Cristian Farias wrote a post about a guy named Daniel McGowan, who was punished by the United States Bureau of Prisons for violating a regulation that had been rescinded, getting tossed in the hole and then being told by the Second Circuit that he had no “clearly established right” to not have this happen to him. I picked up on Cristian’s post, and wrote about it here.
This isn’t where this post ends, but where it begins.
A passionate advocate named Ryan Fletcher, who is with Movement Media, appreciated Cristian’s post. Whether this was because he pitched the story or just liked it is unknown. That something like Movement Media openly exists is itself a disturbing sign of the times.
We are activists at heart and publicists by trade.
We create and anchor public relations and
communications infrastructure to build movements,
sustain momentum, and influence social change.
In the past, this would be considered a shameful endeavor, seeking to manipulate opinion to “influence social change.” It’s not that it’s wrong to believe that one’s flavor of social change is a virtue, but that the means by which it succeeds is the merit of its argument, not public relations skills as are beloved in the marketing of new and improved laundry detergent.
But hey, social change is all the rage, and there’s no shame these days in proclaiming the use of dubious methods in achieving goals in which one believes. The end justifies the means is the mantra of every passionate advocate.
But Fletcher then took a step that was, to old eyes, alarming. He thanks Cristian, and his Huff Post colleague, Ryan Grim, for being “ally journalists.” I would be more than happy to put up a screenshot or embed Fletcher’s twit, but I can’t.* Fletcher blocked me, and I didn’t get a grab beforehand. I can, however, show my reply to his “ally journalist” twit.
— Scott Greenfield (@ScottGreenfield) June 12, 2016
Since I agreed with Fletcher that Cristian did a fine post, and that Daniel McGowan was screwed by the Second Circuit, why did I question his “ally journalist” twit? Because there is nothing more damaging to a legitimate reporter than to publicly proclaim he isn’t legitimate. By calling Cristian and Ryan Grim “ally journalists,” Fletcher’s twit was that they were so prejudiced in their view that they could not be trusted to report honestly.
Fletcher liked what they wrote, so he did everything he could to damage their reputation.
In reply to my twit, Fletcher told me, in effect, to mind my own business, that I can’t tell him what to say. I would show you his twit, but I can’t since he’s blocked me. He didn’t get the point, but did get angry with me. Angry enough to block me. Angry because I didn’t give him a tummy rub.
The thing about people enamored with social justice is that there are two kinds of people in the world, their allies and their haters. The former get love. The latter get blocked. And they can’t conceive of a world that doesn’t abide their vision that being an ally to their cause isn’t a good thing, a great thing.
These are dangerously stupid people. It’s not just that they are so fragile and knee-jerk in their grasp of the world, but that because they believe so strongly in their righteousness, they can’t grasp the harm they would do those with whom they agree in the process.
Are Cristian Farias and Ryan Grim his allies? Will they lie, distort, manipulate to achieve the goals of Fletcher’s movement, whatever that may be? Hardly. They may share his sensibilities personally, though it’s unclear that they do beyond this one story, but that doesn’t mean their journalism is untrustworthy, that they are shills for the cause.
Indeed, knowing Cristian as I do, it was offensive to suggest he’s a dishonest writer. Fletcher effectively called Cristian a liar, but for the good guys. To Fletcher, this apparently was fine, because being a liar was inconsequential as long as he was a liar for Fletcher’s team. That my post about McGowan took the same side was of no moment. That I arrived at that position was because that was the correct rational view, not because it comported with Fletcher’s vision of social justice.
Calling a journalist an ally is calling him dishonest, deceitful, unworthy of belief. That some dipshit would taint two journalists who strive to be honest brokers is not just wrong, but unbearably foolish.
And then to block someone who tries to explain the harm? That’s social media meets social justice. Which is fine to the extent it speaks to Ryan Fletcher being another fragile social justice warrior. Just don’t call good reporters liars because you’re too clueless and stupid to realize the significance of what you’re saying. No doubt Ryan Fletcher has some allies, but no one who can be trusted as a source of information and commentary.
Cristian Farias and Ryan Grim are not his allies. They may write posts that comport with his view of social justice, but they arrive there honestly. It has nothing to do with a puny social justice warrior like Ryan Fletcher, and nothing Fletcher has to say deserves to be taken seriously enough to taint the reputation of these two journalists. Whether you like them or not, they are no one’s “allies.”
*While I was blocked from the twit, K.C. Johnson was not (thanks, K.C.). So here it is: