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"The original implication was that a group behind the scenes of large organizations was coordinating them—not that journalists might communicate and share ideas."

When complaining this is impossible or unlikely, you might want to google the term "Journo-list". It is a thing that is known to have happened, and the idea that one exists again today does not require too much suspension of disbelief, especially since much the same symptoms that made people suspect it at the time are fully visible in the news again. They were absolutely coordinating on stories and doing all the bad things that independent journolists aren't supposed to be doing.

I did look it up because I hadn't heard of that group. Thanks for the reference.

It sounds like there is a larger story to tell about that than "see here is a secret hidden cabal of forces pulling the strings of journalists."

The very Wikipedia article on the subject outlines the active stories outing the list for some of their less-scrupulous conversations in publications like the Atlantic[0].

That sort of goes along with what I had been saying—there is no unified voice. I didn't say there were no bad actors—I clearly stated the press is far from perfect—which includes overzealous rabbling to the point of pressing professional ethics to a breaking point, and making an ugly display of it.

This group also was known to each other—they were not a massive conspiracy pulling the strings behind the outlets from the top-down.

These weren't professionals having their pockets lined to break ethical standards or push pre-decided stories. They were rabble-roused in isolated online communities. If anything, that's the part that sounds familiar now.

[0] https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/07/meet-th...

"These weren't professionals having their pockets lined to break ethical standards or push pre-decided stories."

I don't think you have the evidence to come to that conclusion. If they were, how would you know?

Once you find out someone has lied to you in real life about something serious, generally the right answer isn't to slightly adjust down your estimation of the truthfulness. You should generally drop it like a rock, and require a lot of evidence to bring it back up again. I don't mean that politically; I mean that in "real life", as a general life rule. Lies are highly correlated, and it is rational to do this, and indeed, actively irrational not to. (Though many people who are naturally inclined to thinking the best of people have to learn this the hard way, over and over, before getting to this point.)

Similarly, though not identically, you now have strong evidence that what you considered the ethical firewall was breached. You have good reason to suspect that the breach wasn't contained there; what may have started out as putting a toe over the line almost certainly escalated to totally ignoring the line, because in a group that large, that's always how it goes. (Again, general life rule; in groups dedicated to breaking the rules, there's always someone pushing the line just a little bit more than yesterday. Not always the same person, but always someone.)

No, I don't have absolute proof of this... my point is more that you don't have anywhere near proof of your belief that the transgression is limited to just what you know about, and that you have a lot of rational reasons to very strongly suspect that to not be the case. Or, at the very least, I have a lot of rational reason to strongly suspect that is not the case, since I don't consider these people my team or my tribe. Additionally, as I cited earlier, I think that for the same reason people suspected the "journo-list" existed in the first place by watching news stories that something like it exists again today. If this is true, not only has the ethics firewall been breached once again, it means it's been done completely knowingly, at which point any arguments about meaning well go out the window.

(This is all in addition to the general argument that control of the media narrative is literally one of the most valuable things on Earth and I find the idea that literally nobody with any power has ever successfully found a way to manipulate it and it's all just innocent people naively doing their job without a thought as to how it might affect society and that nobody anywhere would even dream of pressuring such people to be such an extraordinary claim as to be absurd. The degree of ethicality on the part of human beings necessary to pull that off strikes me as almost inexpressibly higher than the degree of ethicality that I observe.)

At most I have anecdotal evidence of my work with such people.

As well, if you want to be wealthy that badly you’re better off leaving journalism and doing something else.

I think this rabid kind of speculation is unhealthy. You’re basing your rational on further assumptions.

At the core you seem to assume everyone is so vulnerable that such a situation is more than just plausible, but the most likely reality.

I disagree. So I guess it just boils down to philosophical differences.

For what it’s worth, again, my work has shown me the greatest extent of coordinated government/powers “interference” has been the request for XML copies of published articles. The greatest extent of corporate/financial powers interference has been to cut the legs out from under journalists to maintain margins.

I have no evidence those journalists were coerced into the actions they took outside of the effect of a social media echo chamber. They’re not the only ones.

Add that together and I feel I can make the assumption there is no grand conspiracy otherwise I likely would have seen some traces by now.

This isn’t directly related, but I see far worse coming from corporate executive business management. And they don’t give a damn about the stories.

And you know, I led off with “the press is not perfect”. But it is supposed to be free. Freedom often comes with the tag line that you have take the crunch with the smooth and work through problems.

But coordinated grand conspiracies—no.

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