Nov 30, 2022·edited Nov 30, 2022

NPR used to accompany me on all my drives. But I stopped listening a few years ago as it became… well, unlistenable. I know many others share that experience. I’m sure I’ve missed good reporting and interesting interviews that undoubtedly still trickle through. But I’ve saved myself from pounding my forehead to bits against the steering wheel.

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Nov 30, 2022Liked by Jesse Singal

OTM was my very favorite podcast for years, and during the Trump years it seemed to shift increasingly to activism, and I found myself no longer listening. I do wonder whether it always had some issues, I remember them turning to the SLPC frequently as an authoritative source on who's a baddy - so maybe it's part their slipping standards, and part me becoming more aware of the risk of activist capture... In any case, I really appreciate the coverage on this.

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Gladstone should be ashamed of herself. If she is not willing to find the courage to push back anymore against activist propaganda, she should probably at least have the decency to retire.

It's a catastrophe to see so much of the establishment media shred its credibility. No wonder the percentage of the public who trusts them is at historic lows, and "journalists" are ever more in favor of censoring dissent from their preferrred narratives. The "misinformation" is coming from inside the house.

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These are some of my favs Jesse, ty.

As usual I do want to point out something, which is likely just nitpicking on language, but I do have a problem with as written:

" If you are an LGBT organization, it is beneficial to treat ambiguous cases as homophobic hate crimes rather than something else. This is not due to anything nefarious on the part of LGBT activists per se; it is, at the risk of repeating myself, what activists of all stripes are supposed to do."

This is nefarious and a major problem. Not only in the cases of ambiguity, or in this case just a lack of information at all, not conflicting or hard to interpret information. This is like saying any interracial crime is motivated by racism. This type of thinking and action by the media and activist orgs is actively contributing to the inflated sense that people are persecuted, which is bad for those groups whom they seek to protect, not to mention the division it sows.

In this specific case, there was actually good evidence to the contrary, and the group still went forward with their claims basically knowing they were false.

The reason I think this might just be a language nitpick, is you say it's not nefarious, (which I think is inaccurate) but I think what you mean is that it isn't particularly unexpected with this org or this type of advocacy group, which I agree with.

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Jesse, your acceptance of the trans cult's pronoun diktat is extremely disappointing.

Aldritch is a man. Singular male pronouns should be used for men, full stop.

It's similar to your continued use of the phrase "trans kids" (not in this post), a type of person that does not exist, since there is no diagnostic for distinguishing childhood gender dysphoria that will persist into adulthood and childhood gender dysphoria that will not.

The trans cult is extremely good at modifying language to bend perceived reality towards their cult fantasies, and it is imperative that it be resisted at all times.

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I think everyone will enjoy this:


Hilarious that there are so few positive comments.

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I didn’t think much could surprise me, but the excerpt of Gladstone suddenly painting the Pulse shooting as an anti-LGBTQ crime again genuinely made me just sit there and blink at the screen for a minute. That’s... eerie, honestly. I don’t know a better word.

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Terrific piece Jesse. But I question this claim:

If you are an LGBT organization, it is beneficial to treat ambiguous cases as homophobic hate crimes rather than something else. This is not due to anything nefarious on the part of LGBT activists per se; it is, at the risk of repeating myself, what activists of all stripes are supposed to do. Anti-immigration activists overhype stories that support immigration restriction, anti-abortion activists overhype stories about the horrors of abortion, and on and on.

I disagree pretty strongly with this take. Over-hyping has fairly deleterious consequences in my view - if everything is [insertphobic], nothing is. Furthermore, if you are trying to gain supporters, especially from among those who may be truly open to your cause, you need to be honest, otherwise you are burning credibility before you have earned it. Further still, you are giving fuel to your opponents. Maybe it's just me but if I see someone make a wildly exaggerated and ultimately unfounded claim about anything and there is no retraction/apology, I simply write that person off as a credible source for anything.

