Thank you so much for your support over the last two years. This newsletter, which launched on Feb. 3, 2020, has been more successful than I ever imagined. The whole undertaking has been humbling and gratifying. And it’s due to loyal and engaged readers — a special thanks to paid subscribers who make this all possible.
Holding the press accountable seems to be even more important these days and I’m excited that so many people are focused in and spreading the word.
My question for PRESS RUN readers: What are some topics, issues you would like me to address in the coming year?
Thanks again. And today I’m offering a two-year anniversary subscription discount.
Special PRESS RUN discount
Your piece today, the 7th, made a very important point and that is the lack of a positive message from the Biden administration and progressives in general. Absolutely, many of us are pretty depressed about the state of the country and lack of meaningful action on the climate but this does not necessarily translate into positive action. Fighting for what's right must be seen, not only as vitally important, but engaging and (why not?) fun. There is a long standing, valid criticism of the left that it focuses on policy and reaction to the bs from the right rather than framing the issues to engage people emotionally, which is more effective. (See George Lakoff)
In answer to your specific question about what to cover in the coming year, I suggest you press the media and the progressives to (please) work on positive, uplifting messaging.
I would love a topic/sustained discussion of how we turn outrage into action. We had a discussion in the comments about any NYT boycott, but I would love to understand if there's a way to collectively organize to hold media accountable. Can we for example find key advertisers and urge them to act as well?
The work you're doing has been invaluable (not to mention personally cathartic), so many, many thanks for keeping it going. A couple of topics that I'd love to see you address:
-- how traditional news organizations like the Times are misusing social media. Obviously, the idea is for the tantalizing Facebook blurbs to get people to click, hit a paywall, and subscribe. But very few people get past the inaccurate headlines and summaries, and then they disseminate twisted versions of the articles. Fake news with the imprimatur of the Times.
-- I know that you already did many pieces on the media's refusal to acknowledge Trump's mental illness, but I'd love to see you double back on that to address what's going on with the GOP. The behavior of a malignant narcissist is contagious (great info on that from psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee). Some Republicans have gotten the bug; others have merely emulated a behavior that they saw working. Either way, we are suffering the consequences of not having examined Trump's psychological problems from the get-go.
-- How about creating a tip line on your website? So we can send you ideas when we think of them.
One of the most disturbing images of the January 6th insurrection was a group of jack holes standing around a pile of media equipment they had taken away from reporters and camera operators. Only once I heard there were charges or a lawsuit against the perpetrators but of course I never heard anything since. There is a clear line from Trump’s constant “fake news” rhetoric at his rallies to that scary scene. Can you do a follow up to this?
Love following your newsletter and tweets. Have you thought about doing a weekly or bi-weekly Q&A session for subscribers?
I think that PRESS RUN gives great examples of where the media is one-sided and unfair to liberals/Democrats as opposed to conservatives/Republicans.
Maybe it's time to go next level.
Most people should know that the real drivers of the content on cable news are not the on air "talent" but the producers. Most people should know it's not so much the reporters in newspapers as it is the editors.
So who are these people that are driving the coverage in one direction vs. another?
- at "liberal" MSNBC, WHO are the daytime producers on the weekends that have their anchors often peddling conventional wisdom and Beltway talking points? For that matter, WHO are the producers of "The 11th Hour" whose devotion to centrist dogma stands in contrast to the 4 hours that precede it?
- WHO are the people that are putting together these "focus groups" at CNN, including that one that was full of "independent voters" that turned out to be GOP partisans?
- besides Dean Baquet, WHO are the editors at the NY Times and Washington Post that are overseeing sloppy political coverage?
- to be fair, WHO are the people that are doing it right?
I get that this may be tricky, since these people do not want to be in the news themselves. But at this moment in time, when we have an enormous amount of media, and traditional media is both under attack and being asked to maintain normal standards, WHO the gatekeepers are and WHAT they are doing is a part of the story.
We have a quarter to a third of the nation that is refusing to get vaccinated during a pandemic and believes that Biden was not elected legitimately. Most of those people are not consuming traditional media, of course. But that means it's all the more important that the traditional media doesn't just become carriers of misinformation, or merely document the outcomes without mentioning the cause.
It’s always frustrating that when any news outlets(especially MSNBC ON WEEKEND) can muster a pole to give the most horrible outcome for President Biden or the democrats work for the comen folks. Next chance you get to interact with the MSNBC crowd tell them their starting to look like CNN and FOX when they shuffle out poles. In todays world an algorithm can find any disgruntled person so you can roll out a negative pole.
