To rescue journalism, journalists must collaborate to defend free expression, not merely condemning Trump

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Can we just start with journalists defending the truth? I mean, free expression is important but it seems like it’s the truth that’s been under attack.


not merely condemning Trump

Yeah, that’s my job, Job El Numero Uno!

The term and concept of “competitive journalism” is one I had not come across or thought about before, but it puts its finger on the problem of what has emerged in recent years: declining circulation and advertising revenues, combined with an internet of ‘free’, forcing news gatherers and reporters to become revenue generation sources and marginalising real investigative work.

Yet so many news organisations insist on sending their own reporters, camera crews and so on to every event, especially scheduled press conferences, when pooled feeds are readily available, as Gillmor points out. Why so many editors are so irrational in their allocation of ever-scarcer resources is something that may need more unpacking.

ETA that it is, of course, this increasingly desperate nature of journalistic competition that mitigates against the ‘free press’ standing up to those who would deny their ability to report freely and fairly.


I hope news outlets heed the call. There is an all-out assault on independent journalism by right-wing populist regimes around the world so it’s use-it-or-lose-it time.

That said, while we need to support a free press (including by paying for it) the news outlets have to work to save themselves. As Russian-born journalist Masha Gessen says in her third rule for surviving an autocracy (“Institutions will not save you”):

The national press is likely to be among the first institutional victims of Trumpism. There is no law that requires the presidential administration to hold daily briefings, none that guarantees media access to the White House. Many journalists may soon face a dilemma long familiar to those of us who have worked under autocracies: fall in line or forfeit access. There is no good solution (even if there is a right answer), for journalism is difficult and sometimes impossible without access to information.

The power of the investigative press—whose adherence to fact has already been severely challenged by the conspiracy-minded, lie-spinning Drumpf campaign—will grow weaker. The world will grow murkier. Even in the unlikely event that some mainstream media outlets decide to declare themselves in opposition to the current government, or even simply to report its abuses and failings, the president will get to frame many issues. Coverage, and thinking, will drift in a Trumpian direction, just as it did during the campaign—when, for example, the candidates argued, in essence, whether Muslim Americans bear collective responsibility for acts of terrorism or can redeem themselves by becoming the “eyes and ears” of law enforcement. Thus was xenophobia further normalized, paving the way for Trump to make good on his promises to track American Muslims and ban Muslims from entering the United States.


Your language scares me. Are you an illegal?

Only histrionic propaganda from Twitter, Brietbart and FOX is considered real
All other news has been declared fake!

Real Journalists need to take down these lie factories piece by piece or become road kill.

To be fair the Mainstream Media created the monsters to begin with.

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But they cannot handle that fact and won’t own up to it. I just read an inerview with Michelle Wolf who said that all the fuss about the White House Correspondents’ dinner and her “bad taste” jokes was in part confected by the press pack to hide what she said at the end, which was just this: “you made him”.

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The theory used to be of course that investigative journalism was revenue generating in its own right. :frowning:


side note: what’s the tally of the real-world fallout of these publications? how many heads rolled? Anybody know a good source of ongoing reporting about these (what should have been) earth-shattering expositions of injustice?

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Those were the days! I expect it was cheaper then, and critically, given the starting point of this thread, there was less competition for revenue AND for attention. But with short attention spans and clickbait driving what is laughingly often called ‘journalism’ these days I guess it’s harder to make the sums add up.

@HMSGoose Good question. And I think we instinctively know the answer. Heads don’t roll these days, they just make excuses and pretend to clean bits of their act up for a while or those with power promise to do something at some unspecified time in the future (kicking the can down the road).

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