The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022


During my months of hiatus, I've spent time looking for new sources of unbiased and accurate information. By and large, the mainstream media is a wasteland, populated by unprofessional, often ignorant and dishonest writers and talking heads who are much closer to outright propagandists than they are to journalists. There are examples on both the Right and the Left, but it's the Left that has largely captured the media's narrative, turning the news into propaganda, suggesting that reasonable inquiry is conspiracy theory, and labeling facts they don't like (or don't fit their narrative) as "misinformation." They censor by omission. or in the case of social media, but outright banning and censorship. They are, as the past President indelicately put it, "The enemies of the American people." They are also unaccountable when they make grievous errors that cause significant damage to the body politic.

In my search for reliable information and commentary, I've gravitated increasingly to Substack—a relatively new forum for professional journalists who have had enough. A significant number of Substack contributors have left the mainstream and are left of center in their ideology but have become increasingly disenchanted with both woke and cancel culture.

One such journalist is Tara Henley of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation. Henley recently resigned from the CBC and joined Substack. Here's what she wrote as she left the mainstream:

It used to be that I was the one furthest to the left in any newsroom, occasionally causing strain in story meetings with my views on issues like the housing crisis. I am now easily the most conservative, frequently sparking tension by questioning identity politics. This happened in the span of about 18 months. My own politics did not change.

To work at the CBC in the current climate is to embrace cognitive dissonance and to abandon journalistic integrity.

It is to sign on, enthusiastically, to a radical political agenda that originated on Ivy League campuses in the United States and spread through American social media platforms that monetize outrage and stoke societal divisions. It is to pretend that the “woke” worldview is near universal — even if it is far from popular with those you know, and speak to, and interview, and read.

To work at the CBC now is to accept the idea that race is the most significant thing about a person, and that some races are more relevant to the public conversation than others. It is, in my newsroom, to fill out racial profile forms for every guest you book; to actively book more people of some races and less of others.

To work at the CBC is to submit to job interviews that are not about qualifications or experience — but instead demand the parroting of orthodoxies, the demonstration of fealty to dogma.

It is to become less adversarial to government and corporations and more hostile to ordinary people with ideas that Twitter doesn’t like.

It is to endlessly document microaggressions but pay little attention to evictions; to spotlight company’s political platitudes but have little interest in wages or working conditions. It is to allow sweeping societal changes like lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and school closures to roll out — with little debate. To see billionaires amass extraordinary wealth and bureaucrats amass enormous power — with little scrutiny. And to watch the most vulnerable among us die of drug overdoses — with little comment.

It is to consent to the idea that a growing list of subjects are off the table, that dialogue itself can be harmful. That the big issues of our time are all already settled.

It is to capitulate to certainty, to shut down critical thinking, to stamp out curiosity. To keep one’s mouth shut, to not ask questions, to not rock the boat.

This, while the world burns.

How could good journalism possibly be done under such conditions? How could any of this possibly be healthy for society?

All of this raises larger questions about the direction that North America is headed. Questions about this new moment we are living through — and its impact on the body politic. On class divisions, and economic inequality. On education. On mental health. On literature, and comedy. On science. On liberalism, and democracy.

Henley's characterization at the CBC can be extended to media in the United States. Supposedly "trusted," elite sources like The New York Times or The Washington Post are exemplars of it. Broadcast sources are uniform in applying it, although some are so blatant that they've become clownish parodies of real news and comment. Social media sources exhibit it almost without exception.

There is nothing that will change this. The only choice is to walk away and find media sources that are trustworthy and honest. Substack is one of those sources.