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What’s driving the media hesitation?

If our failed political press followed their own style guide and wrote clearly, simply, and directly it would mean calling Republicans racists for wanting to suppress voters. It’s Jim Crow revisited.

They won’t do it because then they would have to admit that they’ve been wrong about one of our two political parties since at least the Reagan Years, and that won’t happen.

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author

agreed, and that's what's so frustrating. we're simply asking the press to use clear, accurate language

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Does the problem stem from journalism classes in college, or the company the journalists work for, or their bosses? I would guess the students in journalism college classes are not taught the way the journalists back in the 60's and 70's were taught. Do these students have the drive and ambition. or is just a job for them?

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That’s a really good question. My guess (and it is only a guess) is that the craft of journalism has not changed, but the business of journalism has.

Where the broadcast news was once a public good (as required by the FCC license), it is now a profit/loss center; print media has been mostly lost to corporate raiders, and what now passes for news is punditry.

I know it is a (rom-com) movie and not exactly verbatim truth, but "Broadcast News” seems more prescient than ever.

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Point well taken. Money drives what we read and listen to. Walter Cronkite would cry if he knew what has happened to the art of journalism.

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founding

I agree with this article and would add that making it hard to vote should always be framed as anti-democratic, authoritarian actions. I would also like repeated reminders that this started long before Trump. Bush the First vetoed the Motor Voter Bill because it makes it easier for poor people to register. (Clinton later signed it.) The Bush II DOJ fired several Republican US Attorneys who had refused to bring phony voter fraud cases against Democrats. Gerrymandering to dilute Democrats’ votes has a long history — you should see the crazy shape of my Congressional District. Putting fewer polling places in Democratic areas is another longtime tactic and it hasn’t just been used in minority communities. Remember the long voter lines in 2004 in Gambier, Ohio? Students from Kenyon College waited hours to vote for Kerry because the Ohio Sec of State allotted only one polling place to that liberal, mostly white college. A friend’s daughter waited 12 hours to vote that day.

This is off topic but I am extremely frustrated by the reports I am seeing about the newly released report detailing Russian interference in the 2016 and 2020 elections. The report makes it clear that the Russians were able to get their disinformation into our media but that is getting spun by reporters as rightwing media. I am sure they all know that the Biden/Ukraine slander which the report says originated with Russia was first peddled by Steve Bannon’s right hand man Peter Schweitzer. Schweitzer was the first to report those lies in his book “Secret Empires”. His good pal John Solomon then repeated those phony accusation in “The Hill”. The Times and WaPo picked up the story from that.

Bannon and Schweitzer had used the same playbook in 2016 with their smears of the Clinton Foundation. Schweitzer wrote the book “Clinton Cash” then he and Bannon got both the Times and Post to publish those false accusations and misleading innuendo. The most serious accusation was that Hillary had gotten our government to approve the sale of the Uranium One mining company to Russia in order to benefit a major shareholder who was also a big CF donor.

The recently released report about Russian interference in 2016 and 2020 makes it clear that the Biden-Ukraine story was created by Russian intelligence which. Bannon and Schweitzer were clearly their conduit to the mainstream media. I would bet Russians were also the source of the Clinton Foundation/ Uranium One lies and that Bannon was doing their bidding by getting the NY Times and Post to buy into those lies.

In 2019 the widely respected Jane Mayer reported on this scam of Bannon and Schweitzer but reporters have chosen to ignore those facts so they can pretend they it was just the right wing media that was complicit in spreading Russian disinformation.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-invention-of-the-conspiracy-theory-on-biden-and-ukraine

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I don’t understand the hesitancy to name a spade a spade, suppression, suppression. What an important and terrifically newsy/historic story; a story of our times. How is this less important than the number of pressers Biden has held? Do any journalists read PressRun? They should.

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author

it’s especially a problem for journos describing GOP. abd yes happy to say lots of them read Press Run

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Glad!!!

