“If at any point I had thought there’s something to tell the American people that they don’t know, I would do it.”
-Bob Woodward, ‘journalist’
The position of a journalist is to present the information gathered, a conduit of news and information, not a determinant of what the people have the right to know, or should, should not, learn.
“What do journalists stand for? They uphold the public’s right to know, a spirit of openness and honesty in the conduct of public business, the free flow of information and ideas, along with truthfulness, accuracy, balance, and fair play in the news.” -Jay Rosen, What are Journalist For? (p. 281)
Carole Cadwalladr is a British author and investigative journalist/The Observer.
“We are what happens to a western democracy when a hundred years of electoral laws are disrupted by technology. Is this what we want? To let them get away with it?”
A Kenosha Militia Facebook Event Asking Attendees To Bring Weapons Was Reported 455 Times. Moderators Said It Didn’t Violate Any Rules. It remained up. Two people were shot dead. Then it came down.
Their excuse? ‘Operational mistake.’
“Over and over again Facebook fails to stop the glorification and celebration of white supremacist violence. It’s disgusting and unacceptable.”
Jay Rosen, Journalism professor at NYU:
“The conservative commentator Ben Shapiro has gotten 56 million total interactions on his Facebook page in the last 30 days. That’s more than the main pages of ABC News, NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR combined.”
Seth Godin, author and former ‘dot com’ business executive:
‘Systemic problems demand systemic solutions.
First, we have to pay attention.
Then we need to acknowledge that a solution is possible.
And then we need to commit. To the long, persistent road to altering the status quo.
The world is forcing us to pay attention to lingering problems more urgently than ever before. Real change on issues of dignity, justice and health are long overdue
Urgent problems are too important to earn only a moment of our attention. Important projects demand that we keep showing up to make the change we seek. Showing up and showing up, at the root and at every turn, consistently working toward systemic solutions.
When we think about the problems we’ve solved as a community, this is the way it always happens. Making things better, over time, with focus. Persistent commitment doesn’t lower the urgency of the moment, it acknowledges it.’
Kevin Roose, NY Times Columnist:
“If you don’t think DT can get re-elected in November, you need to spend more time on FB. The result is a kind of parallel media universe shaping its own version of reality.”
August FB interactions:
CNN: 21 million
Ben Shapiro: 55M
August FB video views
The Hodgetwins: 84M
August FB shares:
Dan Bongino: 5.6M
CNN’s Brian Stelter talks ‘Citizens Agenda’
The news media needs a reset.
Jay Rosen explains ‘Citizen’s Agenda.’
The Citizens Agenda is a model for generating more responsive, inclusive & useful news coverage for voters.
Center for Action & Contemplation, Aug. 28th:
‘Group egocentricity is even more dangerous than personal egocentricity. It looks like greatness when it is often no more than disguised egotism. Loyalties at this level have driven most of human history—and most wars—up to now.’
AMID PANDEMIC, PEN AMERICA URGES STATE OFFICIALS TO SUPPORT LOCAL JOURNALISM
PEN America joins with Free Press and Common Cause in nationwide letter campaign urging more support for local press
(New York, NY) – PEN America today led a coalition of local news and press freedom organizations to send letters to governors in all 50 states, as well as the mayor of Washington D.C., urging government leaders to include emergency funding for local news in their coronavirus relief efforts.
PEN America led the coalition effort, alongside Free Press and Common Cause, and it builds on PEN America’s advocacy on Capitol Hill urging Congress to include coronavirus stimulus funds for local news. Forty states have recognized the news media as an essential service, and the coalition urges all governors and political leaders to provide emergency coronavirus funds at the state-level to help bolster the industry at a time when local outlets are suffering financially.
“Local news outlets, ranging from state- to city- and community-level media organizations, are necessary partners in meeting the crucial information needs of people in the United States — especially during today’s public health and economic crises,” the letters read.
“However, COVID-19’s devastating economic impact on local news outlets is threatening their ability to function at all. Over the past two weeks, in the face of plummeting ad revenue, dozens of local publications across the country — from the largest chains to successful nonprofit and community outlets to tribal media and family-owned newspapers — have furloughed or laid off their reporters, reduced their publication frequency, or dropped their print editions altogether. In an industry that employs more than 80,000 people nationwide, many outlets are now struggling to cover even half of their reporters’ salaries, with newsroom layoffs increasing across the country.”
