Republican congressional leaders are flagrantly ginning up a major political and financial crisis -- safe in the knowledge that the Washington press corps will blame both sides.

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The ‘why’ behind the lie

Calling a lie a lie is better than using a euphemism. But it’s still a disservice to the public if you don’t explain its purpose.

20 years after 9/11, political journalists decry extreme polarization but blame no one, certainly not themselves

The same elite journalists who contemporaneously failed to hold the responsible parties accountable are now telling us self-servingly that there is really no one to blame.

The journalistic crusade to save democracy starts with the First Amendment

Assaults on freedom of the press aren't inside baseball.  These are the front lines. This is a huge story.

“Dear Trolls”: A fill-in-the-blanks form letter news organizations can use next time a right-wing mob comes for a reporter

Every news organizations should have a “straightforward protocol” for responding to “targeted campaigns that seek to undermine the legitimacy of news organizations and obscure the facts around conflicts.” Just fill in the blanks.

The flailing Washington Post gets a new leader, with no time to lose

Sally Buzbee enters a newsroom in crisis. Her most urgent task is to establish clear, honest, and principled ways of covering a major political party that is increasingly devoted to subverting democracy.

New York Times says goodbye to ‘op-eds’ and hello to ‘guest essays’ — but will it invite in the rest of America?

The key for the Times opinion section going forward should be quality control, not opinion control. There should be a near-zero tolerance for bad-faith arguments. And if Republicans refuse, they haven't been canceled, they've opted out.

THE BIDEN PRESIDENCY

OBJECTIVITY

20 years after 9/11, political journalists decry extreme polarization but blame no one, certainly...

The same elite journalists who contemporaneously failed to hold the responsible parties accountable are now telling us self-servingly that there is really no one to blame.

“Dear Trolls”: A fill-in-the-blanks form letter news organizations can use next time a right-wing...

Every news organizations should have a “straightforward protocol” for responding to “targeted campaigns that seek to undermine the legitimacy of news organizations and obscure the facts around conflicts.” Just fill in the blanks.

EXPLAINERS

A scene from "All the President's Men"

Anonymity for sources shouldn’t come cheap

The granting of anonymity in political journalism has always been a source of confusion and concern. But the dynamics are even more fraught when the White House is awash in chaos, misdirection, and lies. Are reporters getting valuable information in return for the anonymity they grant? And what should they do when the people to whom they have granted anonymity lie to them?

Fact-checking needs to make way for reality-testing and gaslighting-fighting

Fact-checking has had huge practical and symbolic value. But as it’s currently practiced at the national level, it feels a bit quaint. Political journalism needs to find a better solution to calling out misinformation and disinformation – and soon.

TIMIDITY

Limbaugh obituaries show the mainstream media still fawning over the people who poisoned politics

Our newsroom leaders still cannot bring themselves to declare that the hysteria and conspiracy theories that once inhabited only the lunatic fringes of our political discourse – until Rush Limbaugh, and then Donald Trump, came along – don’t merit respect, but banishment, rejection, and denial.

Washington Post editor Marty Baron grudgingly admits failure to be ‘forthright about Trump’s mendacity’

To those of us hoping for a journalistic reckoning in the post-Trump era, it's disheartening that the first admission of fault from a senior newsroom leader amounts to little more than a "whatever."

AP, NPR and others suddenly sounding all tough on Trump, but it’s too little and too late

A few weeks of somewhat less mincing coverage of Trump means nothing. It does not mean lessons have been learned. It is no cause for optimism.

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Welcome to Press Watch, a collaborative project to monitor political reporting and encourage more responsible, informed and informative campaign and government coverage before the 2020 election. Please read more About This Site and be free with your feedback!

Dan Froomkin

Editor in Chief