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The media is not “unequipped” to accurately portray voter suppression. Elias saying the media is unequipped is the verbal equivalent of the media referring to voter suppression as voting restrictions. The correct word is ‘unwilling’

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author

I think he was being kind, yes

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Isn’t that the problem? You could say that the press is trying to be kind to the GOP but in this case, kindness isn’t warranted. Words matter and everyone needs to start using the correct words to describe reality because using the wrong words ultimately leads to altering the public’s perception of reality and that is precisely the problem, non? (Insert smiley emoji to indicate a friendly exchange)

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Yours is a salient point. Thank you for your take.

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I am personally tired of hearing about the "misinformation" or "misrepresentation" of voter fraud. Why doesn't NPR, for example, call it what it is? A lie. The lie that there was widespread voter fraud. The lie that these states are basing their laws on.

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founding

I also hate it when they day a politician is being disingenuous. That is not a term most people use or understand. They are being dishonest so say that.

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I can't agree with BOTH of you more! Theodora and Jennifer. That they are STILL struggling to say the words 'lie' to call things what they are, after the personal toll it has cost EVEN them (and I know some blahdityvblah blah blah blah 'objectivity argument' will be made) in terms of losing those closest to them for their fear and fecklessness of correctly labeling things what they are. It is LACK of objectivity to dance around these hard truths and 'soften language,' and pretend things are 'less' than they are. To NORMALIZE criminal and I will plainly say from my professional pervue, sociopathic behavior, where there is a 100% absence of positive and normal human emotions (At all), but the msm ASSIGNED emotions and relationships to him, and I called this out all the time. I called out the Kelly O'Donnell's and the Kristen Welker's and the Ashley Parker's, who 'put words and thoughts' in his mouth he NEVER expressed at the 'chopper sprays,' to make him appear more 'human' Kelly O'Donnell got in a few spats with me about it and said, "That's called reporting!" I said, "No! That is called editorializing. Normalizing. Assigning thoughts and feelings to him that he never expressed. You are CREATING a narrative, not reporting the facts." Crickets....every time. They systematically did this for 4 years. Vanity Fair wrote an article about "Trump has a friend with Covid." I said, "Trump has no friends. He has no ability to feel love of positive emotions. He would trade them Jr. or Ivanka if it meant HIS freedom." The idea that he 'had no friends or could not 'care' was unsettling for some, in a way a few things were over the last few years, and a few people asked, "Did you read the article?" I said, "Yes! Did you? HE didn't say he had a 'friend' it was a donor who did, someone who knew him from politics and real estate. THEY assigned the relationship. BUT...now watch. This story and relationship will get more elaborate as he 'uses it' during the briefings.' As pressure mounted, he started to mention "He had a friend." Then that friend "Called him and told him he was ill." Then that "Very good friend called him on his way into the ER!! He was his first thought and on the phone with him!" Then.... "He talked with him right before he was put on the ventilator. In his last words, before they did it, he was talking to him." Clearly none of this happened, this was not his friend. This was someone has knew as an acquaintance, and the donor assigned him as "One of his closest friends," that I would bet he couldn't name off the top of his head right now. He has never acknowledged his own brother died of COVID, we found that out from a 'slip' on the air from Laura Ingrahm, and he has barely emoted about him, beyond the 'photo op' of having his funeral at the White House. He would have gladly 'used' the passing of Herman Cain (who he confused in real time with Ben Carson all the time...even after his death) for political points, but even he knows that is too hard to 'spin.' After 555k deaths, I would imagine that 'most' of the people that were so 'bent' about him 'not having any friends,' might feel different, but it was never about 'him,' it was about 'them,' and being uncomfortable with the idea that the leader of the country doesn't care about 'them,' isn't capable of caring about 'them' or has their best interests at heart, but I think that case is 'tried' and closed. It would have been long before if the msm had not 'normalized' him and acted as if things that were profoundly criminal, immoral, unethical, inhumane, sociopathic, were just a 'both sides' type of issue, or a story that lasted half a news cycle and followed the his laser light like distracted cats. LOL....Didn't know I had a tangent in me when I started...but it's been a long week. Long YEAR! I am Mixed Asian (obviously already noted some of the other mix, and I'm married to a full Asian, it's been a nightmare year, and an emotional week. But...this is my 'typical' tangent on this....lol Thanks for listening.

