The 2016 presidential campaign broke political journalism, with too many reporters and pundits relentlessly feeding their audiences a dog’s breakfast of false equivalence seasoned with sensationalism. Then came the transition, which saw much of the press watching from the sidelines, parroting Donald Trump’s often-false tweets without sufficient context and failing to hold him accountable for his extreme Cabinet selections.
There has been no dramatic improvement since Trump took office, with press coverage of the first hundred days of his presidency marred by excessive normalization of a distinctly abnormal chief executive. Far too many members of the political press in the Amtrak corridor — the journalists and pundits with platforms at major print, digital, and TV outlets who set the tone for coverage of the president through their reporting and commentary on the news of the day — have kept the same methods, mindsets, and frames of reference under a very different type of president.
Some suggest that there is no need to change because Trump’s election means his presidency is normal by definition. “The states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania ‘normalized’” Trump, New York Times White House correspondent Glenn Thrush tweeted earlier this week. His colleagues in the political press cheeredhim on, scoffing at critics who have argued that papering over Trump’s violations of ethical norms and his history of racism and misogyny poses a threat to the health of our body politic by dramatically shifting our expectations for what is acceptable in public life. Read full story here