It gets pretty old writing the book every day on how the media is fucking up. Two chapters from the last 24 hours:
One: Maggie Haberman of the Cancel Your Subscription Times bemoning and decrying the awful act of using public records to name maxed-out Trump donors. Do I need to point out that public records are the basis for a huge amount of journalism (including the ever-present mugshots of accused, not convicted, individuals):
Don’t want to RT this because I don’t want to put these people’s names in my feed but this is dangerous, by any campaign.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 6, 2019
Two: CBS News with the evergreen “Today Trump Became President” take (and Jay Rosen’s take on it):
Here is CBS News: “When he heads to Dayton and El Paso on Wednesday… the president — who has been accused by his critics of inflaming white supremacists and sowing division — will be assuming the role of consoler-in-chief.” https://t.co/TMwDWjslAj Really? Just like that, huh?
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) August 7, 2019
I’m sure there are many others, but they’re all symptoms of a disease that’s pretty easily identified but apparently hard to cure. Jay Rosen’s list of the top problems in pressthink is a pretty good roundup of the major symptoms. Here are his first two issues (read the whole thing):
1. The entire system for covering the Trump presidency is wrongly conceived. It needs to be rebuilt, faulty premise by faulty premise. But there has never been such a rebuild while the story is running hot. No one knows how it can be done. Reporting what he said today amplifies his falsehoods and hatreds, which is unacceptable, but ignoring what he said pretends it never happened, which is unacceptable in a different way. (Here’s my thread about that problem. Here’s an article about it. This podcast is also good.)
2. Explicitly or implicitly, it seems likely that Trump is going to run a racist re-election campaign in 2020, in which “othering” (not a word I like, but it’s the best I can do…) is basic to his appeal to voters. This goes way beyond noisy controversies like whether to use the term “racist.” Is the press ready for a campaign like that? Does it have the people and practices in place to respond? Is it willing to break with precedent to meet a threat without parallel? I doubt it.