For more than a hundred years the major sources of news led by the New York Times and the Columbia School of Journalism have engaged in what they call narrative journalism. This is not simple reporting of the Who, What, Where, When, and How variety. This is journalism that places the factual details within a prejudicial story. Every such story has its own villains, victims, dastardly acts, heroic acts of resistance, and references to good and evil causes looming behind the scenes. A character’s role is determined not by their own actions, but by their identity with regard to the allowable villain and victim categories.
Begin with the facts of the story. For instance, let’s start with this simple news story from LifeNews. It happened just the other day.
A member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party was suspended after saying Republicans should be brought “to the guillotines” after the November midterm elections.
William Davis, who is the spokesman for the party in Minnesota, commented in a Facebook post: “11.7 — bring them to the guillotines.” Party executive director Corey Day said Davis deleted the post and party spokeswoman Charlene Briner said Davis’s suspension started Monday with no pay for one week, according to The Associated Press.
“The comment made by William Davis on social media this weekend was unacceptable. The DFL offers its apologies and assurance that these types of remarks by our employees are not the way we conduct our business,” Day said in a statement to Bring Me The News.
The screenshot of the Facebook post was posted by the campaign for Republican Attorney General candidate Doug Wardlow. Wardlow is running against the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, Keith Ellison, who was accused of sexual abuse by his ex-girlfriend.
Wardlow has since called for Davis to be fired from the DFL and has attacked Ellison for his leadership throughout his party.
I made a table of allowed categories at the bottom of this article that lays out the most likely identities of villains, victims, dastardly acts, and the other prejudicial roles to help rewrite the facts of the above article as a proper #FakeNews narrative worthy of the New York Times, a DNC press release, or even MSNBC. Consult the table for ideas if it’s difficult to arrange categories according to the politically correct party line. Sorry the table is unsorted and somewhat disorganized.
Now we go through the story and look for terms that would place those involved and their actions into a predefined role, including villain, dastardly act, and victim. If the narrative we produce is insufficiently powerful, we’ll add any other terms that would help hammer the proper roles home. After all, all villains are the same. They can all be called Nazis, fascists, or deplorables. They’re all racist, sexist, transphobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, regressive, neocon, alt-right haters.
First of all, Davis is the victim. He is a Democrat. He just made a social media reference to history. He didn’t threaten to or propose to kill any Republicans. It’s just history. Our job as a writer of narrative journalism is to defend the approved victims against any scurrilous accusations by the villains of the piece.
Keith Ellison is another victim. He is both a prominent Democrat and a Muslim. He has been falsely accused of sexual abuse by a bitter ex-girlfriend. Defend! He’s on the Democratic National Committee! Must be defended at all costs!
Second, Wardlaw is the villain, as with the Minnesota Republican Party. He’s an Islamophobic racist who attacked Ellison over the false charges and then compounded his villainy by attacking Davis over a harmless social media post. Shame on him.
Wardlaw’s dastardly act is to attack and falsely accuse these saintly Democrats, who didn’t do anything wrong, and are victims of the vast right wing conspiracy of neo-Nazis and neo-con Islamophobes.
Let’s add one more thing. Narrative Journalism is intended to be very emotionally compelling. The reader is not supposed to think about the story, but to process it unconsciously and accept it on an emotional level. They are supposed to feel it, not think about it, not ask any questions. Thus they should never ask themselves “Why”. So to finish it off the narrative journalist answers the question of why by reading the mind of the villain and giving them a discreditable reason for their actions. The victim’s mind must also be read to give them a virtuous reason for their actions.
Therefore Wardlaw will be accused of being a member of the Christian Taliban, a Neocon fascist, racist, who hates Muslims. And both Davis and Ellison are sainted figures who did what they did because they rightfully hate the worldwide disasters caused by Capitalism. Davis just got a little carried away.
Understand? That’s how narrative journalism is crafted.
Why isn’t this a national news story outside small news sites like LifeNews? Because the narrative is such an obvious cover-up there is no way in hell any self-respecting spreader of #FakeNews would ever mention this story. So this story has been buried, or spiked in journalistic terms.
Table 1: Allowable Categories for Narrative Journalism
|VILLAIN||DASTARDLY ACT||VICTIM||IN SUPPORT OF AN EVIL CAUSE||AGAINST A GOOD CAUSE|