Former Washington Post and Huffington Post writer Daniel Froomkin has a new post-election article at PressWatchers.org underlining the Stelteresque argument that it’s the media’s job to defeat “Trumpism,” that journalism equals uber-liberalism. It’s downright comical to insist that the Trump-trashing media just wasn’t “courageous” enough, because if they were, Trump wouldn’t have this much support:
I was so wrong. I was so naïve.
I thought that if mainstream journalists were simply more courageous about calling out Donald Trump for who he really is — and more assertive about confronting disinformation — then the American public would overwhelmingly reject him.
The journalism disappointed. Reporters too often normalized Trump’s conduct and covered the campaign more or less like any other — rather than one in which the choice was between a return to norms and a failed state. Their passive truth-telling was no match for the aggressive lies of Fox News and the right-wing media ecosystem.
Poor Froomkin can’t imagine that crusading liberalism nauseates some voters and makes them more eager to back Trump and the Republicans. No, the media must expose the “pathology” of Trumpism. Our press is too passive, too polite! Is this an article, or a direct-mail fundraising appeal?
It’s no longer enough to passively and politely chronicle what’s happening.
We need to delve deeply into the pathology of this huge chunk of American voters.
Pluralism is a legitimate journalistic value, and it is under attack.
So we need to actively fight racism – starting by reporting much more vigorously about systemic oppression and white nationalism.
The role of the free press in the world’s leading democracy is not to sit by and watch as authoritarianism takes root.
We need to actively promote democratic values, remind people of the importance of constitutional checks and balances, support human rights, and advocate for a government that is responsive to the people’s needs.
The appropriate role of a journalist is not to sit by as the very notion of truth is undermined.
We need to crusade for reality. While Washington Post editor Marty Baron famously said “we’re not at war, we’re at work,” we need to go to war – against disinformation.
We need to go to war against Fox News and a right-wing media ecosystem that traffics in partisan lies.
It’s us or them.
Whoa whoa whoa, Froomkin! That sounds like a battle to the death! You might want to rein in the metaphors. Their role is to destroy Trumpism and all of its media enablers, which will somehow end “polarization”…
As Janine Zacharia, who teaches journalism at Stanford, tweeted on Wednesday: “We’re never ending polarization in this country or support for Trumpism unless we restore respect for credible, fact-based news and ensure every American gets quality information.”
It’s bizarre for these leftists to equate their ranty socialist dispatches with “credible, fact-based news.” At least Froomkin believes in recycling. This is almost exactly the same chest-thumping lament he offered about the Romney Republicans at the HuffPost in 2012! As Brent Bozell noted:
His complaint carried the headline “How the Mainstream Press Bungled the Single Biggest Story of the 2012 Campaign.”
What would that story be? “Namely, the radical right-wing, off-the-rails lurch of the Republican Party, both in terms of its agenda and its relationship to the truth.”
….But in Froomkin Loony Land, the rhetoric just wasn’t punchy enough. Every “objective” evening newscast should apparently begin: “And again today, the Republicans attempted to fool the American electorate with their flagrant lies.”