The Times has been caught, once again, passing off Republican operatives as “regular” Republican voters in an article intended to show how effectively Trump is maintaining his support.

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RECENTLY

If Biden wins, political journalists have a lot of catching up to do

In a post-Trump world, the press needs to immediately start holding the president to the highest possible standards of transparency, logic, and clarity.

Dueling town halls finally lead some reporters to address the extreme disequilibrium between Trump and Biden

Just as I was despairing over how campaign coverage suppresses the cataclysmic consequences of a Trump presidency, a small step forward: Our top political reporters were faced on deadline with the obvious, extreme contrast between the two choices.

In the final stretch, political journalists should flood the zone with the truth

Every report that even vaguely relates to the campaign should be firmly set in the context that this is not just a normal election between two people with opposing views; it’s a referendum on competence and democracy and unity and sanity.

Sometimes the stonewall is an answer

At this point it couldn't be more clear: Donald Trump recklessly and corruptly violated debate commission rules by not getting tested for COVID-19 shortly before the Sept. 29 debate in Cleveland.

The first thing you need to know about the debate is that Pence shouldn’t even be there

Reporters covering the debate shouldn't gloss over the personal irresponsibility Pence is exhibiting simply by being out of his house. He is modeling behavior that could kill tens of thousands of Americans.

What is the White House hiding the hardest? That’s where to push.

When was Trump's last negative test? Why no contact tracing? When did he get his Regeneron cocktail? Trump’s team is fighting to obscure these facts -- presumably because they would depict his astonishing lack of personal responsibility with even more resonance than usual.

TRUMP AND THE CORONAVIRUS

OBJECTIVITY

No, Americans are not hankering for more “objectivity” in journalism

A major new survey of public opinion about the news media is being misinterpreted by its sponsors to suggest that Americans don’t think there’s enough objectivity in journalism anymore. I think it shows the opposite.

The failed promise of “objective” political reporting

Our leading journalistic institutions engage in “objectivity” to achieve two major goals: An informed electorate, and immunity from accusations of bias. So, here’s my question to New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet, Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron, Associated Press executive editor Sally Buzbee, and the other proclaimed and self-proclaimed guardians of our biggest, finest news organizations: How’s that working out for you?

EXPLAINERS

Needed: More coverage of possible post-Trump legislative reforms

The Trump presidency has exposed a slew of major problems that Washington needs to address legislatively. Chief among them: the flawed political and electoral system that gave him the presidency; and the vast range of unchecked powers that have been granted to the American presidency. Our elite political media needs to start identifying the wreckage Trump has made of our norms and institutions and engaging in an exploration of how we can fix it.
A political cartoon from the muckraking era, by Joseph Keppler for Puck.

Seven calls to arms for political journalists

The press – and the truth – are under siege like never before. But political journalists don’t have to take it sitting down. They can actively defend their core values, which include honest governance and an informed electorate. Here’s a look at some of the ways they could do that.

TIMIDITY

Trump threatens Social Security and Medicare and the press yawns

Maybe in a few weeks, it will become conventional wisdom that Trump’s vow to cut the payroll tax was an outrage, an act of impetuousness and malice and lunacy, a gift for his grifter friends. But for now, the news reports won’t tell you what you need to know.

The critical subtext for Trump’s rage against mail-in ballots is that he wants the minority to rule

Political reporters from our top news organizations aren’t falling for Donald Trump’s transparently deceitful campaign to demonize mail-in voting. But they're not putting this latest attempt at voter suppression in its essential context: as part of a massive Republican program to create the possibility of minority rule.

When Trump takes a step toward autocracy, journalists need to call it out

Even as Donald Trump and members of his administration have asserted greater and more unilateral executive power, our top news organizations have tended to interpret those moves narrowly and naively – giving too much credit to cover stories, marginalizing criticism as just so much partisan squabbling, and leaving the accurate, alarming description of what’s really going on to opinion writers.

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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