Sunday, September 18, 2016

How to Put Judicial Watch out of Business

There is some reason for very cautious optimism that the media is finally waking up a little bit after being rolled again with Trump's birther infomercial.

Beyond that, Norm Ornstein has a pretty good rule for the media to observe.

"I wish you and the Times, as examples, would announce that any anonymous source who gives you false or misleading information will be outed -- the privilege of anonymity extends only to provision of accurate information. "

Unfortunately, I can't find the link to Norm's tweet but it would take us a long way. It would finally disincentivize lying and getting your lies as part of the national conversation.

To be sure, Norm has a number of good rules.

(I'm calling him Norm as he did actually speak to me on Twitter this morning! LOL I've heard it said that you should only refer to someone with their first name if you know them).

For cable news: get rid of campaign apologists, spinners, 9 person panels, coverage of empty podium."

Indeed. Those panels are unwatchable. CNN seems to always want their to be equal sides. So you have equal amounts of people on both sides.

"Lord et al were brought on because CNN wanted Trump defenders, not conservatives. Now they must defend Trump no matter what he does."

"CNN both presented a distorted view of the landscape, and created a cohort of pundits whose employability is contingent on praising Trump."

This is where false balance gets you. For instance, if the debate is climate change, CNN wants to have both those who believe it's real and those who don't.

The problem is that within the scientific community, climate change deniers are entirely marginalized.

Same thing with trying to give both sides with Trump:

"CNN had a regular stable of conservative talking heads it used to contextualize news events. They thought Trump was bad."

"But instead of showing that story -- Trump is unusually marginalized -- they hired new pro-Trump voices like Lord & Lewandowski."

Exactly. If Trump is in reality marginalized, covering over that is not 'fair and balanced' but the opposite. But CNN wrongly feels this is somehow 'piling on' to show the truth about this.

Interestingly from what Simon Wren-Lewis and other British observers say, this was how Brexit was handled on BBC.

While most economists agree Brexit was a terrible thing for the economy, the economists BBC had on were 50-50 giving false equivalence.

I agree with Yglesias here wholeheartedly on both counts:

"I like @brianstelter a lot but I actually think CNN is ground zero for the media's institutional failure re Trump."

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