A conversation between me and a one-time right-wing media operative covers the failures of modern media, the climate change disinformation problem, and the prospects for something better.
I have just listened to the first 35 minutes of your conversation on disinformation and the media with Matt Sheffield. I probably won't listen to the remaining 90.
Here's why: I am a veteran of 41 years in the MSM. Retired in 2012 after a career largely in print, but also online in the last 15. I was a reporter, editor, publisher and ran an international news service. And I continue to be an avid consumer of news, local, state and national in far too many media.
The two of you bring up some good points, but sadly you fall victim to one of the syndromes you discuss: thinking that people in the past for some reason failed to realize problems you see clearly today.
Let me assure that professional MSM journalists have been wrestling with issues like gaslighting, the belief that only negative stories are "real journalism," "gotcha" journalism, highly publicized charges of wrongdoing that found the be worthless after the media spotlight has moved on.
I actually laughed outloud when I heard that "the MSM don't realize that they are operating in a hostile environment."
Anyone who is a thoughtful practitioner of the art of trying to tell people on a daily basis the truest version of what is going on in the world today that they can come up with in the minutes, hours or days they have to acquire and tell the story has wrestled with these problems within the first 6-18 months of getting into the biz. News staffs, media schools and foundations have been wrestling with these questions since at least 1970 -- when I was hatched from J-school.
The reason these problems have not been solved, though many remedies have been and continue to be tried, is that they are hard problems that have a lot to do with the way the human brain works.
Does this malfeasance still occur? Absolutely! For example, I have thought that the "dump on Kamala" stories were probably ginned up and sold to various political writers by the same shop that came up with the stories about Hillary's emails.
Let me just say from the vantage point of experience that the solution is NOT to ditch objective reporting and replace it with a diet based solely on opinion. The challenge -- today as it has been since at least 1970 -- is to persuade the public to actually read/watch/listen to those followup stories and analytical pieces.
terrific interview - maybe long but worth it.
There were a lot of good points touched upon in this discussion. Thanks!
One question I have: if we had to choose between a climate change denialist and someone who doesn't deny climate change is happening but puts forth a woefully inadequate proposal, are we better off with "outright denial" (because more people will just think they're fools) or "woefully inadequate" (still makes *some* progress and gets more people in the realm of talking solutions)?
Dan Crenshaw was recently on Trevor Noah's show. He sounded imminently reasonable, but put forth a climate plan based on natural gas exports, nuclear power, and carbon capture. Even though I know this plan is complete BS, it still seems like a better discussion to be having than one with people saying "the jury's still out on whether humans are causing this."
Is there, will there be text for this?