Storytelling, at its core is simple dot-connecting. We start at the beginning and connect the dots all the way to the end – with lots of zigging and zagging in between. The image that all those connected dots ultimately form – that’s our story.
As the dots connect, they form the larger context for each of the dots. They aren’t just dots floating in space. They’re part of a much larger picture. Dot Number 2 and Dot Number 50 are related if distantly. They’re both part of the same context.
Journalists are storytellers first and foremost. The difference (in theory) between them and regular joe’s who write blogs is “rigor”. Journalists need to back up their stories with multiple sources. Or one really, really good one. The point of all that rigor is to make sure the dots connect correctly.
But too many American journalists bore so deeply into the one point they focused on that they forget that a larger context even exists. Or they started connecting dots already infected by “Both Sides Do It”. When that happens, perspective is impossible. Then you get mavens of journalistic malpractice like NBC’s Chuck Todd. Chuck is good at connecting dots. Problem is, he connects dots that shouldn’t be connected because, though they’ll make a picture, it’s not a real picture.
For example – Bernie Madoff is a thief. He stole billions (from rich people). Jean Valjean, the hero of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is also a thief. He steals bread to feed people who are hungry. In Chuck Todd’s world, that means “both sides do it” because Bernie Madoff and Jean Valjean are both thieves. Scale (perspective) never enters into it. Chuck Todd regularly compares things of wildly different scale and insists they’re the exact same thing.
So – putting the Chuck Todd’s of the journalistic world aside, the rest of American Journalism needs to remind itself that a picture made up of connected dots remains a picture regardless of whether you stop looking at it. When you turn from one part of the larger story to another – those dots don’t suddenly disconnect. They STAY connected. The story THEY tell remains valid and true.
Just because you go from a story about Donald Trump and his curious relationship with Vladimir Putin (and Putin’s “possible” impact on election 2016) to a story about Donald Trump trying to extort the Ukraine as part of his 2020 campaign strategy doesn’t mean the “Putin Cheats For 2016 Donald” dots aren’t related to the “Extort The Ukraine As Part Of The 2020” dots. You have to bring all the connected dots with you from story to story – especially because you want to see if the dots from one story connect to any others.
The answer here is – YES! All dots connect. And all dots lead to Donald Trump being a Russian intelligence asset working against America’s interests and for his own interests and Russia’s.
Today, the three Republicans trying to primary Trump all accused Trump of committing Treason. They see clearly now how the dots all connect.