Reporter's Notebook

Failed Objectives: The Press vs (?) Donald J. Trump

This is my exam week (with all the chaos that ensues). But, during a much needed break, I settled in to an important (increasingly more important) conversation by Bob Garfield, host of On the Media (on WNYC) on the press, Trump, demogagery, and —perhaps most important of all— what journalists ought to consider (in approach and philosophy) as November creeps nearer. For some, Garfield’s call for a more aggressive and confrontational press might inflame. I personally worry that if the media engages Trump on his turf —usually vicious and sensational— the risk to our integrity only increases. But as the conversation continues (and in discussion with CNN’s Jake Tapper and the novelist Alexander Hemon) there is a hard center to Garfield’s position: truth, pursued doggedly and held against the trafficker of lies, is both necessary and missing from our current news cycle. Sure, access is important (Tapper, I think, handles this question with tact and reason, even if I’m not certain it isn’t just an elegant hedge), but access ought not outweigh the negative consequences of the untouched (and often hate-tainted) lies so often invoked by the presumptive candidate, Donald J. Trump. Agree or disagree. Your call. But listen. Please listen. There is more than enough noise out there re: the 2016 electoral race. Here, in this episode of On the Media, is the pulsing of a signal.

Listen to On the Media here

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