The 51 letters say that local news is essential to informing communities, and especially to informing vulnerable populations likely to be affected by the pandemic. This includes people of color as well as people living in low income communities. For instance, a local news outlet in California responded to listener demand by shifting its reporting to cover the coronavirus and broadcasting in Spanish to better serve the immigrant population.
“As local reporters and outlets have stepped up to provide credible and critical information to communities during the pandemic, so too must state leaders rise to the occasion to support these essential services,” said Nora Benavidez, PEN America’s director of U.S. free expression programs.
“Local news is not a luxury, it is a public good. We urge state governments to act immediately to provide an immediate lifeline to local media.”
In 2019, PEN America released the report “Losing the News” which laid out the vital role played by local news for communities and for democracy, and called for a significant public and private investment in local news, as well as guarantees to ensure editorial independence. Learn more about PEN America’s advocacy effortsto support local news and the group’s spotlight series on journalists covering the pandemic.
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.
From Don Day in Boise. Don has been covering news in Boise for 20 years. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.
‘All eligible editorial staff in the Idaho Statesman newsroom intend to for a union, the group said Monday.
In a letter signed by 16 non-management members of the Statesman’s news staff, the journalists said the intent of the union is to “preserve Idaho news and give our staff a seat at the table.”
Each of the members signed a mission statement and said they delivered it to Statesman publisher Rusty Dodge’s assistant.
The union hopes McClatchy, which owns the Statesman, will voluntarily recognize the organizing effort. Several other McClatchy papers, including the company’s flagship Sacramento Bee, use union labor. If not, the group says it will vote in the next several weeks to form a union among eligible employees. The NewsGuild, part of the Communications Workers of America, will represent the Idaho News Guild, as the group calls itself.
A message to Dodge seeking comment was forwarded to McClatchy’s corporate PR department. A spokesperson did not respond to specific questions, but did provide a statement:
“The Idaho Statesman and McClatchy are reviewing a letter from our journalists in Boise sharing their intention to form a union. We appreciate the right of our journalists to be represented by the News Guild-CWA and will consider their request and respond shortly.”
McClatchy, which entered bankruptcy protection last month, repeatedly cut the newsgathering capabilities of the capital city’s oldest news organization. It faces pressure for a severe downturn in print advertising revenue, plus intense competition for digital advertising from Google and Facebook. The company in recent years aggressively turned to build a stronger digital subscription business to stem the losses.
Idaho is a so-called “right-to-work state,” which means a union can’t require employees to join or pay dues in order to get a job. If McClatchy recognizes the union, or a vote to form proves successful, the guild could gain collective bargaining rights over issues like wages, healthcare costs, and other labor issues.’
Idaho News Guild:
Thus far, our union has unanimous support from our 16 eligible members. Each of us signed our mission statement, which we delivered to our publisher today.
Maintaining public media infrastructure should be non-negotiable for a democratic society. We have to be bold.
The McClatchy newspaper chain’s recent filing for bankruptcy is one more data point showing that US journalism is dying. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the newspaper industry has lost more than 50% of its employees since 2001. While several big national papers like the New York Times are healthy, more typical are the closures, bankruptcies, and extreme downsizing that increasingly leave cities, towns and rural communities without local news.
Meanwhile, little evidence suggests that any new market-driven model can rescue newspapers or sustain the journalism that democracy requires. For many areas across the US, there’s simply no commercial option. The market has failed us.
This carnage has attracted opportunistic pathologies, from hedge funds buying up distressed papers and selling them for parts, to news outlets resorting to increasingly dubious forms of advertising and clickbait. A degraded product gives readers even less reason to support local news.
ut tackling the journalism crisis at a systemic level – bringing sustenance to “news deserts” where rich benefactors and foundations are unlikely to go – requires a large public media fund. How do we create it?
Ideally, we’d massively increase federal support for public media. Whether we expand or replace the PBS model is an open question, but this new system must provide for information needs across all types of digital media and platforms.
Maintaining public media infrastructure should be non-negotiable for a democratic society. Short of paying directly out of the treasury, government could help facilitate multiple revenue streams into one large fund. Two objections typically arise: its cost and its relationship to government.
Regarding independence from government, opposition to public media is often ideological, not grounded in empirical evidence. An extensive record shows publicly-subsidized media existing comfortably in democratic countries around the world. Research suggests that public media often are no less critical of government than their private counterparts, and they correlate positively with strong democracies.
Even the US has long subsidized media infrastructure, from the postal system to the internet. Nonetheless, there are legitimate concerns about state capture – just as there are with commercial capture – and yet many democracies have figured out how to make this work. Safeguards and firewalls are both necessary and feasible.
