Monday, December 14, 2015

Neutral Reportage

Staff Memo^tfw
“We’ve gotten a question or two about how to talk about Donald Trump in social media — and whether calling him, say, a liar and a racist violates our policy asking . . . you not to be political partisans. . . .”

“It is . . . entirely fair to call him a mendacious racist, as the politics team and others have reported . . . BuzzFeed News’s reporting is rooted in facts, not opinion; these are facts. . . .”

“There are, of course, other good reasons not to engage in US Twitter’s political troll wars and I’d generally advise against it, but there’s nothing partisan about accurately describing Donald Trump.” 

—Ben Smith, editor, Buzzfeed, in staff memo on appropriate use of social media, in Eric Wemple, “Neutral journalism model is straining under pressure from Donald Trump, tense times,” The Washington Post, Dec. 9, 2015 

Editorial Comment: The Donald has sent the press into a tizzy. Along with the rest of sentient beings.

This deserves a brief treatise on the role of the press: “Neutral reporting” sounds like it should be a good thing. But it’s often not: “balancing” ridiculous claims does no one any good, and news consumers understandably wonder sometimes if reporters are co-opted or just stupid when they carefully get sources on all “sides to discuss thoughtfully whether up may really be down. Sometimes, as Einstein might have observed, a braying ass is just a braying ass.

PeezPix by Ted Pease

Stella Rain Watch

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Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
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