The comments are fascinating. Have you considered having a monthly zoom with your subscribers? Thom Hartmann does this the first Saturday of every month. I hope your readers listen every Monday when you’re on Stephanie Miller’s show. Like many others, I listen and read the news much more critically than previously. Thank you for trying to hold the media accountable.
I always look forward to reading a new blog post from Press Run. I would love to see you add a section that spotlights a specific voice each week of someone who is consistently fighting the good fight. This might be a certain twitter account or someone's blog, or a podcast (my favorite is Gaslit Nation, for instance, where Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa serve up essential international truth serum every week.). We all need to hear as many different opinions as possible. The more those important voices out there are promoted, the louder they can get.
Congratulations Eric. Your work is essential. The story that bugs me no end is the narrative/talking point from the GOP and right-wing media that the US border with Mexico has been thrown open by the Biden Administration. Sometimes the claim is that "millions" of "illegals" are flooding into the country via our "open border." I have yet to see this nonsense called out in any mainstream media. GOP politicians go on talk shows and spew this stuff and are never questioned about it. This canard is accepted as gospel by millions of Americans.
Press Run is essential reading. Your critiques are both illuminating and disturbing. The trend of journalistic sins is growing, and the nation is paying a price. I would like to see more insight into why this is happening. For example, the occasional interviews with the editors ultimately responsible for what's published, as well as with veteran journalists who have moved on to teaching or other pursuits. Basically, how do they explain the egregious news coverage?
Happy Anniversary Eric !
Well since you asked...keep up the music suggestions and holding our fourth estate accountable.
Please include more alternative voices speaking the truth to the powerful.
Also, really like to idea Ferris Kaplan suggested about a Zoom with your subscribers and editors and writers. You would be an awesome moderator for something like that.
Congratulations on another year of fearless Media Commentary.
Is there any way we can influence the media to address their constant egregious reporting bias? Looking for some sort of accountability, if it’s even possible.
What media owners and journalists were complicit in the January 6 insurrection, besides the ones owned/influenced by Council For National Policy?
It’s good to know there’s at least one sane take on the media to look forward to.
Identifying the individuals at various news outlets responsible for editorial decision-making re policy slants, and tracking their history and connections, would add to our knowledge of how this system functions. -- Keep up the great work!
My only suggestion: Clone yourself at least 100 times over.
This is just a great time to thank you for the work you do. I’m grateful for your ongoing voice of reason in an atmosphere of craziness. I think I tell people a few times a week to read Press Run! And thank you for the music! It’s an extra treat.
After reading the comments I think it would be interesting to have information on who owns these media outlets, especially the ones with the most egregious coverage of Democrats like the New York Times.
Congratulations, Eric. You have don a magnificent job detailing media malfeasance. I hope you document this in a book as well. The abysmal performance of the Fourth Estate needs to be documented in one place for posterity.
Thank you, Eric, for helping me read the media with a much more critical eye! I'd love to see some more reporting on what Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has spent serious time detailing - the relationship between and the influence on SCOTUS by conservative and dark money individuals and groups. Highlight the results of these 'collaborations' and show how Americans are directly impacted by these SCOTUS decisions. There are more dots here to be connected as there always are between/among white supremacy, domestic terrorism and the anti-abortion, anti-reproductive rights groups. Far too many have not yet made the connections.
Given the bewildering and often infuriating guest choices that the weekend network shows like Meet the Press, Face The Nation etc. make, is there anyway to hold these executives accountable for their choices? Or at least have a forum for discussion and new ideas? It doesn't seem like shaming them makes one damn bit of difference.
Lastly, I would like to see multiple pieces devoted to interviews w/ Biden-voting-DEMs in diners - ad nauseum. Thank you 😌
How abt highlighting the public servants who *arent* as good at the Performative side of politics - but are solid contributors for their constituents, nonetheless… Also - helping out people like Kamala, AOC and Omar who are so busy cleaning the mud off (that is slung at them) and providing a clearer, more balanced picture of what they are doing? Otherwise, I love Press Run as is!🎂
I’d like to see a collaboration with Judd Legum or another indy journo who is following the money in media and politics. That could explain how our MSM has gotten so craven for Ratings over Truth and Accuracy
Also, I’d like you to dig in on the executives in media who make all these poor decisions to chase clickbait over pro-democracy, pro-rule of law reporting. I don’t think Zucker’s affair tells the whole story of his sudden resignation. There’s a pattern of powerful white men in Media who resign over sex scandals. Were they kompromatted a long time ago? Zucker made Trump who he is. There’s an ugly story there.
I became a paid subscriber a couple of weeks ago. I consider the posts to be very necessary reading lessons. Just keep doing what you’re doing.
