The coming out of a journalist

Part of my professional integrity involved keeping secrets. Sources had secrets. Colleagues had secrets. Subordinates had secrets. The competition had secrets. Management had secrets. I always held my tongue.

Another part of my professional integrity was dependent on my objectivity, in meetings, in stories and on social media. I had to keep secret from you what I truly believe. I never wanted my personal beliefs to show in any way. Taking sides would defeat the basic premise of solid journalism. Lose your objectivity, and you lose your journalistic integrity.

There doesn’t seem to be as much objectivity in media today as there was twenty, even ten, years ago. Especially in the national outlets.

Some organizations played a role in brainwashing people I love. They have turned into mentally-vacant zombies who post endless, worthless blither on social media related to world events and it’s all filled with hate and fear and falsities. These zombies are self-righteous and believe their opinions should be law.

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One of the fear-based posts in my Facebook feed.
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One of the fear-based posts in my Facebook feed.
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Another warped post by a Facebook ‘friend’.

The heartbreak of zombies is that heroes still see the rot as people they love. Yet, as every zombie buff knows, once you’re a zombie, you are lost forever.

Similarly, once you are out of the closet, you are out forever.

I can keep “journalist” as my title, in case I ever go back to work for news. (I’ve been out of the business eight months.)

Or I can say – screw it.

So.

Screw it.

“Journalist” used to be listed first on my Twitter profile. I’ve removed that title, changed the order, and added “world traveler.”

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Only two people know how I feel about most subjects before now – my husband and my sister.

I won’t go through every subject – I’ll keep it brief.

Here are some of my fact-based, reality-extrapolated opinions coming out.

Climate change is happening, and it helped set all the right conditions for Syria to implode. Epic drought led to a million people moving to Syrian cities, and the government couldn’t or wouldn’t help. That made tensions ripe and helped create the Hell On Earth with ISIS that is Syria today.

While I’m at it – failed U.S. policy in the Middle East helped spawn ISIS. Of course I mean the debacle of Iraq, but also the bowing down to Saudi Arabia and the oil that is so needed for every single aspect of our lives. Sure, oil prices have collapsed for now – but the Sauds want it that way. Western corporations have halted exploration and deep water drilling. We will eventually be dependent on them again.

All that oil is used to power your car to go to work to buy more things made with more oil. That all affects the climate.

The U.S. middle class is nearly gone because we’ve built an unsustainable consumer culture, dependent on cheap energy, driven by corporate greed and political impotence under mountains of dirty money.

Donald Trump is a jackass who should not win the GOP nomination. Same for Ben Carson. Really? Those are the leading choices? And the other choices are baby Jeb Bush – and who else?

The American experiment had a good run. This is why Trump is able to capitalize on the phrase “Make American Great Again.” We all know, deep down, it’s not great at all. We all know, deep down, it’s damn better than the rest of the world. Fear of losing what we have makes jackasses like Trump and idiotic ideas like blocking refugees and outlawing a certain religion seem like good ideas. Fear. Haste. Hate.

Hillary Clinton is a liar who should not win the Dem nomination, but she probably will, because the deck was so far stacked against Bernie Sanders before he ever really got going. And then the other choices are – who were they again?

I actually believe in less government, fewer laws. In that sense, I’m really a libertarian. My social values are so far to the left they come back to the right side in nearly a full, perfect circle. Live, and let me live, as long as I do no harm to you.

It’s time for a truly great group of philosophers to come up with a new model to try. Not capitalism – not socialism. Not any ‘-ism’ we’ve tried in human history so far. Stop remaking the classics – and come up with some damn new content.

Capitalism in a democracy doesn’t seem to work, and we’ve tried to add more futile checks against rampant greed that ultimately continuously runs roughshod underneath the surface our culture.

I actually believe people are good, until they become filled with fear. Humanity needs moral leadership that transcends all organized religion, and is able to reach every country, every race.

I also believe there are just too many people on the planet. Billions of people don’t have basic necessities, like water and shelter and food.

As long as that’s the case, and as long as we in the developed world fear having less of everything we think a middle class should have, we will never experience ultimate love, and we will suffer accordingly.

Now that I’ve ‘come out’ – you can’t really say I’m Democrat, Republican, or Something Else. I just am, and you happen to know where I stand on a few current issues without being able to “label me.”

That’s part of our problem as Americans. Not everything fits in clean, simple labels. Not every position is adequately or fairly explained in a ten second soundbite before a two-minute commercial. Not everything can be boiled down to a slogan to be slapped down on a picture to immediately post onto your Facebook page to see how many “likes” you can get.

As far as future work goes – the universe will guide me to what’s needed. I have faith and through that faith I trust the Force to find the courage.

While I can’t see myself going back to ‘news’, I could see taking a post as an advocate journalist. That means – I would clearly take a side. I would clearly draw a line, and you would know which side I was on – there would be no question about it. After all, no matter what, I will always be honest, with no false pretense.

There are many wonderful journalists who fight the good fight, and hold the line down the middle, without crossing to the right or to the left. One of my former bosses just shared a link to a story about one of them – Marcia Kramer. The news business needs more people like Kramer.

(Full disclosure – I’ve been long on big oil for more than a decade, currently with shares only in ConocoPhillips Co. and Phillips 66. Lately, it’s been weighing on my conscience and I may not be long much longer.)

I have a new goal, I’m changing my ways
Where money applies, this is not a love song

Not television behind the curtain
Out of the cupboard
You take the first train into the big world
Are you ready to grab the candle, not television?
This is not a love song
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