Narrative Journalism



Narrative Journalism (originally journalism that tells a story but now morphing into journalism with a purpose that ignores facts not consistent with the desired story) has maintained, as does the President in the first paragraph below, that the Republicans have refused to compromise and have been part of a “do nothing” Congress, “grinding the wheels of Congress to a halt”.  The President’s end of the year interview with NPR continues with his standard “blame the Republican” narrative so unquestioningly reported by supporting media. But in a moment of candor, the President corroborates much of what those of us who have been paying attention already know.  ( 

“On the other hand, now you’ve got Republicans in a position where it’s not enough for them simply to grind the wheels of Congress to a halt and then blame me. They are going to be in a position in which they have to show that they can responsibly govern, given that they have significant majorities in both chambers.

And, you know, what I’ve said repeatedly is that I want to work with them; I want to get things done. I don’t have another election to run.

There are going to be areas where we agree and I’m going to be as aggressive as I can be in getting legislation passed that I think help move the economy forward and help middle-class families. There are going to be some areas where we disagree and, you know, I haven’t used the veto pen very often since I’ve been in office, partly because legislation that I objected to was typically blocked in the Senate even after the House took over — Republicans took over the House.”

The sentence highlighted by me in red is not a surprise. The reality is that most bills passed by the House were never brought to a vote in the Senate (succinctly illustrated in , a fact that most politically motivated narrative journalism conveniently ignored.  Also ignored was the fact that most of those bills were bipartisan.  The President can no longer avoid confronting legislation that he dislikes. He will continue to use all of the right words, lacing his speeches with “compromise”, “work with”, “get things done”, “help the middle class”……  He will undoubtedly continue to blame the other party.  But he will now be forced to openly make decisions on bipartisan legislation and we shall see how closely his ideology parallels that of the American public. 

***Gary A. Howie MSc, PhD*** is a business owner/rancher and a Life & Liberty News contributor

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3 comments for “Narrative Journalism

  1. Gary Howie
    January 7, 2015 at 7:56 am

    I hit the send button too quickly and did not have a way to edit. The last sentence should read: Perhaps “journalism”, “narrative journalism”, and “XXXXX journalism” (open to creative ideas) can coexist, with the latter being used to describe conveniently incomplete or especially biased presentations.

    Perhaps we have no choice but to accept that we will endlessly read unbalanced presentations, the authors being uncomfortable with our ability to properly judge if given all of the relevant facts. We seem not to readily accept that it is perfectly fine to come to different conclusions even when we have assembled all of the information.

  2. January 6, 2015 at 5:05 am

    Gary, let’s not abuse the language. Narrative journalism is a reputable form of public storytelling distinct from what you want to brand as biased, agenda-driven propaganda. We all learn by telling stories. Anecdotes and narratives help us process, remember, and share new information. Narrative journalism, just like journalism based on statistics and other more broad evidence, can be used for good purposes of for ill. Let’s not turn a valid and useful term into just another conservative crying point.

    • Gary Howie
      January 7, 2015 at 7:20 am

      Cory, we don’t necessarily disagree. It seems to me like language is being incessantly abused. That would include terms like “liberal”, “conservative”, “progressive”, and especially terms like “radical” and “extremist”. The later two words seem to be used by many to describe anyone who happens to disagree with them. I would be delighted to find a better term for journalism and journalistic output that conveniently ignores relevant or inconvenient information. Propaganda seems like too strong a term. Edited or filtered seems cumbersome. Issue oriented journalism seems likewise cumbersome. It seems like “journalism” is itself among the most abused word because to me is should imply objectivity and open-mindedness. Perhaps “journalism” and “narrative journalism” can coexist, with the latter being used to describe conveniently incomplete or especially biased presentations. Thanks for the input.

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