This is certainly a largely missed episode on Xitter, a mere blip of an occurrence that came and went with little fanfare. However, upon analysis, there is so much on display within the confines of this tiny event that it manages to expose much that is wrong with our media complex in this country. It is the very definition of a microcosm, one that manages to lay bare so much of the pathology in the press that has led to the problems in that industry.
Jay Rosen is a widely respected name in journalism circles. He is a professor in the journalism school at New York University, and as such, he is heavily referenced, widely quoted, and frequently appears as a guest on cable news shows. If unfamiliar with Rosen’s work and positions, a quick stroll through his Xitter feed will show how he is uniquely focused. Meaning: His critiques and complaints regarding politics and the press are shown entirely to be applied to the right of the center.
This is hardly a surprise, that someone entrenched in the media is a firm leftist, but consider that this is a man charged with molding the minds of new journalism students and teaching them the standards of the industry. It seems clear that they are being ushered into an industry with a specific perspective being applied, and this is not mere supposition; Rosen displays this in the aforementioned post, and in this, we see so much that is wrong in journalism in general.
It begins with a post from the account Capitol Hunters, which was established to go after the participants in the January 6 riot and has since evolved into an attack source looking into any activities involving Republicans for political hits. Following Mike Johnson’s rise to become Speaker of the House, the account has looked into his affairs and made a post filled with accusatory subtext.
Dear News Media discovering now that our new House Speaker Mike Johnson has – just today – deleted his podcast webpage: all the podcasts are saved and archived. Because we figured this would happen. https://t.co/09sm3q6AGX 1/ pic.twitter.com/zg2ZRCHvdU
— capitolhunters (@capitolhunters) October 27, 2023
In response, Rosen wrote his views on what this all means in a very prejudiced fashion.
— Lie-Able Sources (@LieAbleSources) November 9, 2023
There is so much contained in this dose of brevity, beginning with the fact that Rosen is basing his commentary on a clearly biased source. But that is just a minor aspect of the problem. The primary reason that Rosen deleted this post is that Johnson’s podcast is not scrubbed from the internet, as claimed. One can go and listen to any and all of the episodes on Apple podcasts right now (something Capitol Hunters had to sheepishly admit 90 minutes after its initial post.)
This means that both Rosen and Capitol Hunters did not properly research the validity of the claim, something less forgivable from a journalism professor. But it also means neither party ever listened to Johnson’s show, as the assumption of its removal is clear while assumptions along the lines of “what it all means” follow. This also means all of the hysterical accusations made by Rosen had zero basis in anything factual.
Rosen declared the alleged deletions were a “confession.” Of what, specifically, he, of course, does not say, but we assume this is projecting guilt over January 6 for some reason. The same for the claim that there was content therein that was “damaging”; how or why this would be the case is anyone’s guess. Then Rosen extrapolates this to become an indictment of sorts on the Republican Party entirely — again, absent anything specific shown. And then he postulates Johnson will be damaged goods as Speaker, incapable of addressing questions brought by the media.
He makes all of these charges without knowing what is contained in these podcast episodes; he is operating from the assumption that Johnson’s show was wiped clean, so it is all a presumption of guilt. But most notable is the episodes are there and available for Rosen – all he needs to do is listen in and then curate any of the “guilty” content. But he does no such thing, and neither has Capitol Hunters.
This means one of two things, and neither is a good look. Either Rosen was operating from a sense of presumptive guilt and charged Johnson as guilty as a result, or he knew there was not anything truly objectionable and wanted to level the charge at Johnson with the belief nobody would have been able to check his work.
For someone who is teaching journalism standards and practices to students, he just unspooled several basic ethical lapses that defy what the press touts as its noble mission:
He relied on a solitary source.
He approached the story entirely from a partisan perspective.
There was zero research into the topic at hand.
He makes several accusations absent any facts.
He gave no correction or update when he realized the error.
All of these are — again—- some of the basic precepts in journalism, at least according to those in the trade who make these boasts. Instead, Professor Rosen rushed in with claims and accusations as he lashed out baselessly at Speaker Johnson, a clear sign of partisan politics and a complete sign of journalistic sloth. The irony is that he becomes guilty of the very thing he and the members of the industry always decry.
In this age of “misinformation” being leveled at any undesirable source to discredit and ostracize, it is notable so many outlets become guilty of that very thought crime. When we see it being delivered by a J-school professor, it makes clear why it is that we see so much dysfunction within the industry.