The Jury Talks Back

12/6/2019

Democracy Dies In Broad Daylight: Media Should Work Harder To Persuade Americans To Support Impeachment

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 2:22 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I say let it die in broad daylight for everyone to see. Margaret Sullivan, former public editor of the New York Times and now a columnist for the Washington Post makes it clear that she supports impeachment (which is her prerogative), and is now calling on members of the media to collectively find a way to *persuade* resistant Americans to get on board the impeachment train. As if persuasion and advocacy is the job of journalists and reporters:

The diplomats have been inspiring, the legal scholars knowledgeable, the politicians predictable.

After endless on-air analysis and written reporting, pundit panels and emergency podcasts, not much has changed.

If anything, weeks into the House of Representatives’ public impeachment hearings, Americans’ positions seem to have hardened on whether President Trump should be impeached and removed from office.

So, is the media coverage pointless? Are journalists merely shouting into the void?

Clearly, to Sullivan’s mind, the media should be doing something more than just reporting the news and letting Americans make up their own damn minds. They should be collectively advocating for a specific political position and pushing that onto the masses via media outlets:

[T]hat’s what the nightly newscasts on the three major broadcast networks attempt to do: boil the complex down to a few minutes.

But that audience, although still substantial — more than 20 million people on average per night — certainly doesn’t include everyone. And far too often, those broadcasts fall prey to false equivalency: This side said this, and this side said that, and we don’t want to make anyone mad, so we’ve got to cut to a commercial now.

[H]ere’s the thing: There are facts. There is truth. We do live in a country that abides by laws and a Constitution, and nobody ought to be above them.

Despite the hardened positions, some members of the public are still uncertain. Some are persuadable, and yes, it matters.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s the job of American journalism in this moment to get serious about trying to reach these citizens.

Sullivan has tweeted three responses to her post. If these are representative of America at large, then, boy-howdy, we are in trouble:

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–Dana

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