Trump’s America, collapse of journalism edition

TWenty-nine minutes ago, tonight’s episode of All In With Chris Hayes, which hosted a round table with Bernie Sanders and the confused, angry citizens of Kenosha, Wisconsin, allowed a couple of new Donald Trump supporters to admit that while they didn’t take seriously the President-Elect’s interest in a Muslim registry at least he was Starting a Dialogue. In the next four years we’re going to see many newspapers, eager for clicks, wanting to publish views heretofore considered disgusting under the carapace of Starting a Dialogue.

Today the L.A. Times’s public editor had to explain why her paper published letters defending the internment of Japanese citizens in World War II, known as Executive Order 9066 and signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and whose constitutionality the Supreme Court endorsed. Her colleagues resisted:

The Times’ Travel editor, Catharine Hamm, said she approved publication of the letters thinking that the writers’ views, although provocative, would be balanced by subsequent letters of response.

Hamm said that, in retrospect, that was not the right decision, because the views expressed in the letters did not lend themselves to reasoned discussion.

Maharaj made the same point in discussions with staff members disturbed by the letters, and in remarks to editors during The Times’ daily news meeting this morning.

“Letters in The Times are the opinions of the writers, and editors strive to include a range of voices. But the goal is to present readers with civil, intelligent, fact-based opinions that enlarge their understanding of the world,” Maharaj said. “These letters did not meet that standard.”

You don’t say. A paucity of civil, intelligent, fact-based opinions enlarging the understanding of the world is gonna be lacking the next four years. Acknowledging this drivel exists is not the same as granting it the space to rejuvenate in the sunlight of new “discussion.” This is the nadir of journalism as a public force.

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