(2019-01-07) Rosenberg Elizabeth Warren The Democrats And The Real Problem With The Fake News Media

Paul Rosenberg: Elizabeth Warren, the Democrats, and the real problem with the "fake news media". For all Donald Trump’s ranting and railing against the media, they are and always have been Trump’s most valuable asset, boosting his signal exponentially — largely on his terms — while simultaneously serving as his all-purpose punching bag.

When Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced her potential 2020 candidacy, much of the mainstream media eagerly let Trump set the narrative, recycling his racist taunts and questioning Warren’s grasp of reality — an over-the-top example of how well they serve his needs.

The media has persistently benefited conservatives in a similar fashion. The general press ethos of symmetrical "fairness" is vulnerable to asymmetrical exploitation and attack, as is liberal culture more generally.

As, Bill Kristol, a lifelong beneficiary of this false balance logic, put it recently: As a non-Democrat, I'm struck by how much the media seem obsessed by possible rifts among Democrats, narrow lines they'll have to walk, stray utterances of their backbenchers, etc., than by the rather more massive fact that we have a president and administration in total meltdown.

Warren released a powerful announcement video combining her own personal story with the economic devastation of the American middle class, a terrain where she’s been fighting for decades.

“Without intervention or some counter movement, the savvy press are going to do a number on us in 2020,” media critic and NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen added

There is a better way: an alternative, bottom-up, citizen-based approach to campaign journalism long championed by Jay Rosen, known as the “citizen’s agenda.”

Trying to take the existing system and rid it of all the right-wing hacks wouldn't solve the fundamental problem: Mainstream media doesn’t serve the public interest, even when it isn’t hacked. What’s more, Rosen notes, it has no clear measure of success, nor a clear purpose

Journalists play a role in collecting and refining the questions — but it’s an iterative process

This Citizen’s Agenda model arose in 1992, the year Ross Perot ran as an independent and got 19 percent of the vote. As I’ve written about before, an innovative pollster, Alan F Kay, had developed an approach he called public interest polling, which he used to explore the nature of the discontent Perot tapped into.

the "citizens' agenda" model for campaign journalism could serve as a driving force to advance a broader range of democratic reforms that would work synergistically to help shift the balance of power into the hands of ordinary people.


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