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Three stories of media failure

2 min read

In the Age of Trump, the tidal wave of major news stories is often overwhelming, sometimes drowning even the most informed in a state of cognitive shutdown. Occasionally, though, even seemingly unrelated revelations tell a larger tale whose lessons shouldn’t go unnoticed.

So it was this week. As John McCain was laid to rest, news articles and op-ed pieces propagated throughout the U.S. media announced that “end-of-life decisions are now out in the open” and warned Americans that to prevent pointless and even painful medical treatment in the face of death, “families should talk with loved ones early.” Even as those commonsense words of advice were still fresh, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey appointed McCain’s former Senate Republican colleague Jon Kyl to fill his seat for the duration of its term. Meanwhile, NBC Meet the Press host Chuck Todd let loose a battle cry of sorts, urging his fellow journalists to “start fighting back” against Fox News and to “speak up for their own work.”

All of which comes as too little, too late. After all, back in 2009, Republicans branded such end-of-life counseling Obamacare “death panels,” a grotesque lie Senator Jon Kyl helped perpetrate. And when it mattered most, Chuck Todd told the American people that debunking this and other GOP frauds was not the media’s job.

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