Tag Archives: President Trump

A Lifetime of Journalism Ethics

By Casey Bukro

Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists

Back in 1972, a Harris poll found that only 18 percent of the public had confidence in the print media; television ranked lower.

Garbage collectors scored higher in public confidence.

As a reporter for the Chicago Tribune at the time, I thought that was shameful, and not only for journalism and journalists.

That got me started on a lifelong mission to make the news media more trustworthy, and to earn public confidence in the belief that factual information is the lifeblood of a self-governing democracy.

You’d think you were on the side of the angels if you spent much of your life campaigning for journalism ethics. But you need more than angels to make much headway in getting the public’s respect and the cooperation of journalists, some of whom consider journalism ethics an oxymoron. A contradiction in terms.

President Excoriates Media

Breitbart.com photo

“Every American has a role to play” in combatting the coronavirus menace, says the president.

That includes journalists, although President Trump does not seem to recognize that. He excoriates them every chance he gets.

NBC’s Peter Alexander asked him at a news conference: “What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?”  The president answered: “I say that you are a terrible reporter, that’s what I say. It’s a very nasty question. It’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.”

Actually, it was a soft-ball question that offered the president a chance to appear presidential and to comfort a nation under attack by a viral pestilence. The president’s drumbeat of negativism is not helpful.

On Sunday, President lashed out against media again, tweeting: “I watch and listen to the Fake News, CNN, MSDNC, ABC, NBC, CBS, some of FOX (desperately & foolishly pleading to be politically correct), the @nytimes, & the @washingtonpost, and all I see is hatred of me at any cost. Don’t they understand that they are destroying themselves?”

Actually, this attack dog mentality against the media appears to be destroying his credibility at a time of extreme urgency, when public trust in credible sources of information is vital to public safety.

The Media “Reckoning”

The media “reckoning:” Margaret Sullivan agrees there should be a “reckoning” over media coverage of President Trump.

“I reckon that American citizens would have been far worse off if skilled reporters hand’t dug into the connections between Trump’s associates — up to and including his son Don Jr. — and Russians. That reporting has not been invalidated,” she writes.

 

News Media Found More Divisive Than Trump

News media found more divisive than Trump: A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll compares President Trump with national news media, writes Steven Shepard.

Fifty-six percent say Trump divides the country, writes Shepard. “Even more voters, 64 percent, said the media have done more to divide the country….”

 

Good News On Media Trust

Good news on media trust: Indira Lakshmanan and Rick Edmonds report that trust in media scored higher since last year and “the great majority of Americans trust their local news sources.”

A Poynter Media Trust survey finds “that the president’s attempts to discredit the news may be having less effect a year and a half into his presidency.”

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.”

 

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.”

Are Talking Heads Journalists?

Are talking heads journalists? Fox News host Sean Hannity defines himself as no journalist, opinion journalist and advocacy journalist, writes Michael Calderone.

Linked with the president’s personal lawyer, Hannity is accused of conflict of interest. Calderone quotes a source saying we can’t “move out of the realm of ethics when we move into the realm of opinion.”