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Graham Majin was a broadcast journalist for 20 years, 14 at BBC News. His inside knowledge gives him a unique insight into how journalists think and how news is produced. He teaches journalism at Bournemouth University on the sunny south coast of England.  He has written about the concept of Journalistic Truth, about Donald Trump, Russiagate, fake news, misinformation and the history of journalism. Truthophobia: How the Boomers Broke Journalism is his first, full-length book. Find out more at Truthophobia.com.

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Direct Download: KunstlerCast 383 — Truthophobia: How the Boomers Broke Journalism, with Graham Majin

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

20 Responses to “KunstlerCast 383 — Truthophobia: How the Boomers Broke Journalism, with Graham Majin”

  1. Rick Babley August 12, 2023 at 12:33 am #

    Hi Jim, it appears you posted the wrong direct download link.

  2. Tsigantes August 12, 2023 at 2:48 am #

    “People get the governments they deserve and the media they deserve”…is complete rubbish. Wahington’s complete control of the EU superstructure and national governments inside it have made elections almost meaningless and the national parliaments more or less powerless, with 89% of their sovereignty gone “The people” didn’t ask for thar, it was imposed from outside. Nor did the English people vote for or deserve Richie Sunak.

    As for the media, the people have fought back with vigour and great success.

  3. par4 August 12, 2023 at 6:00 am #

    This clown is just another propagandist. The BBC doesn’t have any journalists just like cable and broadcast “news” in the U.S.

  4. FGB3 August 12, 2023 at 3:04 pm #

    I disagree that it is the Boomer Generation that did all this “truthophobia” to journalism. I’m a Baby Boomer par excellence, born in 1948 (with Jim). Our generation was the Good Guys resistance during the Viet Nam years, the reporters who broke the Watergate story, the main questioners of the official JFK assassination narrative, and other events.

    When I look at the current and recent media/news/journalism practitioners, on those rare occasions I happen to see some of their newscasts on mainstream TV, I am struck by the relative youth of the “reporters”. They appear to me to be more of the generation proceeding ours, whatever name is used for that generation (e.g. “X” or whatever).

    Real journalism, the kind this nation had in previous decades, requires more than a modicum of education. Real education such as that which was taught as the Boomers grew up. Where real history was taught and real literature. Et cetera.

    A lot of problem with the younger generations, that I claim are the real destroyers of “truth” today, is that they are the product of the later educational system post-Boomers. It’s not so much that they are mendacious as that they are ignorant; ignorant enough to not have the natural curiosity and simple skepticism that journalists should, nay must, have.

    Disclaimer: of course there are plenty of mendacious reporters too but what I see driving Majin’s Truthophobia are just “good ol’ wet-behind-the-ears” warm bodies who had the misfortune to not grow up in the 1950s, 1960s, and part of the 1970s.

    • liber8tor August 12, 2023 at 4:41 pm #

      100%. And we knew about 9-11 (2 planes 3 buildings). When Bush Jr. tried to put Henry Kissinger in charge of the 9-11 investigation, we sounded the alarm.

      We also tried to warn the public when the blobs in Washington passed the SDAA- Strategic Defense Authorization Act which allowed CIA and Voice of America to broadcast propaganda “inside” the USA.

      No one listened and no one cared. Time marches on…

      • FGB3 August 12, 2023 at 6:38 pm #

        “No one listened and no one cared” – very close to an exact quote of a standard line George Carlin would utter during one of his shows.

        And speaking of Carlin, I was just thinking about him today, when I realized yet again, but even more deeply, that he was absolutely right with his monologue when he said, “They own you. You have no rights. They own all the judges, the congress, etc. And pretty soon they are coming for your Social Security. And they’ll get it” (rough paraphrase but it’s on YouTube – real Carlin classic late monologue).

        George was just more of a realist than I was back when he gave that monologue. I mean I got it then, but I didn’t get it ENOUGH. Since then this multi-generational Cabal has decided it has all the power it needs and doesn’t have to hide their intentions any longer. Now we are seeing their naked power.

    • mrjlc38 August 12, 2023 at 9:05 pm #

      What an unfortunate read. I was born in 1973, so I’m am “X…or whatever”. It is not an issue of education. In fact it was your generation that has introduced us to false empathy. “Hippies” claiming love but really you just wanted to get laid. The sexual “revolution” you bestowed on us has gone well. The trojan horse of gays with a brick on the pedal, abortion, latch key kids, the fake American Jesus also know as “born again”. You sir have left us with boatload of lies that even when pinned to it, you act aloof …or worse that “whelp..we tried”. Perhaps I will be lucky enough to see you actually sweating in fear as your USPS pensions evaporate and you might actually have to work for what you have taken. It’s outrageous and frankly I hope you get a full dose of your own medicine. I am angry, at the financial slavery and Harvey Milks of the world that you set in motion while at “university”. Dust of that tweed blazer, get in your Volvo and go do a scenic tour of downtown Seattle or SF where your generation of morally washed out politicians have laid waste. To stupid and in “love” to say no to anything because you were to weak. Thank you, I will take it from here. Your services are no longer needed. Hope we all meet to discuss before hospice.

