Journalism Standards Collapsed in the 2016 Election. So says Michael Goodwin, one of America’s most prominent reporters

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They are not getting better after the election, either

Goodwin is the chief political columnist for the New York Post and led the editorial board of the NY Daily News to a Pulitzer. Before this, he taught at Columbia Journalism School and worked as a reporter for the NY Times.

So, he speaks about journalistic standards with deep experience–and considerable passion for what he sees as their collapse.

His article at Hillsdale College’s Imprimis magazine (link here) makes the case.

There was a time not so long ago when journalists were trusted and admired. We were generally seen as trying to report the news in a fair and straightforward manner. Today, all that has changed. For that, we can blame the 2016 election or, more accurately, how some news organizations chose to cover it. Among the many firsts, last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility. I have never seen anything like it. Not even close. –Michael Goodwin in Imprimis

His main point is not that journalists are generally progressives and leftists. That’s been true for a long time, he says. What shocked him was the reporters’ and editors’ “whole new approach to politics” and to reporting about it. “No one in modern times,” he says, “had seen anything like it.”

Trump was savaged like no other candidate in memory. We were watching the total collapse of standards, with fairness and balance tossed overboard. Every story was an opinion masquerading as news, and every opinion ran in the same direction—toward Clinton and away from Trump.

For the most part, I blame The New York Times and The Washington Post for causing this breakdown. The two leading liberal newspapers were trying to top each other in their demonization of Trump and his supporters. They set the tone, and most of the rest of the media followed like lemmings.

The issue, he says, is not tough scrutiny of the candidate but papers and broadcasters  that “dropped the pretense of fairness and jumped headlong into the tank for one candidate over the other.”

Now, he adds, even the “letters to the editor” they print uniformly agree with their editorial view.

These once-respected papers have reached a new low.

In the process, they have damaged journalism and civic discourse. He cites chapter and verse to prove his point. That, alas, is all too easy.


Comment: Sadly, Goodwin is completely correct, and all news readers are worse off for it, even those who agree with the slanted coverage.

Watching the NYT morph into MSNBC is a grim spectacle.

ZipDialog has focused repeatedly on the egregious bias in news reporting at the NYT, Washington Post, and the MSM.

There’s no sign yet of any turn for the better.


Hat tip to Clarice Feldman for Goodwin’s important article

  • Dave Schuler
    June 19, 2017

    Does anyone really disagree with that? The questions are not whether journalistic standards have, shall we say, evolved but whether that’s bad or good and what it portends.

    I (as you apparently do) think it’s bad and it will accelerate the growing epistemic closure of both Left and Right. Unless something changes I see no solution other than divorce and it probably won’t be an amicable one.

  • G ewald
    June 20, 2017

    Extensive research by wilhoit and weaver at Indiana University has never found a profound bias among journalists, though perhaps the abundance of agenda journalism that has swept the internet (what is zipdialog’s agenda?) tends to touch political coverage disproportionately.

    • Charles Lipson
      June 20, 2017

      This is really interesting. I will try and contact the authors and see if they or their friends have seen a change in the last couple of years, which is what Goodwin was asserting.
      Many thanks. And thanks for reading.

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