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When Editors Let Trump Decide –An Excerpt

January 26, 2019
By

The Sorry State of American Journalism in the Trump Era

Jill Lepore has shown herself to be one of America’s more insightful, probing, and analytical writer-historians. Her latest article in The New Yorker (January 28, 2019), “Hard News: The State of Journalism,” proves the point:

“The broader problem is that the depravity, mendacity, vulgarity, and menace of the Trump Administration have put a lot of people, including reporters and editors, off their stride. The present crisis, which is nothing less than a derangement of American life, has caused many people in journalism to make decisions they regret, or might yet. In the age of Facebook, Chartbeat, and Trump legacy news organizations, hardly less than startups, have violated or changed their editorial standards in ways that have contribute to political chaos and epistemological mayhem. Do editors sit in a room on Monday morning, twirl the globe, and decide what stories are most important? Or do they watch Trump’s Twitter feed and let him decide? It often feels like the latter. Sometimes what doesn’t kill you doesn’t make you stronger; it makes everyone sick. The more adversarial the press, the more loyal Trump’s followers, the more broken American public life. The more desperate the press chases readers, the more our press resembles our politics.”

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