      • tom clark August 12, 2023 at 9:38 pm #

        mrjic38: your comment is being monitored for appropriateness.

      • kLolli August 13, 2023 at 10:30 am #

        Great comment and very true. Very little has changed since the ‘rise of man’. Not sure why you would include “abortion” as somehow comparable to those other societal fails, however, as abortifacients have been an option for women (and girls) since the beginning of time. Well, ever since rape, incest, and marital subversion has been around anyway.

        Nevertheless, once again, thumbs up on the great comment! Though I try to look for silver linings, I absolutely share your angst and anger.

    • jim August 13, 2023 at 12:22 pm #

      FGB3:

      I was heavily involved in the Vietnam anti-war movement of the 1960s.

      Back then, I too saw myself as one of the Good Guys–but as I grew older I began to become more skeptical of the complete purity of my own political motivations–especially since the quite ideological politics I believed in back then had totally failed by the late 1970s.

      From your comment above, you still seem convinced of your inherent benevolence.

      What has enabled you to keep that belief about yourself?

  5. Gastrophanes August 12, 2023 at 3:56 pm #

    Boy, Majin has the remarkable talent of adding zero insight, sans passion, to the key, “broken conflicts within the greater brokenness;” stamping out one square ravioli after another. So impartial an observer as to be irrelevant – a stray mutt at a tennis match, the ball’s back n’ forth, back ‘n forth. Finally, then, the barbarians analogy. Eureka! Some teriyaki jerky among the moldy paté! Alas, too late; the closing. Jim could have added more heat to the sangria, but it seemed already partially turned to vinegar. I gathered more insight a good while back from Charlie Manson’s jailhouse commentary on his fellow contemporaries from the sixties elevated to power. I think it ended with, “You watch out!” It lies not in our stars, but that we’re underlings. . . to dangerously delusional Utopians who will stop at no manner of acid trip, however gone mass homicidal and genome mangling. The Magic Bus, ripping downhill from Mt. St. Hellians, has no brakes, man! Another toke. . .?

  6. jim August 12, 2023 at 3:59 pm #

    JHK, I found this a most fascinating and worthwhile interview.

    From my point of view, it is the arena of the unresolved tensions in your respective perspectives that needs to be explored in much more depth–especially if we want to find a path out.

    But this arena (or swamp, or what I consider the more foundational psychological / emotional / philosophical muck beneath the bureaucratic swamp) consists of a variety of issues that even alternative journalists like yourself have yet to fully explore.

    For me, it seems to consist, at least in part, of the following items:

    1) Our respective individual wills to power and our respective needs for certainty.

    2) The degree to which the baby boomer generation mischaracterized themselves–mistaking a will to power for a more innocent benevolence and why this mischaracterization was so prominent and still is.

    3) What it takes to understand our individual need for moral righteousness.

    4) Our respective capacities to admit that we were or are wrong.

    5) What weight or degree of priority do we give to truth and to ethics (for example, if we can never know for sure, does everything come down to ethics?)

    6) How to move from limitlessness to limits and still maintain a democracy–what I consider to be the core issue for the counter-revolution.

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  7. Boxfish August 13, 2023 at 1:18 am #

    Normally love the interviews, but this guest was rough. He is off base from just so many angles. Too many to list, but here are a couple.

    The deterioration of the press is not a generational/boomer issue. It’s simply the result of further corporate control over the press and gov’t agencies. Plus consolidation of ownership. The corporate control of the press goes back to Cecil Rhodes days (ca. 1900) when the moguls figured out they could inexpensively manipulate the public by putting newspaper editors on the payroll. Just look at press suppression during the Teddy Roosevelt and Wilson era. The press manipulation to drag the US in to both world wars makes the covid scam look like child’s play. Even the suppression of the Spanish flu news was on the level of Covid.

    Acting like the ’60’s was some idealistic journalist era is also a joke. The counterculture, including the music drugs, war protests, feminist movement, civil rights movement, watergate, etc. were in fact pushed and in some cases clearly conceived by the deep state. The journos pushing this stuff thought they were rebels, but they were in fact carrying water for the likes of the CIA. And the press is loaded with spies, but that’s a 100 year old phenomenon.

    And the solution to the current problems is getting back to more liberalism? Marketplace of ideas? Hear both the left/right sides? That’s just such a naiive position. The fake left/right dialectic is the primary means to manipulate the electorate. What we are seeing now is the logical progression of liberalism and worship of the individual. Liberalism ultimately self destructs.

  8. JackStraw August 14, 2023 at 4:12 pm #

    Kudos to Jim for taking the Commissar to task in this interview.

