Requiem for a career: After #Pizzagate, goodbye to journalism

It’s official: There is no longer a boundary between fake news and real news. And so I lament the passing of one of few careers delineated and protected by the US Constitution: journalism.

Thomas Jefferson: Free press before government. (source)

As Thomas Jefferson once wrote:

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Something called “Pizzagate” emerged just around the time as the heightened coverage of another something called “fake news.” As recently as a week ago, I would have been happy to write that off as coincidence. However, I am not the same person as I was a week ago.

The late Alan Prince: Journalist and journalism professor.

A man named Alan Prince was a journalism professor at the University of Miami. For many years, he was a reporter for the Miami Herald. Through family ties, after his death in 2015, I ended up with a few Alan Prince memorabilia in my office, including a framed reproduction of the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

To appreciate the depths of my concern, please check out this article by David Wilcock. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

See what I mean? The mainstream media over the past few days has been busy accusing “fake news” for the invasion of an apparently delusional North Carolina man into Comet Pizza, a popular restaurant in the nation’s capital. A week or two before this story, a channel called Reality Calls posted this clip on YouTube:

In his article, David Wilcock noted a prescient post by David Seaman. Seaman has a YouTube channel from which I had unsubscribed a few weeks before for what I discerned was a knee-jerk opposition to Hillary Clinton after he was let go by a mainstream media organization. Seaman, in my opinion at the time, had simply gone bonkers as a result of this estrangement. Take a look at Seaman’s Nov. 5 post, which Wilcock mentions in his article. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Unfortunately for me and Alan Prince, the Constitution does not stipulate the responsibility of all journalists to strive for accuracy and balance. Those efforts, until now, were a given. People studying journalism and working as journalists adopted accuracy, thoroughness, fairness, and balance as fundamental and unspoken goals to be expected by anyone who might claim their efforts as proceeding under the jurisdiction of the First Amendment. Yet, since the emergence of Pizzagate in the mainstream media, the issue somehow was immediately relegated to “fake news.” As if some overarching authority had decreed it so — the pedophilia charges inherent in the Pizzagate story were fake; everyone knows they are fake; someone somewhere with ultimate authority and wisdom had deemed the issue as fake; no rational person would for a second believe in the basic accusations underlying Pizzagate.

I keep up. Since the beginning of time to the present moment, I have seen no mainstream media outlet that has investigated all the claims of Pizzagate and found them to be false. And so I say this: They are not false simply because you say they are false. And the issue of “fake news” has surfaced in the national dialogue in convenient proximity to the emergence of Pizzagate — almost as if the entire “fake news” story was introduced into the national dialogue for the sole purpose of obfuscating the Pizzagate story.

Tony Podesta’s living room. And a painting hung proudly therein. WTF.

As one steeps in the putative facts of the Pizzagate story, one realizes that a certain paranoia and skepticism are understandable. Parties on the outside must try to comprehend incomprehensible horror; parties on the inside should be removed forever from civil society. With the introduction of “fake news” into our national consciousness, however, we must reconcile the mistakes of mainstream media with the unfiltered fervor of citizen journalists. Our only hope of clear communication is for all newspeople and news organizations to adhere unalteringly to the foundational standards of good journalism.

Here’s what Alan Prince and I expect from the Fourth Estate (although I never met Alan, I hear his voice emanating from the relics of his life all around me in my office): constant evidence, from this day forward, that news is not fake. In the case of this story, tell us why pedophilic codes and icons are woven into the Podesta emails and the websites and marketing materials of a variety of businesses with links to the capital. Start now. Go ahead. We’ll wait. Because we’re hoping — praying — that a little life remains in journalism after all.

Postscript 7 Dec 2016: Oh, this is so precious. Check out this story in today’s CounterPunch.

Originally published at on December 7, 2016.