Whatever the truth of the Florida-Publix vaccine partnership, the fallout from 60 Minutes' corruption insinuations has glossed over very real equity issues. Following the money is a hallowed tenet of journalism; following the lack of it, less so. /1

Not as hallowed—but still a tenet—is covering leaders’ *political* momentum in ways that can obscure their records. We've seen this often with DeSantis and COVID. The truth is messier—in part because his officials have tried to keep it from reporters. /2

The stakes are high—not just because Florida is home to tens of millions of people, but because DeSantis is clearly eyeing a national career. It’s too early to cover 2024. But presidential bids, as we know well, often build on early national momentum. /3

My newsletter for @CJR today, with links to great reporting by @Blaskey_S, @conarck, @allisonsross, @MaryEllenKlas, @NewsPressDan, @zacjanderson, @JoshSalman, @EricBoehlert, @DKThomp, @MRMasferrer, and many others. /4


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More from @Jon_Allsop

5 Apr
John Boehner's book and Matt Gaetz's... erm... Matt Gaetzness are both in the news rn, and some folks have drawn a direct line from Boehner's warnings about right-wing media celebrity to the Gaetz mess. Gaetz *is* practically a Boehnerian case study... /1

...but he and Boehner aren’t, as some coverage has implied, at opposite poles of a sane-crazy continuum. As critics including @CharlesPPierce and @mehdirhasan have noted, Boehner failed, as speaker, to rein in the Matt Gaetzes of the world. /2

Nor was he a helpless victim of right-wing media culture. He has complained of "echo chambers" while also touting longstanding relationships with Roger Ailes and others who may have moved farther to "the dark side," but were hardly Jedi Knights before. /3

Read 5 tweets
22 Dec 20
A media scooplet from me for @CJR: Rep. @tedlieu is working on legislation aimed at reviving the Federal Writers' Project—a 1930s New Deal program that put unemployed journalists and authors to work documenting America on the public dime. /1

The timing and details of the bill are tbd, but Lieu's office told me a new FWP could be anchored within the Labor Dept or a cultural agency, and could run as a grant program administered through existing community institutions—including newsrooms. /2

It follows a recent push from fans of the FWP—most notably @DavidKipen, of UCLA—who think reviving it could serve a double benefit: putting unemployed writers to work, and helping America understand itself, which was a key goal of the original project. /3

Read 7 tweets
17 Nov 20
THREAD: For @CJR today, I assessed the media criticism and analysis that Barack Obama has repeated, time and again, on his book tour. It certainly merits a hearing. But it merits skepticism, too, on three grounds:

1. Obama has a deeply tarnished record on matters journalistic: he pledged to run the most transparent administration in history, then oversaw highly-secretive policies, prosecuted more leakers under the Espionage Act than any prior administration, and subpoenaed journalists.
2. Obama did not, as president, crack down on the Big Tech firms whose platforms he now perceives as a danger to democracy. Nor did his administration prioritize structural support for the news business—a victim of the financial crash that was not bailed out like big banks were.
Read 6 tweets
28 Oct 20
Lines outside polling places don’t so much reflect democracy in action as democracy in inaction—a reminder of America’s shameful, ongoing history of voter suppression. Add in COVID and they aren't just a democratic disgrace, but immediately dangerous. /1

More broadly, in assessing all the early voting, we need to remember the still-very-high rate of people who won't vote—because hurdles like lines put them off or because they've lost faith in politics. If these aren't both forms of suppression, they at least share causes... /2
...institutional racism and a broad culture of bureaucratic incompetence and inertia that doesn’t just make it harder for people to vote, but to access healthcare, affordable housing, and so on. Me today for @CJR: /3

Read 4 tweets
27 Oct 20
THREAD: The Union Leader's Biden endorsement seemed a sign of the times—another extraordinary media rebuke of Trump. Look closely at the endorsement race, though, and it seems less a divining rod for a changed public mood and more a case of 2016 redux. /1

In the same vein, we've seen a retreading of the quadrennial debate as to whether endorsements are good or not. Critics say they don't sway voters, make news reporters look biased by association, are often silly, and are representationally problematic. /2

These are weighty criticisms. But I think ultimately they damn not the newspaper endorsement, but much bigger problems with the media industry—including bad media literacy, failures of diversity, and bad ownership practices. /3

Read 4 tweets
26 Oct 20
NEW: For @CJR, I spoke to one of my favorite writers, @rickperlstein, about his new book, the big media themes lurking beneath the surface of his work, why 2020 is really *not* 1968, and his advice for reporters covering this election. Some smart quotes:

On media criticism in his work: "The secret is I’ve really produced a three-thousand-page exercise in media criticism, with some politics thrown in for good measure... The media has done a lot more than historians generally appreciate to shape our own political world."
On the mainstream press's longstanding ideology of consensus: "That’s how you rise to the empyrean heights. That’s how you become host of Meet the Press, as opposed to a beat reporter in Cleveland: your success in telling a story about conflict in America being epiphenomenal."
Read 6 tweets

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