natural science (thus technology) and plain one sided journalism (the only one possible).

  13. Elton H says

    “Black eye” is probably too mild of a description for what happened at CJR. It has probably been completely taken over by the Marxists who have been infiltrating academia for the last 60 years. The article in question is probably just a symptom of the Marxist takeover of academia.

    @Jonathan Kay: it’s probably time for liberals to admit the Marxist takeover within your ranks and re-group. You can do so and fight the “alt-right” at the same time.

  14. Farris says

    The notion of journalism and journalists as protectorate is a myth. Walter Duranty over looked Stalin’s purges and famines because it didn’t fit his romanticized notion of the Soviet Union.
    Nevertheless this is an excellent article demonstrating how some in journalism portray themselves as defenders of the people are actually just grinding their own axes. The notion journalists should be unbiased is unrealistic. I would simply advocate for simple honesty. What if all bylines read as follows, “Joe Smith a registered Democrat saw it this way: or Karen Jones a pro life republican reports as follows:”

    • dirk says

      Agree here fully Farris, honesty as a serious and quite feasible objective of journalism, and even fitting in the existing juridical and ethical system, unlike objective or activist journalism, the pies in the sky for ever.

  15. Ray Andrews says

    BTW, is anyone having any luck with the “Notify me of new posts via email.” Tickbox? It doesn’t do anything for me.

    • Jonny Sclerotic says

      Same problem here. It’s never worked for me.

  16. dirk says

    I really wonder! Here, in the NLs, we have two types of newspapers, left wing and rightwing one. In the first type, all journalists and letters to the editor are, e.g., against our local and old “black pete and santa claus” tradition, in the second everybody (unbelievable) is for, really funny. But, I wonder, is that only so in our country? And not in Canada, the US and elsewhere??? I am curious here, would really want to know more about it!

  17. Francisco d'Anconio says

    Does anyone really care what the SPLC says anymore? They have been exposed, and funding is drying up.

  18. V 2.0 says

    I’m doing my bit by not clicking on articles where the headline solicits outrage before the facts are laid out. Sorry actual victims of racism and sexism, I won’t be reading about you. You will just need to deal with the situation the old fashioned way: by defeating your opponents or dying in the attempt. Without my sympathy or help.

    Hopefully if enough people do it these ‘journalists’ will lose their jobs and I can start to care again.

  19. Pingback: If The Columbia Journalism Review Has Any Integrity, They Will Retract Their Article Smearing Me | CauseACTION Clarion

  20. Boris says

    “Holt falls back on the sort of name-calling (“right-wing troll” and “far-right social media user” both make appearances) more commonly associated with comment threads and Twitter fights.”

    This glosses over Lenihan’s behavior, which includes harassment and trolling. Lenihan’s trolling is childish and has been featured approvingly on Stormfront. I can understand why Quillette would want to dodge a discussion of his behavior.

    “this sort of snobbish ad hominem approach to journalism”

    Lenihan’s behavior is important here. He has gained a following in the alt-right and his “trolling” is extremely childish. Since we are trusting him on his description of unpublished research, his poor character is precisely the issue.

    “a list of the 16 Antifa seed Twitter accounts he used as the basis of his analysis”
    But no method for seed account selection? It would be trivial to select a list of seed accounts that would lead to certain journalists.

    If Lenihan has misrepresented his credentials–and thus far it appears that he has–then it will be interesting to see Quillette’s reaction. Based on this site’s inability to acknowledge Lenihan’s trolling, I don’t expect much.

    • Stephanie says

      Boris, repeating the words “trolling,” “childish” and “alt-right” does not constitute an argument. Why waste so much time writing out a comment that says nothing? Explain precisely your allegation or don’t bother saying anything at all.

    • X. Citoyen says

      Accusations of trolling? Add to this the accusations of not washing his hands after he pees, and we’re looking at a real social deviant here.

      • Boris says

        Take a look at his leaked chat with other Nazis. To save time, I’ll go ahead and pre-accept your apology.

  21. David V says

    The problem is that some people are outraged because Lenihan dared to expose to the public what many in the know already knew – namely that Antifa, like BLM, are far from some independent grassroots activist group but in fact are well-organised, funded and connected to journalists and the mainstream Left. They serve what is basically a satellite or auxiliary function for the Left agenda. They purport to be anti-capitalist, anti-globalist and anti-Establishment, yet establishment Left parties and media outlets tolerate them at the least, and indulge them at worst.

    The SPLC, of course, has long been known as a smear machine and its shoddy work practices were known to those in the know was well – but most of the media and the public simply ignored it.

  22. Boris says

    Looks like “ProgDad” was interested in doxxing and hacking people. His chat logs have been leaked and it doens’t look good for Quillette’s reputation:

    [2018-02-06 09:34:46] Need help anyone who can hack dox etc. Help.

    [2018-02-06 09:49:32] Yea. I’ll deny and I’ll threaten legal from my professional twitter account if he continues.

    [2018-02-06 10:33:22] Thanks guys. This nigga a real cuck.

    [2018-02-06 10:56:29] He is the kind of fag that can cause a lot of trouble for me in my place of work. I’m the kind they love going after. Gasp, a non left wing professor.

    [2018-02-06 11:07:42] They are fucking scum. I faced them in my job so ProgDad is my way of pushing back. Education is in deep trouble.

    [2018-02-08 02:53:12] When will it be joke when you say remember when you couldn’t talk about the Jew taboo 😂
    [2018-02-08 02:54:32] Don’t know but it sounds like a more relaxed and honest time. I’m in.

    https://pastebin.com/cj4b5Ubz

    • Denny Sinnoh says

      That’s AWFUL!
      It’s a good thing that I’m not easily offended.

    • Cuck, Jew, fag, got all the buzzwords alright!

      Got any other hot takes Mr. Baddenov? Pictures of Bigfoot? The leaked long-form Mueller Report? A signed letter of confession from the notorious hacker Anonymous???

      • Boris says

        Ah, the great minds of Quillette. Truly genius.

  23. Aerth says

    Devil’s greatest trick was to convince humans he doesn’t exist. Antifa convinced some people they are “good guys”.

  24. David Longfellow says

    Interesting to watch the leftist cockroaches (and their apologists) scurry when exposed to sunlight.

  25. Pingback: Antifa in Mainstream Media & Twitter – Justin Trouble

  26. The Reticulator says

    I vote in favor of shooting the messenger. Figuratively speaking, of course.

  27. Pingback: Antifa Researcher Is Punished By The Press, Trans Researcher Is Celebrated — For One Obvious Reason | CauseACTION

  28. McForge says

    Canada is going to destroy itself with its desire to be nice and never offend anyone.

  29. Pingback: Antifa's brutal assault on Andy Ngo is a wake-up call—for authorities and journalists alike - Wake Up UK

  30. Pingback: Antifa's Brutal Assault on Andy Ngo Is a Wake-Up Call—for Authorities and Journalists Alike - Quillette

  31. Pingback: Antifa’s Brutal Assault on Andy Ngo Is a Wake-Up Call—for Authorities and Journalists Alike | RUTHFULLY YOURS

Comments are closed.