cowardly reporting

Cowardly Reporting: The Danger of Watered-Down Journalism

cowardly reporting

Cowardly reporting by the mainstream, corporate media is a significant threat to the American experiment with representative democracy. Pretending that issues have two sides is equivalent to arguing that right is wrong and wrong is right. There could be nothing more wrong.

Article one of the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States) protects the rights of all Americans to responsibly express ideas through speech and the press, to assemble or gather with a group to protest or for other reasons, and to ask the government to fix problems.

The right of the press to express ideas and critique the government does not mean that the press has the right to water down issues. Doing so presents readers with the fantasy of allowing corruption and wrongdoing to exist.

In a pivotal moment for democracy, mainstream media’s timidity risks diluting the essence of a robust democratic system. For instance, the tepid coverage by major outlets when reporting on critical issues, opting for bland narratives over hard-hitting truths.

Cowardly Reporting: Downplaying Extremist Threats

Consider The New York Times recent report on Trump’s potential return to office. By presenting it with a headline like “Trump Allies Want a New Style of Lawyer if He Returns to Power.” This choice of wording masks the gravity of the Trump team grooming extremist lawyers. Focusing on lawyers loyal to Trump placed in the DOJ to do Trump’s bidding. Thus downplaying the threat of a potential slide into American fascism.

Cowardly Reporting: Ignoring the Rise of Extremism

Mainstream media’s reluctance to confront the extremism embodied by figures like Mike Johnson is evident in articles such as the Washington Post’s “House Speaker Mike Johnson’s Louisiana hometown guided by faith and family.” This seemingly innocuous piece downplays Johnson’s radical Christian nationalist views, failing to adequately inform the public about the potential threat he poses to democratic values.

Submissive Policy Coverage

Media outlets further contribute to the problem by uncritically echoing flawed economic proposals. For instance, the widespread repetition of Johnson’s claim that $14 billion for Israel could be paid for by cutting IRS agents lacks the necessary scrutiny. This failure to fact-check potentially damaging policy proposals leaves the public ill-informed about the consequences.

Cowardly Reporting: Trump’s Second Term: A Looming Threat

Insufficient coverage of the potential consequences of Trump’s second term is evident in the media’s obsession with spectacle over substance. While there is comprehensive coverage of Trump’s legal woes, there’s a stark lack of emphasis on the potential assault on democratic institutions and the proposed policies that could reshape the nation.

Press Freedom Under Siege

Media bashing by influential figures, including former President Trump, has tangible consequences. Instances of assaults on journalists and intimidating tactics, as witnessed in Kansas and Alabama, are direct outcomes of a climate of fear perpetuated by constant attacks on the media.

Cowardly Reporting: Embracing Fact-Crusading

Shifting from fact-checking to proactive “fact-crusading” is vital. When politicians make blatantly false claims, journalists must not merely report but actively challenge them. For example, challenging Johnson’s assertion that cutting IRS agents would fund $14 billion for Israel is crucial to preserving truth in political discourse.

The War for Truth: A Call to Arms

In the literal and figurative war for truth, journalists must confront instances where they fall short. The reluctance to actively fight against dispassionate reporting in the face of democracy’s slow demise was evident in Marty Baron’s statement during the Trump era, emphasizing that journalists are “at work, not at war.”

Preserving the Free Press

Rejecting mainstream media’s cowardice is pivotal to safeguarding a free press. Instances, where reporters and editors faced consequences for controversial comments about Israel or Palestine, highlight the urgent need to defend press freedom and preserve journalism’s critical role.

Defending Democracy: A Collective Responsibility

It’s time for intelligent Americans to demand more from their media. Specific examples, such as the recent assaults in Kansas and Alabama, underscore the urgency of rejecting complacency and ensuring journalism fulfills its crucial role in preserving democracy.

Cowardly Reporting: The Crater of Silence: A Warning

Failing to act now could lead to the demise of a free press. Specific examples, like the chilling effect on journalists reporting on Israel and Palestine, illustrate the potential consequences of silence. A metaphorical crater, marking where truth was once reported without fear or favor, should serve as a warning.

Building a Robust Media Landscape

Supporting independent outlets committed to truth is essential. Instances, where major media outlets succumb to external pressures, highlight the importance of fostering a diverse media landscape that prioritizes the public interest over powerful interests.

Cowardly Reporting: The Imperative of a Critical Public

Specific instances, such as the media’s handling of Johnson’s radical views, underscore the imperative of an informed and discerning public. Actively participating in demanding truth and challenging the status quo is crucial for the health of democracy.

Conclusion: A Call to Reject Complacency

As the media landscape faces unprecedented challenges, rejecting complacency is our collective responsibility. Specific examples, from biased coverage to assaults on journalists, underscore the urgency of an informed, engaged public in defending the pillars of a robust democracy. Demand the truth, reject cowardly reporting, and safeguard the foundations of a vibrant democratic society.

By Politics-as-Usual

Roger is a retired Professor of language and literacy. Over the past 15 years since his retirement, Roger has kept busy with reading, writing, and creating landscape photographs. In this time of National crisis, as Fascist ideas and policies are being introduced to the American people and ignored by the Mainstream Press, he decided to stand up and be counted as a Progressive American with some ideas that should be shared with as many people who care to read and/or participate in discusssions of these issues. He doesn't ask anyone to agree with his point of view, but if entering the conversation he demands civility. No conspiracy theories, no wild accusations, no threats, no disrespect will be tolerated. Roger monitors all comments and email communication. That is the only rule for entering the conversation. One may persuade, argue for a different point of view, or toss out something that has not been discussed so long as the tone remains part of a civil discussion. Only then can we find common ground and meaningful democratic change.

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