Monday, June 12, 2017

He Earns It

Last month, a Harvard study reported that in Trump’s first 100 days, about 80 percent of mainstream press coverage reflected negatively on the new president. And the sheer amount of negative news was unprecedented.


Trump, of course, has been playing the victim card for months.


Trump’s press coverage has been a political nightmare.

Isn’t that terribly unfair?

Here’s my carefully nuanced answer: Hell, no.

Thank you.
That’s because when we consider negative vs. positive coverage of an elected official, we’re asking the wrong question.

The president’s supporters often say his accomplishments get short shrift. But let’s face it: Politicians have no right to expect equally balanced positive and negative coverage, or anything close to it. If a president is doing a rotten job, it’s the duty of the press to report how and why he’s doing a rotten job.


Should positive coverage be provided, as if it were a birthright, to a president who consistently lies, who has spilled classified information to an adversary, and who fired the FBI director who was investigating his administration?

Certainly not.


It’s reasonable, however — in fact, crucial — to consider some different questions: those involving fairness, focus and overkill.

● When news organizations get something wrong, do they acknowledge and correct it quickly? Or do they just move on and hope nobody notices?

● Do journalists allow the president and his administration to respond to criticism and give his response prominent placement?

● Do news sites give serious, sustained attention to policy issues as well as publishing innumerable hot takes about the ­personality-driven dust-up of the moment?
THAT's fair.
“Journalists would do well to spend less time in Washington and more time in places where policy intersects with people’s lives,” the Harvard study reasonably suggests. “If they had done so during the presidential campaign, they would not have missed the story that keyed Trump’s victory — the fading of the American Dream for millions of ordinary people.”
Can't argue with that.
[Journalists have] plenty of things to improve on. Giving Trump gratuitous strokes is not one of them.
Or that.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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