As a senior in college, I was fortunate enough to take part in a journalist exchange in the Soviet Union. A group of students and writers from the Times, Post, Chicago Tribune and WSJ spent the spring semester studying in Moscow and (then) Leningrad. As a student who had been drilled with the notion of objectivity and the sanctity of the 4th Estate (I was once marked down on an article for describing a fire as having flames shooting high into the sky, rather than quantifying objectively the size of the flames), I was shocked to learn that in the USSR, the media was actually PROUD of their role as mouthpiece for the state, defending perpetual revolution (read "resistance", "woke", critical race theory, etc).

There are few students of journalism or true practitioners of REAL journalism that can see today's media - both new and established - as anything more than I saw Pravda and Izvestia 4 decades ago. The Press that for centuries served its critical role as the 4th Estate has surrendered that role in favor of the Murdochian model of money grubbing, vulgar culture-making, and lapdogging for the neoliberals and neoconservatives that have so thoroughly corrupted every corner of our government.

Of course they object to Substack. They object to ANY free and critical thinking and to ANY information whose flow they themselves don't control. They are a contemptible lot of authoritarian tools whose scorn should be worn as a badge of honor. Clearly you and your cohorts at Substack are doing something right. Please keep it up.

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Chris Cuomo was allowed to cover his own brother's governorship, fawningly interview him multiple times, and cover up his order sending COVID-infected patients into nursing homes.

What was that she was saying about journalistic ethics?

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I worked in a major newsroom for years until recently. The self-righteousness combined with ignorance of the J-school educated generations is striking. If you combine the barriers to entry - degrees, ability to afford internships and rent, the cultural and social capital needed to find opportunities and to stick in the culture - the end result is newsrooms full of mindlessly morally confident rich kids with no real education, no humility, no appreciation of nuance, and no understanding of what happens outside of their bubbles.

The way the industry is set up now attracts and promotes the kind of humorless, irony-deaf "hall monitors" Glenn talks about. You can't fill the national media with kiss-anyone's-ass, student council president, private school cosmopolitans who got A-pluses through J-school and are some editors daughter or nephew and not expect the culture to be totally out of touch, deranged, and entirely, pathologically certain of the correctness of its worldview.

Journalists and scholars who study the media for a living should take a look at who's being hired before they start complaining about independent media and a "reality crisis", but they won't because the problem is them, their colleagues and friends, and the dominance of their socioeconomic class in the industry.

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I don't think we're paying enough for our subscriptions. This writing is pure gold. And I don't even agree with the politics of the author. But I do care about journalism.

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I am an old lady sick of the lies in papers like the NYT and other papers. I’m not an intellectual but I used to read the news papers. I think they’re fascist organizations that want to smash any idea they don’t agree with. I’ll keep reading substack.

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This is just a (long) side note, but, speaking as someone who has a doctorate: what the hell is up with these losers making others call them “doctor?”

To be honest, I don’t think legit medical doctors, coaches, and military personnel should invite people other than their co-workers to address them as “doctor,” “major,” or (the weirdest one) “coach.” (When I taught at the college level, I didn’t even want my students calling me “professor” in class.)

There were a couple of teachers at my depressing public high school who went by “doctor”; I didn’t think about it as a kid, but of course it seems ridiculous in retrospect.

But the idea of being a “newspaper doctor”—it’s just too funny.

Second sidenote:

J-school professors should be ashamed of themselves. They continue to draw big salaries and soak up institutional prestige at the expense of the young people sitting right in front of them who are debt-financing expensive professional degrees that no longer have value.

Professors in all disciplines are too insulated from the human costs of student debt, and they too are complicit. (I have a friend who deeply resents the smug English professors who supervised her PhD knowing all along that she would be unemployable at the end of the program. You might criticize my friend for getting a dumb degree, but 22-year-olds, oddly enough, tend to listen to their parents and to the glamorous authority figures at their colleges.)

But there’s no degree quite like a J-school degree. Even in the 80s and 90s, when journalism was plausibly a path to a middle-class lifestyle, these programs were dubious: reporting didn’t need to be “academized,” and didn’t benefit from the academy’s attention. The degrees really just served a class gatekeeping function, the same way unpaid internships do. J-school is a big part of the reason that NYTimes staff meetings now seem like reunions of the Sidwell Friends Woke AV Club or the Swarthmore College White Allies of Black Panthers Fox-Hunting Society.

Since about 2000, though, J-school has been a scam on another level. These degrees can cost, literally, $300K (you do the math: 2 years of debt-financed Columbia tuition and NYC-area living expenses, repaid with interest on a 30-year schedule). THERE ARE NO JOBS for the people with these degrees. Also, the model of reporting that these schools teach is completely outdated and discredited—despised both within and outside of the profession.

