Dear Hank,

You know that I don’t spend much time looking at LoCO. I barely get enough time online to submit my weekly essay, put up my blog post and research my radio show, but a friend drew my attention to this:

Do you call this “journalism,” Hank? I’ll bet you could do this kind of “journalism” in North Korea. Send a cute woman out on patrol with a couple of soldiers so she can publicly humiliate the dissidents and go “ew, gross” while the soldiers terrorize and torture them. A job like that would probably pay pretty well by North Korean standards, but they wouldn’t call it “journalism;” they would call it “propaganda,” because at least the North Koreans are honest about what they do. That’s not what I would call it, but if you keep it up, Hank, your kids are going to grow up to inherit a place much like North Korea.

You’re not investigating government corruption or exposing corporate malfeasance here. You’re not helping us relate to each other or understand our world better. Instead, you are invading the private lives of this community’s most vulnerable people, to ridicule them publicly for their personal foibles and wretched conditions while armed thugs intimidate and punish them. This is shameful!

This doesn’t make people smarter, Hank. This doesn’t make people think. There was no interesting angle, and she asked no challenging questions. The piece simply pandered to popular prejudice, a prejudice which corporate media mass-produces through exactly this kind of programming. We don’t need any more of this shit.

I see the effects of “Journalism” like this all over Humboldt County, including in the comments section of LoCO. People don’t get that stupid on their own, Hank. They have to be taught. It’s natural to have compassion for the poor, and to despise the rich for their greed. You have to be completely reprogrammed to despise the poor and envy the rich, and this kind of “journalism” is a big part of that reprogramming.

This kind of “journalism” produces monsters, Hank. It produces monsters like the one who set a homeless man on fire in Arcata just recently, and like the ones who beat old men to death on the streets of Garberville. We don’t need more monsters in Humboldt County, and corporate media doesn’t need any help in producing them. We have enough of them here already.

We live here, Hank. This is the community we live in, and where your children are going to grow up. We deserve better. Our neighbors deserve better. Your kids deserve better, and they’re never going to know what better looks like unless we demand it of ourselves. This is not journalism, Hank. This is prostitution. This is pornography. If you want to see what real journalism looks like, you can find it at my blog this week.


John Hardin


John Hardin writes at Like You’ve Got Something Better to Do.