20 April 2017

Shelley Garland: a case study of post truth media

This past week saw a prank of Sokal Affair proportions, only within the context of our own ailing media. You can read the entire Shelly Garland saga here, and I would be completely over it by now if it weren't for the fact that the Huffington Post tried to wiggle their way out of this one by means of Spanish Inquisition.

Background to the Shelly Garland saga

A blogger passed around some bait in order to expose the hypocrisy of those custodians of ethical journalism who had been warning us about fake news, post truth media, alternative facts and a whole new basket of deplorables. It was a meticulously crafted prank.

To their credit, the Daily Maverick saw the Shelly Garland bait for the tripe that it is, and said take this cup away from me. Which is to say they had an editor who wasn't asleep at the wheel and just performed some rudimentary editing. Also known as doing your job.

The local chapter of the Huffington Post fell for the prank hook, line and sinker. Which shouldn't surprise anyone because it's just an agitprop channel for sanctimonious douche-bags. If it bends over and performs fellatio on my sensibilities, I shall just publish it. Screw ethics, screw fact checking, screw the public and their trust. It sounds good, it paraphrases canon. Publish!

What is the thanks Shelly Garland got for exposing evil hypocrites who prey on public trust?

What was their reaction after having been exposed for enabling the exact same fundamentally unethical journalists that they were claiming to combat?

They tracked down the author at their place of work, marched in there with a paparazzi army, hauled him over a rack, extracted a confession out of him, and returned with all but his scalp and his testicles. The poor bastard had to resign in embarrassment, and all this for having the gall to try out independent thought for size.

Blaming the victim, but when we do it, it's for a good cause

Victim blaming is when one holds the victim of a wrongful act responsible for that wrongful act.

This should sound familiar.

That is per definition what has happened here. The Huffington Post publishes a helpful guide on how to spot fake news, plus their own terms and conditions, but they must have cleaned out their orifices with those.

Those moral principles that we nail to the door of the cathedral are there for the common people, not for the gentry and the clergy at the Huffington Post. The Huffington Post has the divine right of journalist kings and they're here for the head of Shelly Garland, that naughty wife who at first seemed to be producing the heirs they so badly desired, but then revealed it had been stillborn.

I guess nobody should be surprised after exposing hypocrites when they behave in a hypocritical manner. But hey, everybody makes mistakes. Why no second chances?

Why the editor of the Huffington Post should resign

Why no second chances, you may say?

Because, frankly, the editor in charge of the Huffington Post ended up there for manufacturing fake news while simultaneously being the editor of another publication, the Mail & Guardian.

This is already the second chance. This person has brought another publication into disrepute, for doing exactly the same thing, again.

What was their response the first time?

"I have made many mistakes of course, and these have been carefully documented and picked over by social media - but this is the lot of any editor and the unfortunate truth is that women editors will always have it harder" ~ Verashni Pillay

Let's unpack that: She says being a woman means she is incapable of being held to the same standard as anybody else who does editing. So it's not her fault, it's her sex's fault.

She thus admitted that this job is too hard for her and that she is incapable of doing it up to the standard that is required for editors in general. But of course, what she actually meant was, equality is about a doublethink double standard whereby we should have a set of standards for editors who are not women, and another set of standards for editors who are women.

And here I was under the impression that feminism was about equal rights of the sexes. This is what we bash into people's skulls and enforce by means of torture and confession, but when the same standards are expected of us, then being fundamentally evil hypocrites, we respond with fundamentalist hypocrisy.

Even worse, if someone points out this hypocrisy to us, they are the ones in the wrong. When we are called out on our crimes and our harmful actions towards people, those whistle blowers were asking for it by the way they dressed.

Please, if you value your profession at all, spare us the doublethink and do the right thing for once in your life.  If this is not out of incompetence and neglect, then it must be wilful. In neither case, when your miserable and atrocious neglect causes people to lose their income and then you turn around and have the gall to try and make it seem like it's their fault, you should in addition to resigning also consider seeing a professional about that narcissism.

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