In 2016 and 2018, our finest newsrooms let right-wing demagogues frame immigration as a story of nonwhite invasion. This time around, let's kick the political reporters off the story and have immigration-beat reporters tell the real story.

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RECENTLY

It wasn’t an ‘intelligence failure’ that left the Capitol Police unprepared – it was racism

Steven Sund, the former Capitol Police chief, was explicitly warned in a Jan. 3 memo that thousands of desperate, violence-prone Trump supporters were planning to target Congress on Jan. 6, encouraged by the president himself. But he waved it off. Ask yourself why.

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."

What the next generation of editors need to tell their political reporters

Abandon the failed, anachronistic notions of objectivity. Recognize and reject establishment whiteness, Find dramatically more effective ways to create an informed electorate. For starters.

After obsessive focus on Trump, White House reporters need to zoom way out

It’s hugely important for our major news organizations to break themselves of the habit of obsessively focusing on what the president says – and instead devote themselves to exploring much more broadly what the White House is doing, and how, and why.

The biggest mystery remains: Why was the Capitol left unguarded?

Reporters should be aggressively pursuing this story, and operating under the assumption that Capitol Police leaders either were too racist to see the threat posed by Trump supporters, or looked the other way on purpose.

TRUMP AND THE CORONAVIRUS

OBJECTIVITY

Namby-pamby political journalism isn’t going to reach the truth-deniers

More than 73 million people voted for Trump in the presidential election, suggesting that the strain of overt fact-rejection nurtured by the right wing is still very much with us -- and unlikely to succumb any time soon to more journalistic business-as-usual.

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.

EXPLAINERS

The old labels don’t properly capture today’s political divisions

Liberal, conservative, moderate, populist, pragmatic – are the old political labels really meaningful anymore? What we need are labels for the significant distinctions that exist along a number of different axes between political groups in this day and age. And we need to stop abusing the ones we use now.
Horse race

Focus on tactics over substance takes all the meaning out of politics

Taking sides is the ultimate sin for political reporters. That’s why "who’s winning?” and “how are the optics?” are vastly preferable topics than “who’s right?” and “is that a good idea?”

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