“The News is America’s New Religion, and We’re in a Religious War” by Matt Taibbi

When I reached young adulthood in the late 70s, I admired journalists and journalism – even considered it as a possible career choice.  I liked the way journalists appeared to be digging and searching for truth and holding power to account.  Even as a young woman, it made sense to me that we couldn’t really have democracy without the facts, and the role of the “fourth estate” was essential. We’re miles and miles and years and years away from that idyllic vision of the media, but I still think it’s a good idea to keep an image of what the sector could be, and to look for ways to support and strengthen it.

“News in America used to be fun to talk about, fun to joke about, interesting to think about. Now it’s an interminable bummer, because the press business has taken on characteristics of that other institution where talking, joking, and thinking aren’t allowed: church. We have two denominations, both as fact-averse as real churches, as is shown in polls about, say, pandemic attitudes, where Americans across the board consistently show they know less than they think…

“Tales of each other’s stupidity are the new national religion, and especially among erstwhile liberals, we take them more seriously than any religion has been taken in the smart set in a long, long time…By the time Trump arrived, there was only one route left for media companies, who’d lost ad revenue to Internet platforms, to make money: putting content behind a paywall. Essentially, news companies passed a hat and asked for donations, just like churches. Also like churches, they began to sell belief instead of fact. They turned viewers and readers into congregationalists, people who’d be less interested in news than calls to spiritual battle…

“America is a now a nation of warring media faiths, with Fox/OAN/Newsmax preaching a heretic Savanarola-style gospel of corrupt elites lying about everything from election results to vaccine efficacy, while the rival Church of the Mainstream, which describes itself as the (literally) true faith and exclusive arbiter of such things as ‘fact’ and ‘science,’ preaches a coming fascist apocalypse. Its pundits openly rejoice in Covid-19 as an instrument of vengeance against ‘denialism’ and those who don’t ‘believe science,’ and it’s not an accident that people who watch them too much do things like wear masks alone in cars.”  — Matt Taibbi

Published by Loga Michelle Odom @Odomanian

Founder/Host, Reading Changes Lives; Senior Producer, OUR COMMON GROUND Media / TruthWorks Network / If America Fails?: The Coming Tyranny

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