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Journalism as We Knew It Is Never Coming Back

Gitlin, Todd

Publisher:  Alternet
Date Written:  17/10/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article

It’s old news that Donald Trump abuses reason, knowledge, decency and dark-skinned people. If you are paying attention, each one of his assaults on decency, intelligence and knowledge will feel urgent, ridiculous or both. Each day he threatens grave damage to actual human beings and the rest of Planet Earth, and each day he demonstrates his incapacity to do anything but inflict more damage.



You want to jack up your eyebrows permanently. You will feel tempted to offer, as a prologue or a follow-up to each item of news, You won’t believe this. And your task as a journalist is to convey what he just said so that the reader or viewer will believe that he did say what he just said, and will be able to take the measure of it, to know how it was wrong, or incoherent, and why; to know that it was founded on ignorance and falsehood, and in what ways. Making intelligible the everyday nonsense without losing the sense of the ways in which it is nonsense is the tallest of journalistic orders. And to reveal not only what he just said but what he just did, or just let happen, is a task for more journalists than can be found in the entire United States of America.

Whether you are a journalist or a citizen of some other kind, if you lose your capacity to be shocked, you have come untethered from the real shocking world in which meaning is steadily mangled. If you lose your ability to feel disgusted, you have lost your moral purchase. So in order to remain alive to the world, you must hold on to your vulnerability. You must, every day, pause the thought that you’ve heard this story before. You must feel, every day, the pain and contempt that is the gross domestic and international product of this travesty of government-- let alone democratic government.

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