What Matt, Glenn, Max Blumenthal, Jordan Chariton, and even the loathed Andy Ngo are doing is much truer to the scrappy, rebellious tradition of “reporting” (as opposed to the younger and shittier tradition of “journalism”).

Tl;dr: I guess I’m not a huge fan of the Substack-hating blog surgeon.

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Sarah Roberts terrifies me. Not only because she thinks censorship of viewpoints she disagrees with is a good idea, or because of her unfounded attacks on principled, legitimate journalists — but because so many liberal people agree with her.

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"Unfettered free speech is a threat to Democracy" - we're hearing this more and more. Last October, NPR interviewed an author attacking free speech, the NYT has writers poo-poo'ing unfettered conversations. These people are losing control and they're lashing out. This is what happens when people in control feel their control slipping. These are the same people that lionized Andrew Cuomo. They're not exactly arbiters of truth.

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It says so much about the state of legacy media that Dr. Roberts chose Twitter to get her message out about the importance of legacy media. Talk about implicitly acknowledging their irrelevance.

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I subscribe to Substack, more specifically Taibbi and Greenwald precisely for the reasons outlined by Sara Roberts, just in reverse. So many of the news organizations I grew up with have run, not drifted, into being little more than outlets for my cultural betters. Fact-free, oily, bitter representations backed by nothing.

I've made my own newspaper. It doesn't mean I like it when Taibbi hits around opinions I hold dear, but when he does, he does it with facts, research, and an in-depth understanding of the subject he's writing about. You going to get reason and neutral presentation out of the NYT newsroom these days?

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I left my job at a larger company a few years ago to start a smaller company of my own. I used my skills and reputation I acquired throughout my career to help me land clients for my new company. While the work is the same, my company is run very differently from all of the others I worked for. I got rid of as much bullshit as I possibly could. I believe my work is much better than before simply because my product is from me as opposed to have my reports or proposals being run past a group of higher ups that are a step further removed from the process than myself. The money is about the same but I have less job security. I hope I never have to go back. And I'm guessing Matt and the other Substack writers probably feel similar to myself. I don't see why a writer should change the way they do business just because the press is listed in the constitution. If I do shitty work my company will disappear eventually and shitty writers will also disappear unless they get picked up by some shitty MSM company.

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"When news agencies see their jobs as being primarily about politics, they become more concerned with being directionally right than technically accurate, knowing among other things that their audiences will forgive them for being wrong, so long as they’re wrong about the 'right' targets.

"As a result, many reporters by last summer found themselves navigating newsrooms where they were being discouraged, sometimes openly, from pursuing true stories with the 'wrong' message..."

THIS is why many critical thinkers don't feel good about traditional journalism anymore and highly value what you and others do at Substack. If I want an opinion about the state of journalism from an academic with a PhD in Library Science, I guess I know where to go.

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Roberts doesn't understand that we pay the subscription so Matt can have the freedom to do actual reporting, not just to feed us what we want to hear/read.

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Muh, traditional media's just upset Substack has robbed them of their ability to kill the next Gary Webb.


The most important asset old media had was the credibility of their journalists. Selling their credibility to chase clicks was always a suckers bet. There's simply no longer enough revenue to sustain all the middle management in media who justify their existense by claiming they are there to enforce journalistic standards and ethics they long ago abandoned.

Now they're upset they no longer dominate the platform for all the same reason's they'r upset the 1st amendment covers more than just journalists. Like those who demand an apology and refuse to ever accept it, there's something especially insincere about people who want to silence others, then becomes outraged when those people find another place to speak.

Right now the New York Times is running the front page story:


"How Pro-Trump Forces Pushed a Lie About Antifa at the Capitol Riot"

Honestly, who gives a shit? At a time when the criminal system is broken, the first amendment is under assault and we have bombed Syria, do they really think that is what people care most about?

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She missed the bigger picture: Substack is the new journalism. I dont trust mainstream sources anymore.

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The reactionary opinions of people like "Dr. Sarah T. Roberts" bring to mind that of the Soviet Union court of law, where the judge from the bench thundered at the eventual Nobel-prize winning poet Joseph Brodsky "Who has said you're a poet?!?!?!"

"No one," Brodsky replied.

"Have you studied this? Have you tried to do a course where you are prepared...where you are taught?"

"I didn't think that it came through education," Brodsky replied.

Brodsky was thrown into a mental asylum where he was tortured, then to five-years of hard labor in the far north for his "crime" of writing poetry without the approval of the politicians.

We in America are not there...yet. Best of luck, substack.

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