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Late Night: What an Anti-Journalism World Looks Like

I don’t think it’s entirely hyperbolic to say that what happened in Egypt this week was Ann Coulter’s dream.

Or the dream of the guy who thought this up.

Or this.

Or this.

Or the guys who thought this was funny.

I don’t think it’s entirely hyperbolic to suggest they’re probably secretly enjoying watching Anderson Cooper get brained with a brick, or Christiane Amanpour harassed by a mob, or Al Jazeera being shut down by government thugs.

After all, it’s what they’ve been joking about during their little intellectual fire sales on the Internet for years. It’s what they’ve been cackling over during their Cheeto feasts. It’s what they’ve all wanted, as they bitch about “the media” they don’t consume telling lies that happen to be true. As they listen to the leaders of their modern conservative movement replace fact with fiction and tell them anyone attempting to educate them is the enemy. As they set one of the bedrock foundations of democracy and on fire and toast marshmallows over the flames.

I’m personal about this. If I don’t think there’s value to telling stories there’s pretty much no reason for me to get up in the morning because it’s not like my cooking skills are in any way mad ones. This is what we do, human beings, we look around our own lives and we talk about what’s going on. It’s the only way we do this, the only way we really connect. And as a reporter sometimes your job is to point the camera at something somebody else doesn’t want it pointed at, and tell everyone you can as much as you can about what’s going on. And that job is dangerous, and it’s scary, and it’s necessary as blood.

The world that anti-journalism conservatives, the ones who rant about the “lamestream media” and chat and wave their fists at reporters, envision? That world, in which “enemy journalists” publishing stuff they don’t like and stuff that contradicts their worldview are harassed out of business, beaten, even killed? It’s happening now in Egypt. I hope they’re watching. I hope they’re paying attention.

And I hope, though I have no reason on earth to believe they’ll ever think this hard, that they’re wondering if this is really so very funny after all.

A.

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Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.

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