Yearly Archives: 2020

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?

New York Times editor Dean Baquet wants his reporters to keep an open — and empty — mind

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.

Elite media defines neutrality in terms of a white guy who doesn’t even exist

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.

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.

Tom Cotton op-ed exposes leadership problems at the New York Times

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.

Storming of peaceful protesters for a photo op shakes even the most jaded journalists

One gets the sense that we are entering the final phase of something – possibly Trumpism, possibly democracy. So it's entirely appropriate for the press to stop acting as if it’s just business as usual.