Brief Essay On View Of America

Brief Essay On View Of America-56
The paper was perhaps best known for the Hill staffer of the week feature—invariably an attractive young woman—that Sid used to run on page 2 each edition; his most famous model was Elizabeth Ray, who posed vamping on a desk a few years before she admitted to reporters that she couldn’t type, file, or “even answer the phone” though she was a ,000-a-year secretary to Rep. ’s new editor and publisher, hit on a very different formula for the paper.In this day and age when we celebrate new technology as the source of all media innovation, it seems decidedly retro, but it worked, as both journalism and a business: He hired a staff of aggressive young reporters—I started as an intern in the summer of 1987, then returned full-time after graduating in 1990—and set them loose on the backstage news of Washington.

The paper was perhaps best known for the Hill staffer of the week feature—invariably an attractive young woman—that Sid used to run on page 2 each edition; his most famous model was Elizabeth Ray, who posed vamping on a desk a few years before she admitted to reporters that she couldn’t type, file, or “even answer the phone” though she was a ,000-a-year secretary to Rep. ’s new editor and publisher, hit on a very different formula for the paper.In this day and age when we celebrate new technology as the source of all media innovation, it seems decidedly retro, but it worked, as both journalism and a business: He hired a staff of aggressive young reporters—I started as an intern in the summer of 1987, then returned full-time after graduating in 1990—and set them loose on the backstage news of Washington.

(An early conclusion: while we were late to understand how angry white voters were, a perhaps even more serious lapse was in failing to recognize how many disaffected Democrats there were who would stay home rather than support their party’s flawed candidate.) But journalistic handwringing aside, I still think reporting about American politics is better in many respects than it’s ever been.

I have a different and more existential fear today about the future of independent journalism and its role in our democracy. Because the media scandal of 2016 isn’t so much about what reporters failed to tell the American public; it’s about what they did report on, and the fact that it didn’t seem to matter.

One November afternoon during my junior year in college I took a nap and when I went downstairs a short while later, I found the security guard in the dorm lobby staring incredulously at a tiny portable TV that had suddenly materialized on his desk.

The Berlin Wall had come down while I was sleeping, and it didn’t take an international relations scholar to figure out that pretty much everything, including our politics here at home, was about to change.

But it’s hard not to look at what just happened in this crazy election without worrying: Did we finally just burn it down? I first came to work in Washington at the back end of the 1980s, during the second-term funk of the Reagan Revolution, as the city obsessed over the Iran-Contra scandal and the rise of rabble-rousing conservatives on Capitol Hill led by a funny-haired guy named Newt Gingrich. would launch an ethics investigation to take out a powerful Speaker of the House, Texan Jim Wright, who left town warning of the new age of “mindless cannibalism” they had unleashed.

It was the twilight of the Cold War, even if we didn’t realize it at the time.And Facebook and the other social media sites should rightfully be doing a lot of soul-searching about their role as the most efficient distribution network for conspiracy theories, hatred, and outright falsehoods ever invented.throughout this never-to-be-forgotten campaign, I’ve been obsessively looking back over our coverage, too, trying to figure out what we missed along the way to the upset of the century and what we could have done differently.To help us understand it all, there were choices, but not that many: three TV networks that mattered, ABC, CBS, and NBC; two papers for serious journalism, , they preached journalistic “objectivity” and spoke with authority when they pronounced on the day’s developments—but not always with the depth and expertise that real competition or deep specialization might have provided. And because it was such a small in-crowd, they were readily subject to manipulation; the big media crisis of the Reagan era was all about the ease with which the journalists could be spun or otherwise coopted into the Hollywood-produced story line coming out of Reagan’s media savvy White House, which understood that a good picture was worth more than thousands of words, no matter how hard-hitting.Eventually, I came to think of the major media outlets of that era as something very similar to the big suburban shopping malls we flocked to in the age of shoulder pads and supply-side economics: We could choose among Kmart and Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue as our budgets and tastes allowed, but in the end the media were all essentially department stores, selling us sports and stock tables and foreign news alongside our politics, whether we wanted them or not.The truth is that coverage of American politics, and the capital that revolves around it, is in many ways much better now than ever before—faster, sharper, and far more sophisticated.There are great new digital news organizations for politics and policy obsessives, political science wonks, and national security geeks.Of course, there’s always been a fair measure of cynicism—and more than a bit of demagoguery—in American politics and among those who cover it, too.But I’ve come to believe that 2016 is not just another skirmish in the eternal politicians versus the press tug of war.Stories that would have killed any other politician—truly worrisome revelations about everything from the federal taxes Trump dodged to the charitable donations he lied about, the women he insulted and allegedly assaulted, and the mob ties that have long dogged him—did not stop Trump from thriving in this election year.Even fact-checking perhaps the most untruthful candidate of our lifetime didn’t work; the more news outlets did it, the less the facts resonated.

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