Eric, thanks for all your work over the years, and especially with PressRun. The two biggest issues facing us IMO are interconnected: coverage leading to the midterms and the 1/6 investigations. If the GOP regains Congress and takes more statehouses we may not be able to recover from the damage. Please keep calling out narrative bias as well as lack of coverage (or buried coverage) on major stories (like the Eastman memo etc). A broad request, but I trust your judgment.
Women’s issues. Abortion rights. Voting rights. Black voices/ leadership. For instance the story of the Black State representatives in Mississippi walking out of the Statehouse over banning CRT.
I like your light stuff.
Many times I read listen to your posts and I walk away so angry. My question - is there any way you can let us know if the media reads your stuff and maybe you can tell us if they recognize the error of their ways. Hopeful and naïve - I know but I am certain many of us want to know that what you are doing is making a difference.
Since it's not broke, don't fix it. Keep covering things the way you do, because you're doing a good job. Which is why I am a paid subscriber.
I live in the middle of Trump country. Pete Stauber is my congressman. Trumper through and through.
The conversations I overhear from people at my healthclub are about how bad things are and how the Biden administration is a disaster. The Afghanistan Pull out, Covid, the economy, gas prices and etc are all the Biden Admin's fault. None of this would be taking place if the election had not be stolen from Trump in their view.
The closest progressive radio is 150 miles away in Minneapolis. Local radio has pro-Trump/conservative messaging all-day, everyday on multiple radio stations.
If I could, I would post a pictures of one of the locals yard signs/billboards that fill his yard as you drive by. It is not a pro Biden display. There was a ruling by a local city gov't that even though obscenities are used to describe Biden, it is protected free speech and he won't be forced to take it down.
Your newsletter has been a ray of sunshine everyday. Thanks for that.
If the Biden Admin does not start touting it's accomplishments more, I fear for the 2022 elections though. We need better messaging and we need it to be repeated over and over again like the GOP does with their propaganda.
It might be nice if you covered some on the GOP cancel culture, like Colin Kaepernick, Liz Cheney, book burning.
Eric: YOU ASKED, so... You've had two years of preaching to the choir. It's time to take your reputation, experience, and support of your many followers/subscribers to the next level.
I know my ideas are popular, based on the many likes & comments in your previous polls.
I'd like to see:
1) That you call out BY NAME every REPORTER of every story with which you have complaints. They can't hide in anonymity and must be held accountable for their [slanted/unfair] reports.
2) That you call out BY NAME the ASSIGNMENT EDITORS of those stories (if you know). They are most responsible, since they wanted those stories covered; and then edited and published them.
3) That you have a quarterly forum on Zoom featuring a few invited editors & reporters. I'm sure you [and we] have questions for them, and that they'd love to share their process with us.
4) That you let us know those who are receptive to your invitations, and, especially, those who are NOT. Why should we support their papers/networks, if they have no interest in learning?
I don't want you tilting at windmills. I want you knocking them down. Keep up the good fight!
Thank you for what you do! Two thoughts about what to cover: One is how climate change, inequality, racism — they all spring from the same well for conservatives. More direct connection making between individual bad press moves and how a far right worldview simultaneously is responsible for many of the top issues of interest. Second, I would love a dive into why it is so hard for democrats and supporting organizations to reframe narratives when they appear on news broadcasts. Is it that hard to turn a question such as “what do you tell parents who are worried about crt in the classrooms” to “well let’s be clear chuck. crt is not taught in schools. this is an issue created to scare parents about a non-existent issue so that a particular agenda silencing a broad range of voices that is integral to what it means to be an american is achieved. i stand against the false idea that students are being taught scary content. this is an issue most importantly about respecting the professionalism of educators. i would ask why this has become an issue at this time in our country. and this is not a grassroots parent movement, but a well funded attack on a pillar of american society, education.”
Unchecked data ethics (if any exist), data sources and visualizations codify the evil you expunge. If those things thread into your discourse, that would be interesting but precisely what you do is already the best. For your end segment check new singles from Ana Tijoux and 4ugu5t. Thank you Mr. Boehlert.
"The most important thing to understand about CNN and Trump is that the network’s profits doubled after he became president. Doubled." I think this says everything. You hit the nail squarely on the head and this can't be emphasized often enough.
I'd be curious to dig into why the Washington Post has taken a hard right turn in the last 6-8 months. I could list endless examples but one that especially annoyed me was a couple of pieces profiling and burnishing anti-choice women who framed Texas' brutal anti-choice law as a site of opportunity w/o presenting any voices sharing the true impact/reach of these women's "help" for women with unwanted pregnancies. The one about the woman proposing to start a Christian "ranch" to isolate and brainwash pregnant women was particularly egregious and should've been put into the context of past history of how pregnant women were treated (and often abused).
