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.
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?
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.”
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.”
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.
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?
Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, considers journalistic "objectivity" -- as his newsroom currently practices it -- a “core value” that he intends to guard as long as he remains in charge. So be prepared for more credulous, both-sides stenography.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger defended the publication of Tom Cotton's controversial op-ed, noting: "We don't publish just any argument -- they need to be accurate, good faith explorations of the issues of the day."
And that’s the whole point. By publishing the op-ed, the Times was vouching for its accuracy and its good faith, and was validating its topic as a legitimate issue, worthy of serious debate.