The next question is how do we pay for it? Many options exist. We could raise funds from taxing platforms like Facebook and Google, placing levees on communication devices, and repurposing international broadcasting subsidies. Other sources include spectrum sales and individual tax vouchers. We could leverage already-existing public infrastructures such as post offices, libraries, and public broadcasting stations to provide spaces for local news production.
“Truth cannot be given the same level of coverage as falsehood. We shouldn’t make them equivalent. It’s not partisan for the media to be partisan towards the truth.”
-EJ Dionne, American journalist, political commentator, and long-time op-ed columnist for The Washington Post.
A message to the Fourth Estate: Don’t amplify the lies. Report truth.
Yesterday [2.5.19], Facebook removed 22 pages connected to hateful conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his fringe right-wing website InfoWars.
Thank you for signing our petition calling on Facebook to do just that.
This is a win for all of us working to end online hate-speech! Thank you for your help in making this happen.
In addition to our work to hold social-media platforms accountable for protecting users from online hate, we at Free Press are also working to hold mainstream media to a higher standard.
We need a free press. We also need a press that doesn’t replicate the racist and xenophobic stereotypes about communities of color and immigrants that make up the DT administration’s talking points. We need journalism that calls racism what it is, disavows White nationalism and empowers the voices of journalists and editors of color as well as the communities being reported on.
Thanks for all that you do.
The Free Press team
“Facebook Removes 22 More Pages Connected to Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones and InfoWars,” CNN, Feb. 5, 2019.
“For taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts that are central to civil discourse, for speaking up and for speaking out, the Guardians” are the Person of the Year, Time editor Ed Felsenthal wrote.
“As we looked at the choices, it became clear that the manipulation and abuse of truth is really the common thread in so many of this year’s major stories.” he said.
DT, not coincidentally, was the runner-up for this year’s Person of the Year title. Special counsel Robert Mueller ranked No. 3.
Karl Vick, the author of the Time’s cover story about “The Guardians,” wrote that “this ought to be a time when democracy leaps forward, an informed citizenry being essential to self-government. Instead, it’s in retreat.”
And “the story of this assault on truth is, somewhat paradoxically, one of the hardest to tell,” he added. Asked last month whom he thought Time would name, he consulted his well-thumbed narcissist’s handbook:
“I can’t imagine anybody else other than Trump,” he responded to a reporter’s question. “Can you imagine anybody else other than Trump?”
Well, yes, the editors responded, and with inspiration.
“The freedom of the press is one of our most core democratic principles. Today and always we are reminded about the importance of that freedom. And to the journalists fighting to protect it: We’ve got your back.”
When Nazi planes dropped bombs on London, Edward R. Murrow climbed to the rooftops. Despite personal risk & the fear his signal would lead bombers straight to him, he brought the horrors of Hitler’s war to the ears of listeners around the world.
[Stand Up Ideas: Founded by Evan McMullin, & Mindy Finn to strengthen Americans’ commitment to democratic ideals & norms through civic education & leadership development.]
Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one.
Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die—and how ours can be saved.
Until Congress passes legislation to make Net Neutrality permanent, we must join as a national collective to keep the town square of the 21st century democratic and assessable to all citizens. Remember, this fight effects all other fights, e.g. tax reform, health care, freedom of information.
FROM F R E E P R E S S
Sign Up to Join #TeamInternet
The Trump administration and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai have joined forces with the biggest broadband providers to try to roll back our online rights. They want to destroy Net Neutrality — and we need to stop them.
We’re launching a bold plan to combine people power with technology to build an unstoppable volunteer grassroots network of Net Neutrality activists.
Together we’ll push back against threats to internet freedom.
Team Internet will be made up of people like you. We’ll provide you with insider campaign updates, access to organizers, connections to like-minded volunteers and the training and support to take your activism to the next level. Will you join #TeamInternet?
We see a future where we have the media and technology our communities want and need to answer hard questions, build collective power, and organize and advocate for the issues that matter. Together we can ensure the internet is a tool for our collective liberation.
We can win this fight. We have the facts, the law and the internet on our side — now we just need the right people to help make this plan a success.
The open internet is under attack, and we want you on the team to help protect it. Sign up to join #TeamInternet!
To join “Team Internet”, follow the link: http://act.freepress.net/signup/team_internet/?source=fptwitter
Here’s an easy to follow graph/flow chart to better understand the effects of Net Neutrality.
