Originally published August 24 2015
Glenn Greenwald: The mainstream media has no credibility and is completely full of bunk
by Daniel Barker
(NaturalNews) When I first began writing for a living, I asked my boss/mentor at the time what was the most important thing he had learned in his years as a writer and editor. His answer: "Never believe anything you read."
I knew he was being somewhat ironic, but after a while, I began to see how truly accurate his words were. As a newbie freelancer, I was often expected to write about things I knew very little about. I was required to perform a little research on the subject at hand and then expound upon the given topic as if I were an expert.
As I continued in the profession, I began to realize that most -- if not nearly all -- of what passes as "journalism" these days is basically the same thing. Most journalists rely on secondhand sources. What ends up being published is often highly suspect at best and written by someone with little or no firsthand knowledge of the subject at hand.
One of the last real journalistsGlenn Greenwald is an exception. He is one of the few journalists working today who has any real credibility and one of the few people qualified to criticize the state of journalism as it exists today.
Greenwald has recently written an op-ed for The Intercept, a news site he created in 2014 with the goal of "producing fearless, adversarial journalism" created to "bring transparency and accountability to powerful governmental and corporate institutions."
He has already achieved a great deal towards this end as one of the main journalists responsible for breaking the Edward Snowden story while revealing the extent of the NSA's programs designed to spy on U.S. citizens.
In the op-ed titled "A Crucial Realization About Journalism is Learned by Being its Subject", Greenwald explores the experience of encountering journalistic pieces written by "outsiders" on subjects one is intimately acquainted with. When this happens, he says, one often gets an enlightening glimpse of just how inaccurate the information can be.
Regarding the subject of lies in the media, he notes:
It's so frequent, so common, that it's impossible even to note all or even most of the falsehoods because one would never do anything else. And even if one devoted oneself to that task, many of the falsehoods would continue to thrive because of our reflexive assumption that what we read from respectable media outlets is true even if unaccompanied by evidence, and because most people lack the time and inclination to independently verify what they're told about matters in which they have no personal stake.
Journalistic objectivity is a shamIn the piece, Greenwald speaks of the need for journalists to recognize the prevalence of false or questionable information being disseminated in the press, and he argues that the average person needs to be able to do the same:
[T]hat realization is equally vital for consumers of journalism. Journalistic objectivity is a sham, a horribly misleading and self-flattering conceit. Don't simply trust claims made in authoritative media tones — even if, perhaps especially if, journalists work for the most influential media outlets — unless they point to evidence that confirms or at least suggests their truth. And when consuming journalism products, always consciously realize that, even when malice or other forms of bad faith are nonexistent, so much of what is said and claimed by journalists is simply untrue.
It should be noted that it is impossible for anyone, journalist or otherwise, to remain completely "objective" on any subject. As Greenwald implies, "consumers of journalism" must be as careful as those who write the stories when deciding what is useful and factual. The main thing that journalists and readers need to understand is that the "truth" itself may be objective, but there are no fully objective means of reporting it, just as there are no reliably objective ways to judge what is true in media reports.
Effectively sifting through the B.S. is a fine art. It requires effort and one's own research to identify trustworthy sources (such as Greenwald and a few others). Even then, it is still a matter of applying one's own critical thought and analysis.
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