I respect Marty Baron from his tenures as editor of the Boston Globe and Miami Herald, and The Washington Post has fewer Maggie Habermans on its staff than the New York Times, but I cringed reading his Trump post-mortem with Der Spiegel, in which, after a previous Republican administration’s perfidy in rousing the American public to war with Iraq, Baron insists he had an obligation to take a president at his word. Not just any president but Donald J. Trump, whose life in the public eye is a grotesque accumulation of grift, charlatanism, and racism. This was no non-entity, no Warren G. Harding or James Garfield.
Dam Froomkin throws up his hands:
Namby-pamby political journalism isn’t going to reach the truth-deniers. “Objective” political reporting as practiced in newsrooms like the Post has failed. The role of the free press in the world’s leading democracy is not to sit by and watch as authoritarianism takes root, or as the very notion of truth is undermined. It’s to actively promote democratic values, remind people of the importance of constitutional checks and balances, support human rights, and advocate for a government that is responsive to the people’s needs. Most important, it’s to crusade for reality.
To what degree do the editors of political desks of major newspapers believe a significant portion of the American populace consider the rest of us pedophiles and traitors? However, the little I’ve seen of cable news coverage of the post-Insurrection Day coverage suggests that reporters have no fucks to give; I’ve heard “sedition” and “murderers” and other precise descriptors more often in the last five weeks than in the last fifteen years. To wonder if Baron and his ilk consider endorsing human rights and advocating for responsive, responsible government a violation of their so-called objectivity doesn’t strain credulity. Because our culture regards those causes as liberal ones, he can’t shrug off a lifetime of journalistic assumptions about conceptual frames.
Maybe this will help. NPR:
The mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol may have been a fringe group of extremists, but politically motivated violence has the support of a significant share of the U.S. public, according to a new survey by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
The survey found that nearly three in 10 Americans, including 39% of Republicans, agreed that, “If elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves, even if it requires violent actions.”
The subset most likely to believe in dangerous twaddle? White evangelicals. Lest readers think ah’m pickin’ on jes white folks, a growing number of wannabes live in South Florida, and they don’t no stinkin’ vaccine.:
In December, megachurch pastor Guillermo Maldonado made international headlines when he told his congregation at Miami’s King Jesus International Ministry that COVID-19 vaccines would be used to track people and “alter your DNA” — a claim that has been proven false. “Do not [take] the vaccine. Believe in the blood of Jesus. Believe in divine immunity,” added Maldonado, who hosted President Donald Trump in the January 2020 launch of the “Evangelicals for Trump” coalition.
I propose they look to their own altered DNA.