The sky is falling

There are existential dangers to our democracy, our way of life, and our core values.  But our top journalists seem unable to recognize that and reassess how they go about their work.

Subscribe to our newsletter

RECENTLY

Arsonist heroically agrees not to light deadly fire? Let me rewrite that for you.

Mitch McConnell is getting exactly the kind of coverage he had hoped for -- and had every reason to expect -- from a press corps that is incapable of holding the Republican Party accountable for anything.

A bizarre oversight in Facebook coverage (called interoperability)

Its premise is simple: Individuals should be able to choose their own rules about what they see, rather than letting Facebook’s algorithms do it.

Let me rewrite that for you!

In which I rewrite the top of news stories that really bugged me this week. Today: The New York Times gets overwrought about a delayed vote; two news organizations struggle with denominators, and more.

New York Times reporters humiliate themselves again

An overwrought and smarmy lead Times story by Jonathan Weisman and Emily Cochrane described what may end up as a blip as a sky-is-falling scenario for Democrats undermined by a “liberal revolt” that amounted to a “humiliating blow” for Biden.

Andrew Taylor exit interview: Dysfunctional Congress and “scoop culture” lead reporters to over-hype faux drama

Reporters rush madly after deceptive talking points and hype conflict, rather than focusing on the big story, which is how little Congress actually does.

Press Watch mission statement: Political journalism needs a reset

No one can possibly argue that modern political journalism has fulfilled its essential mission of creating an informed electorate. Here's how it needs to change.

THE BIDEN PRESIDENCY

OBJECTIVITY

Andrew Taylor exit interview: Dysfunctional Congress and “scoop culture” lead reporters to over-hype faux...

Reporters rush madly after deceptive talking points and hype conflict, rather than focusing on the big story, which is how little Congress actually does.

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.

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?

That thing that just happened didn’t just happen in a vacuum

The ultimate antidote to what ails political journalism today is context. And that doesn't necessarily mean doing a lot of extra reporting. It may mean just remembering.

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.

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

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