Yearly Archives: 2020

The first thing you need to know about the debate is that Pence shouldn’t even be there

Reporters covering the debate shouldn't gloss over the personal irresponsibility Pence is exhibiting simply by being out of his house. He is modeling behavior that could kill tens of thousands of Americans.

What is the White House hiding the hardest? That’s where to push.

When was Trump's last negative test? Why no contact tracing? When did he get his Regeneron cocktail? Trump’s team is fighting to obscure these facts -- presumably because they would depict his astonishing lack of personal responsibility with even more resonance than usual.

Don’t forget for a minute this was his own damn fault

It’s not gloating for political reporters to regularly point out that this could have been avoided if Trump had taken the obvious and proper precautions that he petulantly and ignorantly chose not to.

Trump wasn’t just telling his people what to do, he was showing them how to do it

Looking at Trump's message and delivery together, it's clear he was telling his base to be prepared to fight – and to break the rules.

Beware the debate coverage

Sports-style debate coverage fundamentally equates the two candidates. It suggests that they are playing the same game, when they are playing entirely different games. It casts them as competing on an even playing field, when they are nor playing by remotely the same rules.

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.