Five Ways The Media Can Get It Together *Open Thread*

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media_biasWhile my desire continues to hold All Things Political at arm’s length (generally speaking), I must share with you an excellent piece by Mollie Hemingway from The Federalist. In it, she illustrates how the behavior of the media continues to demonstrate how incredibly tone deaf they are to their own failures and foibles. Personally, I would say that extends to networks in their programming, too, but for now, the focus is on the “news” arms of the media.

Hemingway has five suggestions for how the media can clean up their act, but she begins her piece by highlighting some of the major issues with the “coverage” by the media this political season. From The Federalist:

[…]

It wasn’t just that they completely missed the possibility that Donald Trump might win the presidency, though that was the one failure that can’t be denied. It was that their coverage elevated Trump during the primary, their coverage of Hillary Clinton morphed into running defense for her when she faced legal or political trouble, their narrative push aligned perfectly with the Democratic Party and its candidate, their disdain for Trump voters or the issues they cared about was palpable, and their attention deficit news judgment elevated inaccurate horserace coverage over an understanding of deeper issues at play. And it was also that their failure rested upon a legacy of bias, error, and histrionics that encouraged many Americans to simply tune out their increasingly shrill and partisan claims.

One may have thought that the media would have had the intelligence and decency to reflect on these failures and work to improve them. But without even a moment’s hesitation (there are a few exceptions here and there), the media have picked themselves up and continued down the path that brought them a Trump victory. More than a month has passed since the election. They’ve been given ample time to acknowledge their deep sickness, much less begin to fix it. They have no intention of doing so.

I’d say that sums up the behavior of the media pretty well, wouldn’t you?

Thankfully, Hemingway doesn’t leave it there,  offering her suggestions for how the media can regain some relevancy. For reasons of space, I cannot reprint the entire piece here, but I can give you a taste of Hemingway’s suggestions. I urge you to read the entire thing. If nothing else, you can revel in some great writing backed up by – wait for it – FACTS:

1) Stop Rewarding Failure

That seems to be the case in Politics as well as the Media. People who fail continue to be rewarded. I am sure that you can think of a host of people who have “failed up” in the Obama Administration. I know I can – beginning with agents involved with the whole “Fast And Furious” program and the deaths of Federal Agents as the result of those guns with legs. Yep, promotions were handed out there instead of pink slips.
But this is just the beginning. Hemingway continues (skipping #2 for space):

3) Quit Pushing Narratives Over Facts

The New York Times‘ former media correspondent Michael Cieply wrote in Deadline Hollywood last month about how his former newspaper pushed narratives, in contrast to how he’d seen it done at other newspapers:

It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called ‘the narrative.’ We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.

Reality usually had a way of intervening. But I knew one senior reporter who would play solitaire on his computer in the mornings, waiting for his editors to come through with marching orders. Once, in the Los Angeles bureau, I listened to a visiting National staff reporter tell a contact, more or less: ‘My editor needs someone to say such-and-such, could you say that?’

The bigger shock came on being told, at least twice, by Times editors who were describing the paper’s daily Page One meeting: ‘We set the agenda for the country in that room.’

[…]

4) Don’t Be Gratuitously Hostile to Trump

On which note, can we talk about how insane the post-election posture toward Trump has been? You really would have thought the media couldn’t get worse. Yet their choices were to admit error or quadruple down. Being the least reflective people on planet earth, many people chose the latter. […]

And last, but not least, Number Five:

5) Make Systematic Changes

I nearly stood up and cheered when I read University of Nebraska journalism professor Matt Waite’s little prediction for 2017. He said he’d been in all these meetings of bright journalism thinkers about how to restore trust in the media, how to reach middle America, and how to tackle fake news. He wrote:

You won’t fix this. Any of this. Not in 2017. Not soon.
You won’t fix trust in news because…
You won’t fix how news gets made because…
You won’t fix how you hire senior leadership to diversify your thinking because…
You won’t fix what stories are selected because…
You won’t change who you hire to do the stories because…
You won’t fix the ways that stories are written to be more transparent and more directly sourced to give people a reason to trust you because…
You won’t fix the lack of training in newsrooms that could retrain reporters to source stories more explicitly because…
You won’t fix the content management systems to require sourcing on stories to be transparent and structured and visible because…
You won’t fix the technology leadership in the company because…
You won’t fix the thinking that makes you believe you’re not a technology company because…
You won’t fix the belief that trust and fake news is Google and Facebook’s problems and not yours because…
You still don’t believe you’re the problem.
Wake me when you do.

Can I get an amen? […] (Click here to read the rest.)

Absolutely – AMEN to that! The media has a long way to go to restore any credibility to their reporting, but just like with any other issue, first they have to admit and acknowledge that they have a problem. Whew, do they ever…

What do you think of Hemingway’s suggestions? Do you have some of your own? Feel free to discuss this or whatever else is on your minds. This is an Open Thread.

 

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19 Responses to “Five Ways The Media Can Get It Together *Open Thread*”

  1. kenoshamarge Says:

    I think Mollie Hemingway is, as usual, spot on!

    Media however seems determined to keep on with their old tactics in spite of those tactics not working. They keep preaching to their choir as if the election of Donald Trump never happened.