    Majin put ethics above truth in the hierarchy of rules of journalism, and then defended the leftist MSM for taking down “Trumpism” with lies, filing the action under “ethical behavior”. He’s clearly one of those deranged leftists who think Trump is Hitler and must be stopped at all costs, and he also claims that reporters are practicing benevolence. That’s some seriously twisted logic.

    His frequent use of “offended” also made him sound like a weak, woke type.

    His book is definitely not on my list of future reads.

  9. tom clark August 14, 2023 at 9:02 pm #

    Nor mine. It’s a lot easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.

    Re; Trump…no need to worry about stopping him…he’ll stop himself.

  10. TravisB August 16, 2023 at 5:44 pm #

    Two things I think.

    I am sometimes surprised at the juxtaposition of your understanding of the winding down of western industrial society, and your often animated and ,seeming, perplexed frustration towards the high level grifting, and roadside shinanagins rampant in contemporary Society.
    Those are predictable parcels on the way down yes?
    Discussion seems more profitable at the level of going into those dastardly deeds in the broader context and understanding of ‘the long emergency’

    Second thing is that your conversation seemed a bit contentious, however, in a way that could be settled around a fire with drink.

    Cheers ?

    • TravisB August 16, 2023 at 5:44 pm #

      *cheers ?

      • TravisB August 16, 2023 at 5:45 pm #

        …that’s is supposed to read “cheers” with a couple clanking brews

  11. VeldesX August 22, 2023 at 11:20 am #

    A very thought provoking discussion, Jim. It didn’t seem as combative as you suggested, but enough to make things interesting. I feel it should have revolved around the so-called Fourth Estate and its alliances with the power structure, but it got muddled into ethics and philosophy rather than practicalities.

    Trumpism, the guest seems to forget, was a product of the deeply dishonest journalist. It was the journalist who gave Trump the much maligned “billions in free advertising” in 2015 to make him the nominee, knowing full well his bombastic showmanship would draw viewers. That he would actually win was not intended. After that, the demolition of their “Golden Golem” was the purpose of the Russiagate Hoax. They felt it within their rights: they made him, they can break him.

    In effect, through the Russiagate Hoax the Fourth Estate attempted regime change, but ultimately failed. It would be interesting to hear from Majin why journalism has become so unprofessional as to fail to sway the masses appropriately.

    He also forgets that the journalist is a salesman foremost — the first papers were filled with accusation and innuendo to draw readers. Ethical journalism was a reaction to the Victorian yellow gutter swill that passed for journalism, but it still served the purpose of the powerful as long as the powerful were aligned to the Fourth Estate.

    But all Majin’s talk of the Boomers dismantling of the Victorian journalist ethic must remind us that he comes from Britain, and Britain had a wholly different experience in journalism than America. The British journalist in the 60s and 70s was very different than his American counterpart. He still was very much steeped in the straight, ethically bound journalistic credo of Lord Northcliffe from two generations back. Northcliffe rescued British journalism from the yellow gutter of Victorian England before William Randolph Hearst did so for American papers, and his influence was much more stern. (One might say British journalism was stuck in the ethics of the Edwardian/Georgian age rather than Victorian.)

    Majin’s remarks rather remind me of a recent debate on trust in media where Malcolm Gladwell and Michelle Goldberg defended the media while Matt Taibbi and Doug Murray went on the offensive. In that debate, the two sides might as well have been from other planets. Gladwell especially detailed the fact that the legacy media has access to large scale resources to fact check their stories whereas independent journalists do not. According to him, failures in the Russiagate cycle were systemic; the experience was worthy of learning from and the system worthy of fixing, because its vast infrastructure was too valuable to lose.

    At no time did Gladwell acknowledge that the system was working perfectly, that the infrastructure of the mass media operated on protecting the power structure aligned to the fourth estate, which meant deliberate lies, willful deception, and flagrant abuse of power. Thankfully, the audience was not having it, and the debate was decisively won by Taibbi and Murray.

    Therefore, when Majin speaks of Truthophobia, fear of truth in the media, it is more Fear of consequences to the fourth estates’ power alliances that the truth might have. Does he admit this in his book? I cannot tell just by reading the bylines or blurbs.

    The remark on apologies for the Russiagate Hoax was amusing in light of your focus on ethics. Here, Majin was quite correct in saying “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the media said ‘we got that wrong’?” and then “I guess they think it would destroy their credibility if said ‘we got that wrong'” and therefore “deny, deny, deny”.

    The problem here — and this is what Gladwell and Goldberg refused to acknowledge — is that they didn’t “get it wrong”, they knowingly and willfully deceived the public to commit regime change. That’s a political operation, not a newsroom blunder.

    Jim, one thing you’ll have to flesh out for us in the future is why you say you were in the middle of the hippy underground but did not participate in the radical utopia agenda. Essentially, you state you were there but not a “true believer”. What were you, then? Did you have a morbid fascination with the movement and wanted a front row seat? Did you like the vibe of the people even while disdaining their philosophies? Or was their philosophy attractive but their methods repulsive? Please enlighten at your convenience.

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