We need to work on better systems of holding both politicians and media to account for lies. Fact-checking is a start but is insufficient. Is there any way to shame Fox News into telling the truth?
Is there a way to shame MSNBC, CNN, and even Nancy Pelosi into doing so? The fact that you believe that lies are the purvey of one political “side” only simply demonstrates that you are a completely unreliable partner in democracy.
Are the “masses” a risk to rip apart democracy, or hold it accountable? In history, they have done both, at various times.
What makes me happy about the Twitter exchange atop this post is that it resets the metric of journalistic success away from audience and attention and toward the outcome that matters: whether the public is informed or not. “Not” should scare the shit out of us.
It’s an excellent example…..especially if you turn it on it’s head (you know, the part that as a card-carrying liberal, you want to pretend doesn’t exist. )
- In the runup to the tax bill, we were told — explicitly — by “journalists” that the loss of the individual mandate would cause a drop in ACA enrollment of 13M people.
- In fact, that 13M estimate came from the CBO. It doesn’t take much Googling to find OTHER “journalists” (and not ones reporting from the right) explaining that it was highly debatable if the individual mandate has done *anything* to increase ACA enrollment; after all, the penalty for not meeting the mandate is about 10% the annual cost of ACA premiums, if you don’t qualify for a subsidy (and if you do, you don’t care about the mandate at all.)
- A 13M drop in exchange enrollment (remember, *most* people covered by the ACA are in the Medicaid expansion, not the exchanges) would, in fact, kill off the exchange portion of the ACA by destablizing it. That has been a common contention of Democrat politicians and those pundits and journalists who support the ACA. Again, rather easy to find that information using Google.
- So, do the math on the above. Essentially, anyone who was claiming that (a) the loss of the individual mandate would (b) lead to a loss of 13M from the exchanges was DEFACTO arguing (c ) that the loss of the individual mandate would kill the ACA.
- So, what happens next? Trump turns around, and throws that one back into the faces of the “honest journalists” (you know, the ones that *selectively reported* on what the impact of the loss of 13M would be, reporting opinion-as-if-it-were-fact) by repeating their claims back to them, just in a derived form. (I find Trump’s ability to get “honest reporters” to be dishonest to be most amusing, personally.)
- So, now that he’s tweeting what the journalists were essentially saying, that the loss of the mandate would kill the ACA, the “journalists” are indignantly turning around, claiming that Trump is lying, and forgetting that they themselves were the source of the rumor. :-)
No, the loss of the mandate DOESN’T kill the ACA. But if you (“responsible journalists”) want to be believed, maybe you shouldn’t have inferred that the loss of the mandate WOULD kill the ACA in the first place. :-)
Let’s begin by recognizing that the goal is not to create one shared view of reality but instead to inform discussion and deliberation among many different communities with different perspectives and needs. That’s what society needs. That’s what journalism must become.
I keep getting this nagging feeling that one of your “communities” will NOT be “white conservatives”. Even though there are more of us (well, I’m not TECHNICALLY white, although I identify as such) than the other communities you want to “inform”.
If you’re going to “containerize” the American population, then you have to include ALL “containers” of people — even the ones you don’t like.
Otherwise, you will fail.