The media has doubled down on its narcissistic preening, shouting urgently about the values of journalism and the First Amendment, even as its fake news, its utter lack of ethics and attacks on the First Amendment, have hit new and horrifying lows.
That’s the same ethos that led the media to revive fact checks as a tool of political opposition even as its own internal fact checks had nearly vanished.
The Washington Post’s Super Bowl ad touting itself and its terror columnist, Jamal Khasoggi, a friend of Osama bin Laden, was an act of narcissism, not journalism.
While some applauded the ad, the amount of money the newspaper paid to get the commercial on air did not sit comfortably with Fredrick Kunkle, co-chair of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild’s bargaining unit at The Washington Post.
Kunkle sent a series of tweets in anticipation of the Post commercial. He said he thought the message conveyed in the ad is important, but that the millions of dollars that went toward it could have gone to actual journalism. There was a spate of high-profile layoffs last month at multiple news organizations.
“While I too am extremely proud of the Post and its legacy, this seems like an especially infuriating expense for a company that has a) tried to take away health care insurance from part-time employees b) moved everyone toward riskier forms of health insurance,” Kunkle tweeted.
As the Reagan Battalion pointed out, the $5.2 million that Jeff Bezos’ media monkeys spent on their little ad could have employed 50 journalists.
But the Washington Post isn’t in the business of journalism. It’s in the business of political messaging and branding.