Press Watch mission statement: Political journalism needs a reset
by Dan Froomkin.
Let’s start with the overarching problem: Misinformation, disinformation and gaslighting have become rampant in our political discourse, turning citizens against each other, choking the legislative process, eroding confidence in elections, and, in the age of Covid, literally getting people killed. A striking number of voters are laboring under a series of delusions that make them incapable of rational decision-making. The country is still reeling from a violent attempted coup in the name of a Big Lie – a lie that has essentially become doctrine for one of our two major political parties.
Despite all this, our elite political media recognizes no need for a course change.
Journalists should treat a lie like a virus, for which they are the vaccine, not the spreader. The goal is to quickly fill the news space with the truth so that conspiracy theories have less place to grow.
There should be some, or else what’s the point of fact-based journalism? That means denying serial liars the opportunity to use the media – particularly live media — to spread their lies. That means whenever it’s crucial to quote a liar, warning readers and viewers of their track record. That means interrupting liars when they are repeating a lie. That means demanding retractions, publicly, prominently, and repeatedly. That means openly distinguishing between people who — totally independent of their political views — can be counted on to be acting in good faith and those who can be counted on to be acting in bad faith. Established liars should not be quoted as credible sources. (And they should certainly never be granted anonymity.)
Our very democracy is in danger. You can’t really cover politics and ignore that. It underlies everything.
Idaho legislator urges people to get vaccinated after his mother dies from COVID-19
BY SALLY KRUTZIG
“I think there are people in our political realm who are essentially killing people with misinformation […] at what point was somebody convinced of a lie? Was it the fifth time it was repeated? Was it the 50th time? Was it the 500th time?”