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Image from Primal Life

Since the turn of the millennium our diet for news media has become as faddish as any other diet. And we’re finding this diet just doesn’t work. News Media have become as mistrusted and distrusted as the politicians they cover as they have become compromised by making partisan editorial choices, and we have come to see their distortions. So it caught my attention when former Fox News political director Chris Stirewalt joined The Dispatch as a contributing editor. What are we to make of the moving chairs of partisan journalism?

News Media as Gong Show

Perhaps the story McKay Coppins tells about Jonah Goldberg will resonate: Goldberg as conservative author and longtime fixture at National Review had “this whole spiel about how the conservative movement is like a symphony, where you need the fine woodwinds [and] you also need that guy with the big gong who just smashes out the notes.” These days Goldberg has changed his tune as it were:

“We’re holding a lot of symphonies where it’s basically all gong,” he said. ‘I didn’t think the gong would swamp the woodwinds quite the way it did.’ Looking back, he admits even he was part of the problem: “I could be quite loud.”

Now, Goldberg said, he’s ready to ‘atone.’ Last year, he left his perch at National Review and joined a handful of prominent conservative writers to launch The Dispatch, a new media venture with a mission that’s as straightforward as it is radical: producing serious, factually grounded journalism for a conservative audience.”

I might say, good luck with that; I truly hope so.

Foolishness is Nothing New

All to say again: I was intrigued that Stirewalt landed with The Dispatch. In his first contribution he observed:

Foolishness is nothing new in America. This is the country of P.T. Barnum, medicine shows and pet rocks, after all. But our current concentration of imbeciles has surpassed any kind of safe level. How we became a nation of so many dupes and fools is a matter at least as complicated as the causes of Trump’s presidency.

Overfed and Malnourished on Empty Informational Calories

After Stirewalt was unceremoniously dropped from Fox News for the grave sin of [gasp] calling Joe Biden’s presidential win ahead of any other news agency, he wrote this op-ed piece with the Los Angeles Times:

In my career as a political analyst and, until my firing [late January], an election forecaster on the decision desk at Fox News, I have always… wanted to steam downriver as fast as I could to be first with the news to beat the competition and serve my audience…

Having worked in cable news for more than a decade after a wonderfully misspent youth in newspapers, I can tell you the result: a nation of news consumers both overfed and malnourished. Americans gorge themselves daily on empty informational calories, indulging their sugar fixes of self-affirming half-truths and even outright lies.

Can anyone really be surprised that the problem has gotten worse in the last few years?

Surely Stirewalt – as former Fox News political director – must know he was part of the problem. With this confession, can we expect him to change his menu to be more nutritiously balanced – more journalistically fair-minded?

One tiny facet in the disco ball of dysfunction

Meanwhile after an award-winning veteran reporter for the New York Times resigned after becoming the target of cancel culture, Goldberg remarked that it’s “one tiny facet in the disco ball of dysfunction currently lighting up the political landscape.”

If you are getting sick on the media you ingest, or if you’re getting migraines from being over-exposed but under-enlightened by the disco ball of dysfunction, may I humbly and gently suggest: 

Move away from the buffet…

Sometimes fasting is the best diet of all.

You are what you Eat

If you are what you eat… what is your media diet telling you about you?

Is it time for that fast?