Legacy media not held accountable

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America’s elite media personalities can brag during video calls, retweet sexist jokes, embellish their work, plagiarize their colleagues, and screw up fact checks in such a way that their own newsrooms have to backtrack on their work. work and face only mild reprimands. But if a woman correctly points out that the city desk looks like a dukes of hazard restart, America’s elite publications call the workplace the equivalent of tactical nukes.

In the last month alone, the Washington Post Y the new yorker they have found new ways to turn off the lights while blabbering about the death of democracy in the dark. For such unforgivable sins as wanting equal pay for their work or openly wanting more editors of color on staff, women whistleblowers have been severely and publicly disciplined.

the new yorker The magazine unceremoniously fired Erin Overbey, the archives editor, who ran one of its top-performing newsletters after she publicly advocated for more black editors at the magazine.

Contrast your case with that of Jeffrey Toobin, the new yorkerlegal correspondent for CNN and a regular on CNN’s political news shows. To receive the same treatment as Overbey, Toobin had to literally expose himself in a video conference; even then, the firing of him took weeks, and CNN finally put him back on the airwaves.

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Adding insult to injury, Overbey was doing some genuinely unique and interesting work at the Archives desk, while Toobin’s political and legal analysis usually boiled down to saying something like “wowzers” while a Congressional B-roll played in the background. .

The Toobin controversy eclipsed an even more egregious one in the Washington Postwhere political reporter Dave Weigel was suspended for retweeting an ugly sexist joke, and colleague Felicia Somnez was fired for… criticizing him for it

Somnez herself had previously been sanctioned by the Mailwho was banned from covering the sexual assault after revealing her own past trauma, and who retaliated for openly questioning the newspaper’s treatment of women and minorities, obviously a far more serious sin in the eyes of her bosses.

Corporate news already does its best to avoid the appearance of bias by expecting all its journalists to privilege a “neutral” view that is only that of white men. Waiting for the reporters spend more time reporting stories than giving opinions on Twitter is one thing; another is to assume that the mere fact of expressing an opinion is disqualifying.

And when newsrooms want to lean on reporters’ marginalized identities to provide credibility, sending women to cover feminist rallies or black reporters to anti-police brutality protests because editors assume that’s all reporters CAN cover, it’s hypocritical and reductionist. No one assumes that white men only have talent for covering Jimmy Buffett concerts and sales at Tommy Bahama.

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While the editorial platform of “festivals” and round tables Dime Fascists like Kellyanne Conway and Kimberly Guilfoyle, truth tellers who saw the rise of white nationalism coming are still blacklisted from our nation’s editorial pages.

Those who downplayed the Covid epidemic by accusing those who take precautions of hysterics still have a spot on cable news saved for themwhile the hundreds of thousands who died doing “essential” jobs or living in communities without masks and vaccinations have all but disappeared from the national discourse.

This leads to the anemic, “Well, who’s really to say what the truth is anyway?” type of analysis. that he is already alienating the public, who rightly doesn’t trust a corporate press allergic to any sense of urgency. If no one is really affected by anything, and it’s all just a numbers game, why bother getting involved with the media?

Not surprisingly, brave reporters have begun to push back on their own news organizations. After all, newsrooms hire those who can see the problems that need solving and can spot hypocrisy more easily than the average person. Those skills are sought after, nurtured, appreciated. And when they turn on government entities or distant power systems, media bosses love them.

But when those same skills, those same tendencies to ask direct questions and not take no for an answer and demand attention for injustices, turn against the very bosses of the media and the way corporations run the media, suddenly those abilities are anathema. And a company that prides itself on whistleblower protection, that relies on the existence of those willing to speak out about hidden errors, is beginning to subject its own truth-tellers to the kind of treatment its editorial pages should receive. be outraged

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News organizations should receive calls from within to improve and reform, even if, especially if, those calls are made publicly, on industry channels and on social media. If newsroom leaders want the applause that comes with the amplification of unheard voices and the suffering of the comfortable, they need to do it in the lowest risk environment possible: their own.

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