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Discourse Blog Birthday Week

The Year In Discourse Blog: Media

Including special unlocked posts from behind our paywall!

We’re wrapping up our big Birthday Week, so we’re compiling some of our best posts over the first year (!) of our existence. Today, we’re looking back at our favorite work about the cursed media industry we call home.

To mark the occasion, we’ve taken down the paywall from an exclusive collection of posts that were previously available only to our paid subscribers. They’re now free for all of you to read! (Look for the words “UNLOCKED” in the headlines.)


The Year In Discourse Blog: Nonsense

We’re delighted to have made it to a year, but we need your help to get us to our second birthday! If you appreciate the work in this post, please consider becoming a paid subscriber so we can do even more of it. Subscriptions start at just $8 a month.

‘How Not to Do Labor Journalism 101,’ by Paul Blest

NPR chose to parrot right-wing talking points, blaming workers and a necessary, emergency expansion of the safety net. Another resounding win for the liberal media.

‘They Can’t Even Fire Us Right,’ by Jack Crosbie

There is no good way to get fired. But you would think, that after close to 8,000 layoffs in 2019 alone and hundreds more in the first half of 2020, that the people in charge would have the shit-canning process down pat. They do not. Here are some stories from people about how they were laid off. All sources are anonymous for obvious reasons.

‘The Only Solution Is to Burn It All Down,’ by Samantha Grasso

The actual beginning of the end of white supremacy in newsrooms will come with the end of the prioritization of white perspectives. That will only come with an entire systemic upheaval, from the people financing news institutions and controlling the business side of operations, to the people writing and editing news stories. A commitment to ending white supremacy in newsrooms requires white executives and editors and writers to give equal power to executives and editors and writers of color — in other words, to give up some of the vast power that white people have hoarded for so long.

‘Rubber Bullets Don’t Fire Themselves,’ by Caitlin Schneider

The linguistic gymnastics at work here are truly a marvel. It takes incredible editing athleticism and pure effort to avoid saying the most clear, direct thing, which is what the news is supposed to do. Yet they manage to do it over and over again. Why?

‘The Teen Vogue Mess Is What Happens When Bosses Don’t Listen,’ by Aleksander Chan

The online frenzy is real, but it also misses the point. Ultimately, this is not a story about a too-woke staff, or even about bad tweets. It’s about a fundamental failure on the part of Condé Nast leadership, including Anna Wintour, in understanding what kind of publication Teen Vogue is, and who might be the best person to lead it. That ignorance from media bosses is all too common, and the damage it has caused here has left everyone involved worse off than when they started.

‘Why They’re Not Calling It a Strike,’ by Katherine Krueger (UNLOCKED)

The powers that be—in this case, the establishment media—dropped the ball (pun not intended, I promise), widely characterizing these strikes as “boycotts.” Our country is so deeply divorced from the legacy of strong unions and workers empowered to fight for their rights that we don’t even allow for the rhetorical possibility anymore.

‘What Is Paul Krugman Talking About???’ by Jack Mirkinson (UNLOCKED)

If you wanted powerful evidence that a Nobel Prize does not exempt you from saying extremely stupid shit, look no further than whatever this was from Paul Krugman today.

‘What Is Jake Tapper’s Deal?’ by Paul Blest

Jake Tapper is far from the only useful idiot for the State Department line, but he may be its most useful in promoting the equivocation of criticism of the Israeli government with anti-Semitism. Unfortunately for him, it’s painstakingly easy to see right through it.

‘Please, Fuck Off: Journalism’s Slush Fund Parasites,’ by Jack Crosbie

There are right and wrong ways to go about this trade, but this isn’t a blog about that. Instead, this is a blog about the pipeline of money that flows from wealthy donors trying to launder their reputations to an entire cadre of morons who, while making money off of the general idea of Journalism, do not, in fact, practice the trade of journalism in any way.

‘Maybe Bari Weiss Can Dial It Down a Little,’ by Jack Mirkinson (UNLOCKED)

Like so much of Weiss’ work, it is couched in the most lurid kind of tone, as though she is trying to conjure up a Cold War spy thriller out of the passingly interesting story of some wealthy people who are dealing with changing cultural mores.

‘Please Fuck Off: Ben Shapiro and Politico,’ by Katherine Krueger

If I never hear the name Ben Shapiro again for as long as I live, it’ll be too soon.

‘Rush Limbaugh’s Greatest Act Was Dying Early,’ by Jack Crosbie

Rush Limbaugh died today at the age of 70, ridding the world of a voice that has done more harm to the institution of democracy and the human value of compassion than almost anyone over the past few decades. If there is a hell, he is in it; if there is not, he is nothing.

Images: Axios on HBO; CNN; ABC