Hi, Eric. I'm in for the two-year subscription but not sure how to get it. (I've had a looooooooong work week, so I know I'm the problem here.)
And, happy anniversary!! You do such a good job calling out the piss poor job the mainstream political media has done over the past seven years. I have essentially given up on all cable news and stick to certain written sources or public radio. I just want facts, not spin or opinion. Why is that so hard for journalists to do? Is it really rocket science? Evidently, it is.
Anywho, keep on doing the fantastic job that you do. I appreciate all that you write.
Happy Anniversary. I admire your work a great deal.
Happy Anniversary! Keep up the great work! Love what you have to say!
I’d love to see something about how white male journos report on female big shots like Kamala, Hillary and their lack of depth, not to mention their own cases of subconscious misogyny. Not sure if the women journos are as guilty of this too.
You've been doing a great job Eric! One topic that I think deserves much more attention is Climate Change. In the coming years, the effects of Climate Change are going to have a tremendous negative impact on economically challenged communities, especially those in coastal areas. The MSM is not giving enough attention to this global threat. It's bad enough that many Americans are not paying attention to the rise of fascism in this country. Their ignorance to wild fires, powerful storms that are occurring with more frequency and the melting of ice caps will have a devastating effect on millions of people not just here but around the world.
Love your commitment to calling out our pathetic "media". I live in Florida and I am literally scared of DeSantis and his goons. Would love more attention to this transformation. Florida was not always this bad! Jeb Bush started a long path downwards here both politically and environmentally. We have over 22M souls here and we are not all on board with his death wish. How come NO democrats pay attention here? Val Demmings no media, Charlie Crist no media. Feels like Democrats have been paid off to stay out of this state. Kind of like dolphins coach told to lose games for $$$.
Happy Anniversary Eric. You are personally responsible for lifting the scales from my eyes and showing me/us how soiled and distorted the msm is and the lens through which they report the news. You’re a gutsy and seemingly fearless guy and I so appreciate your efforts and commitment.
Eric, Many thanks and appreciation for your diligence in reporting on the gross inaccuracies and fallacies of mainstream media reporting, some of which I was not even aware even though I’m an avid news reader. It’s refreshing to hear your voice and I look forward to your emails in my inbox. You’ve opened my eyes. I gave my son a gift subscription for Christmas and he is a fan of Press Run too.
The Free Press is not free. It comes at the cost of whatever value is assigned to it by the free market. These days it seems that "their" free press and "my" free press are increasingly whatever 'them' and 'I' want it to be and what we'll all pay for, as long as we all agree with whatever spin our favorite source puts on. Writers and reporters way smarter than me need to address issues like "alternative facts", headlines that mislead to get attention, ledes buried so deep nobody ever seems to be able to find any point in what's been written, and the foundations of why a free press is essential to any democracy. Eric, I'm sure you've seen this: https://fallows.substack.com/p/a-word-the-press-should-remember Fallows nails what I've been thinking in it. Above all, please keep hammerin' on 'em like you do, call out the inadequacies, expose the hypocrisies, point out the risk we face when the "state" controls the "news" and above all, Keep The White-Hot ArcLight on Fox Entertainment to show it for what it is, and especially what it is Not.
Happy Anniversary! Your work is amazing and has kept so many of us sane.
I write lots of letters to editors but I wonder, is that the best way to get journalists’ attention? Is there a better way? Is there a certain hook that should be included in letters that will make them pay attention? Could you address how to effectively reach media, too, so that we all can help amplify this message and maybe effect some positive change in coverage.
1) Poverty in the US and misrepresentations of poor people: perpetuating the ignorance of poverty as a systemic issue and blaming the victims.
2) Treatment of the white male perspective as THE best way of looking at everything.
3) Almost universal endorsement of college for everyone as the way to go for our future.
4) Failure to recognize the damage done by supremely powerful police unions to good policing.
5) False balance of presenting both sides as equivalent in cases where one is patently false.
Thank you for putting to words my frustrations with the media. As a former reporter, I understand how we were taught to look at both sides and I think a new journalism needs to emerge, one that presents multiple opinions but does not shy away from calling out lies and bigotry.
I would love to see some exploration of the "conservative" columnists that papers like the WaPo hire. They seem to get away with inaccuracies that would have gotten me fired off the podunk weekly where I started reporting in 1994. That also goes for some of the "libertarian" columnists. My personal favorite is Megan McArdle, who griped about how covid protocols were an invasion of liberties until her father got sick, then complained the government did not do enough to help him. I am not talking so much about horrible takes (paging Bret Stephens) as actual lies.
Wow! I can’t believe it’s been two years. This blog has helped keep what sanity I have left which both I and my family really appreciates. A big thanks to you!