Monday, June 21, 2021

Journalism's current diner genre

A long, largely sympathetic, feature in the Washington Post is number 1 at the moment among the most read stories. Once again, this is journalism treating human subjects as specimens in an exotic zoo. Remember all those reporters braving diners in Ohio after the 2016 election?

The reporter found an aggrieved right wing thug who lost his job after being an asshole to a freelance journalist with a camera at a protest in D.C. in November. Enterprising anti-fascist internet sleuths saw the pictures and managed to get him fired from his job as a iron-worker. His wife, not a participant in the scuffle, also lost her job, perhaps because the publicity over his loutish behavior -- or perhaps because Walmart was penalizing her for absences with a bad back. 

The right wingers are aggressive Trumpists; the anti-fascists are -- well -- anti-fascists. Hey, in many corners of this big country, there's that level of conflict between neighbors. We the people have very different visions of a good society and some of us act out for our choices, more and less peaceably. It's all amplified by media that spread passions far and wide. The conflict is over real, vital, moral and material futures.

But the Post completely fails to contextualize its dramatic story of an encounter between visions until this 13th paragraph -- the essential backstory to its gripping cartoon characters:

Conservatives typically portray militant antifascists as the far-left equivalent of violent armed groups on the hard right, but right-wing extremist attacks and plots greatly eclipse those from the far left and cause more deaths, a Washington Post analysis showed. The FBI regards far-right extremists as the most active and lethal domestic terror threat. 
That's the story in a nutshell -- the rest is under-examined color commentary. Evidently we can't resist giving the aggrieved terrorist genre plenty of clicks.

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