Category Archives: Freedom of Speech

Journalists Are Not The Enemy

Journalists are not the enemy: The Boston Globe’s editorial board publishes its response to President Trump’s attack on the media.

More than 350 news outlets joined the Globe’s move to support a free press.

“A central pillar of President Trump’s politics is a sustained assault on the free press,” writes the Globe. “Journalists are not classified as fellow Americans, but rather ‘the enemy of the people.’ This relentless assault on the free press has dangerous consequences.”

 

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More On Covering Hate

More on covering hate: Amanda Darrach finds a culture gap between young technology reporters who think trolling rhetoric is funny, while older reporters take it “totally seriously.”

“Our system is geared towards media manipulation on a massive scale,” she writes. “There are a lot of reasons why we’re in the mess that we’re in. Some of it has to do with reporters making bad choices, but the system is just set up to be manipulated.”

Bottom line: “It’s our job to document the human condition, and that includes the ugly parts.”

 

Covering White Supremacist Views

Covering white supremacist views: Elizabeth Jensen writes about public outrage over NPR’s coverage of “Unite The Right2,” a racist rally.

NPR was correct to cover the rally, she writes, though “the interview was painful to hear; it had me yelling at the radio, as I know many others did.”

She concludes: “NPR has decided it will air these interviews. I am on the fence about whether they are necessary. But if NPR is going to go that route, it needs to strengthen its practices for a more responsible execution.”

 

Poll Favors Presidential Power To Shut Media

Poll favors presidential power to shut media: Sam Stein reports a poll shows a plurality of Republicans want the president to have authority to close news outlets.

“The findings present a sobering picture for the fourth estate, with respondents showing diminished trust in the media and increased support for punitive measures against its members,” he writes.

“They also illustrate the extent to which Trump’s anti-press drumbeat has shaped public opinion about the role the media plays in covering his administration.”

Staying On The Record

Staying on the record: Steven Pearlberg reports that Dean Baquet, New York Times executive editor, took a personal ethical stance in refusing to join in an off-the-record meeting with President Trump.

“I don’t think officials should be able to tell me things that I can’t publish,” says Baquet, hewing to a philosophy that journalists should control the terms of an interview.

Not wanting to be courted or wooed, Baquet says “the leader of the news gathering operation shouldn’t have access that reporters don’t get.”

Local News Death Spiral

Local news death spiral: Kyle Pope reports that job cuts at the New York Daily News signals need to avoid self-pity in journalism.

“This can’t be about us,” he writes. “It has to be about why the country should care if local news goes away, which is the trajectory we now find ourselves on. What are the effects on a democracy if local news is no longer in the picture?”

He adds: “If you’re in journalism and you can’t muster an answer to that question, you need to move on.”

Finding News Deserts By ZIP Code

Finding news deserts by ZIP code: Michelle Ferrier writes about the Media Deserts Project.

It’s a “research effort that is trying to map the ways in which many of America’s rural communities are indeed impoverished by the lack of fresh, daily local news and information,” she writes, and find media audiences.

 

Defining Civility

Defining civility: The Washington Post’s editorial board sees strong political feelings spilling over into the private sphere.

“We understand the strength of feelings, but we don’t think the spilling is a healthy development,” says the board. “Those who are insisting that we are in a special moment justifying incivility should think for a moment how many Americans might find their own special moment.”

Other views on civility and media appear in Commentary, Vice, Salon, the Washington Post, the New York Times and Vox.

Enemy Of The People

Enemy of the people: Ken Thomas writes about the impact of President Trump’s attack on the U.S. media as “fake news.

Thomas quotes Prof. Jay Rosen saying, “It’s the erosion of the common world of fact. If we can’t agree on what the facts are, if there are no facts because they are in endless dispute, there is no accountability.”