This is an important step in the right direction–and it is frightening that it has to happen. The next item on the agenda of U.S. journalists should be an all-out media campaign with a simple slogan to rebuke the “fake news” moniker that is becoming much too prevalent in the minds of some Americans.
Biggest political BS story in my lifetime was possibly that Obama wasn’t born in America. How many a-hole conservative commentators and “news people” (let alone politicians) got fired over that? Real journalists would have been fired for continuing day after week after month repeating a story with no basis in reality. But instead of getting fired, they got more popular with certain types of people.
And how about Trump spewing his birtherism? So many people in this country believed a lie and voted for a liar.
CNN is real news because three newspeople were canned for not following professional standards and practices. Let me know the next time that happens at Fox. (btw I think Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace are decent reporters but most of the rest are carnival barkers.)
THIS COMMENTARY FROM MEDIA MATTERS BEMOANS THE DEMISE OF THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING.
THIS IS MY COMMENTARY, WHICH I AM HOPING WILL AT LEAST GET SOME MSM HIGHER UPS THINKING, IF NOT ACTUALLY ACTING TO SAVE THE FOURTH ESTATE!!
Whether we are at the beginning of a contentious 4 or 8 years between the White House and the news media or a cataclysmic turning point in American history remains to be seen.
But, in the face of such adversity, honest news gatherers—be they liberal, conservative, one person hunched over a laptop or an international conglomerate in a skyscraper—must defend themselves as an institution with its own formal and informal checks and balances on other American institutions, most notably government and business.
To do this effectively, the news media needs unite with a large-scale outreach campaign to re-establish the credibility it desperately needs from American citizens and that the citizens need from the news media. Journalists must show the administration, the American people and the rest of the world that they will pursue the truth and will not be intimidated or quiet. While campaigns and slogans from individual media are positive steps, a larger, united campaign would be much more effective. It should focus on several goals.
Primarily, explain why the First Amendment and freedom of the press are essential in a thriving democracy. Themes should include: government transparency, accessibility and accountability; real news versus fake news; critical thinking; freedom from intimidation; and other related issues. The campaign should use traditional mass media (television, newspapers, radio, billboards, bus boards, direct mail, etc.) and social media with a consistent logo, style and messages. The message should be straightforward and bold (e.g. “TRUTH IS OUR DUTY” or “PRESS FOR THE TRUTH” [if available]).
Today’s professional journalists have solid educations; understand their subject matter; seek out multiple, reliable sources; fact check; accept oversight from experienced supervisors and will correct mistakes. Furthermore, freedom of the press is worthless if not tied inextricably to an ethical and moral obligation to be accurate and truthful.
Are journalists perfect? Of course not. And people need to remember that journalist almost always pay a price for their mistakes and misrepresentations.
So, secondly, the industry should identify reporters and news organizations that adhere to a code of ethics and professional standards as outlined by several news associations and organizations, displaying such designations just as other professionals do (e.g. CPAs).
Thirdly, journalists need to share with the public a basic, agreed-upon industry-wide “fact-check” system displaying the accuracy of stories. It should focus on national, state and local officials and, importantly, the news media itself.
Overall, though, the nation is best served a steady flow of accurate news stories that are fair to everyone yet fearful of no one.
Freedom of the press was wisely included in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. That freedom must not change because the very Constitution which enables it also relies on it for its continued existence.
Very soon, the word “news” will permanently be preceded by the word “fake” to always and forever be referred to as “fake news.”
This is because the “news industry” is divided into individual, profit-seeking companies instead of a community of news-gatherers attempting to inform the public so they can keep democracy alive.
Many companies are coming up with their own mini-campaigns to promote Freedom of the Press and the First Amendment. In doing so, they are splitting their messages and, usually, aiming at their own audiences instead of the general public (especially those professing a distrust in the news media.
The legitimate news media needs a massive outreach campaign with billboards, surprise placements etc. They need to cooperate in defending freedom of the press.
If they don’t, more and more people will stop referring to “the news” and begin calling it “the fake news” all the time. This is already beginning to happen and it is not going to get any better until the MSM legitimate media bands stops looking out for their own individual skins and realize we are all in this together.
“All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0,” Trump wrote on Twitter overnight.
For four days last week, representatives for President Trump skipped the usual on-camera briefing to take questions off-camera. This wasn’t the first time the White House had taken this step, but this month has brought an added twist.
In response to networks like CNN that decided to broadcast audio of the briefing, even without a visual to accompany, the White House barred attendees from doing that, too. Monday’s briefing — the White House termed it a “gaggle,” a more informal set-up, though it took place in a format much like a briefing — was likewise off-camera, with audio broadcasting forbidden.
Even when they have done on-camera briefings, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and his occasional fill-in, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, have done their part to further marginalize the briefing, routinely responding to reporters’ questions by professing ignorance.
