Yearly Archives: 2020

Finally, at least for now, alarm bells go off in some of our top newsrooms

It took arguably the most outrageously anti-democratic statement by an American president ever – and nearly a whole news cycle – but major news organizations are finally responding with the strong headlines and alarming rhetoric that the moment requires.

The alarms are ringing everywhere but in our top newsrooms

People who know and care about elections and democracy frantically sounded the alarm on Wednesday as Donald Trump’s intention to steal the election became undeniable. But the leaders of our nation’s top newsroom went about their business as usual.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for equality. The media should be clear that Trump’s pick will do the opposite.

The breathless horserace coverage about the fate of Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court risks normalizing as just another partisan squabble what is in fact an epic clash between two starkly different visions of America.

The inflection point that might have been: 5 free masks in the mail in April

Donald Trump has failed to protect the country against the pandemic in too many ways to count. But this one really hits home: The U.S. Postal Service was about to send five face-masks to every household in America – in April! -- until someone at the White House nixed it. I can’t think of any one act that might have changed the pandemic timeline more than that – and we were so close!

Stop headlining Trump’s loony disinformation about Covid-19

Trump's latest obviously delusional fantasy is that every person in America will be able to get a vaccine “very soon”. Why did something so nutty make it into an Associated Press headline? Will they ever learn?

Failing to clearly identify what’s at stake in 2020 is bad journalism

The nation's political journalists face a moment of reckoning: Will they continue to treat this like a normal election, acting as if both sides have equally compelling claims on the American voter? Or will they sound the alarm, and make it clear in every story precisely what is at stake for the country?

The Democratic convention reminds us that there is a normal, and this ain’t it

The webcam-scaled Democratic National Convention is showing us something that, it now becomes very clear, has been sadly missing from the wall of noise that is modern American political coverage: ordinary Americans, miserable and desperate for change.

Parts of ‘the media’ are getting braver about calling out Trump’s racism, lies, and election sabotage. Parts aren’t.

Some of the print reporting on Trump sabotaging the mail and reengaging in birther lies was admirably blunt. But on the major network evening news shows – with their huge audience of lower-information voters – obfuscation still rules.

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.

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?

The New York Times has a misogyny problem, too

Rather than report on how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s riveting, viral speech on the House floor on Thursday was a signal moment in the fight against abusive sexism, the New York Times article was full of sexist double standards and embraced the framing of her critics, casting her as a rule-breaker trying to “amplify her brand.”

Save lives? Or obsess about Trump’s tone? Political reporters make the wrong choice.

Trump actually did something great, for once: He told his followers in no uncertain terms to cut it out and put on their masks. That could save countless lives, especially if it’s sufficiently broadcast. But instead, the preponderance of the mainstream coverage of his comments involved carefully assessing a possible “shift in tone.”

Washington Post campaign reporters describe Trump’s epic failings as ‘self-sabotage’

What do you call it when Donald Trump continuously spouts overtly racist and authoritarian rhetoric while obdurately refusing to take the necessary action to stop a raging pandemic? If you’re a campaign reporter for the elite media, you call it a tactical mistake.

The media is covering this election all wrong

Trump's election campaign has been reduced to a blatant appeal to racists and know-nothings. So there are really only two questions reporters should be focusing on: Can Trump and his dead-enders steal the election? And what is going on in these people's heads?