Alt-Epistemology (or should I say Post-Epistemology?): A Journalistic History Lesson

Remember “the news”? Remember “objectivity”? When did that notion get squelched? And yet, of course it was never “real.” Because all “news” is always offered from a certain point of view. There is no omniscient intelligence, at least not here, on Earth, for humans, who only have two eyes and two ears, and live in bodies.

See the following for more on this subject, re: journalism. And note that the author’s obvious TDS is, however, an example of yuge bias! I’m sure the author would agree, although he would probably also say that all sane people hate Trump.

Why “objective” journalism is a dangerous and misleading illusion

Okay. Let’s delve further down my admittedly cartoon version of the slippery historical slope of journalism. Next, remember “spin,” as distinguished from claiming “objective” news? (Or: one might say “spin” is “advertorial.”) When did that shift begin? According to wikipedia, on a page called “Spin (propaganda)” it ramped up in the ’90s, which is when I had guessed. In other words, when the Clintons came to power.

Aaaah . . . Remember “It’s the economy, stupid!” James Carville’s famous phrase? For those too young to remember, he was Bill Clinton’s clever and outrageous campaign manager, and somehow I associate the word “spin” especially with him.

But before the ’90s, the news was objective? Of course not. See above. But it may have been presented as if it was, by beloved nightly news anchors, like Edward R. Murrow, Huntley and Brinkley, and perhaps the most famous, avuncular, and beloved, Walter Cronkite, who presided over ABC news for 19 years (1962-1981), and always ended his broadcasts with “And that’s the way it is . . .”

How times have changed! Rather than middle-aged and older men with gravitas (and one woman: Barbara Walters) anchoring for many years, we now witness a fast-moving display of eye candy dolls on major news channels — young, usually, and either buxom and cross-legged if female and neatly buttoned up if male.

But wait a minute! How would I know? I don’t watch “the news.” Never have. But I’ve done enough glancing up at CNN’s boring screen at airports to begin to figure it out. Plus, of course, these days, watching various short clips on Twitter — cited by their authors of various persuasions as attempts to astonish, reveal, undermine, prove, etc.

Oh wait. There does seem to be one exception, one relatively long-lasting anchor, and that’s Anderson Cooper:

Hmmm . . . Anderson Cooper, son of Gloria Vanderbilt . . . Their photo on a bed with weird apparently Illuminati symbolism now (in)famous in conspiracy circles.


Oops! It looks like I’ve stumbled into (a somewhat familiar) rabbit hole. Geez, let’s not fall down there! NO! Instead, let us stay with this historical survey of the insidiously twerking language used to describe “the news.”

As I recall, after “spin” with the Clintons,” came “cherry-picking” — remember that one? Somehow I link it to the sly, lopsided-grin of Dick Cheney back in the days when he was VP to Bush, Jr. though can’t remember why.

Okay, from “spin,” and “cherry picking” (a form of spin), let’s now jump  straight into a relatively new word, in a journalistic context, “narrative,” which, have you noticed, is almost universally used now, to describe any news “story,” whether MSM or alt-news (this distinction thanks to the internet, see more below) and may have come into prominence because DJT rudely, famously, and constantly calls out MSM news as FAKE! Plus,  remember also, before that, just after Trump ascended to the presidency, when his aide Kelly Anne Conway talked about “alternative facts” — as if she was serious, without even blinking an eye! Huh? Do a search for “alternative facts memes,” if you wish to be similarly entertained.

I remember that phrase struck me, too, as utterly amazing! Especially when introduced with such insouciance! Yet, let’s fact it, oops, I mean let’s face it: the phrase makes sense! For in an infinite space, which then includes an infinite number of points, each of which when seen from close to, opens into another infinite space (see my other Alt-Epistemology posts), there always are more, indeed infinitely many “alternative facts,” and any set of alternative facts, when set up in an as-if “causal” line, can spin out another “narrative” — which is the word I still want to talk about now. Because it seems to me that most “stories” in any news account, whether MSM or alternative, do use that word “narrative” now, instead. Some do it to indicate skepticism, or even cynicism. Others just use it as if it’s just another word for “story.” Which of course, it is! But just imagine how that word “narrative” has shifted over time. For example, check this out:

What Is Narrative Journalism?

But wait a minute. That article was posted in 2018! Huh? It looks more like something composed much earlier, especially when you see naive paragraphs like this one:

Whoever wrote this has not caught up with the twerking history of journalistic language. Sad. And still, even, beLIEves in “the truth,” and in “objectivity,” at least as far as “the facts” go. As if there are only a certain number of facts that are real, and that count? Huh? Just train your eyes in any direction. You can point out any number of facts there, at any distance, near or far, all depending on the perceptual framework inside you (itself probably unconsciously programmed by time, media, parents, schooling, etc.) that only sees certain “facts” rather than others, and especially, looks for patterns. But I get ahead of myself.

