On Twitter this morning the president made yet another promise he probably won't keep. He offered to award a "FAKE NEWS TROPHY!" to the winner of a contest between "Network" news outlets "plus CNN and not including Fox" based on who was "the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me)." This Tweet came only two days after Trump attacked CNN International for representing "our Nation to the WORLD very poorly." See Christiane Amanpour for the best response on that.
As an act of self-preservation I have numbed myself to Trump's constant assault on journalism, treated it as a kind of bullying tic he developed as a budding racist in New York City, but every once in a while the bombardment escalates to such a degree that I'm reminded how chillingly despotic his position is, and how vulnerable journalism is under his reign. If you need to re-sensitize yourself to this obvious fact, come with me on this horrific tour through some of the recent shots at the fourth estate.
People trust banks more than they trust newspapers and television news: According to Gallup's annual "Confidence In Institutions" poll, people trust banks over newspapers 32 to 27. Ten years after the financial crisis and people still trust cons more than their own compatriots.
The Koch Brothers Backed the Deal to Buy Time Magazine: According to the L.A. Times, Meredith Corp bought Time for nearly $3 billion. The Koch Brothers paid for a third of that, but Meredith says they won't have a seat on the board, nor will they have any editorial influence.
Speaking of Time:
Hate to tell you but that PROBABLY means you’re NOT Person of the Year. They just wanted a photo shoot. But I’m sure you still have that fake TIME cover somewhere in storage. https://t.co/HkW1XkKxXK
— Richard Stengel (@stengel) November 24, 2017
The New Editor-in-Chief of the L.A. Times Sounds Like a Corporate Drone: Hamilton Nolan over at Splinter scooped up a recording of the L.A. Times' new editor, Lewis D’Vorkin, running a staff meeting. Some choice quotes from our boy:
“I believe in the Vince Lombardi school of journalism,” D’Vorkin explains. “When you go to the end zone, act like you've been there before.”
“And our end zone is great stories,” he adds.
And then you've got:
“Video is a huge thing in the world today from an advertising perspective. It’s where brands want to be,” he told his newsroom. “To me, video equals mobile equals social. It’s all a triangle.”
One Bit of Good News About the News: Some amazing Washington Post reporters caught a goon from Project Veritas trying to trick them into publishing a false story about a woman who claimed to have a sexual relationship with Roy Moore as a teen, and the pure schadenfreude of watching her squirm on camera as reporter Stephanie McCrummen grills the liar is worth however much money you have in your wallet right now. All the little details about the way they caught the woman are incredible, as is the feeling of gratitude that surfaces when you realize that there is a phalanx of journalists dedicated to telling the truth, even as they're undermined by the powers that be and literal fake news generators like Project Veritas. Do not relegate this one to the tabs graveyard, and please subscribe.
One last thing: I know people are mad about The Nazi Next-door profile that the New York Times published over the weekend, but can we please stop meaningfully unsubscribing from newspapers when they run a story we don't like? Criticism only makes journalism stronger, but cutting off the paper of record is doing Trump's work for him.