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I've begun to wonder if being admitted to the DC political media brothel means first you have to make sure you have gotten an A in Euphemisms 101 before you can graduate to Sucking Up 102.

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Both are prerequisites to Prevarication 201 and Sophistry 202.

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On Monday's Pod Save America, they played a game to label a question 'came from an ordinary citizen' or 'came from Beltway media.' Hilarity ensues and I highly recommend.

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Thanks for the heads up. I will check it out. I have missed the Pod lately and have meant to circle back.

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My grandma used to sing that to me every night before I went to sleep. "Too ra loo Ra Loo Ral. Too ra Loo Ra Li. Close your eyes my sweetheart. That's an Irish lullaby." (I know she changed the last part for me xoxoxo)-Nikki

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founding

My grandmother did that for me, too. She was born in 1883 which still blows my mind. She also had a terrible voice!😊 Unfortunately my other grandmother died when I was young but she was also Irish. Her family came from the same small town Paul Ryan’s did. I have a dreadful feeling that we are related.

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Oh my goodness I hope not. I remember when he tried to make a special immigration law for all the "Special people" like the ones from Ireland, just not from "other" places. My family was was County Cork, and these are 'both' true stories. My Great Grandfather 'missed' the Titanic (just running late, would have been 'C' class), had he been on time, generations of us would not be here. The SAME man, became a NYC police officer, and was murdered by the gangster Arnold Rothstein, who was the famous financial backer of Lucky Luciano, and that is pretty much where all the excitement ends ...probably luckily, in our family tree. LOL

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I wonder...:

Just how big is the audience for news? How many people actually follow the news?

But more: Dean Baquet’s response to what can be called abuse of “both sidesism” was that his readers could suss out the truth despite his newsroom’s efforts at obfuscation. So I wonder how much of the news audience actually can and do suss out the truth.

Because as I rant nonstop, the establishment press’ distorted reporting has done and is doing real harm.

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Baquet is hoping that his liberal readers will get what the reporters are talking about, so that he doesn't have to worry about pissing off the GOP with explicit, albeit truthful, language about what the GOP is doing. He's trying to have it both ways, but it isn't working, because liberals are angry that the NYT won't just come right out and call it as it is, and the GOP will call the NYT "fake news" no matter what they write.

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Eh. It’s the great futility: no way the “liberal” media (a slander coined by conservatives off a few crumbs of truth that haven’t existed since the 1970s) are going to attract any conservatives no matter what. However, when it comes to important matters, the mainstream just spews establishment BS: GOP is good; Trump isn’t sooo bad (notwithstanding letting a couple of hundred thousand Americans die for no good reason); there was any sort of actual broad based recovery from the 2008 collapse; etc. Meanwhile, said establishment propaganda overlaps with th e special interests the GOP and corporate Dems serve which means there’s a huge overlap between the mainstream propaganda and Fox, and at times the former might be worse. (I of course refer to Fox’s news side.)

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It's just more proof of the bias of the Corporate Controlled Conservative Press. Note how the DC Press Corpse is full of contempt for Joe! Compare that to how they endlessly sucked up to Trump and repeatedly tried to make nice with him!

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And how they're trying to rehabilitate his image after his efforts to overturn the election.

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I had the great eat pleasure to see and hear the Tenors live. Makes the goosebumps rise.

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author

oh wow, fun!

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The Dems' lack of focus in messaging and the media's penchant to echo Republican nonsense is making it harder than it should be to clean up the Trumpian mess. Classic example is referring to the cash aspect of the Relief Act as stimulus checks instead of RELIEF checks. Stimulus suggests the checks are some sort of economic sleight of hand - the preferred Republican view - rather than desperately needed assistance to struggling Americans. But Dems and the media go along with "stimulus checks," just like they failed to balk at hypocritical and loaded terms such as "pro-life" and "illegal immigrant." I think Joe Biden is the only Dem who consistently refers to relief checks. Where are the Dems who can instill some messaging discipline? (Dancing on Andrew Cuomo's grave?)

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founding

Pro-life is so blatantly dishonest it shouldn’t be hard to debunk. I agree with people who say Republicans are turning into a death cult. In fact Johns Hopkins has a report out showing that states with Republican governors have higher case rates and deaths from COVID. Their propaganda and refusal to follow science is literally killing their own supporters.