“I don’t know,” Spicer said last Monday, during the only on-camera briefing of the week, when asked if Trump would make good on his word and testify under oath on the Russia investigation. “I have not had a further discussion with that.”
Spicer took questions for less than 15 minutes that day, which is not atypical lately. Brevity has become perhaps the defining feature of the briefing these days.
The White House did not respond to questions about the audio policy. Spicer said that the latest briefing on Monday was off-camera because Trump made two comments that day.
“I’ve said this since the beginning. The president spoke today, he was on-camera,” Spicer said. “He will make another comment today at the technology summit. And there are days that I’ll decide that the president’s voice should be the one that speaks and iterate his priorities.”
The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi quantified the collapse of the briefing last week, noting that Spicer and Sanders held 53 “official briefings and ‘gaggles,’ informal, untelevised Q&As with small groups of reporters” in Trump’s first 100 days in office. In the subsequent 43 days, Farhi said, Spicer and Sanders held only 15.
The Trump administration telegraphed changes like these back in December, when White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said his team was considering “a lot of different ways that things can be done.”
At the time, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks bristled at the notion that such changes to the briefing could have a “chilling effect” on the press.
“Chilling effect?” Hicks told CNNMoney. “How do you know these are not positive changes that will delight the press?”
But reporters are feeling the chill now. And the ongoing deterioration of the briefing has many media observers wondering if the briefing will eventually die out.
The White House press briefing dates back to the presidency of William McKinley, and it has become a hallmark of American politics. But count Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, among those who believes we would be better off without it.
“Particularly in this administration, most of what you hear in a press secretary’s press conference, in that daily briefing, is misrepresentations, outright lies, and propaganda. And, on the whole, I think people would do better without that,” Sabato said.
“There are dozens and dozens of reporters, with a lot of experience,” he added. “[Without the briefing] they would have additional time to work their own sources, and maybe sources outside the administration would come up with better stories.”
But Martha Kumar, a professor who studies White House communications, disagrees. She said that the briefing is useful for both the press and the president.
“The briefing is an opportunity to hold people accountable, and just knowing that reporters are going to ask questions, that becomes part of policy thoughts and discussions within an administration,'” Kumar said. “So, from that vantage point, it’s very useful for the president and for his White House staff. It’s also useful for reporters because reporters can let the White House know what issues are going to be coming up and how people are interpreting what it is they’re doing.”
Dan Pfeiffer, a former White House communications director under President Barack Obama who occasionally conducted the press briefing, said that while it isn’t always a pleasant exercise, it is a fundamental part of governing.
“Most days you don’t want to do the press briefing. It’s a pain, there are a bunch of questions that you don’t want to answer,” he said. “The press is bored and they want to torture you, but it’s part of the job. It’s an important part of purely governing because governing is also about just communicating, interacting with the public, and the press briefing is one of the ways in which that happens.”<<<
Whoever controls the airwaves (euphemistically meaning any news delivery platform) will control distribution of that news–time, place and, even, context. The Big Players got hoodwinked and high-jacked by a street fighter who out-thought and out-maneuvered them.
Today’s technology is a game-changer in the hands of those who know how to bend it to their purposes and are willing to do so. Alex Jones and President Trumpov know they are at war with the Mainstream Media but the MSM is just now realizing that.
WAKE UP MAINSTREAM MEDIA.
WAKE UP ‘LEGITIMATE’ NEWS ORGANIZATIONS.
WAKE UP AND FIGHT BACK BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!
A PARADIGM HAS SHIFTED and the traditional news media will never return to the good old days of civil discourse in the marketplace of ideas. Professional and honest news people, regardless of their political inclinations, must now contend with a growing number of crazed or crooked posers and provocateurs. The marketplace has become so confused that many people, even those trying to, cannot discern the difference between real and fake news.
And while this is not be the first time news media have faced criticism from politicians, the current assault by the Trump administration and others exhibit overtones similar to those found as part of or prelude to repressive governments in less democratic countries.
Some news organizations (CNN, New York Times, MSNBC) are beginning to run ads promoting their vital Fourth Estate role in America. HOWEVER, THERE IS AN URGENT NEED FOR A UNITED FRONT BY ALL TRADITIONAL, LEGITIMATE NEWS OUTLETS.
News industry companies and associations need to act now to reach every level of society and regain the respect and attention the Fourth Estate requires to remain viable in our democracy. All the changes the news media has experienced in the past decade in terms of delivery platforms, eyes-on-the-page and credibility are small compared to the catastrophic hammering it is taking now. Although readers and viewers are growing in some areas, there is a real danger of losing credibility with vast swaths of demographics for years, possibly generations, to come.
A MASS MEDIA CAMPAIGN WITH A SET OF UNIFIED MESSAGES AND APPEARANCE IS NEEDED TO BREAK THROUGH THE NOISE FOUND ON-AIR, ONLINE, IN PRINT, AT THE WATER COOLER AND ACROSS THE DINNER TABLE.