Patriot or paytriot? The funding of citizen journalism

I have made an unplanned transition from telecoms consulting into citizen journalism. Here are my observations on this genre’s funding challenges.

Patriot or paytriot? The funding of citizen journalism

“And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire.”
— Luke 10:7

Knowing that you will eventually have the last laugh, but not knowing when, is a test of patience and endurance. In order to become a citizen journalist I have walked away from my previous telecoms and technology career. It was impossible to sustain whilst also criticising the major players for corruption, and being ostracised for independent thinking by the tech-liberal hive mind.

I have no regrets whatsoever; quite the opposite! We’re in a fight to dismantle a centuries-old system of engineered ignorance, knowledge poverty, and spiritual subversion. Nothing could be more important that this tumultuous end game of a conflict between deception and discernment. I know that I have helped lots of people move towards the latter.

The Cult of the Official Narrative has been imposed on the public via a criminal mass media and its propaganda. Q is a backchannel to the public that bypasses the media. I find myself a relatively lonely public commentator on Q on this side of the Atlantic. There are moments where I feel (half-jokingly) like I am the “only journalist in Britain”, given the significance of the criminality coming to light.

If there has been a big surprise in the past two years, it is how few people have been able to see the essential simplicity of how evil works, and how easily they are manipulated by the mass media. I had expected more to be able to grasp Q as a military information weapon by this stage. A Twitter follower captures the essence in two comments that I have edited together:

The question is, is this [mass public] cluelessness a controlled factor? I say yes. Gustave Le Bon gives a strong insight into state-induced psychology. The task of a state is to keep people as naïve as possible; it’s sold as bliss. Well, Q… can use these backdoors in the psyche to counter the garbage the media has been feeding to the hoi polloi for centuries. And not only media — almost all institutions: freemasonry, universities, churches, social clubs, and on and on. Wake up time!

Business models for a #GreatAwakening were the absolute last thing on my mind when I started covering Q in my writing. “Our professions are defences against what we most refuse to learn” a wise friend quips. Writing is a good displacement activity for doing business development and selling yourself. But eventually cold hard cash is needed. I can’t exchange my keystrokes for food at the robot checkout in Tesco.

Being a citizen journalist doesn’t just mean covering your own living costs. Research and production needs tools and assistants. Doing public-spirited work means you have offers of volunteer help. This is OK to a point, but my experience is that it’s a bit too “flakey” overall, inflicting secondary costs for late or partial delivery. Everyone has to fit it around their day job and family commitments. Paying for a service gets things done: it is the day job.

Writing about crime and corruption in Silicon Valley, whilst also depending on their platforms for distribution and payment, is a risky proposition. I found this out the hard way. When Medium deplatformed me, and removed all 100+ articles from view, that wasn’t just an attack on me and my writing. It was also an attack on my ability to make a living: the Patreon and PayPal links on articles are my entire “sales and marketing” effort as a citizen journalist.

It is also why supporting citizen journalism is important: if valiant pioneers who create good work struggle, others will be discouraged. There is no shortage of those throwing bricks from the sidelines who want to see you fail. I have had to forcibly unsubscribe a few people from this newsletter for unacceptable and unprofessional communications sent to me, just because I had hurt some cherished belief.

I have told my own story here to illustrate that everyone has their own path. Citizen journalism has a long history, like with the pamphleteers, but only nascent business models in the digital era. This cues up the patriot vs paytriot issue. What is the appropriate balance of self-sacrifice for the greater good versus abundance of resources for work rendered?

The “paytriot” controversy arose in the context of Q drop 1295 in April of 2018, nearly two years ago.

Q1295 Be Careful Who You Are Following

Some people were requesting money to provide packaged or interpreted Q drops when the same information was free elsewhere. This is a scam. We see similar scams with unscrupulous hucksters online who try to get the public to pay for services that are free, like applying for government documents or visas. A “paytriot” is someone motivated principally by their own benefit, and not the general good; a patriot is the reverse.

Here is how I approach this issue. I imagine a decade from now meeting the grown-up child of a “proper” solider who lost his or her life hunting down Deep State criminals. Whilst the soldier may have received a salary and other benefits, they made the ultimate sacrifice for the welfare of people whom they never met in person. How do I justify my behaviour to their offspring, who for the sake of argument lives in very modest circumstances?

On the one hand, I cannot see how it is right to be a profiteer from success derived from the sacrifices of others. It’s OK to make revenue from your work, and lots of it. Books, speaking tours, and training videos are all just fine. You just need some humility to recognise you are part of something bigger, and you wouldn’t have this revenue without others taking physical risks. Deduct what you need to live well, and ensure that you share any surplus with those less fortunate.

On the other hand, it would be an embarrassment to admit you failed in your mission as a “digital” soldier because you foolishly starved yourself of resources. That would be an insult to the memory of those who sacrificed everything. Whatever it is you need to achieve your goals, and to seize terrain from the “fake news”, just ask for it. You may not get it, but there is an obligation to state the case, and graciously receive help.

There is no embarrassment to being paid well for your work. It is an ethical mandate to reward those who toil for your benefit. I am not typically called to share theological or Biblical advice, but neither am I so arrogant as to ignore its manifest wisdom. A website on the Theology of Work has much to ponder in the context of this patriot vs paytriot conundrum.

For instance, being a citizen journalist during a time of spiritual warfare may be seen as a calling akin to being a preacher. We are warned against fetishising self-sacrifice and abandoning conventional work:

Those who travel with Jesus apparently cease wage-earning work and depend on donations for provision (Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-24). But this is not a sign that the highest form of discipleship is to leave our jobs. It is a specific call to these individuals and a reminder that all our provision is from God, even if he typically provides for us through conventional employment.

This definitely applies to those who accuse honest citizen journalists of being “paytriots” simply for seeking an ordinary wage for their work to sustain themselves and their families.

Reflecting upon the Good Samaritan, those who provide reward have to recognise their own finite resources, yet be munificent with them nonetheless, so they can escape the worship of wealth:

This doesn’t mean we are called to absolute, infinite availability. No one is called to meet all the needs of the world [including paying citizen journalists]. It is beyond our capability. The Samaritan doesn’t quit his job to go searching for every injured traveler in the Roman Empire [or starving writer]. But when he crosses paths—literally—with someone who needs the help he can give, he takes action. “A neighbor,” says the preacher Haddon Robinson, “is someone whose needs you have the ability to meet.”

Our enemy is real and dangerous. We’re still in the collapse phase of the criminal-controlled corporate mass media. The systems and values of media business models are optimised for their legacy business model and corrupt Silicon Valley tech industry. Corporate journalism has catastrophically failed the public, and faces a profound crisis ahead.

The idea of “citizen journalist and audience as mutually supportive neighbours” has get to take root in its place. So it is too early to discuss what the ideal platforms and revenue models should be for citizen journalism. A post-Google world built on blockchain, with bots that automatically reward valued journalism, is easy to dream of — but hard to get adopted right now.

A new paradigm will emerge, and that is still a few years away. In the meantime, during the transition phase, patriot citizen journalism has a very simply business model.

It is called “your generosity”.