The Editorial Board takes on our Failed Political Press ™ and it is soooo good.
I’m gonna quote the introduction (bad blogger!) and let you go there to read the interview. This is not behind a paywall, the site depends up a tip jar so throw ’em a sheckel or two if you have them: it’s worth it.
Lies are bad. A press corps enabling liars is worse
Propaganda works when reporters fear telling the truth.
It’s conventional wisdom among newspaper reporters that we should let readers decide. Don’t come to conclusions. Just present the facts objectively. Leave the rest to the op-ed page.
But that conventional wisdom is running into trouble, namely a period in our history in which normal isn’t normal anymore. The more we cling to this conventional wisdom – to these normal reporting conventions – the more harm we do to the people we claim to serve.
“A big task for both journalists and pro-democracy advocates is to make it clear to regular citizens that their lives would be far worse under a totalitarian system — that dictatorships are a way that the elite steals from the public.”
That paradox is put into sharp relief by coverage of the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection. Its one-year anniversary is Thursday. The press corps had a year to soul-search, but it’s still treating the event – still treating treason – as if there are two sides. The result is elevating lies to the level of truth, making everything seem as good or bad as everything else, and giving the impression that nothing matters.
I talked about this and more with Mark Jacob. He spent 41 years in daily newspapers, mostly in Chicago. He’s the former Sunday editor at the Chicago Sun-Times and former metro editor at the Chicago Tribune. Since retiring, he’s reinvented himself as the sharpest press critic on social media. If anyone knows how journalism should be done, it’s Mark. I began by asking if the press corps has learned anything.
I’m keeping this on top the rest of the day: this is that good.