Read Quotes - Fight Fascism
12 expert quotes from the RadPod files to help fight the fascist creep
In 2009, as an investigative producer in broadcast news, I was asked to start booking guests - the death-knell to truth known as bothsidesisms had arrived in our newsroom. Our viewers hated it - as revealed in the ratings - but one thing I took away from that experience is people are people. Their world view is funneled through lived experience and so an immigrant-hating-immigrant - for example - might be that way, because when he came back from serving his adopted country in Vietnam there was no love, no jobs, and no help. He easily succumbed to the fascist trope of othering - blaming an out group for societal woes which impacted him personally, despite him also being an immigrant.
I did a lot of listening for clues as to why people adopted their political views and looking back now, I can see how the algorithms were feeding the inner bias beast. No one was immune to the loaded gun of Facebook, because even if someone wasn’t on Facebook, a pal would still forward an anonymous email selling smack about liberal democracy - creating suspicions about motives when facts proved inconvenient. (Lessons from Hannah Arendt, 101).
Public knowledge that Kremlin trolls were sharpening their fangs on American brains was years away.
When I walked out of my newsroom - a damaged bird in 2013 - I went to a lecture at the Getty by Alain de Botton, a philosopher who had just written a book, which begged the question, “Is the news driving us crazy?” Having diagnosed myself with Post-Traumatic News Syndrome, I could avowedly and definitively say, ‘yes, it was.’
He spoke of things in trees - as I have written, I became a birder as part of my healing process. In his powerpoint, he reminded people to not miss the fact that hope was still the thing with feathers. Look around. Don’t miss the beauty.
But it was the point he made about bothsidesism that resonated with me permanently.
He used an example of an anchor discussing forced female genital mutilation (FGM) - a violation of human rights of young girls. On one side of the anchor, he imagined in his lecture, was someone against FMG. And on the other side was someone pro FMG. Now discuss.
That is insanity. My words, not his.
His point, and one that I have been making all these many years later, is that it is the journalist’s job to bring the truth. Not to say, “Guest A says it’s raining outside. Guest B says it’s not raining. You decide.”
Fk that! Are you getting wet?
He also pointed out the massive failings of such newspapers as the New York Times in the run up to the mortgage crisis - the signs of financial calamity were everywhere, but you wouldn’t know it reading the old gray lady.
A decade after that lecture, in 2023, we reflect back at the massive failings of the New York Times in 2016, when it was apoplectic about Hillary’s emails and nonplussed about RUSSIA’S SYSTEMIC OPERATIONS TO INSTALL TRUMP.
My vitrolic all caps are a response to spending the better part of the last seven years making independent investigative journalism and harshing the mellow of billionaire media moguls, who spit back.
The good news is we are building a community supportive of independent reporters like me, who dare speak truth to power. Thank you to everyone who quickly made Bette Dangerous a Substack bestseller. It makes me hopeful. I also am grateful to have found my tribe - RadPod and Byline Media.
With a quiet rage, however, I wrote about the failings of media in my Byline Supplement analysis of Trump’s 2024 announcement speech, Trump Unmasked: A Guide to Becoming a Demagogue, which I funneled through the various categories in How Fascism Works.
I wrote: “With the disgraced, twice-impeached former President Donald Trump now back in the ring, pro-democracy reporters are now facing whiplash, as corporate media outlets continue to platform him, while failing to confront the fact that their outdated ideas of journalistic impartiality are failing the very people they’re meant to serve.”
Of course, by 2023, it is clear the people corporate media are now meant to serve are the bean counters in the front office. How can MSNBC platform the brilliant Ruth Ben-Ghiat and also such garbage tossers as Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz? That is not journalism. That is giving propagandists an opportunity to wage cognitive warfare on people’s brains. A very irresponsible and dangerous thing to do when fascism threatens our shores.
As I have written since 2016, it is a journalist’s job to be biased - that bias should be truth. I am very intentional about the guests I book. You will not find us platforming nazi and Kremlin propagandists. We crush nazis with our reportage.
Behold, some truth from the greatest people I know - anti-fascists, all…