Thursday, March 9, 2017

How Feminism Killed Journalism

It's more or less indisputable at this point: the more women are involved in journalism, the more biased (and lower quality) the media becomes. 

By: Jimbo X

The absolute worst job I've ever had was working as the only male reporter at a shitty small town newspaper where practically everybody else in the office had ovaries. Holy hell, the horror stories I could tell you here.

Do we begin with my Skrillex looking editor, some 30-year-old bipolar, cat-worshiping spinster-in-training who came into the office hung over at least once a week and spent 95 percent of her on-the-clock hours having phone calls about having sex with random guys for cocaine (no, for real) so loudly that the owners of the day spa next door had to waltz on over and tell her to STFU because she was scaring off their clients? Or how about the staff photographer, who just watched episodes of Ninja Warrior all day, or the associate editor who made flippant, degrading remarks about how unattractive our visitors were (this, despite the fact she looked like Zoe Deschanel with Down syndrome?) You get all of them in the same room, and absolutely fucking nothing got done, ever. They'd just gossip about everybody else who worked for the company, and as soon as one of them would leave, they'd start gossiping about her. And for those of you keen on sexual equality, I'll have you know I was referred to by all sorts of hilariously progressive slurs by my female cohorts, including but not limited to "fag," "faggot" and "homo" - whenever they thought I was out of earshot. 

Alas, despite being sexually harassed virtually every day I was there, that's not what pissed me off MOST about these menstruating Haagen-Dazs and Zoloft receptacles. What really irked me were the stories I proposed and the stories they assigned me. I wanted to do hard-hitting stories about classism and the lack of affordable housing in the community and discrimination against minorities in the local school system, and they turned around and told me to cover ice cream shops and animal shelters and - the one that infuriated me most - advanced publicity (read: shameless propaganda) for all of these circle-jerkin' socialite "for a cause" weekend parties arranged by the county's hoity-toity elites, despite the fact the money never ever went to what they said it was going for and none of those stuck-up pricks ever did a goddamn thing to address rampant poverty in their own fucking neighborhood. So why was I constantly forced to cover these trifling parades of real white privilege, seemingly week-in, week-out? 

Well, for one, it's because the newspaper wanted to suck the upper crust's dick because they were the only people outmoded/disconnected from reality/flat-out stupid enough to actually spend money on newspaper advertising in the 2010s. But mostly? Because by me covering these stupid aristocratic, oligarchical jerk-off sessions, that means all the broads and floozies I worked with got to attend them for free. And boy, did they never turn an opportunity to get shit-faced ... especially on the company dime.

Hey, did I mention that virtually all of my period-havin' colleagues were also borderline to severe alcoholics with at least one co-morbid mental disorder, like bulimia or "severe depression" (which, conveniently enough, afforded them all sorts of PAID healthcare-related days off?) Because they were, and my goodness, did they play the "muh ovaries card" any and every time it appeared they were in the cross-hairs for any kind of upper brass admonishment. 

That oh-so-fanciful "millennial feminine mystique" was evident in the production process, too. It soon dawned on me that they didn't even bother editing their own papers - you know, the thing they were being paid to do - so I had to spend untold off-the-clock, unpaid hours making sure my articles were as polished as possible before going to the printer. So yeah, I literally had to do their job in addition to my own, while they kept the extra $4 or $5 per hour to themselves.

I couldn't say anything, because the entire Leviathan of shitty journalism (if you even want to dignify it with the term) was basically one big, fat, ugly, woefully unhappy "girl squad" that covered for each others' many glorious incompetencies. They put their own in-group bullshit above actually producing a halfway decent product, and none of them gave a damn. They had a cushy job were they didn't really have to work (even if their income was a relatively paltry $13 or $14-something an hour), and the "office" gave them ample time to chinwag with their kindred about whatever stupid TV shows they were into and the deeper complexities of the Ed Sheeran discography and - most importantly of all - plan out all of their drunken escapades over the weekends.

It didn't take long for me to realize this wasn't a newsroom. Rather, I felt like I was stuck in remedial English class, cloistered in the cluster of snobby, pampered, upper-middle-class girls who just wanted to talk about getting drunk and who's fucking who when a midterm group project was due. So I just did the exact same thing I did in the seventh grade - I kept my mouth shut, did everybody's work for them and got the hell out of Dodge the first opportunity afforded to me.

