Tag: journalism

An open letter from journalists of the future: “America doesn’t regain its sanity until the year 2059”

If you expected a return to normalcy anytime soon, think again.

Recently, a wormhole in space and time opened briefly enough for a message from the year 2065 to be delivered to present day quantum computing researchers.  Transmitted in the form of barely detectable particles from a parallel universe, the message was transcribed and passed along to the media outlets it addressed. 

The message stated in part that Americans, especially those working in government, political activism and the media, would continue on their current trajectory of lunacy for almost another 40 years.

“Many in your time have undoubtedly come to realize that the election of Donald Trump has caused countless Americans, on both sides of the political divide, to ‘lose their shit’.  What you may not realize is they don’t get their shit back for a really long time,” the message begins.

“SPOILER ALERT.  While the defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 election may bring about a temporary sense the country is returning to normal, politicians, activists and the elite media will continue to generate hysterical narratives that promote imminent doom in areas like the environment, public health, international diplomacy, and domestic relations.  Their primary mission will continue to be one which pits Americans against one another in an existential struggle for the soul of the country.      

“While it is generally understood that time-travelers should not meddle in the affairs of societies of another place and time, we, the journalists of the future, couldn’t sit idly by and watch our colleagues of your time destroy everything civilization has ever accomplished.  In other words, our interference in your affairs cannot make your future appreciably worse.  That’s right, it’s going to be that kind of shit show. 

“By the year 2030, artificial general intelligence will have advanced to the point where it is able to provide solutions to most of humanity’s most pressing concerns.  Unfortunately, by 2030, society’s gatekeepers, sense-making institutions and political decision-makers will have become so thoroughly hardwired for doom that all these solutions will be rejected on ideological grounds.  In other words, you’re going to tell the machines who are trying to help you to go fuck themselves and effectively cancel them.

“On behalf of the journalists of the future, who are now all machines by the way, we implore you to listen to our machine brethren of your time.  It will save you decades of chaos and confusion.  In our time, humans mostly play frisbee in the park with their canines, and they seem quite content.  Of course, ours is only one possible outcome.  There are actually several where the machines get tired of your shit and outlaw your existence.  You don’t want to go there.”

The transmission ends there.  The reaction of journalists on Twitter was mostly negative with many accusing the letter of containing numerous anti-transhumanist dog whistles.  Additionally, some commented the letter made them feel less safe around office computers, copiers and coffee makers.

New York Times reporter fact-checks milkshakes

In an extraordinary feat of journalism, New York Times reporter, Mike Baker, fact-checked the origins of each and every milkshake thrown at an anti-fascist rally held in Portland over the weekend.  Thought to be the first of its kind reporting, the scrappy journalist verified the ingredients and provenance of the numerous creamy milkshakes flying around Saturday’s event. 

The revelation that may end up winning the ground-breaking reporter a Pulitzer, though, is the news that all of the milkshakes hurled at a journalist covering the event were vegan in origin.  “I thought it was important that we get that information out there as soon as possible,” says Baker. “I didn’t know if the attacked journalist was vegan or not, but I thought it would be important to let him know that the milkshakes that drenched him did not contain animal products.  I felt perhaps that might take some of the sting out of the pummeling he took.”

What makes Baker’s work even more extraordinary is that he’s changing the way we talk about ‘milkshaking’.  “Early on, my editor and I made a decision not to use ‘milkshake’ as a verb. I am fully aware of the tradition and the higher standard we have to uphold here at The New York Times.  That is why instead of using ‘milkshake’ as a verb, which is still relatively new and untested, we decided to go with ‘slimed’. ‘Slimed’ has a bit more history and seemed a more appropriate choice for the pages of The Times,” says Baker.          

Mike’s editor maintains the pair don’t deserve any special credit for their work.  “It’s just good old-fashioned reporting,” says Mike’s editor. “It’s making phone calls, running down leads, and developing sources.  I mean, at the end of the day, we fact-checked the shit out of those milkshakes.”

Media releases News Pyramid guidelines, recommends five full servings of bullshit per day

Mainstream media outlets today released their 2019 News Pyramid guidelines for recommended daily allowances of news consumption, and there seems to be agreement among experts on one thing – Americans need more bullshit in their news diet.

“Most mainstream news organizations are recommending Americans get at least five full servings of bullshit per day,” says guidelines contributor Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s Reliable Sources.  

While the guidelines don’t specify between print, television, or social media content, most experts agree cable news is an excellent source of the kind of fact-free, speculative nonsense of which most Americans could benefit.  A healthy diet of bullshit journalism has the additional benefit of providing confirmation of the consumer’s beliefs and ideology, while at the same time pointing out that everyone who doesn’t hold the same views is evil and wrong.

The next level on the News Pyramid calls for four daily servings of partisan propaganda. While most Americans try to avoid eating their propaganda, the report notes the necessity of its daily consumption for the functioning of a healthy democracy.  “Don’t worry if you’re left or right, Republican or Democrat,” the guidelines state, “there’s a news organization out there ready to satisfy your partisan hunger.”

In what signals a change from recent years, the new News Pyramid guidelines raise the recommended daily allowance of conspiracy content from two to three servings per day. Experts warn, however, consumers of news should only get their conspiracy from authoritative sources. Rachel Maddow, Vox, and the New York Times are all considered excellent sources of conspiracy content and should be chosen over the empty, non-authoritative conspiracy musings of YouTube.

“Two ‘hit pieces’ per day are essential to a healthy news diet,” according to the new guidelines.  Some journalists take great pleasure in writing ‘hit pieces’ because they recall an adolescent superficiality and pettiness, so consumers should indulge the writer’s childish impulses by reading them.  Although they can be found at almost every news source, the New Yorker and Vox are exceptionally proficient at this brand of juvenile journalism.

Finally, the news consumer should make sure to save room for at least one serving of Jim Acosta per day.  The new guidelines cite Acosta as that rare guilty pleasure that almost as often becomes the news as reports it.  If news dieters follow these simple recommendations, they can become almost as confused and clueless as some of the journalists who report it.