Is “woke” culture going to be the force that destroys the corporate press? According to liberal journalist Matt Taibbi, this very well could be the case. If his assessment is any indication, the progressive fixation on victimhood and the hypersensitive atmosphere that it has spawned might become the proverbial nail in the coffin of the left-wing media establishment.
Taibbi: The Press Is Self Destructing
Taibbi made an appearance on Hill.TV in which he discussed a recent piece he wrote titled: The American Press Is Destroying Itself. During the conversation, he explained how the far-left is creating a culture that is making it nearly impossible for reporters and commentators to express certain opinions.
The journalist pointed to a “dramatic escalation” of incidents in which members of the press have received public criticism and, in some cases, career consequences for voicing the wrong opinion. “Essentially the problem is if you say a certain thing, and an employee accuses you of racism, either your career is over, or your reputation is ruined.”
He continued, pointing out that “what ends up happening is people just sort of shrink back from wherever they perceive the boundaries are and don’t say anything. And that’s not a healthy climate for journalism.”
To give an example, he noted the 2016 presidential race and the fact that many journalists were reluctant to report negatively on Hillary Clinton’s campaign “because they were afraid of being perceived as … pro-Trump or as helping Trump.”
In his article, Taibbi gave several other instances in which reporters were criticized or otherwise punished for expressing views that violated progressive heterodoxy. In the case of Intercept writer Lee Fang, the “woke” crowd reacted to an interview he conducted with a black man who had lost two relatives to street violence. When asked about the riots that occurred in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, the interviewee said:
“I always question, why does a Black life matter only when a white man takes it?… Like, if a white man takes my life tonight, it’s going to be national news, but if a Black man takes my life, it might not even be spoken of… It’s stuff just like that that I just want in the mix.”
It didn’t take long for Fang’s colleagues to call him out on social media — which is how issues like this are handled by the wokesters. One of his co-workers tweeted: “Tired of being made to deal continually with my co-worker @lhfang continuing to push black on black crime narratives after being repeatedly asked not to. This isn’t about me and him, it’s about institutional racism and using free speech to couch anti-blackness. I am so f—ng tired.”
She added, “Stop being racist Lee.”
Others piled on, accusing the journalist of being a bigot. In response, Fang posted an apology for writing his article. While the co-worker who initially criticized Fang accepted the apology, the others who chimed in did not, which illustrates an ugly truth about proponents of woke culture: They do not care about discourse, they are only interested in destroying those with whom they disagree.
Where Does It Go From Here?
If the ultra-left contingent in the corporate press has their way — and it seems that they will — journalists will be compelled to keep certain blasphemous opinions to themselves. It will create an environment in which only far-left opinions are allowed to be aired, which is precisely what progressives want.
The fact that even journalists who lean left are being pressured to self-censor is disturbing, given that their reportage already carries a bias. It is easy to see that this is a push to drag the establishment media even further to the left, and the wokesters have no interest in using persuasion to do this. Instead, they are using societal force and threats of reputational and career consequences to enforce their will.
Unless members of the press push back against this paradigm while it is in its infancy, the nation will likely see a more Marxist media establishment. This could have dire ramifications for American society, as it might even further deepen the political divide.
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