Trump is pressing to resume shortly his regular “rallies” — with thousands packed in an arena despite the Covid pandemic.
This brings to mind the wide, post-mortem soul-searching among the press for giving so much uncritical, long broadcasts of Trump’s rallies in the 2016 election. As just one example in “My Shared Shame: The Media Helped Make Trump” (March 26, 2016), Nicholas Kristof wrote:
An analysis by The Times found that we in the news media gave Trump $1.9 billion in free publicity in this presidential cycle. That’s 190 times as much as he paid for in advertising, and it’s far more than any other candidate received. As my colleague Jim Rutenberg put it, some complain that “CNN has handed its schedule over to Mr. Trump,” and CNN had lots of company.Larry Sabato, a politics professor at the University of Virginia, says television networks “have a lot to answer for.”
I don’t have much confidence that the national press will learn from and correct mistakes from 2016 — but now is different: Trump rallies will also be a part of an active disinformation campaign that the Covid pandemic has been vanquished, is behind us. And we know that Trump eagerly will conscript a pliant press in pushing such lies.
So, the obvious — and self-identified — test for the press will be doubly (triply?) applicable this campaign season.
Let’s make sure to judge the press on these accurate terms.
This is not a high bar, btw, Simply report on any newsworthy statement afterwards and in context, with appropriate expert talking heads (if you like). Just don't provide unfiltered propaganda.
Easy . . . but what are the chances?