Saturday, September 17, 2016

'We Got Played Again'

So CNN's John King admitted as did Jake Tapper. As Greg Sargent says, they're's a choice involved here.

As I argued in my last post, there are some signs the media might finally be catching on a little bit.

Or as Krugman puts it, maybe Trump has finally gone a lie to far:

"I suspect Donald Trump is feeling a bit sandbagged right now, or will be when he wakes up. All along he has treated the news media with contempt, and been rewarded with obsequious deference — his lies sugar-coated, described as “disputed” or “stretching the truth,” while every aspect of his opponent’s life is described as “raising questions” and “casting shadows”, despite lack of evidence that she did anything wrong."

"If Greg Sargent and Norm Ornstein are to be believed (and they are!), the cable networks at least initially followed the same pattern in their response to DJT’s latest."

"But the print media appear to have finally found their voice (which may shape cable coverage over time). The Times and the AP, in particular, have put out hard-hitting stories that present the essence in the lede, not in paragraph 25."

Krugman's got it right, but I have to point out one blinder of his: he said the Times and AP in particular but he must know that the Times in particular along with the AP has been among the worst offenders and because of the importance of the Times this is even more glaring.

Even yesterday, initially, the Times screwed up unlike the Washington Post.

The Times did afterwords correct it and had some very good front page headlines that adequately described what what Trump actually said.

What’s so good about these stories? The fact that they are simple straightforward reporting.

"First, confronted with obvious lies, they don’t pretend that the candidate said something less blatant, or do views differ on shape of planet — they simply say that what Trump said is untrue, and that his repetition of these falsehoods makes it clear that he was deliberately lying."

Basically when WaPo and the Times later say rather than 'Trump Bames Clinton for Birtherism' that 'Trump Falsely Blames Clinton for Birtherism' it makes a big difference, it makes a huge difference.

If you omit 'falsely' then the reader is stuck in a world of 'opinions differ on the shape of planet' or 'Democrats say Global Warming a Fact; Republicans Say it's not Been Proven.'

Calling a clear lie a lie goes a long way to correcting false equivalence.'

"Second, the stories for today’s paper are notable for the absence of what I call second-order political reporting: they’re about what Trump said and did, not speculations about how it will play with voters."

"Doing these things doesn’t sound very hard — but we’ve seen very little of this kind of thing until now. Why the change?"

It really isn't very hard, so you wonder why it's been so hard to get the media to see it.

"You could say that the lies were so blatant that doing the right thing became unavoidable. But there were plenty of earlier lies — Trump lying about his opposition to the Iraq War, about his donations to charity, and much more. There was already the unprecedented contempt for the press he showed by refusing to release his tax returns. And all of these were soft-pedaled, with the media spending its main energy doing neener-neener on Clinton emails and the Clinton Foundation. Why did the press hit its limit?"

"One answer might be the storm of criticism over election coverage, with, for example, the Washington Post editorial page essentially taking its own reporting to task. The Matt Lauer debacle may have helped bring things into focus. And tightening polls probably matter too, not because journalists are being partisan, but because they are now faced with the enormity of what their fact-free jeering of HRC and fawning over DJT might produce."

"There are now two questions: will this last, and if it does, has the turn come soon enough? In both cases, nobody knows. But just imagine how different this election would look if we’d had this kind of simple, factual, truly balanced (as opposed to both-sides-do-it) reporting all along."

Notice that simply calling out a blatant lie-and saving the usual second order reporting-was all it took to get away from 'both sides do it.'

I think there's time. It's never too late and there is plenty of time if this is a sea change.

I mean it would have been better a month ago, but better now than in a month; better in a month till after Trump wins the election. But history will judge each and every journalist.

"There is no reasonable explanation or salable excuse for the media’s behavior this presidential cycle. History will look back at this period and it will not be kind to the Fourth Estate. We will all have to one day ask ourselves, “Where was I on Trump and the truth?” Far too many of us will be found wanting."

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