Monday, May 28, 2018

Access journalism and "he said, she said" reporting helps Trump, GOP. It's gotta stop

I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the act of the New York Times' White House beat reporter Maggie Haberman. She is Exhibit A of how "legitimate" media has failed so miserably in the Age of Trump.

NO DAMMIT, NO! When someone says a statement that is provably false at the time it was said, they are lying. And their repeated untrue statements should not even be reported on, except in the context of "President Trump continued a false claim of _______"

But there's a pretty good reason why Haberman refuses to call BS on the president and the rest of the lying scum that seems to be a part of TrumpWorld. Because she stands to make a lot of money from hanging around TrumpWorld.

At the same time, it illustrates how absurd Haberman's "I don't know what's in Trump's head" dodge. What's the point about writing an "insider's view of the White House" if not to give a reader an idea of what goes on inside's Trump's head? Which makes the answer obvious - Haberman needs to maintain access to the President and his staff, and therefore, she can't tell the full truth about what's going on, lest she be shut out of interviews and other information that helps her write articles and make her book more interesting.

When she was called out for her obvious lack of courage to call out Trump's lies, Haberman then tried to blame others for pointing it out, and claimed that doing so makes Trump stronger.

How is that OUR fault for recognizing where you are falling short? Here's the difference, Mags. Righties call out the media's motivations when they report facts that they don't like, or things that hurt their fee-fees and otherwise make them uncomfortable. While on the left, many of us are call out media because of what they are choosing NOT to do. Too many are failing to inform their audience of facts, and not calling out things that are not true, especially when the media members KNOW the facts and know what Trump and other Republicans are saying is not true.

And that can lead to people being uninformed, or worse, MISinformed. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent has consistently pointed out that the greatest damage to our country from Trump's lying isn't that the president is dishonest. It's that the vehemence of the lying and the refusal of the media to call it out makes it harder for the average person to have a clue on what the facts truly are.

This leads to a "He said, she said," style of reporting that makes the average dope say "Who knows what the truth is?" And that gives a huge advantage to right-wingers who are not constrained by facts or decency in their statements.

For example, there was this damning finding from a poll last week.

"Has Robert Mueller found criminal activity?" Is not a debatable question. People HAVE ADMITTED to breaking the law in this probe. The fact that it is unknown for a majority of people that were questioned in this poll is proof that the media is failing to do its job in reporting facts.

And we need to use our voices to not only hold the right-wingers to account, but also to watch over and call out a media (and frankly, the DC Democrats) that aren't doing THEIR JOB in making the righties pay a price for their lying, deception, and destruction. Or else we all will lose much more than an agreement on facts.

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