Chris Bray on the Systemic Failure of Western Journalism to Comprehend and Report on Complex Matters

Chris Bray, who writes Tell Me How This Ends, has a fantastic essay about the years he spent covering a complex international legal dispute. Basically, historians had conducted confidential interviews of former IRA members about their activities during the Troubles. UK police, when they learned of this, attempted to subpoena these tapes, leading to a years-long court battle:

Without wading back into the exceptionally complicated details of that long controversy, I learned two things from the experience that have never left me. …

First … I would have email exchanges with newspaper reporters who wanted me to tell them what happened … Over two years, through events in a trial court and in an appellate court, with multiple parties pursuing complicated and divergent courses, reporters would not read. … They wanted the tl;dr, in a sentence or two. “Yeah, what’s it say?” …

Second, as I wrote about the implications of the subpoenas, I made complicated arguments about complicated events … [A]s I wrote in the Irish press, the American academic press, a group blog for academic historians in the United States, and my own sad little blog, every argument I made was dismissed as pro-IRA idiocy. The police are investigating a murder, you fucking moron! What the hell is wrong with you, IDIOT!?!? Commenters explored the precise cause and scope of my breathtaking idiocy: Is this Chris Bray person just really stupid, or is he, like, working for the terrorists?

Please read and share the whole thing. As Bray himself notes, these lessons apply equally well to the insipid media discourse around Corona and all matters related to the vaccines. Indeed, his experience is basically identical to mine.

Read the Whole Article

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