The return of Gonzo journalism

The once revered newspapers have gradually become the mouthpiece of conventional orthodoxy. Although there are many mistakes in that orthodoxy, the real problem comes when the news is blurred with opinions. Indeed, there is plenty of fora for opinion pieces. Mother Jones And Jacobin Radical socialist, The new republic More gently so Economist Publicly classical liberal. Fox News and National Review Publicly conservative. That’s fine. Even reading the same story at two different outlets can be enlightening.

The difficulty comes with biased outlets that claim to be purposeful.

I focus here New York Times (Although there are many others). It is helpful to start with a strong resignation letter from the former Bar Journalist Barry Weiss. He writes of a “predetermined narrative”, a “new orthodoxy” and a “liberal environment” – “a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially in this paper: that fact is not a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already wise.” Some are familiar with the job of informing others. ”

One way to understand this is, of course, the terror of Donald Trump’s elite. It is their duty to stop him without spreading the news.

But another way to understand the trend is to return to Gonzo journalism.

Gonzo journalism appeared in the late 1960s, as part of New Journalism (see Tom Wolf’s 1973 collection of titles, or harsh criticism of it). New YorkerReprinted in 2001 compilation Hooking up) In traditional journalism, the journalist is “invisible” and events are reported objectively (Korda, 329-340). In contrast, Gonzo journalism deliberately places the author in the story. The events become obscure due to the involvement of the journalist and being on the stage of the thematic story-telling center. Hunter S. Thompson explained his Gonzo in 1971 Fear and hate in Las Vegas: An uncivilized journey to the heart of the American dream. His assignment was not clear, so he came up with his own: “But what was the story? No one bothered to say. So we have to drum it up ourselves. Free enterprise. The American Dream … Do It Now: Pure Gonzo Journalism “(12). It’s not objective journalism, nor is it intended to be.M Anniversary version Fear and hatredCaity Weaver (ironically, a writer New York Times), Writes: “It is a sin to make things up in journalism. Yet the ultimate goal of practice is to calculate a certain level of subjectivity: to properly communicate an honest perception of what has happened in certain situations. Alas, several recent articles Bar Gonzo has simply created things in the tradition of journalism.

The first example comes from 2019, when Bar 1619 published a series of essays as a project. They sought to rewrite American history with slavery at the center and the center, claiming that the preservation of slavery was a hyperbolic cause of the American Revolution. Although the reverse scholarship is healthy, the project was based on a false history, it was not conducted by any historian and a new “truth” was simply claimed because it fits the narrative. A few months after its publication, several historians wrote Bar, Indicates many errors; A letter concludes that the authors of the 1619 project were engaged in “displacement of historical understanding by ideology.” But Gonzo fits the project BarNarrative, so the newspaper stood behind it (although there were some shady changes to the newspaper’s website, without open withdrawal). The project has been praised by many media outlets and leftist politicians – and its leader has received a Pulitzer Prize. Clearly, the award quote is a “broom, provocative and Private Articles for the Ground-Breaking 1619 project “(emphasis added).

A second example: On March 16, 2021, a shooter killed eight massage therapists at a massage parlor in a suburb of Atlanta. The suspect explained that he was motivated by sexual harassment. But it’s too late. Six of the eight are of Asian descent New York Times Already its readers were instructed that these were racially motivated attacks, which provoked a national hysteria about anti-Asian discrimination. Honest journalism would dictate a revocation or amendment, but it does not fit the narrative, so Bar Only his gonzo journalism has doubled. Many other outlets and politicians followed suit; The narrative was created because mainstream news outlets “drove readers and viewers to be outraged.”

Duke University Nancy McLean’s historical novel, D is the ultimate example of gonzo journalism from the media to the academy.Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Rights Stealth Plan for America (2018). In this book, MacLean economist James M. Buchanan and Koch attack the network – the narrative that unites everything, of course, with hints of racism, oligarchy. When passing I should keep in mind that I don’t mind anything Scholar Questioning Buchanan and his public choice theory; I spent many wonderful hours at Donald Whitman’s undergraduate school The Myth of Democratic Failure: Why Political Institutions Are Efficient, Among other criticisms. After graduation, I became involved in a friendly war with “idealist” conservative political philosophers. But McLean’s gonzo style is not helpful. As a historian, he does not even try to get involved in the economy of public choice. Even more worrying is MacLean’s approach to “speculative historical fiction” which includes fabricated claims presented as evidence and speculative links without any basis. It makes no sense, if the work is to be understood as gonzo journalism; Naturally, McLean’s book fits the “narrative”, so it has been acclaimed by general skeptics and received several national awards, despite widespread criticism.

These are just three examples. Good reporting is harder and harder to find, as the media is increasingly concerned with advancing a particular narrative without worrying about objectivity. Understanding it as Gonzo journalism provides a helpful heuristic.

Nikolai G. Wenzel

Nikolai G. Wenzel is the LV Hackley Chair of the Study of Capitalism and Free Enterprise, and Professor of Economics at Fayetteville State University (Fayetteville, NC). He is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Molinari (Paris, France).

Dr. Wenzel has a PhD. In Economics from George Mason University (where he was HB Yarhart Fellow) and BSFS With laude International Affairs from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

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