Ksenija Pavlovic Mcateer, editor-in-chief of The Pavlovic Today ( Photo: William Moon)

A Center lane in political journalism is necessary. Cancel culture won’t Unite the United States it will only increase the divide, writes our Editor In Chief and White House Correspondent, Ksenija Pavlovic Mcateer. 

A Center lane in political journalism is necessary. If the last five years in Washington DC taught me anything, if my experience in the most turbulent times of Balkan history taught me something it is that no matter how intense the dark period of upheaval a nation goes through, there is a moment where all the sides need to sit at the table and find common ground. America will be no exception.

Perhaps from my experience through the civil war in former Yugoslavia where families turned on each other overnight, I was able to remain fair-minded through the four years of Trump. In every multicultural society, it is very easy to manipulate differences into a source of conflict. What in America is the race, somewhere else, like it was in the former Yugoslavia, are ethnicities and religion.

Racism in America did not start with Donald Trump and whoever wants to argue the opposite would be making a historically inaccurate claim. Still, it became an issue through constant bickering and political parties going at each other, with their respective friends in the media fanning the flames. The world of politics is rarely interested in finding out the causes of things, it is even more disinterested in conducting any complex analysis, in the race for power, simple answers make for the best results. Everything else is being left to the ivory towers of American universities to unpuzzle at their leisure far away from the prime-time television. 

January 6th, 2021, did not happen overnight. It was four years in the making, and what I see as the main problem is that Big Tech believes that by de-platforming and delisting people, they will win the war against extremism.

I have the news for them. 

They did not, and they will not. 

Virtual reality is becoming so real in people’s lives during this pandemic but in the lives of Genziers, it has been since the day they were born. Biden’s generation still believes that something did not really happen unless you saw it on TV. The new generations do not know what to believe unless they see it on social media, and they know nothing but social media. 

However, extremists have their ways to take their ideas underground, to private, encrypted chat rooms, and they are ready to play a long game before they strike again. Just because they have been removed from social media does not mean that they do not exist, as their game is not the game of ratings, clicks, and likes. 

In my recent talk at Yale University, I said that Trump is the least of the problem, as you can always remove the leader, but what remains the concern are the ideas that survive and have some strange way to resurface in history. Without any doubt, Trump had an ultra-nationalist project. He probably did not have it when he won the election, based on my conversations with the people who knew him well and worked with him, but in the absence of a political alliance, once he came into office, Trump went with whoever was ready to give him praise, agree with him and offer him the attention he craved. 

Enter nationalism. It’s the oldest of all tales, the history of war and the story of how nations were made. Trump started driving the country little by little to the right. As a response, as to how it usually happens in those political situations, the extreme left raised up and the center eroded into oblivion. 

Journalism is failing to capture that, mainly because journalism has been pretty much reduced to partisan status in the war between the parties. There’s blood, there are ratings, and there are members of the profession who are so competitive, playing the big media corporate game but all for themselves. To win a better role, a more powerful role, a better contract, and in this vanity fair, there is no space for explanatory journalism. We cannot even have a conversation. It’s one stone cast against the other and that’s how we come to cancel culture and the society of uniform thinking. America 2021. 

Last Friday, I was on Mooch FM, a quality podcast by Anthony Scaramucci. We talked about cancel culture, among other things, but what I told him was that what concerns me the most is the punishment aspect of the cancel culture. This authoritarian thought police not only wants to publicly shame you but to punish you by taking away your job and basic human needs, which are food and shelter. In the United States, if you do not have a job, you cannot pay the bills, you cannot pay the rent or mortgage, and you can’t put the food on the table. 

These new kids on the block are not correct when they tell us how cancel culture is about holding people accountable. Cancel culture is going for absolute punishment, delisting, blacklisting, and loss of income, a type of red herring  McCarthy would be proud of. Cancel culture wants to erase the memory and hold people politically liable for what they say. That’s Communist Politburo taking fertile ground in the United States. That’s the culture of censorship set out to kill creativity, authenticity, and strong voices who do not want to be told what to think.  

As we move further into Biden’s term, I am a White House Correspondent who is running my own news company, The Pavlovic Today. I decided to pause for a second and reflect on what type of journalism I want to do going forward. When I was just starting in the White House, a photographer from The New York Times told me how corporations do not care about the individual voice; it’s all about the image. I have learned that to be true. But what can we do about it? The only power I have is the power of my argument, a power to do original journalism and give this platform to authentic voices to share their views with the world. 

We need to embrace our authenticity and what’s unique about every single one of us. I do not see that happening if I allow for The Pavlovic Today to run with the talking points of any political party. In this work, which I see as an act of public service, I would like to have people from all political affiliations and none and from all walks of life access my journalism, views, and ideas. I want to hear from them too and have a conversation in which we will most likely disagree but will grow in the process and what is most important, we will be able to learn about each other. Cancel culture won’t Unite the United States it will only increase the divide.

So I am opening here a center lane for all of you who want to have that conversation and read the news and great stories to be informed instead of being indoctrinated. Journalism should rise above political parties. Above toxicity and click bites that eventually won’t create a community of people who want to compete at the marketplace of ideas. And we all need a return to humanity, a place where people can come to and get valuable insight and share their own view of the World and events.

As The Pavlovic Today enters the new chapter, I hope you will join me in that journey to redefine independent journalism of the people, for the people. All the people.

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Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...