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Senator Raphael Warnock's speech on the floor yesterday should be the anthem for fighting RQP's. As someone said yesterday, the only platform that RQP's have is to cheat, steal and lie. That's it.

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Something reasonable people tend to dismiss too easily is the fact that giving the media license to use morally judgemental language is a double edged sword, with no take-backs. It is what separates Boehlert's own 'media criticism' from newsroom journalism. Anyone who needs it spelled out that "Republican voter restrictions" means voter suppression targeted at Black Americans isn't going to be open to that perspective, and will use such reporting to dismiss not just that one description, but everything from that source that they wish to disagree with.

Words matter, yes, but not based on their "definition", but their *meaning*, which is never as simple as one paraphrased dictionary entry or synonym. It is not what word you use to label something, but WHY you are using that word to describe it, that communicates meaning in language. I see Eric struggling with this constantly, as do most other honest and intelligent people. There is a better approach than the postmodern linguistics you have been taught, and it can make you smarter and happier if you manage to learn it.

Thanks for your time. Hope it helps.

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author

Interesting...I guess I’d suggest that if using the right language became common/the norm (calling Trump liar etc) the words wouldn’t seem loaded etc

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Well, making declarations for other people about what is or is not the "right language", and combining two vague terms in the phrase "seem loaded" simply shift the goal posts a bit. I think the truth is that you want the words to be loaded, (or to seem judgemental) because your whole goal is to use the invective to emphasize the immorality of Trump's lies or voter suppression. I'm not saying you shouldn't; I agree entirely that ridding American politics of such mendacity is the most important thing we need to do as a society. I'm simply questioning the common wisdom that "calling it out" is going to accomplish that goal. I think instead it would simply open the floodgates to even worse press behavior, as they will still insist on using careful logic to avoid accusing or insulting Republicons while feeling even more free to 'go to town' on Democrats and liberals.

Thank you graciously for your time, sir. I have always been one of your biggest fans, and hope that I can discuss this with you further in the future.

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Sorry T. I have no idea what you MEAN. Words always matter. Journalists/editors have a special obligation to say what they mean honestly, succinctly and accurately. What those words mean is in the eye of the beholder, so choose wisely, media.

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I mean what I wrote, and I agree that words matter, which you should know already because I wrote that. People these days are taught how to NOT understand words (or deny they understand them when it is convenient, the way you just did), rather than how to do so, and your reply illustrates the problem very well, I thought. If words have meaning, it cannot entirely be "in the eye of the beholder", because that is not what people mean when we say "words have meaning". [Postmodern linguistics describes this as words being "symbols that are defined through socially negotiation", and while that is inaccurate in terms of how language actually functions, it is a succinct rebuttal to your 'eye of the beholder' statement.]

Journalists do choose their words honestly and wisely. But you wish they would choose differently, because you want them to convince people to agree with your opinions (rather than allow the facts themselves to convince them, regardless of how they are described.) Which is great, as long as it is YOUR words you're choosing, not the journalist's. If you want to call it voter suppression, go ahead and do that. But it really isn't any less honest or accurate to call it voter restriction. They don't really mean different things in terms of the actions taken, and the more heated invective creates backlash without actually convincing anyone to agree with our judgement about the Republicon's intentions or purpose.

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Please don’t tell me what I want or think. Thanks.

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I simply observed what you wrote. You can get defensive about it, but that only demonstrates my point about postmodern linguistics, and how it actively interferes with your ability to reason.

Thanks for your time. Hope it helps. I mean both quite sincerely.

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Or Dennis Day singing Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y5wa2qToEI which my dear old Irish Granny, Gertie McGarrity, liked so much more than white tie tenors.

Or Bing Crosby at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhVIMAiKZ-A

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author

It is def a thriving industry— which might explain why there’s such desire reporters/pundits to sound alike?

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The desire to homogenize their rhetoric comes directly from the assumption that the purpose of the press is to present facts and logic without bias. Having a diversity of journalistic perspectives contradicts the myth that they are reporting objective truth, rather than simply providing the opinions of the reporters about that supposedly objective truth.

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