Conversations with the Invisible Man

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Would You Let Me THINK woman!
  • give voice to the voiceless
  • illuminate the hidden characters
  • write the truth about ordinary people
  • advocate for those in need
  • demand dignity for the outcast
  • tell the stories that need to be told, to the readers that need to hear them, about the people who could be invisible

There is an argument to be made that journalists must remain as objective as humanly possible; that the journalists only job is to report the stories the readers want to see.  Some say that if a journalist gives up his/her objectivity, and imposes a moral value on a story’s worth, their credibility is shot.  I strongly disagree with these ideas.  The Hearst Newspaper were ‘objective’ in their reporting, and those filthy rags damaged the American discourse in a very deep and personal way.  CNN prides itself on objective reporting, yet their corporate slant is often so apparent you wonder why Wolf doesn’t just come on out and admit his real name is ‘Tool O’Shuckin.’  What an absolute clown, a fraud!  An unpleasant empty beard of a man who plays with fake holograms tricked up to look legit, gets dominated on Jeopardy by Andy Richter, and couldn’t form an incisive question if Bigart himself rose from the grave and scrawled one on that giant Etch-A-Sketch in the Situation Room.  But he is objective!  It is a silly conceit that confuses the truth with non-commitment.  The truth, ultimately, is viciously subjective – it will only be caught and observed in the skull of whatever stumbling fool who happens to find himself face to face with a wall of reality.  Objectivity is a flighty hand-maiden to Judgement.  As journalists, lets use our judgement to tell a story, and if we have to abandon objectivity for the sake of understanding a perspective we would otherwise hold at arms length, well those are the wages of Truth.

Cronkite,Walter

i shook his hand once

fox-journalism-is-dead

i shake my fist at him

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shaking violently; bat country

The Objective Mainstream establishment treated all vectors of information as equally valid in the run-up to Bombs Over Baghdad (DubYa Remix).  Some vectors of information are bullshit.  Officials, bureaucrats, politicians, entertainers: the bullshit will flow thick and rancid many times, and the fact is, those glommed up chunks of gibberish very often make pretty decent copy.  The story’s we read everyday are indentured to the same corridors of power, the same carousel kaleidoscope.  Jerry Jones, Tom Leppert, Mark Cuban, Max Baucus and Nancy Pelosi.  Yes, they are important, yes the news must cover what they sling at us, but no, let’s not pretend any of that is Objective.  I don’t mean the gibberish that leaks out of their mouths.  I mean covering their carefully crafted PR statements and acting as if it matters.  Objectively speaking – I mean, if we are observing the intersection of truth and reality – objectively speaking, Jerry Jones is a crook, Tom Leppert is a liar, Mark Cuban is unstable, Max Baucus is a crook and a liar, and Nancy Pelosi is an extremist.  The Objective journalist could never dare such a statement, of course.  And so Jerry Jones ripped the taxpayers of Arlington for $400 million, Tom Leppert sold us a Bridge in a Levee that will Never Work, Mark Cuban makes his players look bad, etc.  Perhaps I digress.

0320daylabor Rarely Seen Evidence of the Real World

The point I was trying to make, before we took a blind 180 degree turn into some unpleasantness, is that executing an agenda is journalistically important.  Giving voice to the voiceless requires an active and considered move to do just that.  Finding the unseen characters, and writing about them with import, will not succeed unless one makes a conscious effort to extract value from the story.  It is absolutely crucial that you find out ‘why this story matters to your readers.’  The ugly fact is, if you’re covering the voiceless, the unseen and the invisible, the story doesn’t matter to your readers.  By and large, they don’t care.  Let’s take another look at that 600 foot JumboTron.  The journalist must take the dangerous step of deciding this story is important, and working to convince the reader that they should care.  This is not Objective.  It is a declaration of intent.  Talking with the Invisible Man is not an easy prospect: he could be distrustful, unbelieving, comfortable in anonymity.  Shucking the Objective aside, there is a choice as to what you consider true: the voices of the marionette parade, always ready to babble on for a good soundbite just so long as you don’t call them on their invisible faults . . . or the voices of the shadowed souls, swallowed up by the wide wicked world, too concerned with reality to bother talking to an infiltrator.

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One Response to “Conversations with the Invisible Man”

  • Castro Pimpswell Says:

    There’s more to the truth than just the facts.

    Good start to October.

    Alice came to a fork in the road.
    “Which road do I take?” she asked.
    “Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire cat.
    “I don’t know,” Alice answered.
    “Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”
    ~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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