Free Press fights for your rights to connect and communicate.
We’re working to create a world where people have the information and opportunities they need to tell their own stories, hold leaders accountable, and participate in our democracy. We fight to save the free and open internet, curb runaway media consolidation, protect press freedom, and ensure diverse voices are represented in our media.
We believe that change happens when people have a real voice in the political process. To that end, we mobilize our growing base of 900,000 activists to sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, attend rallies and town-hall meetings, write letters to the editor, and take part in other targeted actions. We also craft policy proposals, conduct research, testify before Congress and argue in court for policies that serve the public interest.
The companies trying to kill Net Neutrality, crush competition and build media monopolies have way more money than we do. But we have two powerful things on our side: people … and a plan. Click here to join the movement.
Free Press is completely independent: We don’t take a single cent from business, government or political parties and rely on the generosity of individual donors and charitable foundations to fuel our work.
To learn more about our work, click here.
To donate, click here. (Thank you!)
Throughout our 13 years of existence, we’ve never faced a moment like this one.
With the grave threats to immigrants, people of color, Muslims, women, the LGBTQI community and others, we’re joining with our allies to counter the Trump administration and RESIST.
Now more than ever we need a free and open internet, journalism that holds politicians and corporations accountable and protection from unwarranted surveillance by government and law enforcement agencies.
With the Trump team already on the record attacking Net Neutrality, press freedom and privacy protections, we’ve got our work cut out for us.
But we promise you this: We will never — ever — stop fighting for your rights to connect and communicate.
Building and sustaining this level of opposition will require an immediate influx of cash to expand our lobbying, legal and organizing power. That’s where you come in: We can’t do it without your help.
We’re supported solely by gifts from individuals and charitable foundations. Unlike most groups, we don’t take a cent from business, government or political parties, so your contribution makes a big difference — and helps us stay independent.
We need to raise $100,000 by Dec. 31. We’re making good progress, and a generous donor will match all donations up to $16K to help us get closer to our goal. Donate today!
The Atlantic published a piece today this Veteran’s Day, a day to honor the veterans who fought for our freedoms like the 1st Amendment, to help explain why our contemporary media are unprepared and will not be able to report on the Trump presidency. Not only are they unprepared, but they are funded by the very corporations who need to be watched. A free press is the backbone of any Democracy, it typically serves as a watchdog a country’s politics, almost an additional branch of government, hence, the 4th Estate.
The bigoted, racist, autocratic demagogue who, by anti-democratic and antiquated Electoral college will be (barring a Divine intervention) our next president. His disdain for the media is not a secret, ironically the very corporate led entity that enabled his campaign and presidency. As president-elect of the United States, he’s back to tweeting and this is what he wrote during the protests last night (Nov. 10th):
“Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!”
What is happening now, this new order of government and process forming in Washington post election led by an autocratic demagogue, is not rooted in our history. And we may not have a media, a free press, that can help us navigate our future.
Donald Trump and his surrogates have shown an uncanny ability to lie in the face of objective facts. They will now have the power of the federal government to help them.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, reporters marveled at the ability of Donald Trump and his surrogates to create an alternate reality in which statements made by the candidate had not been made at all—from his view that global warming is a hoax, to his nonexistent opposition to the Iraq War, to his refusal to say he would concede in the event of a loss, to his remarks about his relationship to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. These are people who could argue that the sky is green without a blink. They were able to win a presidential election while doing so. Now they will have the entire apparatus of the federal government to bolster their lies, and the mainstream press is woefully unprepared to cover them.
For Trump administration mouthpieces, both public and anonymous, lies will now come with an officiality that will be difficult to contest. The total Republican control of government means that Democrats will struggle to get their objections to carry much weight, much as they did prior to the Iraq War.
With Trump, the United States has elected a president who has shown a complete disregard for free speech, arguing that his detractors do not have a “right” to criticize him. He believes the First Amendment’s protections for the press are too strong. He has a thirst for vengeance against those whom he perceives as having wronged him, and now he has the power of the federal government to pursue his vendettas. The Bush administration’s ability to manipulate the press, and the media’s willing acquiescence in the name of relating to its audience, led to catastrophe.
I want to emphasize that all administrations lie. The Lyndon Johnson administration successfully snowed the press on Vietnam. The Obama administration continually underestimated the strength of ISIS. With Trump, however, we are entering an era in which a president, prior to taking office, has already shown an ability to be entirely unbound by facts, with no political consequences.
ADAM SERWER – – The Atlantic