The enemies of truth should be called out and confronted, not just corrected.
I am not a journalist. I'm an every-day democratic party activist. I agree we need better. Here are some steps I am taking in my own social media sphere:
1. I am spending time liking, commenting, and sharing innocuous information. For example, I am trying to like people's photos (of their cats, dogs, etc). I like their "feel good" quotes. I am trying to show that I like the same things they like.
2. I am trying to become a trusted news source. I find stories from already recognized middle-of-the-road news outlets and I comment on them through the platform's sharing feature. I don't share either left or right leaning articles that are designed to inflame. If I find something interesting in one of those articles, I look for the information from another less polarizing source.
3. I never share right wing talking points or their "terminology." If the DNC or Biden, take the term (like Brandon or Bidenomics or Obamacare) and turn it into a positive, I will start using it.
4. I never engage directly. I either start my own post or screenshot their post and turn it positive. For example, my state continues to go after absentee voting. Instead of hollering at them (figuratively), I just post that democrats understand that voting is our most sacred right and that they will always work to ensure all eligible voters have easy access to the ballot.
I have found that by turning everything into a positive message, I am feeling better and yet still confronting the disinformation out in the world.
All the best, Tami
Yes!!! Thank you for this, Mark Jacob. I hope you keep speaking out. We need to hear this often.
Whether it's doing puff pieces or both-sides-ing or below the fold/back page placement in print newspapers, the media is partly culpable - in no small part - for why we're in this current nightmare. It's about maintaining accessibility to those that create drama (MTG, trump, etc.) and reporting on them to generate a buzz and draw clicks and ratings. With democracy hanging on by a thread, this is especially despicable.
It's happening before our eyes in interview after interview and story after story: various reporters are choosing not to describe House Speaker Mike Johnson in no uncertain terms as an insurrectionist-aiding, theocratic radical ultimately mainstreams him.
Imo, we all need to hold the media accountable to hold those they interview accountable. (At the very least, tag reporters and news outlets by name.) We can be #MediaCrusaders for the #FactCrusaders.
*soap box dismounted* ;-)
Thank you Mark for an incisive and very sharable post. Maybe we should repair our first amendment by adding “freedom from the press”.
I love this! Tell us how we can help the truth crusade.
Turning important discussions on balancing various facts into a industry-spanning dogmatic religious war doesn't sound like a very journalistic thing to be doing.
For years now, commentators have been begging the media to stop normalizing the emerging fascism of Trump and the Republicans, yet little or nothing changes. How likely is it that the media will change their approach and become defenders and advocates for democracy?
There's something about the terminology here that strikes me as worrying. “Fact crusading”, “enemies of truth” read like something from a messianic game of thrones cult. Bordering on Manichaeism
What is society doing to teach how to fact check statements from political leaders (I am a retired one), or news coverage, if not friends? What do our educational institutions do to teach how to even distinguish news from editorial statements, especially with online news? What rules did we have in place on fact checking before our society went digital/wired?
The challenge with calling out enemies of truth is because each side of an argument is taught to believe and is reinforced to conclude that the ones who disagree with them are the enemies of truth. Now more than other. Try having a conversation with a friend with is on the other end of the political spectrum.
What is society and our education systems doing to train or teach future Americans on fact-checking the news they hear, the hyperbole spouted by too many politicos (I am a retired one, I admit), and how to differ with others in a civilized way. Too many people are so inundated with news, they take short-cuts to determining the truth by placing trust in one news source or another, or the membership in one particular party.
To me, a layman, modern journalism is all about covering the facts ... with a pillow ... until they suffocate.
You are so wrapped up in your little bubble you cant seem to see that outside a few small groups of the chattering classes, no one believes anything the press writes any more. "Fact checkers" exist to reinforce narratives.
People believe the economy is doing poorly because real incomes (adjusted for information) have fallen every year since 2019. You can cite "facts" like GDP growth and unemployment rates but thats meaningless if people cant pay their bills.
People believe crime is up because we saw a dramatic rise in all categories of crime between 2019 and 2022. Couple that with the unwillingness of prosecutors in large urban areas to prosecute and undercharge those arrested leaves people with an accurate impression that the streets are less safe.
The nice thing about this new information war we are in is, for a change, neither side has a monopoly on the megaphone and with places like substack and twitter we get to see what partisan hacks those who deliver our "news" really are.