, 12 tweets, 11 min read Read on Twitter
As documented by @TheAtlantic's always-excellent @JamesFallows, one of the underappreciated factors in 2016 election is the failure of #journalism to do its job (one Jim story-- he has many others).
...My thoughts on how to prevent repeat in 2020: <thread>
In 2016, MSM obsessively covered @HillaryClinton emails, while ignoring the far-more-important story of #FBI investigation of the Trump campaign. This failure had a major impact on the election's outcome. My analysis is shaped by experience in both in #journalism and politics:
We're seeing exactly the same dynamic in the 2020 campaign that we saw in 2016: MSM is focusing on horserace issues & GOP talking points, rather than delving into SUBSTANTIVE differences between the candidates. This could determine outcome of Dem primaries-- & general election.
Example of MSM's privileging click-bait & GOP talking points over substance: Coverage of @SenWarren's announcement for president. @politico story focuses on DNA (incl Trump's "Pocohantas" insults) rather than on #ElizabethWarren's policy & positions.
.@Reuters did the same thing: focused on @SenWarren's ancestry rather than her policies & positions. Impact of this type of coverage: The most important questions in politics today (incl #IncomeInequality) will continue to get ignored by ALL candidates.
(This doesn't mean MSM should ignore the question of #ElizabethWarren's ancestry, just keep it in proper perspective. The basic facts are already out there, Warren has clarified & apologized. If that's a deal-breaker, don't vote for her; for everyone else: Consider her positions)
MSM coverage of #ElizabethWarren's DNA is exactly the same #journalism failure as that perpetrated in 2016 about @HillaryClinton's emails: Obsessive focus on an embarassing-but-not-disqualifying story for which facts are already known, while ignoring far more substantive issues.
Here's a story that gets the balance right: @Vox's @ella_nilsen doesn't ignore DNA angle-- but spends the bulk of the piece outlining @SenWarren's platform & how it lines up with #Warren's track-record. This is #journalism. Much of the MSM is just gossip.
Another example of good #journalism in 2020 campaign is @HuffPost's coverage (by @mtredden & @aterkel) of #AmyKlobuchar's management problems. Contrast this with how the MSM has covered Sen. #Klobuchar, and you see why lazy journalism is so dangerous:
MSM's #Klobuchar coverage has revealed nothing: The entire picture presented is simply:
1. She's nice.
2. She's from the #Midwest.
3. She's a (white) woman.
This does a disservice to Amy #Klobuchar (cover her ideas!), but a greater disservice to voters. @HuffPost did far better:
Coverage by @mtredden & @aterkel uncovered issues directly relevant to #Klobuchar's ability to be a good president: The utter chaos of the Trump White House demonstrates the impact of poor management. May or may not be disqualifying-- but reporting it is the job of #journalism.
The point of this thread: Voters should be able to evaluate @SenWarren, @amyklobuchar & ALL candidates on the basis of their SUBSTANTIVE positions & track-records. It's the job of #journalism to provide this information.
--MSM failed in 2016.
--It must NOT fail in 2020.
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