Accuracy in Media

Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan is calling on fellow journalists to abandon what she called their “neutrality-at-all-costs” reporting on President Donald Trump and replace it with a new system entitled “Fairness First.”

In her latest column, Sullivan complains that even though the media progressed in its coverage of Trump from at first normalizing him to fact-checking what he says in real-time, that since the impeachment he has been “Trump Unbound” and that calls for a different style of reporting.  In fact, CNN’s Christianne Amanpour in her interview last week with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said the president seems “liberated” since the impeachment trial ended. And Sullivan, for one, is very frustrated.

“In this new era, Trump has declared himself the nation’s chief law enforcement official. He has pardoned a raft of corrupt officials. He has exacted revenge on those he sees as his impeachment enemies — Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the decorated military veteran and national security staffer; and Gordon Sondland, Trump’s own handpicked ambassador to the European Union — simply because they testified under subpoena to what they knew about the White House’s dealings with Ukraine.”

As a result, Sullivan says we are in entirely new territory and the media needs to adjust.

“First, we need to abandon neutrality-at-all-costs journalism, to replace it with something more suited to the moment. Call it Fairness First.”

“I’m talking about the kind of fairness that serves the public by describing the world we report on in honest and direct terms — not the phony kind of fairness that tries to duck out of difficult decisions by giving “both sides” of an argument equal time, regardless of their truth or merit.”

And in what appears to be a “let the facts be damned mentality” Sullivan says that “we need to apply more scrutiny and less credulity to his increasingly extreme actions and statements.”

Sullivan goes on to accuse the mainstream media who haven’t chosen up sides–as if this was their duty of blunting the impact of their stories and softening the language over the fear of being perceived as biased.

That will probably come as a surprise to the mainstream media.

Sullivan concludes by urging the media to take a stand for democracy and fight back against the president.

“With Trump unbound, the news media need to change. Yes, radically. The stakes are too high not to.”

 




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