Wesley Lowery's terrific op-ed made me think about how transformative it could be if reporters and editors started visualizing their audience as widely diverse, rather than as one imaginary white guy whose politics are exactly half-way between Democrats and Republicans.

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There’s no national testing program for Trump to slow down, is the problem

The real outrage is that “his people” couldn’t necessarily slow things down if he asked them. That's because Trump has repeatedly refused to stand up anything like an actual national testing program, or the massive federal effort to develop supply-chain capacity to test more Americans that public-health experts say remains desperately needed.

Right message, wrong messenger: NYT’s Peter Baker decries the ‘normalization’ of Trump’s presidency

In Friday's New York Times, chief White House correspondent Peter Baker tut-tutted the “normalization” of Donald Trump’s profoundly aberrational presidency. But it's not the public that treats Trump like he's a normal president. It's Baker and his colleagues. I have the receipts.

Reporters should be holding Trump more personally accountable for the mounting death toll

There are a lot of other things going on out there, but our top news organizations still need to keep a singular focus on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Trump administration’s calamitous response. And they need to be relentless in holding Trump personally to account for the suffering and death that could so easily be avoided.

The exorcism of Donald Trump from America’s psyche has begun

The millions of protesters expressing their rage and suffering in the wake of the agonizing videotaped police killing of George Floyd have made something almost magical happen in this country. They’ve reminded a super-majority of Americans that we are better than this.

There’s a better way to present opinions online – with radical transparency – and the New York Times should lead the way

Publicly revealing the reason for publishing each essay would allow opinion editors to maintain – even clarify – their moral and journalistic values while at the same time exposing readers to the full range of the sometimes appalling public discourse, rather than protecting them from it.

This powerful protest movement deserves more what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it journalism from the press

The spectacles understandably catch the eye. But journalists covering the protests shouldn’t just be watching, they should be listening. And they should be taking the protesters’ message straight to officials in a position to respond -- and demanding to know what those officials intend to do about it.

TRUMP AND THE CORONAVIRUS

EXPLAINERS

Political journalists are doing voter interviews all wrong

How reporters go about interviewing voters, where they go, who they talk to, what they presuppose, and most importantly what questions they ask can make the difference between the stuff of parody and the best kind of political journalism. The key to doing it right is to explore not just voters’ political opinions, but their formative moments and their value systems.
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

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

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.

New York Times health reporter Donald McNeil deserves accolades, not a scolding

After sounding off on the dismal federal response to the coronavirus on CNN, McNeil didn't deserve to be scolded by the Times for going “too far in expressing his personal views.” He did exactly what more journalist desperately need to be doing right now. He expressed himself with authority, and passion, and alarm.

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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