Let’s go back to Narrative. Please do notice how it’s everywhere! Everywhere! All stories are now narratives, which imply, more than stories do, though this shouldn’t be the case, since of course “stories” are just as dependent on whose telling them as are narratives. But in any case, the word “narrative” is everywhere, ubiquitous, in “the news.”

Then of course we have odd notions like “getting ahead of the story:” i.e., putting something out there that will hopefully help counteract a certain interpretation of that something which its author suspects is just about ready to break out into “the news.”

And my favorite: “limited hangout:” releasing part of a “story” in hopes that will satisfy its expected audience enough so that nobody wants to press further.

I haven’t even mentioned “misinfo” and “disinfo”. Need I?

So much of the language now used in what used to be “objective journalism” has come about because the internet suddenly put everybody in charge of what they think is “news”! Especially as time goes on. It’s not just Trump that calls out “fake” news, it’s all those who used to be glued to ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, FOX, etc., and now dismiss these outlets — all of whom, we’ve noticed, have their “4 am talking points” and use similar or exactly the same language to indoctrinate — as bullshit. Instead, more and more of us now prefer, indeed, we construct our “identities” upon the basis of, our own private “silos” that we tend to either righteously barricade against others’ presumably “false,” “misleading,” “incorrect” silos, or territorially try to swell them to the point where they gobble up others’ silos.

Yes. That word “silo” is another one used in today’s media by those “in the know,” indicating a seeming recognition that not only is so-called “reality” becoming more and more polarized, fractionated, but is indeed splitting, second by second, into millions of even more specific pieces, each person alone, or grouped with familiar others in his or her very own group identity silo.

Not that I “disagree” with what is happening. Indeed, I applaud it. Finally, we are recognizing that each sovereign person has his or her singular (or group identity) point of view, and therefore constructs, via the internal filter of his or her (or their) own perceptual framework, a certain “way” of seeing what’s outside awareness. Yes. Finally, we’re getting somewhere! Finally, we’re beginning to realize that, as in quantum physics, the observer, not only influences, but actually calls what is observed into being, shifts a wave into a particle, so to speak.


So now we come to a phrase that I’ve heard twice in the past 24 hours, from two MSM commentators, Rudy Giuliani and Trey Gowdy: “fact pattern.” I was struck by their easy use of this unusual phrase, and knowing that they have both worked as prosecuting attorneys in the past,  wondered if it is a common phrase in law schools. Yes, “in fact,” it is. From wikipedia:

fact pattern or fact situation is a summary of the key facts of a particular legal case, presented without any associated discussion of their legal consequences.[1]

For example, at common law, “Murder is the killing of another human being with malice aforethought and without justification or excuse.” The elements of the crime are killing (actus reus) and malice aforethought i.e. intentional action (mens rea). Possible defenses include legal justification (e.g. self-defense) or excuse (e.g. no mens rea due to legal insanity).

The fact pattern from a homicide case might be:

“The defendant returned home at night and discovered an armed burglar within the home, and then killed the burglar.”

The fact pattern can be analyzed to determine whether the elements of the crime exist and, if so, what defenses may be available to the defendant, such as in this case, the right to self defense and the lack of a duty to retreat in one’s own home (“castle doctrine“).

Fact patterns are an important element of law school examinations, with students expected to identify the relevant facts from the scenario presented, then summarize and synthesize the law as implicated by the fact pattern.[2]

Okay. Now let’s go back and look at “fact pattern” and “narrative,” and notice what has just occurred. Because, if I am right, and my own internal framework does seem to be particularly attuned to noticing changes in the epistemological zeitgeist*, then I have a feeling we are going to see that phrase “fact pattern” ad nauseam to the point where it might actually replace “narrative.” And that, to me, is especially meaningful, because it shifts our understanding of so-called points in space (“facts”) from linear, supposedly causal, chains (narratives, stories) to spacial forms or structures, and thus moves us at least somewhat into a somewhat “higher-dimensional” approach to human perception of so-called reality.

*An example of my seeming acuity in anticipating the zeitgeist, and actually, I invented this word for myself years before it entered the vernacular: “factoid.” For me, it was a way to signify that any claimed, so-called immutable “fact” is radioactive; that facts have, in other words, half-lives. Imagine my shock and surprise, when for awhile there, CNN began to feature “factoids” in the right hand corner of the screen. Not sure what CNN meant by the word; I doubt they had my alt-epistemological point of view. Or should I say post-epistemological?

For after all, what IS real? And is there any way we can definitively know?

Not knowing, and realizing that one does not know, is, for those who are not still needing to be fundamentalists, with conceptual helmets on holding their views tightly in place, a very very freeing experience.

Instead, we stand, CENTERED IN THE HEART, radiating compassion, our head OPEN TO THE SKY, to what is and is becoming, in all ways, and in every direction, forever, while simultaneously  holding space, GROUNDING INTO OUR BELOVED MOTHER EARTH.

Our quivering bodies are antennas; they bridge and blend Above to Below and the infinite Radiance in between.

About Ann Kreilkamp

PhD Philosophy, 1972. Rogue philosopher ever since.
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