There is a blueprint to follow if one wants to become a mainstream pundit. The first step entails checking your ethics at the door and becoming a situational moralist. The second step is to turn injustice into a sport, this requires an extraordinary level of disingenuousness and hypocrisy. The last and most crucial skill is to present social ills through the lens of politics and project the issues that gash at society by putting divisive ideologies above our common humanity.
I used to think that only Fox News personalities engaged in this level of duplicity. It took a mean mugging by reality and a destiny with hardship to shed my political blinders and understand that all sides are inciting their base by deploying the same playbook I mentioned above. Outside of a handful of established journalists—by this I mean those who have reached a certain level of prominence—almost every mainstream media pundit is a propagandist dressed in the guise of a reporter.
A free press was supposed to be the last check on power and the guardians of the public’s interest. But the same virus of profit and revenue growth that has turned corporations into the cancers of the world infected the ‘fourth estate’ and transformed a once noble profession into a swamp of egos and gluttony. Mainstream media is a business where cash flows and eyeballs are coveted and truth is non-existent. What we are treated to are one-sided assessments where journalists fit stories through predetermined narratives. Click To Tweet
They do this for a reason, media outlets understand that the best way to grow audiences and by extension enhance their P/E ratio is through sensationalism and by catering to zealots. Rational discourse and nuanced stories do not draw attention the way that fiery headlines and explosive reports do, news executives made a business decision to exploit emotions instead of edifying the public. Their underlings dutifully salute and follow along as they write articles and edit videos by chasing style above substance.
This is the reason why most article and stories are produced with screaming headlines and urgent appeals. In a world according to mainstream media, every act is unprecedented and will lead to the end of America as we know it. A steady drumbeat of outrage serves to desensitize the public and inure us to the excesses of the institutions that govern us. More importantly, these stories pit people against each other and obfuscate the true sources of injustice. No matter how much pundits and politicians try to convince you that your enemy is someone who thinks or looks different than you, the truth is that the iniquities of the world can be sourced to people who have accumulated billions while billions suffer in their shadows—the vast majority of humanity are victims of the uber-wealthy.
The pundits and media personalities in mainstream media will dare not touch this truth. Doing so might threaten their status and the platforms they have been accorded by the 1%. The swiftest way to be sidelined is if a journalist tells it as it is instead of presenting half-truths. Courage is hard to find once fame and fortunes finds you; reporters who are making millions and being lavished with a massive following would rather play it safe and lie through their teeth instead of speaking truth to power.
Donald Trump became the mainstream media’s golden goose for this reason. All sides, both pro and anti-Trump, get to pretend they are virtuous and protecting the little guy when all along they are in on the hustle. It’s all one big act, they are just referring to their playbook, in the end the only thing they care about is enhancing their bank accounts and accumulating more followers—you can’t spell media without ME first. #2FacedPundits
“Half a truth is often a great lie.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.