Mark Jacob on the media today.

Gomez Adams

Grammar Fascist
Staff member
Dec 1, 2020
Suwanee, Georgia
This is worth reading. At long last, somebody said it and it desperately needed to be said. From Mark Jacob, former editor at Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times.

Mainstream media have long tried to treat Republicans and Democrats equally. Some, like me, thought that was the way to be fair. In fact, it was the way to be lazy and not have to sort out the facts. Just quote a Democrat and quote a Republican and you’re done.

When I edited political stories, I went so far as to count the quotes from Republicans and Democrats, thinking an equal number would make us fairer. I didn’t think I was helping either party. I thought I was helping the readers. I was wrong.

If you look back 3 or 4 decades, you see many corrupt pols in both parties. Scandals like Abscam and Keating 5 were mostly Democratic. But in recent decades it’s obvious the GOP is more unethical and anti-democratic. Which means treating the parties equally helps Republicans.

Hillary Clinton mishandled emails. George W. Bush lied to get us into a war. Both were bad. But one was way worse. The media’s self-assigned job to treat Republicans and Democrats equally has compelled them to pump up coverage of Democratic scandals. It’s fairness-signaling.

The Republicans have overwhelmed the media with corruption. They’ve created scandal fatigue, prompting journalists to do something I call ethics norming. That’s when something that would have been a huge scandal in the recent past is considered normal now.

The Republicans have pulled off quite a trick. If news is defined as something unusual happening, GOP corruption is not news because the party is so widely corrupt. Some media have turned off their outrage impulse and decided that corruption is normal.

What’s needed is new framing. Not party-oriented but democracy-oriented. Truth-oriented. The media shouldn't elevate liars in the interest of “fairness.” Yes, media should be fair – to the readers, to the facts. But not to the 2-party system. To our democracy.

We are now in the midst of an assault on democracy unlike any our country has ever seen. Any journalist who doesn’t frame their reports in that context is doing a grievous disservice to our country.
I don't know. I don't think it's just the media on this. It's all of us. I mean think about it. If 10 years ago I woke up and heard the president of the United States say 'grab them by the pussy' I would have fucking freaked. But it's Trump. He'd done so much shit by then it was no big deal. Him calling all imigrants rapist and murders would have ended the career of any official 10 years ago instantly.

There's only so much shit you can tolerate before you become numb to it. Sure those first few punches from Mike Tyson hurt like a mother fucker but after that you're gone. You're so out of it you no longer really feel them. You just slowly fade to black.
True, but we're not the ones paid to present the reality to the public at large by way of journalistic integrity. They are.

The drive for limited resources (readers) in an ever shrinking market has made the media move to a reality where everything is breaking news.

I was commenting to the wife that the evening news now always a red banner at the bottom screaming "Breaking News" and it's the same dam thing as earlier.
I was commenting to the wife that the evening news now always a red banner at the bottom screaming "Breaking News" and it's the same dam thing as earlier.

ABC's World News Tonight, the most watched news program every night in America, is really nothing more than a rehash of all the things you read on Twitter and this forum the previous two days.

And over-dramatic David Muir sits there in his 5,000 dollar suit trying very hard to butch up and say, "And this just in..." when I saw it on the morning news 10 hours before. :rolleyes: