Alex Jones’ name came up in a conversation on TS last night. He was discussed briefly in John Oliver’s returning video. Watch it from 12 mins for a two minute precis of what level of fucked up we are talking about in using Jones as a credible or reliable source of information (although the whole 23 mins is well worth it for an indepth update on Tr*mp as a pathological liar).
There are something like 75 mentions of Alex Jones on The Standard in the past year. Sarah Kendzior gets seven. Here’s why we should be paying more attention to her. This is a one minute clip of Kendzior on why editorial make-up matters, what results from bigoted coverage, and what journalism’s priorities should be,
— Matthew A. Cherry 🏁 (@MatthewACherry) February 15, 2017
From a recent interview with her in Cosmopolitan,
Sarah Kendzior anticipated a Donald Trump presidency in late 2015. As a freelance journalist, Kendzior has written extensively about American politics and the economy, but she also has a doctorate in anthropology from her studies on authoritarianism in Central Asian states. She compared Trump to dictators in Central Asia in an article published in The Diplomat almost a year before the New York Times columnist Paul Krugman would write an opinion piece saying the same. Kendzior explains how she got here.
I transitioned into covering the presidential election in March 2016. I had three advantages in covering Donald Trump specifically as a candidate. First, I worked in New York tabloid media, so I knew exactly how he marketed himself.
Then, I studied dictatorships and authoritarian regimes the entire time I was doing my PhD. I learned to speak and read Russian when I was getting my masters. A lot of things that Trump was doing in his campaign reminded me of things I saw in Uzbekistan, Russia, and other authoritarian states around the world. Alarm bells started going off in my head. This was bad. I kept saying that he had a good chance of winning and was dismissed as histrionic or pessimistic. I wish I’d been wrong.
Third, I live in the center of the country, not in D.C. or New York. When they talk about how hard things are out here, that’s accurate. As the country started to rebuild after the recession, some cities thrived but others really struggled. I felt I was in a losing city.
There would be these parachute journalists who would come to talk to people struggling to find jobs and act like they were zoo animals. But these are people I see when I go out to dinner. It’s one thing to go to a rally or show up in a place for a few days. It’s another thing to live here all year long. I love my city, and I love my state, and I want it to do well. I’m frustrated with how it’s been represented.
Trump pretends to speak for the forgotten men and women of the heartland. I am one of those forgotten women. I’m pushed to the sidelines a bit just by virtue of the fact that I live in Missouri. People think, If she were for real, she would live in New York. That’s by choice. It allows me some more financial leeway than some of my contemporaries who are bound to the whims of their publishers or worried about their financial situations.
But I don’t have freedom in terms of my safety. I’m under a lot of attacks now with Trump being elected. I’m a target because I’ve been a forthright critic. There have been phishing schemes, threats. I’m worried about my safety and my family’s safety. The New York Observer wrote a smear piece that singled me out and had inaccuracies; I wasn’t contacted for the story. It’s unnerving because I’m a journalist from Missouri and the billionaire son-in-law of the president-elect is watching me.
I’ve been writing for Canada’s Globe & Mail and other international outlets about politics, which I did on purpose, because I knew that if Trump won, I might lose the ability to criticize him in American publications. I’ve never felt this unsafe or frightened in the U.S. before. But I want a more informed public. I think a more informed public is a more compassionate public. They’re more likely to do the right thing.