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Transcript for Meta Politics Short - 003: Does Journalism Exist?
What is journalism? How do we go forward when journalism is self-terminating in a country? How about if that country is supposed to be the world's leading democracy?
Hi, hi, welcome, welcome. This is Metapol with me, Cactus.
On today's short, we're going to be talking about something a little bit different. Recently, I sat down with Ben Boyce and you can see the interview in the description, but one of the things we started off talking about is the tagline that I usually use to introduce myself and a still longtime viewer asked me the following question:
You used to call yourself a journalist in that tagline. Now you don't. And why is that? And I think that's something that's incredibly important to answer and actually gives a lot of insight to the episode that I'm going to be releasing this week. The answer is, I don't really think that journalism exists right now.
What do I mean by that? In the original mission for the podcast, I decided to create a more efficient prism for seeing the world. Any aggregation of news stories is not going to present every single thing you see, every single thing that happens everywhere around the world, it can be biased in one direction or another because of political leanings, geography institution, or a whole lot of other factors, but creating a better prism through various statistical means through various other scientific methods and through verifiable accountability to those who are actually listening.
There are several ways to make that better. And that was what I initially started out trying to do. In other words, I started out trying to be a journalist and to be a better journalist than those who are already out there. However, as I learned more and more about where these distortions arise and why. I think it became abundantly clear that this was not going to be a viable, competing product.
It wasn't going to simply be that people were going to seek out better and better information, although I'm sure some of you do fit that bill. Instead, there are active political attempts in order to make sure that whoever is working at the New York Times or any other journalistic institution are not doing the things that I just mentioned are not keeping themselves to a higher standard and are in fact actively allowing various political distortions in order to affect their reporting and the overall picture that these institutions present.
And I'm not saying it's just the New York times, or it's just media that aligns with the left. This occurs arguably to an even higher degree on some right wing outlets as well. But this is an environment of self-destruction, of active suppression of voices who quite frankly have historically done a better job at applying those scientific methods and applying actual rigor and hard work to reporting stories that paint an actual picture of the world.
Seeing those people increasingly tossed out, increasingly falsely tarred and feathered made me recognize that now is not the time for journalism. Unfortunate as I have to say it. The value proposition of the show nonetheless holds though giving you ideas, insights that are provable or verifiable on your own end and give you accurate predictions of the real world.
But calling myself a political commentator instead of a journalist gives me one other option on the table. It gives me the option for a call to action. To say, look, here's the thing that I think we should all do to participate in and engage on and create a noticeable difference in various political and media systems.
Of course, I've asked to share the ideas on the podcast multiple times. That's something that naturally occurs, whether you're a journalist or not, but going further. Asking you to experiment, to think about various political ideas and to shift the balance of power in your own, right. That's something where I'm crossing a line.
However, I think that's a line that I'm going to cross and a journey that many of you are willing to come with me on. So as we approach the end of the season, let's harken back to the core ideas that we talked about earlier. Understand how those are the overarching theme into which all of these various effects, all of these various means of transmission fit.
That there's a psychological distortion at play in both media and political systems right now that the error introduced by psychological flaws, economic incentives, corruption, and other means of error are outweighing our ability to make sense. Of the world. And in order to find a way out, we need to put together simple first principles that we can apply at scale and can immediately turn the tides.
Listen, back to episode 17, the exponential function is coming for you or 18, the investigation begins where we talk about this new direction, where we talk about what's at stake. All in all doing more work to marginally improve. The quality of journalism is like pouring a bit of clean water into a sewer.
At this point, we need treatment and that's what I hope to give. And that's what I need. All of your help in whether it's something as simple as sharing the pod. Or whether it's something more advanced, like brainstorming your own ideas, trying to apply many of these principles that I've spoken about to your everyday lives to efforts to change political or media landscapes, or in mobilizing your own movement and creating a new direction and ultimately working to achieve some of the principles on your own terms.
If you do any of these as always, thank you. And thanks for listening.