August 12, 2019 | Reading Time: < 1 minute
Our credulous news media
This morning’s news was a former Trump aide saying the Republicans should pick another candidate for the 2020 election. Jonathan Swan reported his phone interview with Anthony Scaramucci. “We are now in the early episodes of ‘Chernobyl’ on HBO, where the reactor is melting down and the apparatchiks are trying to figure out whether to…
This morning’s news was a former Trump aide saying the Republicans should pick another candidate for the 2020 election. Jonathan Swan reported his phone interview with Anthony Scaramucci.
“We are now in the early episodes of ‘Chernobyl’ on HBO, where the reactor is melting down and the apparatchiks are trying to figure out whether to cover it up or start the clean-up process.”
“A couple more weeks like this and ‘country over party’ is going to require the Republicans to replace the top of the ticket in 2020.”
I mean, I get it. Allies turning into opponents is news. But seriously. Do anyone trust a publicity hound like Anthony Scaramucci to stick with this position? Does anyone truly believe that he would not go back to this administration in a heartbeat? If so, they shouldn’t be in the business of journalism.
Sure, it as Monday. News was slow. Then again, there’s the fact that a convicted sex offender who could implicated some of the most powerful people in the world just happened to die awaiting trial.
John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.
Pretty sure Swan is well aware of Trump’s approval rating with GOP voters so what even was the point of publishing this interview? I mean, besides helping Scaramucci soften the GOP’s image, similar to how Cindy and Meghan McCain would often be quoted by the press disagreeing with John McCain on gay rights, as if either woman had an actual vote in the Senate?
I know a week-old post is like last year, but I’ve been feeling very strongly that the media, especially cable tv news and the NYT/WAPO/NPR nexus, are at an existential turning point that I know they will not seize. Everything that happens going forward is in their hands: framing, coverage, tone. I have been addicted to the tinny voices in my head for the last three years, as have many people, I suspect, with the idea that if you just know enough you can do something about it.
I write as a former CBS affiliate News Director and former Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature and having taught Management Communication for 30 years at an Ivy League Universtiy. I mention this background to strengthen my ethos in this discussion.
We have never spent so much time, and psychic energy obsessing about the circus that is the president. It has been pointed out that the government is being dismantled and crippled for decades to come behind the scenes, but the constant coverage of every nonsensical and repetitive obscenity coming out of his mouth has been going on since the beginning of Trump’s run. It’s good for ratings- it’s shocking and entertaining- but it’s now time for journalists and editors to hold hands and make a radical change in keeping with what we are all facing: stop covering the president, start reporting on what’s really going on.
His word is meaningless, his tweets designed only to get coverage. There should be a press pool for the traditional death watch coverage from cable and print- but resources should be turned to the dismantling of government programs by either malice or neglect of the “cabinet”, and the malign support of the Mercers and Kochs who are happy to support the pretense that Trump’s supporters are all low information low income voters, rather than the high wealth voters who keep the system going.
If this doesn’t happen, which it won’t, then the framing of the media, even the best-intentioned, will lead inexorably to either a re-elect or a refusal to leave office.
Amen, Barbara. Amen.