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I thoroughly enjoy reading your media criticism. It evokes a lot of interesting personal feelings. I'm a journalism graduate who never really worked professionally as a journalist. From my time at the student newspaper, and the environment I came up in there (just under 10 years ago), I'm fairly certain that I would have become an activist journalist of sorts. I can remember the newsroom reveling in that progressive mantra of "speak truth to power." Heterodox opinions were extremely rare, and calling out "dangerous and harmful ideas" was picking up steam. (Quick aside: I don't blame my school or instructors for this culture. I blame the student newsroom where most of the learning was happening.)

It took me until late 2020, early 2021, to see the folly in the contemporary journalism industry. Reading The Quick Fix and subsequently tuning into BaRPod (and others like the great Coleman Hughes) were instrumental steps in hearing new opinions that illuminated this folly. But had I not lived with someone whose heterodox opinions consistently clashed (respectfully) with mine in the months leading up to finding these heterodox voices, I'm not sure I would have been open to them. I likely would have treated them the same way I treated all "conservative" talking points as a student journalist (as pesky barriers to progress and equality).

All this to say, I think a lot of the activists in journalism today don't even realize they're activists. They're fully bought into the "words as violence" mantra because I doubt anyone they respect has challenged them on it. And, if the other side's words are violence, they don't see an issue with cutting corners to "refute" those words. Plus, there's this looming reassurance: readers will applaud it.

Likening it to my situation, I believe the only way this gets reversed is through offline conversations with respected peers. But we all know how difficult those conversations are to have. And it wasn't just one conversation for me. It was dozens. It was a whole year-long, slow unraveling of ideology.

I've gone on long enough, and this comment isn't all that specific to this post. But, keep up the good work. Who knows how many people you might be helping to jolt from a deep intellectual sleep.

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Journalism is in a degraded state in America. Often enough, it isn't even journalism, it is Activism Inc. All of the time, stories are being treated like Rorschach blots by MSM journos, they imprint their preferred narratives on complex stories. I have never seen anything like this in my life.

No wonder people are running from the MSM to Substack and Rumble and Patreon. Journalism at its best used to be represented by Woodward and Bernstein. Now journalism's public face is the likes of Taylor Lorenz.

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I really miss old NPR.

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I stopped listening to OTM several years ago due to the self congratulatory tone the reporters took. Insufferable

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Great piece as usual. Count me as a third comment that "this is what activists are supposed to do" needs some unpacking.

I can imagine considering activists, such as they are, a part of a de facto adversarial system analogous to the legal system. In a healthy version of that system, with a healthy media, the public-as-jury can decide. But: who sees it that way, whether in journalism or more broadly? And not just since the beginning of this period of awful journalistic decline: I havent seen much to suggest people in and out of media have ever, on the whole, had a healthy and mature understanding of the reality of what activists are for and how they operate. But maybe I missed that civics class (I'm in Canada). Or maybe activists don't like you to see them this way and never really have, so the problem is more laden with deception and "wickedness." And harder for the average journalist much less normie to properly account for.

But this seems like a fairly big deal.

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I don't have anything useful to add, other than to point out that Jesse said OTM "jumped the gun" on reporting about the motive in the Colorado Springs shooting.

That would not be funny at all if it was intentional. Since I'm positive it was unintentional, however...

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While I’m glad folks like Jesse are being careful to not make assumptions, I think opinions on the Pulse Shooting, and perhaps this one, have swung too far in the other direction. Wether or not the shooters *intended* to terrorize the gay community that is what they ended up doing in fact. Sometimes our actions have undesired consequences. If the shooters didn’t want to come off as homophobic they should have chosen their targets more carefully.

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Jesse - I agree with most of your analysis here but feel like Brooke’s mention of the Pulse massacre was sufficiently vague that you’d have to impose your own meaning on her words to say she thought Pulse was a homophobic attack.

Also I think it’s useful to remember that OTM did honest reporting about Pulse *after* someone did the work for them.

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