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Politics

Journalism Kind of Sucks Now

Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton debating Feb. 4, 2016
Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton debating Feb. 4, 2016

Journalism sucks today. The failure of 21st century journalism is no more glaring than in national political reporting. It’s bad.

Take for instance this “news” story in the Washington Post today.

The “reporters” Karen Tumulty and Anne Gearan wrote this lede.

“Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, meeting Thursday night for their last debate before the New Hampshire primary, squared off fiercely on the question of whether the party should strive toward its liberal aspirations or set its sights on the achievable.”

In other words, Sanders is just a crazy socialist who won’t get anything done. Clinton is the realist putting out achievable policies. This is exactly what Clinton wants people to believe, and these journalists are playing their role in the selection of Clinton as the Democratic nominee.

There’s not one shred of evidence that Sanders can’t do what he says he will do. And there’s no reason to believe that Clinton will either do what she’s saying now nor whether she can achieve her goals as president. To report these as facts requires Tumulty and Gearan predict the future. As a journalist, if you find yourself making predictions, you need to either rethink what you’re doing or ask your editor to label your piece as analysis.

It’s bad journalism. It reinforces the Clinton narrative that she’s electable, that she’s the candidate who can get things done and that Sanders is a loony socialist. It’s pretty pathetic, because the Washington Post editors should know better.

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