Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, February 3, 2023
What is the state of American journalism in 2023? It depends on whom you ask.
In a Jan. 31 video, former President Donald Trump noted: “The Fake News media like CNN, MSDNC which is sometimes referred to as MSNBC, the Washington Compost which is sometimes referred to as the Washington Post, and the Failing New York Times are all doing really, really badly. The future of the Fake News looks bleak and that’s a positive thing!”
Law professor Jonathan Turley essentially agreed:
“As media outlets struggle to survive, these media leaders are feverishly sawing at the tree branch upon which they sit,” Turley wrote in a Feb. 1 analysis.
Prominent mainstream media journalists, on the other hand, look in the mirror and are instantly infatuated.
On Jan. 26, former executive editor for The Washington Post Leonard Downie Jr. and former CBS News President Andrew Heyward published what they called “A new playbook for strengthening and transforming journalism”. Included were the results of their interviews with over 75 media leaders who reached the conclusion that objectivity in media is now considered reactionary and even harmful.
Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, editor-in-chief at the San Francisco Chronicle said it plainly: “Objectivity has got to go.”
WorldTribune.com editor and Free Press Foundation President Robert Morton suggested that such “media leaders” consult their freshman journalism textbooks and recall what they learned from their first editors. “The credibility crisis faced by American media could instantly be fixed by returning to professional standards,” he said.
Writers, editors, commentators, and academics “have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls,” Turley noted. “This movement includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy.”
• Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll moaned that the First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to protect disinformation.
• Stanford journalism professor Ted Glasser, In an interview with The Stanford Daily, insisted that journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.”
• Lauren Wolfe, the fired freelance editor for The New York Times, has not only gone public to defend her pro-Biden tweet but published a piece titled “I’m a Biased Journalist and I’m Okay With That.”
• Former New York Times writer (and now Howard University Journalism Professor) Nikole Hannah-Jones has declared “all journalism is activism.” Her 1619 Project has been challenged as deeply flawed and she has a long record as a journalist of intolerance, controversial positions on rioting, and fostering conspiracy theories.
As polls show trust in the media at an all-time low, with less than 20 percent of Americans trusting television or print media, “reporters and academics continue to destroy the core principles that sustain journalism and ultimately the role of a free press in our society. Notably, writers who have been repeatedly charged with false or misleading columns are some of the greatest advocates for dropping objectivity in journalism,” Turley noted.
“There was a time,” Turley continued, “when all journalists shared a common ‘identity’ as professionals who were able to separate their own bias and values from the reporting of the news. Now, objectivity is virtually synonymous with prejudice.”
As Downie puts it: “What we found has convinced us that truth-seeking news media must move beyond whatever ‘objectivity’ once meant to produce more trustworthy news.”
Really? “Being less objective will make the news more trustworthy? That does not seem to have worked for years but Downie and others are doubling down like bad gamblers at Vegas,” Turley wrote.
The Free Press Foundation “was established to revive and sustain the American Free Press which was to serve citizens, not the Government or powerful interests,” according to its statement of purpose.
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