That grisly little year in Tampon journalism land taught me a lot of hard truths about the media and gender. I've worked a lot of places over the years, and looking back on my litany of experiences, one fundamental truth arises: wherever there are more women employed than men, a.) the less overall productivity there at least seems to be and b.) the lower the quality of whatever product you are putting together appears to be. This is especially relevant in journalism/new media, where the percentage of women in the office has already risen above the male populace (with more women than men, by a fairly large margin, wielding executive editorial power.)

With the field of journalism losing almost all of its lucrativeness in the Great Recession, I'm guessing a lot of seasoned male writers, editors and publishers cut bait while they still could and migrated over to other industries. So what we've seen is a twin effect; because journalism revenue keeps going down, the overall pay for most reporters and even some editors has become less than the national average pay for custodians. But the publishing structures are still there, and because there is a surfeit of women with college degrees in stupid, non-skilled things like gender studies and race theory, somebody has to write the damn news ... and since that affords them the appearance of wielding just a sliver of a microscopic thread of cultural power, the modern newsroom has been flooded with millennial women - often, with no real reporting experience - willing to work for $11 an hour because one, it beats Starbucks, and two, it gives them the (perceived) ability to set the local cultural narrative. And let's face it - just about all of them are still living with their parents or being heavily subsidized by them anyway, so it's not like the piss-ant pay is that much of a deal breaker, especially when the trade-off is being able to shower your friends' social media feeds with a deluge of posts about all of that hard-hitting journalism you're doing.

Holy shit, have you ever seen news this hard in your fuckin' life?

And there is a big, big difference between traditional male reporters and contemporary female reporters. The old vanguard of male reporters had no political affiliations - they hated all those elected motherfuckers equally and sought to knock EVERYBODY off their pedestals. Above all else, there causa sui was a crusade against the state; not a particular political entity, mind you, but the mere existence of these gargantuan, overbearing taxpayer-funded mechanisms that lord over everything. They weren't driven by a desire for status or recognition - indeed, even before the cyber-revolution, most journalists were paid fairly poorly - they just wanted a legacy. They wanted to rage, rage, rage against the machine their entire lives and when they finally keeled over at their desk at age 54 from a heart attack, they at least went to their grave knowing they left behind some kind of important track record. The absolute best reporters were never in the game to "make a difference," they were in it because they understood the grave danger of bad record keeping. Fifty years from now, what they wrote might be the only surviving information and chronicle of the times. They regarded that privilege as the penmen of modern history with great responsibility; at the end of the day, their utmost goal was to be as accurate over the course of their career as possible. Getting as much truth - literal, tangible, physical truth - out there before they croaked was their utmost goal in life. Everything else - including their families and their own health - were secondary causes. 

From my experiences, female newspeople have no such allegiance to the truth as is, because they generally see promoting their own brand of identity politics as priority number one. To tell the truth about the world isn't even on their radar - rather, they just want to air their opinions on the world to as large an audience as possible. They seek not the pride of accurate record keeping, but the positive affirmation of their like-minded identitarians. To them, news is anything that reinforces their preconceived notions of society or anything that bolsters their own biases. Anything that doesn't gel with their own personal prejudices - and really, anything that is beyond their narrow realm of personal interests - is never considered, and virtually never published. So stuck in the new wave feminist hive mind that they can't actually detect the pulse of modern existence around them. For example, my Corey Feldman looking coke-snorting editrix once pooh-poohed a story about the new head coach of an NFL team doing a surprise appearance in town in favor of covering some stupid ass bicycle committee meeting that a whole three people attended. My story could've garnered national attention (since it was just a day after the dude got hired), but she was so blind to the reality outside herself that she couldn't see the potential.

The problem isn't so much their inability to distinguish opinion from fact as it is their seemingly universal ideal that journalism should be some sort of vessel for political activism. Simply stating what happened isn't enough for them, they have to be able to express how things ought to be, as well. They see no conflict of interest here, which makes the Kotex Newsroom all the more insular and detached from public life. Remember all those bitchy girls who put together the yearbook in middle and high school, who did as much as the administration would allow to fill them up with photos and writings from their friends? Well, those egotistical little snots have all grown up, and now, they're in charge of writing your hometown newspaper. And because prestige - even a facade of it - means more to them than anything else, of course they're going to turn the damn thing into a rag vaunting all of the hoity-toity about-towners, if only for the sake of getting themselves free drinks at the next "upper crust" social mixer.

