Repairing Media Mistrust Means Understanding It Didn’t Start With Trump’s Attacks

The Federalist | 12/7/2017 | Mary Katharine Ham
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There was a media ethics summit in Washington DC this week. A bunch of national political reporters and observers, and various “thought leaders” gathered within the high glass walls at NPR headquarters to grapple with media distrust, polarization, the unorthodoxies and attacks of the Trump administration, battling fake news, and slaying partisan bubbles.

I know, I know. The jokes write themselves. Bubbles, glass houses, a Beltway journalist stuttering in consternation when presented with the very idea of journalism ethics before exploding like Bradley Whitford in the culminating scene of “Billy Madison.” I’ve thought of all of them and made some of them there!

Media - Acts - Industry - Heyday - Toughness

Too often media acts like it’s an industry in its heyday, congratulating itself for its toughness and truthiness, while ignoring its own role in its decline, which is ongoing and unhealthy. Yes, this gathering was a bubble of its own— I suggested maybe dinner at Waffle House after, to really break out of our comfort zones—and a lot of the same people talking to each other. But I was there, along with a handful of other right-of-center speakers notably none pro-Trump, and there were some valuable thoughts.

On priorities and real diversity:

Monumental - Stories

On monumental missed stories:

On the dangers of self-absorption:


On the value of self-awareness:

And on the real costs of mistakes:

Gatherings - Concern - Severity - Origin - Problem

Still, as always happens at such gatherings, I’m left with the concern many aren’t understanding the severity or origin of the problem.

This was the inaugural Poynter Journalism Ethics Conference. This is why it was put on: “Almost a year to the day since President-elect Donald Trump declared the media ‘fake news,’ Poynter is convening leading Washington correspondents and editors for a thought leadership summit on strengthening political journalism and public trust in a polarized era.”

Urgency - Need - Conference - Trust - Media

The urgency, the need for the inaugural daylong conference, comes not from falling trust in media, which has...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Federalist
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