    There is a significant portion of the public that will never trust media. Now media is working hard to add to that number. Perhaps their opinion of how smart they are is wrong?

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      She is really something, isn’t she? The entire article is so well written and researched, What a treasure she is.

      Absolutely, many will never trust the media, and with good reason. They have demonstrated time and time again how biased they are. Pretty hard to get over that bar once it’s been set.

      Btw, did you see this article abt the Politico journalist who was fired for a Tweet she put out abt Trump and his daighter? Oh, yeah: http://jpupdates.com/2016/12/15/journalist-who-faced-anti-semetism-from-trump-supporters-fired-over-anti-trump-tweet/

      Now, she had faced a tremendous amt of anti-Semitism from Trump supporters for a piece she did on him, which is just horrible. She should not have had to endure that because of a profile peice she did.

      That said, it was something to see Politico putting its foot down so strongly and not defending her at all in this. She was leaving anyway (for the Atlantic), but still – they didn’t brook her Tweet at all (and she has apologized for it).

  2. kenoshamarge Says:

  3. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    Wow, this is a bit unexpected, but good for Nicole Scherzinger:

    http://thefederalist.com/2016/12/16/disney-moana-speaks-out-about-abortion-i-want-to-encourage-everybody-to-keep-your-babies

    And not only is she Pro-Life, but this woman can DANCE:

    Love this. One of my all-time favorite Argentine Tangos on DWTS…

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Gutsy move to be pro-life anywhere around the entertainment industry. Good for her. Time decent people started fighting back against the pro-abortion baby killing scum.

      And dance? Damn, that was perfection! Please tell me they got all 10s. Because anything else is criminal.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        I know, right? I am sure she will get hammered for it the same way Tim Tebow has, but both of them had mothers who were faced with that choice, and choose life. If people can’t understand that, then it says a LOT more abt them than Nicole or Tim.

        YES – they most definitely did get all 10’s. That was a few years ago. Nicole was just AMAZING. What a great dancer. And Derek is Derek – wow…

  4. helenk3 Says:

    a short break to pay respect to a great American hero

    Photo: John Glenn lies in repose in the Rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus – NASA HQ
    See original on flickr.com

  5. kenoshamarge Says:

    EXCELLENT TRUMP: Trump Picks Hard-Core Pro-Israel Ambassador to Israel

    By Ben Shapiro

    The Trump administration has now announced its ambassador to Israel: David Friedman, a serious conservative on Israel who has said he will be a “rock-solid partner” for the Benjamin Netanyahu administration.

    He is not in favor the idiotic and counterproductive “two-state solution” requiring negotiations with terrorists, and said that he would be excited to work from the US embassy in “Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

    He has also said that Israel should have the right to build “settlements,” explaining, “This is land that Israel has held for almost 50 years. The population of Judea and Samaria is 400,00 people. You add in East Jerusalem you have almost a million people. These people aren’t going anywhere and Israel’s not going to make the same mistake that it made in connection with the evacuation of Gaza.”

    http://www.dailywire.com/news/11680/excellent-trump-trump-picks-hard-core-pro-israel-ben-shapiro

    I am doing what Shapiro is doing – saying good Trump when I like or agree with his actions and saying bad Trump when I don’t. I refuse to be one of those who are still suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and complaining about everything he says or does – often when he actually hasn’t done anything.

    The fools who still proudly declare themselves #NeverTrump confuse me. Wasn’t #NeverTrump about not voting for him? Isn’t the election over? So WTH does #NeverTrump even mean now?

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      That is good news. And yeah, kudos when kudos are due. At least as far as Israel is concerned, this is good news indeed. I am sure it will be a welcome relief to Israel to have an Ambassador who is so strongly PRO-Israel, and supports their right to build IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY, believes Jerusalem is a part of Israel, and more.

      You said it, Marge – at this point, the election is over. All we can do is go forward and hope for the best, or at least that the bad won’t be TOO bad…

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        I loathe Trump and I always will. But I can “like” some of the things he does, some of the appointments he makes without “liking” or respecting the man.

        I “like” this pick very much. I also “like” that the anti-Semitic left, including all those liberal Jews, won’t like this.

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          Exactly. There is a difference between the two. At least on this pick, credit is due. It doesn’t suddenly dispel all of the many concerns abt Trump, but it does mean we can rest a little easier knowing that in this case, a stalwart defender of Israel will be in that position.

  6. kenoshamarge Says:

  7. kenoshamarge Says:

    Jonah Goldberg – right on the money!

    The thing is: Never Trump is over. Never Trump was about the GOP primary and the general election, not the presidency. The Left wants to claim it must be a permanent movement, denying the legitimacy of Trump’s election forever, or we were never serious. Well, that’s not what we — or at least I — signed up for.

    But you know what is alive and well? Always Trump. These are the folks who think Trump must be defended and celebrated no matter what he does or says. In fairness, some of these people are still auditioning for jobs in the administration and know they must follow the rhetorical principle of “not one step backward.” But others are just normal Americans who love Trump and think that I’m somehow duty-bound to say I love him too, no matter what he does. Well, I didn’t sign up for that either. ~ Jonah Goldberg

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