Perhaps it's just the fact that I'm a male, but does anybody else see the inherent moral hypocrisy here? All of the newswomen out there want to promote their pro-XY, pro-multiculturalism and pro-leftist causes under the auspices of legitimate news coverage, but their very survival as newswomen hinges on courting and maintaining the approval of the rich white men who tend to run everything in their specific niche or locality. Sure, sure, they may express a stated desire for political change or what have you, but deep down, what they REALLY want is social power. They want to have the same culture-shaping capacity as the town's big wigs, the developers and attorneys and big businessmen, yet without their financial blessings, their own journalistic power-grab attempts couldn't be funded. To be a "feminist" in journalism means being utterly schizophrenic; to further your agenda by writing anti-patriarchal screeds while simultaneously furthering your own personal career by sucking up to the very same patriarchal forces you perceive as public enemy No. 1.

Then again, the bulk of the newswomen I've encountered have very much settled on being professional dead-enders. Theirs may be a small domain, but they would rather lord over an ant hill (or a shit pile) than be outside the sphere of alleged "cultural influence." They've no real career aspirations, more or less beaten down by the consequences of their own bad choices to the point a quite static quo sounds mighty comfortable - even if it also means never earning more than $15 an hour in their life. Almost certainly already buried alive in student loan and credit card debt they'll never repay, financial success becomes something they simply stop caring about. Thus, their cultural lifeblood becomes an altogether different cultural commodity - good old fashioned in-group approval. Popularity and affirmation and anything else that reinforces their ego is worth more to them than money - so in short, with absolutely no willful consideration to being stewards of truth and chroniclers of the times, constantly pollinating the hive mind becomes their only reason to exist.

Now, I'm not saying that every last woman in the field of journalism is like that, but I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of them most definitely are. Hell, that's pretty much the way it is in every woman-dominated office setting. My S.O. has worked in a totally male-free work environment for eight years, and every day she tells me stories about all her colleagues acting like a bunch of high school bitches, bickering and complaining and branching off into Survivor style alliances and scheming to get one another fired. Nothing ever gets done, she keeps telling me, because their clashing egos and malicious gossiping overshadows - and really, overrides - all the functions they've been hired to actually perform as employees.

Here's the the big difference between men and women when it comes to office politics. You see, men are competitive when it comes to work, but collaborative when it comes to life outside of work. Of course, you want be more productive at work than the guy at the cubicle next to you, but outside of the confines of the office and your official work duties, there's no antagonism. You don't give a fuck if he has a hotter wife than you or if his kids are smarter or if he has a nicer TV or that his dick is probably a good two inches thicker, wider and longer than yours. Just as long as he does what he's supposed to in your professional environment and he doesn't try to fuck you up while you're doing what your're supposed to be doing in your professional environment, everything is just peachy between the two of you. If you're having a game day barbecue you'll invite him over for beer and brats and if he asks you to help him move some furniture on the weekend - or vice-versa - both of you'll do it out of common, reciprocal human decency and the tacit understanding that neither one of you considers the other a major league asshole.

Now, the womenfolk do it the exact opposite; they're collaborative in the office but competitive as all fuck when it comes to life outside of work. That means they all huddle together and help each other with their assignments and they throw birthday parties and shit for one another and they all like to go out for lunch on Fridays and cry on each other's shoulders and text each other back and forth and share inside jokes on Facebook. So, really, there's no attempt to outdo one another the way men do, by pumping out a higher quantity (or higher quality) of work. The idea, of course, is to keep the "girl squad" together at all costs, because as one codependent blob, they can all slack off together and no one individual can rightly be set up as "the fall guy." Naturally, this leads to fissures, with the "girl squad" inevitably splitting into two secretively warring factions a'la the N.W.O. and the N.W.O. Wolfpac (or hell, maybe even more subgroups than that, depending on how large the operation is) that jockey for position in virtually every facet of life you can think of. They WANT to be thinner and prettier than everybody else at the office and have a better looking husband with a higher paying job and smarter kids and a bigger house and a better Pinterest page and more likes on Facebook, and they want to flaunt it in the face of everybody who works with them. They're all striving for some sort of "queen bee" social stature, but they're also trying to keep their little work in-group cohesive enough that nobody really has to do that much work or at the very least, so that nobody can really be blamed for doing anything wrong because everybody's kinda' working on the same thing and it's one of those group efforts were nobody really has any personal liability for fucking things up.

Now imagine a doctor celebrating the death of the Hippocratic Oath, or an attorney celebrating the repeal of the Fifth Amendment.

So basically, the matriarchal work environment is intrinsically bipolar, this little ecosystem where everybody is impossibly trying to cover for each others' asses but at the same time trying to exert their dominance over everyone else in the office. And of course, when you strive for two diametrically opposite endgames, you inevitably wind up unsuccessful at obtaining either, and nowhere is this product failure more apparent than the world of girl journalism.

Solipsism and the quest for in-group approval is especially pronounced in female-oriented journalism. Rather than envisioning the journalistic medium as a vessel for facts and truth, they instead see it as another opportunity to self-justify whatever stupid intersectionalist feminist bullshit the virtually worship as a sacred Tao. News, to them, doesn't exist to relay impartial facts, but to reiterate their own identitarian doctrines and advance their own insular group narratives. If what happens supports their pre-existing precepts of how the world is, they try to make it a bigger story than World War II and if what happens doesn't support - or mayhap even refutes - their shared idealism, not only must it be glossed over, it must be swept under the rug or distorted (perverted?) in such a way to superficially contour to the girl squad mission statement. 

Notice anything about the list of Pulitzer Prize winners for best investigative reporting? Not factoring in the catch-all awards given to entire newspaper staffs, give or take 30 female reporters have received the distinction, while more than 70 male reporters have received the honor. It's an even larger differential if you factor in the winners of the category's forerunner, Best Reporting, which was awarded from 1917 to 1947 - and to a grand total of zero female reportersThe gender gap is even bigger when it comes to the winners for best explanatory reporting: less than 10 women have ever received the honor, while about 40 male reporters have been given the coveted award. Meanwhile, the only Pulitzer categories where there seems to be a considerable gender equilibrium are the categories that shirk objective news reporting, categories like Feature Writing and  - god help us, Public Service - which are literally anchored around the author's attempts to persuade the reader into believing his or her perspective. Meanwhile, male reporters' absolute dominance in the award category for History and Biography writing - which not only entails a dedication to objective fact and the renunciation of the author's own opinions, but innately demands it - more than demonstrates the clear cut gender divide on the role, purpose and general ethics of news writing.

Simply put, male reporters tend to write because they want to thoroughly explain how things objectively, TRUTHFULLY happen while female reporters tend to write because they want people to side with them when it comes to certain issues.

You see this when The Huffington Post publishes articles about how the word "too" is disparaging to women, as if such was an objective fact of reality. 

You see this when CNN runs stories about fringe feminists who put glitter in their underarm hair, as if such was even remotely newsworthy to anybody outside of said fringe feminists.

You see this when Teen Vogue publishes pseudo-scientific quackery about the trauma of slavery LITERALLY being hardwired into the genes of black women, as if such was a 100 percent indisputable biological truth.

You see this when Buzzfeed runs a photo spread on women's reactions to junk-food-inspired makeup, as if such was even remotely informative or insightful or enlightening use of website bandwidth.

Generally speaking, men tend to value facts more than feelings, while women tend to value emotions over reason. Men find themselves subservient to the logical and the evidence-supported, while women find themselves subservient to whatever aesthetically pleases them and provides them with the least difficult solution. Men tend to confront cognitive dissonance head on, while women tend to mire in it. Men tend to think more about the long-term consequences of decisions than women, who generally try to solve issues as fast as possible without giving too much consideration to the possible unintended consequences of their actions. Men tend to put the larger, broader issues at the forefront while women put their narrower, more personal issues ahead of the supremely important (albeit frustratingly complex) issues of geopolitics and international economics. Men hunker down on the technical specifications of things, while women care more about the general concept of thingsWomen may be more sympathetic, but men are generally more empathetic - their aim is to understand the minds of the masses, not the longings of their hearts. 

Or to put it in a very concise little summary statement, men simply care more about what's real, while women care more about their ideals

And with that noteworthy (yet largely overlooked) discrepancy between the sexes factored into the equation, is there really any wonder as to why female-oriented and female-operated journalism - where the truth is not reported, but manufactured - is such a fantastic, flounderingfinancial failure these days?


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